2 minutes with Samih Sawiris: What awaits the tourism sector in 2018?

We are slowly getting over the fear factor that was spread around Europe that Egypt is dangerous, Sawiris says [Image by International Students’ Committee (International Students’ Committee) via Wikimedia Commons]

Egypt’s revenues from the tourism sector dropped to $6.1 billion in 2015 from $7.3 billion the year before. However, tourism in 2018 “is looking much better than 2017, which was looking much better than 2016 already,” executive chairman of the board of Orascom Developments Holding Samih Sawiris told Business Forward at an event.

Regional director for the Middle East at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Amr Abdel Ghaffar told The Media Line in February that “tourism grew strongly in Egypt in 2017, reaching 55 percent and leading growth in the Middle East. Until October, almost 7 million international tourists visited Egypt in 2017, generating $5.5 billion in revenues; thus, catching up on the losses experienced in 2016.”

“We are slowly getting over the fear factor that was spread around Europe that Egypt is dangerous,” Sawiris says.

Despite the delayed return of Russian flights to Egypt once again until April, Sawiris does not believe that this should be a problem.

Flights from Russia and several other countries had been halted in 2013, as a Russian airplane crashed 23 minutes after take-off from the Sharm El-Sheikh airport in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board.

“The Russians are only one sector – we have Germany, we have England, we have France, we have Italy. We have a lot of other countries to replace it. The only problem is that some hotel owners are relying entirely on [the Russians]. The overall numbers look quite good,” he explains.

Although Egypt ranks 166 out of 185 countries in terms of the 2017 tourism sector growth forecast, the country is expected to leap to rank 27 by 2027, according to a recent report by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

 

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