CAIRO – 31 March 2020: Egypt’s tourism sector recorded highest level of revenues in history, reaching $13.03 billion in 2019, compared to 2010’s $12.5 billion and 2018’s $11.6 billion, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said Tuesday.
CBE clarified that the total tourism revenues jumped 67 percent to reach $13.03 billion in 2019, compared to $7.8 billion in 2017, $2.5 billion in 2016 and $6.1 billion in 2015.
According to CBE data, the number of tourists who visited Egypt in 2019 was estimated at 13.1 million, compared to 11.3 million in 2018, 8.3 million in 2017, 7.7 million in 2016 and 3.8 million in 2015.
It also revealed that the number of tourists in 2019 came lower than the recordings in 2010 which hit 14.7 million tourists.
Tourism experts attributed the improvement in the tourism sector in 2019 to the implementation of a comprehensive structural reform program for the tourism sector, the Egypt--Tourism Reform Program (E--TPR) in 2018.
Former Tourism Minister and Current International Cooperation Minister Rania al-Mashat stated earlier that Egypt--Tourism Reform Program was based in fives axes, which are "institutional reform", "legislative", "infrastructure development and investment", "promotion and revitalization", and "keeping pace with modern trends globally".
According to Mashat previous statement, E--TPR reflected positively on the revenues of the Egyptian tourism sector, which contribute by more than 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
In Sep. 2019, the first report evaluating the implementation of the reform program as issued, revealing the achievement of more than 80 percent of the program's goals, most notably the investment in the human element, raising the efficiency of workers in the sector and increasing the competitiveness of the Egyptian tourism sector globally.
She further pointed out that Egypt ranked the fourth highest Travel and Tourism performance improvement in the World Economic Forum’s latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report (TTCR).
“It achieved the International Leadership Award for effective contribution to the global tourism industry from the London Stock Exchange,” she said, adding that Egypt also topped the tourist destinations in Africa for the first time since 2013 from the Bloom Consulting Corporation.
The World Tourism Organization and the International Council for Tourism and Travel expected that tourism in Egypt and the world will return to normal levels after 10 months of eliminating coronavirus.
Responding to President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi announced measures including providing necessary support to the sectors that are most affected by coronavirus, launching an initiative to back workers impacted by losses in the tourism sector and funding hotels by up to LE 50 billion ($3.2 billion), CBE decided, on March 24, to grant tourism facilities two-year loans, in addition to a grace period of 6 months, to pay the salaries of employees and their obligations towards suppliers and maintenance work.
CBE added that with reference to the initiative issued to support the tourism sector and to allocate around LE 50 billion to finance companies and tourist facilities that want to replace and renew hotels and tourism transportation fleets at a rate of 8 percent. “A new article was added to the initiative includes the provision of credit facilities for a period of two years.”
By the end of 2019, CBE announced the largest financing plan to support the tourism industry, which includes increasing the value of its initiative to renovate and develop hotels from LE5 billion to LE50 billion.
“This procedure will contribute to the payment of salaries, wages and obligations existing with suppliers and maintenance work for tourist activities, especially hotels for residence and tourism projects, except for those for sale, travel agency services, reservations, and tourist trips, land tourist transport, restaurants and recreational activities in tourist areas, air transport for passengers,” CBE clarified in its statement.
On the same vein, Travel receipts (tourism revenues) increased by $459.7 million to $ 7.2 billion in the first half of fiscal year 2019/2020, and travel payments by $615.1 million to $2 billion.
Moreover, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani, said that Egypt supports the sector during the current crisis, pointing to adjourning the payment of the real estate tax imposed on factories and tourist facilities for three months and stopping administrative seizure against taxpayers, in return for 10% of the tax due on them.
He added that the number of tourists rose 4 percent in February 2020 on a year-on-year basis to 900,000 tourists, referring that suspending flights and the stoppage of tourism movement would cost the state up to $1 billion monthly.