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Egypt solves riddle of how to attract 30 million tourists

Egypt needs to portray itself in a different way to attract tourists
Egypt needs to portray itself in a different way to attract tourists

Egyptian tourism minister Ahmed Issa has said that the country has worked out plans to attract 30 million tourists. 

“Egypt has always felt that it deserves 30 million tourists and the challenge that has been given to me as a problem solver [is to] figure out what to do and what needs to be done,” he told CNN Quest Means Business program.

“It turns out that it’s not a problem with demand – it’s with the supply. And now actually, we have developed plans, we have developed key highlights of actually what we want to do to try to fix the supply side.”

He stated that Egypt needs to portray itself in a different way to attract tourists and has invested in building infrastructure since 2015.

“If you look at the record of public spending in Egypt since 2015-16, there’s like no other in the history of Egypt.

“On roads, bridges, hospitals, airports, aviation and hotels. So I think Egypt has done most of that spending. And the time now is for Egypt to present itself in a different way to the tourist world.”

Issa said that the cultural value proposition is a competitive advantage. 

“In the pyramids, the Sphinx, the sunny days in Egypt. And at the same time, the people. You know, it’s just walking around the streets of Cairo and Khan el-Khalili and so forth. I think it’s like no other,” the minister added.

Tourism has performed well since the coronavirus pandemic as restrictions eased, Callee Davis, an economist at Oxford Economics Africa, said.

Oxford Economics envisages tourism receipts returning to pre-pandemic levels by 2024 and then growing by an average of 5 to 10 percent per annum over the medium term.  

Figures from real estate agency JLL show Cairo’s hotel sector doubled in occupancy rates to 60 percent in the first five months of 2022.

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