The Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) intends to pen a plan to study attracting tourists from new markets—including southern and eastern Asia, central Europe, and North Africa—as a prelude to intensify tourism promotion during the coming period, according to sources in the body.
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.
He said that the Ministry of Tourism will coordinate with the Egyptian embassies in the aforementioned regions’ countries if no ETA-affiliated tour operators are there to obtain information on the opportunities for growth in tourism during the coming period.
The source added that experts from the aviation sector and the Egyptian Tourism Federation will take part in the study to represent the private sector. The source explained that the new markets require presence of direct flights, since a lack of them hinders the inflow to Egypt.
He said 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%.
Yet, chairperson of the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association Khaled El-Manawi, had earlier explained to Daily News Egypt that North African countries supply over 1 million tourists to Turkey and southern Europe.
He said that Egypt has many archaeological sites that could raise the interest of tourists from North Africa, especially sites in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan.
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.
He added that inflow from Arab countries, especially the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, increased in the past summer.
Tharwat Al-Agamy, chairperson of the Chamber of Tourism Companies and Agencies, 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.
He added that tourists from these markets are interested in visiting ancient shrines, unlike tourists from Europe who are usually keener on visiting beaches for recreational activities.