Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped 83.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018 to $2.2 billion, a government official told Reuters.
The number of tourists who visited Egypt in that time jumped 37.1 percent to 2.383 million, added the official who asked to remain anonymous.
The tourism sector is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency but has struggled since a 2011 uprising that ousted then president Hosni Mubarak. A total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.
Those numbers are improving thanks to an improved political and security situation as well as more affordable prices for travelers.
Egypt Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat says she expects tourism revenues to reach $8 billion in 2018, that’s up from $7.6 billion in 2017.
The opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in 2019 will likely help continue that upward trend.
“We’re very proud of our heritage,” Al Mashat said in an interview during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). “To put all this culture, and all this heritage, in a modern setting, it’s very appealing.”
“It’s not just an important development for Egypt, but for heritage globally.”
Al Mashat, says that she hopes the museum will reassert Egypt’s reputation as a cultural destination, after years of political turmoil and economic malaise.
Going forward, Al Mashat said she would also focus on attracting new visitor markets.
Currently, over 50 per cent of the country’s tourists come from Europe, while a further 30 per cent come from the Gulf countries, and 10 per cent from Asia.
“Going forwards, what is very important for us is to diversify our visitor base. Focus more on Asia, also Eastern Europe, some of the emerging economies like Kazakhstan and so forth. That’s to help make the sector resilient, and less vulnerable to shocks,” she said.