CAIRO: The number of tourists visiting Egypt in March 2016 decreased by 47.2 percent compared to the same month last year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS,) Egypt’s official statistical agency.
In its monthly report for tourism statistics issued Wed., CAPMAS indicated that 440,700 tourists visited Egypt in March 2016, compared to 834,600 in the same period last year “due to the ongoing decline in the number of Russian tourists.”
On Oct. 31, a total of 224 people were killed on board of a Russian passenger plane crashed shortly after it took off from Sharm al-Sheikh Airport. A number of European countries responded by issuing travel bans to the resort town.
According to the report, countries in Western Europe topped the list of Egypt’s inbound tourism registering 37.2 percent, followed by Middle Eastern countries with 28.2 percent and Eastern European countries with 12.8 percent with holidaymakers from Germany, Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine topping the list of the three regions respectively.
Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Despite a few instances of apparent recovery, continuous instability, political turmoil and a lack of security have remained challenges to the sector.
Tourist nights spent by departing tourists totaled 2.5 million nights during March 2016 compared to 7.6 million nights during the same period a year earlier, while, according to the report, the average stay for departing tourists reached 6.1 nights in March 2014 up from 10 nights in March 2015.
In September, a group of Mexican tourists were killed while on a safari trip in Egypt’s Sahara when they were bombed by the air force, reportedly believing they were militants.
A total of 9 million tourists were expected to have visited Egypt by the end of 2015, Chairman of Egypt Tourism Authority (ETA) Sami Mahmoud announced Thursday.
“Egypt was expected to receive 17 million tourists in 2015 but the number declined by approximately 47 percent due to terrorist attacks and consequent travel advice issued by several European countries,” said Sami in a press conference held by the Federation of Arab Engineers in Sharm al Sheikh earlier this year.
Tourism contributes to 11.3 percent of Egypt’s GDP and brings in 14.4 percent of foreign currency revenues every year.
“Egypt’s tourism industry loses 2.2 billion EGP ($275 m) every month due to terrorism,” said Sami.