By Matt Smith
DUBAI – Egypt will attract about 20 percent more visitors this year compared with 2014, the tourism minister said on Monday, as the holiday sector recovers after four years of political upheaval, violence and street protests.
About 2.15 million tourists visited the country in the first quarter, up 6.9 percent from a year ago, Khaled Ramy said. Advance bookings indicate the full-year total would be around 12 million, below 2010’s peak of 14.7 million but above 2014’s 9.9 million.
Egypt’s tourism revenue reached a peak at $12.5 billion a year in 2010, but was less than half that in 2013 as turmoil in the run up to the army’s toppling of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi deterred visitors.
“By 2016 we will maybe surpass the levels of 2010,” said Ramy, who has struck a more upbeat tone since succeeding Hisham Zaazou in early March. That month, Zaazou warned Egyptian tourism would not fully recover by the end of 2015.
Ramy said the tourism sector was also seeking to appeal to a younger market.