The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) announced tourism statistics for the month of May 2014 that reveal a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting Egypt from the GCC. The results indicate increases of 10.8% in tourists from Kuwait, 6.3% in tourists from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and 35% in tourists from the UAE. The positive trend in growth comes as a result of the efforts put forth by the Ministry and ETA in their ‘Wahashtouna’ campaign which was launched earlier this year to promote tourism from Arab and Gulf nations. The surge of tourists was aided by the increasing stability and security in popular Egyptian destinations including the cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.
While there was a decrease of 26.2% in the overall number of incoming tourists from around the world, the number of incoming Kuwaiti tourists witnessed an increase from 37,324 tourists in the first five months of 2013, to 41,362 during the same time period this year. April and May witnessed a percentage increase estimated at 22.7% and 1% respectively, compared with the same time last year.
The number of Emirati tourists increased from 7,591 tourists during the first five months of 2013, to 10,250 tourists during the same period in 2014. The months of April and May saw the most significant growth, recording a 36.6% and 27.3% growth respectively, in the number Emirati tourists visiting Egypt this year when compared with the same time period in 2013.
Similarly, the number of Saudi tourists saw an increase from 92,436 during the first five months of 2013 to 98,250 tourists during the same time period in 2014. April and May witnessed a percentage increase estimated at 17.4% and 11.1% respectively, compared with the same time period last year.
The average stay for the Arab tourist- particularly GCC nationals- in Egypt increased from 9.5 nights in 2013 to 11.6 nights in 2014.
Egyptian Destination Popularity
The figures revealed a trend that both the Governorate of South Sinai and the Governorate of the Red Sea – home to the popular cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada respectively – maintained their strong position as the two leading tourist destinations by retaining a share of 74% of the total number of tourists visiting Egypt during the first five months of 2014. The numbers reflect the confidence tourists have in these two governorates, and are a direct result of the high levels of safety and security that they both enjoy, in isolation of any political unrest. They both have a long-standing reputation for being two of the best world class tourist destinations that boast year-round moderate climate and sunshine, unique coral reefs, beautiful landscapes, and close proximity to historic and archeological sites. Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are popular among tourists looking for a holiday with a wide range of activities from shopping to watersports and live entertainment on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
The increase in the number of tourists to Egypt since the beginning of the 2014 is a reflection on the popularity of the exclusive offers provided by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the ETA to tourists from Arab and Gulf nations as part of their ‘Wahashtouna’ campaign and in collaboration with the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism Establishments, Egypt Air and a number of hotels operating in Egypt. The past few months saw the Ministry of Tourism launching a series of direct flights linking Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada with a number of Arab capitals and cities such as Riyadh, Kuwait and Jeddah. Additionally, the Ministry and the ETA provided tourists with competitive packages starting from USD $400, which include airfare and accommodation for three nights – to cater to the needs of the growing number of Arab tourists who wish to visit Egypt during the Holy Month of Ramadan and the beginning of the summer season.