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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Egypt could lose out on EGP 31 mn daily if it remains on UK’s “red list”

The Egyptian economy could lose as much as EGP 31 mn in potential daily revenues if the country remains on the UK’s “red list” for international travel, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said in a press release (pdf). Egypt’s continued status on the red list — where it was placed in June due to the UK government deeming it a high risk destination for risk of exposure to covid-19 variants — would “pose a significant threat to the nation’s struggling travel and tourism sector, and overall economy,” WTTC wrote. On a weekly basis, the Egyptian economy could lose more than EGP 237 mn, and EGP 1 bn+ every month should the country remain on the red list in the medium term.

Red list restrictions have deterred UK travellers from visiting Egypt due to the inconvenience and cost of a mandatory 10-day quarantine when reentering the UK, with tourists flinching at having to pay the GBP 2,285 charge, in addition to paying for mandatory PCR tests.

A sluggish vaccine rollout could continue to keep UK visitors at bay: A pick-up in the pace of Egypt’s vaccination campaign could help get the country off the red list and see the tourism sector recover, according to the WTTC report. The UK has successfully vaccinated more than three quarters of its adult population, meaning most travellers to Egypt would likely face minor risks, the WTTC wrote.

The caveat: The WTTC, while influential, isn’t explaining its methodology here, nor has it made its full report available for review. WTTC is a lobby group that represents business interests and tries to influence government policy.

UK visitors aside, the government sees a recovery for the tourism sector this year: Egypt has seen 2 mn people visit the country in 5M2021. This is only 40% of the tourist numbers we were getting before the pandemic devastated the sector, but has given the government reason to revise upward its tourism revenue targets for the year to between USD 6-9 bn.

A boon to our tourism recovery: The Russians are back to the Red Sea resorts after a six-year hiatus, as Russia’s flight ban finally came to an end. Russia is set to triple the number of weekly flights from Moscow to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, each of which will welcome 15 planes each week.

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