Egypt Aims to Double Tourism Numbers by 2028

Egypt Aims to Double Tourism Numbers by 2028

Egypt Aims to Double Tourism Numbers by 2028

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism recently unveiled plans to double the number of tourists visiting the country by 2028. The once-thriving tourist industry in Egypt is still in the process of recovery following the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine – events that were a further blow in the wake of the popular uprising in 2011 that precipitated widespread unrest.

Today, however, things are looking optimistic for the Egyptian tourist industry, which has seen a surge in visitors this year, with numbers expected to hit 15 million by the end of December, a record high for the country. The government plans to nurture this growth, taking steps to increase the number of hotel rooms in Egypt and seats on flights to the country, as well as encouraging additional private investment in the sector.

A Country of Riches

Prior to the launching of the Egyptian government’s new plans, the country had been receiving, in recent years, just 1% of total global tourism. This is despite the fact that it’s a destination with an incredibly rich history and vibrant culture. The country boasts two thousand archaeological sites and six UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, the Pyramids of Giza, and the temples of Aswan. Further, it’s home to spectacular coastal destinations on both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

The revenue from the tourist sector is a vital source of foreign currency in Egypt. This stood at $13 billion in 2019, decreased to $4 billion in 2020, and recovered somewhat to $9 in 2021, and the ministry is keen to take the steps it can to promote this continuing recovery.

Country-Wide Renovations

As part of the government’s plans, it’s in the midst of undertaking an important renovation of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum – the building, constructed in the nineteenth century, is the first purpose-built museum in North Africa and the Middle East. It’s also one of the city’s biggest tourist draws, attracting ten thousand visitors on an average day. The renovation is being undertaken in four stages and has been embarked upon in cooperation with five major European institutions, including the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum.

Many other museums and tourist sites nationwide have been built in recent years as Egypt seeks to highlight its pharaonic discoveries and spectacular ancient history to boost tourist numbers further.

Expanding Visa-Upon-Arrival Rights

In tandem with these efforts, the Egyptian government has expanded the nationalities that are offered visa-upon-arrival rights to now include Turkish, Chinese, Moroccans, Algerians, Iraquis (with visas for developed countries), and Indians (with GCC residency). These nationalities are now able to obtain a $25 entry visa upon arrival, and it’s anticipated that this will further increase tourism numbers over the coming years. Plus, the country has introduced a multiple-entry visa, at a value of $700, that is valid for five years.

Enhancing the Investment Climate

Empowering the private sector forms a key element of the Ministry of Tourism’s plans in a bid to enhance the investment climate. This includes improving the legislative environment and diversifying the types of hotel accommodation offered in the country. 

Earlier this year, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Issa, spoke at a press conference about the recent approval of key executive regulations within the Hotel and Tourist Establishments Law,  pointing to the advantages for investors in the tourism sector. This is especially relevant to those within the hotel industry, as it makes the process of obtaining the necessary license a smoother one.

Getting Off to a Flying Start

Another issue that the government’s plans address is that, in recent times, there simply have not been enough plane seats coming into Egypt. For example, there were just five thousand seats coming in from Russia during the last week of July 2023, compared to the 30,0000 seats that arrived during the last week of December 2022.

Mr Issa has stated that there’s a particular need to increase budget airline seats to the country, which currently only account for one in seven seats coming into Egypt. The Minister of Tourism pointed out that countries with more than thirty thousand tourists have a higher number of low-cost carriers arriving, helping them to keep tourist numbers high.

Looking to the Future

The signs are looking good for Egypt’s tourism industry, and the Ministry of Tourism will be assessing its performance over the coming years to improve visitor experiences and help achieve the government’s target of reaching thirty million tourists by 2030.