Tourist Spending in Egypt Reaches $6.6 Billion as More Russians Arrive

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Almost 1.5 million Russians headed to Egypt last year, beaten only by Germany.

In the first half of 2024, Egypt’s tourism sector revenues grew by 5% to $6.6 billion, compared to $6.3 billion in the same period of 2023. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt received 7.069 million tourists from January to June 2024, surpassing the previous year’s 7.062 million tourists. This marks a slight 0.1% increase from 2023.

Additionally, the ministry reported that tourism revenues in Egypt increased by 18% since 2010, reaching $5.6 billion during that peak year for tourism in the country.

The rise in tourist arrivals also contributed to an increase in the number of nights tourists spent in Egypt, totaling 70.2 million during the first half of 2024, up from 67.6 million in 2023 and 65.7 million in 2010.

A Boost From Russia

Egypt is continuing to focus on drawing in Russian tourists after the source market continues to do well. While Egypt felt a shock from the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war, Russian tourism into Egypt has since shot up.

Egypt’s state gazette last week wrote about how the tourism ministry is “pinning hopes” on Russian tour operators to bring in more tourists to the North African country. Russia is Egypt’s second-largest source market behind Germany. Last year, 1.4 million Russians headed to Egypt, 40% more than 2022.

This year, Egypt has set a target of 1.8 million Russian arrivals. Between January-March, Egypt had received 258,600 Russians.

“Egypt pins hopes on coordination with Russian travel agencies to attract more tourists to the north-eastern coast,” the gazette wrote.

The north coast extends across the Mediterranean sea and houses some of Egypt’s most popular resort spots.

This month, CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, Amr el-Kady, held a series of discussions with a host of Russian tour operators, specializing in Egypt.

During his meetings with the operators, el-Kady reviewed their operational strategies for the promotion of Egyptian tourist destinations during the summer season and in the next winter season. The meetings also sought to address challenges encountered by Russian tour operators.

The Egyptian and Russian sides have agreed to intensify promotional efforts for Egyptian tourist destinations in the Russian market in the coming period.

Tour operators are vital to Egypt’s tourism ecosystem. Last year, the tourism minister said that 80% of tourists from European markets come to Egypt through tour operators.

The tourism sector in Egypt, contributing approximately 12% to the country’s GDP, faced significant challenges due to Covid-19 and the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. These factors led to a decline in tourist numbers.

In response, Egypt announced plans last year to double foreign visitor numbers to 30 million by 2028 while fostering greater private investment in tourism.

Egypt is striving to expand its tourism sector, aiming to develop 250,000 hotel rooms as part of a strategy to generate a minimum annual revenue of $30 billion. As part of this initiative, the country plans to increase its hotel room count by 25,000 this year.

Egypt’s Tourism Sector Developments

  • Grand Egyptian Museum’s grand opening date is yet to be decided. Egyptian Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa expects to finish installing the pieces into the world’s largest archaeological museum by the end of March. The museum has been estimated to cost $1 billion and has been under construction since 2013. Its opening has been repeatedly delayed. “Egypt wants this to be not only about the Grand Egyptian Museum, it also wants it to be about a whole new visitor experience at the pyramids,” said Issa.
  • UAE’s $35 billion Plan to Develop Ras El Hekma, Egypt. “Over the past 50 years, Egyptians have been going there for domestic travel. Typically there was not much international tourism there,” said Issa. “We expect this project to reintroduce the North Coast as a serious destination in Egypt.”
  • Room capacity continues to grow. In 2023, Egypt added 14,000 hotel rooms to reach a capacity of 220,000. In 2024, the country is planning to add another 25,000 rooms.

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