Cairo, Egypt, April 6 (IPS) – Tourism is as important to Egypt’s GDP as the Nile is to its people. After Egypt’s tourism sector began to recover from the Russian plane crash in 2015. Then COVID hit, and now the war Ukraine shot a bullet in its heart.
Russia’s protracted conflict with Ukraine threatens some tourist destinations that depend on Russian tourists. According to Mabrian Technologies, an intelligence platform for the travel industry, Turkey, Uzbekistan, UAE, Tajikistan, Armenia, Greece, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Cyprus are among the top 25 countries for Russian outbound tourism. according to flight capacity.
Egypt’s economy is also heavily dependent on tourism from Russia and Ukraine, with these two countries accounting for about a third of total visitors each year. In 2015, Russia imposed a series of sanctions against Egypt in the tourism sector, to the detriment of the industry and its workers.
Due to the suspension of flights by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, the drop has become very apparent recently, especially in Sharm El-Sheikh, where occupancy is less than 35%, compared with 40 to 45% in Hurghada, according to industry insiders. .
Egypt’s Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP fell from $32 billion (8.8 percent) in 2019 to $14.4 billion (3.8 percent) just 12 months later , in 2020.
Member of the Egyptian Parliament Hany Alassal stressed that opening up new tourism markets would help mitigate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has damaged the global tourism industry and Egypt.
“Russian tourism reached about 3.2 million Russian tourists in 2015 and is expected to reach about 400,000 Russian tourists per month before the outbreak of war, while Ukrainian tourism reaches about 3 million tourists. Ukrainian calendar in 2021,” Alassal said.
Faten Ibrahim, a tour guide, told IPS: “The impact of the Ukraine crisis on Egypt’s tourism cannot be ignored, especially in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.
Compared with beach tourism, which accounts for about 90% of Egypt’s total revenue from this sector, cultural tourism accounts for less than 5% of total revenue.
“We went through a difficult period of stagnation with the arrival of COVID-19, namely from March 2020 to March 2021. Since then, most workers in the field have been working,” said Ibrahim. The tourism sector is already working for half the salary,” said Ibrahim.
“I can measure the impact of the absence of tourism in Russia and Ukraine on museums and historical sites through my daily work, as the number of tourists visiting these places has decreased. almost half,” she added.
Ibrahim, who has worked in the tourism industry for 28 years, points out that the situation improved significantly last October and November, but the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in December led to the canceled large reservations, so the situation deteriorated significantly in January.
According to WTTC research, COVID-19 caused a 55% collapse in the sector’s contribution to Egypt’s GDP. The travel and tourism sector is also a major employer in the country, with workforce 1.25 million people.
In 2017, the total contribution to GDP was 374.6 billion EGP. It is forecast to contribute about 601 billion EGP to the Egyptian economy by 2028.
Amr El-Kady, head of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board (ETPB), said that the Egyptian authorities are assisting stranded tourists from Russia and Ukraine, to stay safe or return to their homes, cooperation with the private sector.
“We’re going through a tough time, but we’re handling it impressively,” El-kady told IPS.
“It is a powerful propaganda campaign for Egypt, emphasizing that it is not only a tourist destination but also a country that cares about visitors in difficult times.”
He explained that the (ETPB) is currently working to open up new tourism markets, especially in Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland, following the lifting of travel restrictions on Ai Egypt.
Report of the United Nations Office IPS
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