Egypt expects €12 bn from tourism sector despite air disaster

Minister says country will attract 10m tourists and will not cut prices

Tourism is an important source of foreign currency for the Egyptian economy already suffering from a dollar crunch that has slowed down economic activity. Photograph: iStock

Tourism is an important source of foreign currency for the Egyptian economy already suffering from a dollar crunch that has slowed down economic activity. Photograph: iStock

 

Egypt’s tourism minister said last week’s EgyptAir plane crash is unlikely to affect government plans to attract millions of visitors next year.

The ministry is maintaining its projection that 10 million tourists will visit the North African nation in 2017, generating $12 billion (€11.7 billion) in revenue, Yehia Rashed said in an interview on Sunday at his office in Cairo.

Egypt will not cut prices for vacationers because the country already offers “good value”.

“Nothing has changed in my view,” he said. “We’re going to work hard, we’re going to set high targets and we’re going to do everything we can do to maximise tourism revenues.”

The crash of Flight 804 with 66 people on board was the latest blow to an Egyptian tourism industry already suffering from five years of political turmoil.

Tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2016 were 40 per cent lower than a year earlier, mainly as Russia, the UK and Germany imposed a travel ban following the October downing of an aircraft full of tourists over Sinai.

The cause of the latest crash has not been determined yet, with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi saying all scenarios “remain open.”

Egypt will dispatch a submarine to help search for debris and data records from the doomed flight.

The benchmark EGX 30 Index for stocks dropped for a third day, falling 1 per cent at 11:45am in Cairo.

Tourism is an important source of foreign currency for the Egyptian economy already suffering from a dollar crunch that has slowed down economic activity.

The industry directly employed 1.3 million people or 5.2 per cent of Egypt’s workforce in 2014. It makes up around 3.5 per cent of the economy, compared with 5 per cent before the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, according to central bank data.

- Bloomberg