The Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) starts a plan to study attracting tourists from new markets—including eastern Asia, central Europe, and North Africa—as a prelude to intensify tourism promotion during the coming period, according to sources in the ETA.
A source told Daily News Egypt that the new markets represent a good opportunity for Egyptian tourism, especially as none of the countries targeted have issued travel bans for Egypt in the past few years.
The source explained that the new markets require presence of direct flights, since a lack of them hinders the inflow to Egypt. He added that the countries of North Africa—such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia—alone can supply about 500,000 tourists a year if direct flights are being operated.
In general, he noted that if coordination exists between different state bodies and carriers, Egypt could attract between 700,000 and 800,000 new tourists in total from all these countries, which could change the sector’s structure in a short period of time.
Egypt’s new Minister of Tourism, Yehia Rashed, had earlier said that the tourist inflow to Egypt in 2016 dropped to 5.3 million tourists, down from 9.3 million tourists in 2015—a decline of 40%.
The total hotel capacity in Greater Cairo, according to the Chamber of Hotels, amounts to 30,000 rooms, including 20% overlooking the Nile, while the rest lie in the eastern and western parts of the capital.
The source at ETA said that Arab tourism declined significantly after the 25 January Revolution. He explained that with the increased promotion and marketing in North African countries, Arab tourist inflow can grow again to boost the number of tourists from Arab states to over two million per year.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has stressed his support for the tourism sector during the first meeting of the Supreme Council for Tourism and urged the need to intensify tourism promotion in Arab markets.
A hotel manager in Cairo, Ali Mohamed, said that Arab tourists spend more money than Europeans and stay longer—up to around 12 days per visit.
Chairman of the Chamber of Tourism Companies and Agencies, Tharwat Al-Agamy, said that tourists from south-eastern and eastern Asian countries spend more money than other tourists, with each tourist spending over $150 a day on average.