Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Tourists return to Egypt

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Tourists in Luxor, Egypt

With so much bad news coming out of Egypt, it’s good to hear some good news.  Morsi’s government is struggling to get the economy moving again since it was handed a mess of a country.  Now that Egyptians have their first elected president, instant miracles were expected to fix the country’s ills.  The slow pace has hurt Morsi’s party with the public, but he’s doing the right things and moving in the right direction.  Democracy takes time and patience, something many of the countries poor do not have.  One good sign, however, is tourism.  The numbers are on the rise…

 

The number of tourists visiting Egypt rose in the first four months of 2012, the cabinet said on Tuesday, but analysts say the sector is still suffering from the aftermath of the country’s 2011 uprising.

The revolt that ousted President Hosni Mubarak sparked more than two years of protests, riots and political instability, denting Egypt’s tourism sector – a major employer and source of foreign currency.

The number of travelers visiting Egypt in the first four months of 2013 rose 11.8 percent from a year earlier, after falling by a third in the year after the uprising.

Mohamed Abu Basha, an economist at investment bank EFG-Hermes, said he did not expect the sector to fully recover this year, despite the rise in arrivals compared to last year.

A cabinet statement said about 4 million tourists visited Egypt in the first four months of 2013 and that tourism revenue rose 16.2 percent to about $3.4 billion.

Some 11.5 million tourists visited the country last year, up from 9.8 million in 2011 but down from 14.7 million in 2010, the last full year before the revolt.

Read the full story from Reuters.

 

Tourists from the Middle East and Eastern Europe find Egypt attractive.  The cost has come down thanks to a depreciating currency and discounts from tour operators, which are now starting to lure visitors back.  Middle East tourists also are looking for alternatives to their two other favorite regional destinations; Lebanon and Dubai.  The former is facing yet more instability thanks to its neighbor Syria, and the latter is getting too expensive. 

 

It also helps that Morsi’s government announced publicly that it will not be restricting key activities of tourists; booze and bikinis on the beach.