Egypt is planning to invest millions in an advertising campaign to build tourism to 20 million visitors by 2020, more than double last year's 9.8 million. The peak was 14.7 million in 2010. The campaign will launch in August.
Egypt, long a popular destination for adventurous travelers and fans of the ancient world, has suffered a steep decline in the tourism business in the past few years, based on internal unrest, including occasional attacks at tourist sites, and the general instability of its neighbors in Syria and Libya.
Among issues that remain, however, is that many of the Red Sea resorts are still listed by Western governments as places to avoid, limiting the number of people willing to travel outside the Nile Valley and Sharm el-Sheikh. Many polls indicate that European tourists consider the risks just too great. As a result, many areas suffer; hotel occupancy in Luxor, near the Karnak temple complex, has run about 20% lately.
Another problem needing a solution is that the drop in tourism has choked off revenue to complete a number of important new tourist initiatives, including the Grand Egyptian Museum, near the Pyramids, whose opening has now been postponed three years to 2018. On the other hand, a new initiative has been retraining staff for food hygiene and quality on Nile cruise boats, docking facilities have been upgraded, and an e-visa system will be in place in the next year.
Photo: Wikimedia / Dennis Jarvis