The number of tourists arriving in Egypt registered a 30.7% year on year decline in December the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced in its monthly report.
The number of tourists arriving in December totaled 677,649, slightly higher than the 672,878 registered the preceding month. In December and November 2012, the number of tourists visiting Egypt was 978,259 and 1,102,684 respectively.
“The United States and Europe are still reserved about sending their tourists to Egypt,” Tharwat Al-Agami, the president of Federation of Chambers of Tourism in Luxor said.
Al-Agami added that some improvement is expected in the sector following presidential elections, which he said would bring about stability.
CAPMAS also noted that the number of tourist nights plummeted 63.1% year on year from 14m in December 2012 to only 5m nights in December 2013.
Egypt has been relying on domestic tourism to compensate for the losses incurred in international tourism, market research firm Research and Markets indicated in its latest report. It highlighted that the government’s efforts to promote domestic tourism have resulted in an increase in the number of domestic trips to 15m in 2013, compared to 12.4m in 2009.
The government has offered discounts to citizens to key destinations, while hotels have provided additional discounts.
On 10 February, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that it would extend to 22 February the “Egypt in our hearts” initiative, launched 24 January and offering discount trips and tickets to Egyptians heading to the city of Luxor and Aswan province.
Minister of Civil aviation Abdul-Aziz Fadel said the initiative is one of several offered by the ministries of Aviation and Tourism to “spin the development wheel and support the tourism sector and its workers.”
Al-Agami argued however that the sector’s development is contingent on the presence of international tourists.
“International tourists are the source of foreign currency – euros and dollars. This is what we truly need,” he said. “Domestic tourism is like the salt you add on your food, but the main course is international travellers, which is currently missing.”
Various travel agencies, hotels and aviation companies participated in the initiative.