Egypt targets Arab tourists

Tourism officials eye Arab market and July 2004 for industry to recover.

  • E-Mail
By  John Irish Published  May 15, 2003

Egypt has earmarked Arab travellers as top priority after a comprehensive campaign to bring tourists back to the country was launched at the Arabian Travel Market on May 09.

The latest initiative follows reports in April that the number of foreign travellers to Egypt had dropped by 40% after war had broken out and that consequently tourist revenues had fallen by 50%.

“At the next meeting of Arab ministers of tourism, I will call for financing the Council of Arab Tourism Ministers, so that it will be able to reactivate tourism between the Arab states,” said Mamdouh Beltagi, Egypt’s tourism minister.

An economic study carried out by Egypt’s tourism ministry once the conflict in Iraq abated, estimated that as a repercussion of the war, tourism activity in the land of the Pharaohs could decrease by 3.4 million tourists in 2003. The survey also suggested that GNP (Gross National Product) could drop by as much as US$1.85 billion, with job cuts inevitable.

Tourism currently contributes around US $4 billion, approximately 11% of Egypt’s annual GDP, providing over 2 million jobs within the hospitality industry. Traditionally the European market has accounted for much of Egypt’s tourism revenue, however with the instability in the region, Europeans have travelled closer to home, forcing Egypt to target different strands of the tourism network.

“Arab tourism is a top priority due to the fact that the Arab tourists stays longer and spends more money than others. We expect the intra-regional, intra-Arab traffic to increase to 60% or 70% of the market,” said Adel Abdel Aziz, chairman of Egypt’s Tourism Authority.

As part of the plan, Egypt will ease visa regulations for Arab passengers, increase customs privileges, offer cheaper access to historical and heritage sites, and construct tourist villages, resorts and villas with greater emphasis on observing Arab family practices.

Abdel Aziz added that Arabs would be able to make investments in tourism projects without government interference, would be allowed to set up their own pricing and profit strategies as well as being offered development sites at lower prices with tourist projects’ profits remaining tax free for the first 5 years.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code