Egypt’s tourism sector is expected to recover from the stagnation of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by February and March 2021, according to Ehab Abdel Aal, Treasurer of the Cultural Tourism Association.
The Upper Egypt towns of Luxor and Aswan will see a particular recovery by this time frame, so long as the pandemic does not worsen.
“We are not in a phase of promoting or marketing, rather we are seeing countries give permissions for their citizens to travel, which will see tourists return,” Abdel Aal said, “Also, Europe is now seeing a second wave of COVID-19, so even if countries permit travel, most the European tourists will be waiting to see what happens regarding the second wave before deciding whether to travel or not.”
He noted that this is a global crisis, and the Egyptian government is undertaking its best efforts in facing the crisis.
Abdel Aal said that Minister of Tourism Khaled Al-Anani had earlier announced that 100,000 tourists visited Egypt since tourism resumed on 1 July. He added that, if the number of tourists who have so far visited Egypt is divided by 120 days, this will show a daily average of 750 tourists to Egypt, a considerable downturn on the country’s tourism position.
Egypt suspended international flights at all airports nationwide on 19 March, as part of government efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Inbound tourism flights only resumed on 1 July to three governorates as part of a first stage, namely the Red Sea, South Sinai, and Matrouh Governorates. Tourism activities to Luxor and Aswan resumed in early September.
Abdel Aal noted that visitor numbers and occupancy rates at Luxor and Aswan remain limited following the resumption of tourism to the two cities. He added that most of the tourists currently making visits to Luxor and Aswan were travelling on one-day trips from Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh. The majority of visitors are arriving from Eastern Europe, with only one flight coming in from the UK.
Abdel Aal attributed the limited numbers to the ongoing coronavirus-related travel restrictions that are still present in many European countries.