The number of tourists who visited Egypt in July was up by 16 per cent compared to the same month last year, according to government figures released on Wednesday.
Egypt has lured more than 866,000 tourists in July, compared to 765,000 visitors in July 2013, the state-run Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said.
CAPMAS said that tourists coming from Eastern European nations comprised the largest visiting bloc, making up 47 per cent of the total tourists visiting Egypt in July.
Western European tourists came in second place, while Middle Eastern tourists were the third largest group, the report noted.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian tourism attaché in Poland said Hurghada city, one of Egypt’s top tourist destinations, earned third place in Poles’ list of favorite tourist destinations. Ahmed Sobhi said Hurghada had been in fourth place in previous rankings, according to figures offered by tour operators in the central European nation.
Hurghada and other sea resorts are the backbone of the tourism industry, a key source for employment and hard currencies in Egypt. Government figures show that tourism contributes to 11.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The tourism ministry is seeking to restore the number of tourists visiting the country, consistent with rates prior to the 2011 revolt which toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. More than 14 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, but this number was down to almost nine million in 2011.
2012 was a peak year for tourism, with about 11 million visitors, however last year this number returned to nine million.
In an interview with Reuters this month, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said he hoped that tourist numbers would rise by up to 10 per cent this year, and recover to pre-2011 levels of 14.7 million visitors in 2015.
“If the relative stability that exists now continues I imagine there will be a (full) recovery,” Zaazou said.