Despite global restriction, Egypt welcomes 500,000 tourists in first quarter of 2021
London, April 2, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Egypt received approximately 500,000 tourists during January-March, deputy tourism minister Ghada Shalabi said on Thursday.
Shalabi said in an interview with Sky News Arabia that March saw double the number of visitors that arrived in the country in February.
Tourism revenues amounted to $600-$800 million during the first quarter of 2021, she said.
The tourism sector, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, is a key source of foreign currency for the country.
In January, tourism minister Khaled El-Anany said that around 1.4 million tourists visited the country as of December since the reopening of its seaside resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Matrouh to international flights and foreign tourists in July.
A total of 3.4 million tourists visited Egypt in 2020, according to the minister.
Egypt received 13 million tourists in 2019. Before the outbreak, the country was expecting to receive 15 million tourists in 2020.
In June the North African country allowed hotels to operate at reduced occupancy rates of 50 percent and under a range of hygiene procedures, including regular disinfection after closure in March to help stem the virus outbreak.
To help offset the vital sector’s losses amid the pandemic, Egypt resumed regular international flights at all Egyptian airports in July with foreign tourists allowed to visit three coastal governorates as part of tour groups.
Egypt has required travellers to present PCR certificates upon departure and arrival since September.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority (SCA) will seek over $1 billion in compensation for the losses incurred from the blocking of the Suez Canal by the giant ship Ever Given as well as the costs of dislodging it, the SCA Chairman Osama Rabei said,
The SCA chairman said that the canal authority will not only ask for compensation for the losses incurred by the six-day disruption of the navigation flow by the Ever Given, which are estimated at $14-15 million a day in revenues, but also would ask to be reimbursed for the expenses of using dredgers and tugboats in the refloating process as well.