Tourism growth will stall after hit to key Russian + Ukrainian markets -Tourism Ministry
War in Ukraine is set to stall growth of our tourism revenues: “Expectations for Egyptian tourism in 2022 are not higher than last year,” Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby told Bloomberg, while declining to provide estimates on arrivals or total tourism receipts. Russian and Ukrainian arrivals made up some 30-40% of all visitors to Egypt before the war broke out in late February, according to the business newswire and were fixtures of the Red Sea package tour trade. Their loss will challenge the post-pandemic recovery in our tourism industry.
But new and resumed int’l flight routes will help: The resumption of flights between Moscow and Cairo after a brief war-induced pause, as well as limited flights running between Russia and Red Sea resorts, “will help in regaining some of what we lost,” Shalaby said. New international routes to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh could also give tourism revenues a boost, she added. The first direct flight between Tel Aviv and Sharm El Sheikh took off this week after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett struck and agreement in March.
We’re also reaching out to other European markets: Officials have either lined up or begun talks with Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Poland and Estonia on ways to drive inbound traffic, Shalaby said. The government’s new national tourism campaign #FollowTheSun (you can watch the full-length version of the ad here) is targeting high-value markets in Europe and the US and has driven a 102% increase in Google searches for vacations to Egypt since its mid-March launch. Egypt has also widened the number of people eligible to obtain a visa on arrival or a pre-arrival electronic visa as it looks to support the tourism sector.
AND we’re looking further afield to plug the Black-Sea-sized gap: Egypt hopes to attract tourists from little-tapped markets in Latin America — including Brazil — and Asia in the long term, Shalaby said. The state is also looking to draw in tourists from India, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, and Gulf states including Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, she added.
PLUS- GEM update: The EGP 20 bn Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is set to launch in the fourth quarter of this year, with the opening to be announced six months prior, Shalaby said. We had previously been told to expect the GEM’s launch sometime in H2.
REMEMBER- Tourism receipts (alongside Suez Canal tolls and remittances from Egyptian expats) are a crucial source of hard currency for Egypt. The sector accounted for almost 9% of GDP prior to the pandemic.