Revolution Up, Tourism Down

Political unrest in Egypt has hit the tourism industry hard—a serious situation in a country where almost a third of the population depends on tourism for an income.

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Revolution Up, Tourism Down

From the Great Pyramids of Giza, through ancient temples at Luxor to the beach resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and other towns along the Red Sea, Egypt has long been a popular tourist destination. The number of annual international visitors to Egypt hit an all time high of over 14 million in 2010, the year before the ousting of President Mubarak. The revolution and continuing unrest affected the tourist trade dramatically, with arrivals down to around nine million in 2012, and—after a shaky recovery in the early months of 2013—falling again after the ‘second revolution’. Visitors to Red Sea resorts accounted for a substantial portion of the arrivals. This region was the least affected by the unrest in Cairo and other cities, though reports of tourist kidnapping sand attacks on security guards did affect visitor numbers. But the ancient sites to the north remained off tourist itineraries, as foreign governments issued security warnings about visiting Egypt. Revenues from tourism decreased by 30 percent in 2011, dropping by nearly €440 million in July and August 2013 alone, after the military’s removal of President Morsi. Calculated annually, this decline would amount to a fall of 1.5 percent of Egyptian GDP.

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