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Sunday, 25 April 2021

Egypt targets USD 6-7 bn in 2021 tourism revenues

Egypt expects to see tourism revenues of USD 6-7 bn in 2021, with tourist arrivals recovering to 60% of 2019 levels, Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby told Reuters. This is a slightly ambitious target, as around 500k tourists visited Egypt in the first two months of 2021, generating USD 600-800 mn in revenues. By our math, that means monthly tourism revenues would have to nearly double for the rest of the year to push revenues over the USD 6 bn target. Forecasts by Bank of America penciled in a recovery of tourism revenues to USD 7 bn, but not before 2022.

Maybe the Russians can give us a hand? The resumption of direct flights between Russian cities and Egypt’s Red Sea resorts next month could bring as many as 1 mn Russian tourists to Egypt this year, Shalaby said, confirming projections from the industry yesterday. Direct flights had been suspended for almost six years following the 2015 Metrojet crash in Sinai, denting the USD 3.5 bn in annual tourism revenues previously generated by the 3 mn Russian tourists visiting Egypt annually.

Tourism had plunged by as much as 70% in 2020, with only 3.5 mn tourists visiting Egypt last year due to global covid-19 travel restrictions, down from a record 13.1 mn tourists in 2019. Some 2 mn tourists have visited the country in the nine months since commercial flights resumed, and Tourism Minister Khaled El Anany recently said Egypt could see a return to pre-covid visitor numbers as early as fall 2022.

And it has been weighing on our balance sheets: Egypt has foregone as much as USD 14 bn in tourism revenues as of last January due to pandemic travel disruptions, with monthly revenues declining by as much as 92% to USD 80-150 mn by some estimates. We managed to scrape together an estimated USD 0.8 bn in tourism revenues from July through September 2020, compared to USD 4.2 bn over the same period in 2019.

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