Egypt bets on cultural and sport tourism for post-COVID recovery

Pandemic and war led to 60% drop in visitors

09 June, 12:46

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JUNE 9 - The Gate Travel Expo, taking place from September 6 to 9 in Cairo, is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors and 200 companies from at least 56 countries, the UAE daily The National quoted organisers as saying.

    The purpose, they say, is to boost post-Covid-19 recovery and promote Egypt as a tourist destination.

    "Egypt deserves to be on the world tourism map in a much bigger way," said Amr El Kady, chief executive of the government's Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, at an event unveiling the show on Monday evening.

    "It will put a spotlight on Egypt. At the same time, it is important to organise many different types of conferences in the country." The National reported that among the conferences offered will be the UN Cop27 climate change conference in Sharm El Sheikh in November.

    "Tourism has started to recover globally with the easing of travel restrictions, now that 60 per cent of the world's population is vaccinated against Covid-19 and countries have largely adapted to living with the pandemic," the UAE daily noted. "Destinations welcomed almost three times as many international arrivals in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021, according to the UN World Trade Organisation." However, "international tourist arrivals were still 61 per cent below pre-pandemic 2019 levels over the same period." "A challenging economic environment coupled with the Russia-Ukraine war "pose a downside risk to the ongoing recovery of international tourism", the daily quoted the UNWTO as saying.

    "Egypt welcomed just 3.6 million tourists in 2020, less than a quarter of the number who visited in 2019, as the pandemic wiped out $17.6 billion from the country's economy and caused the loss of 844,000 travel and tourism jobs that year." "The Russia-Ukraine war has also badly affected the tourism sector, with Russian and Ukrainian tourists normally accounting for at least a third of the 10 million-plus visitors to Egypt," it added.

    "Last year, Egypt put on a couple of high-profile events to spark media attention and publicity, including the Pharaohs' Golden Parade of 22 royal mummies through the streets of Cairo and the reopening of Luxor's Avenue of Sphinxes. It has also touted the highly anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum, which is scheduled to open later this year." "The country's tourism and antiquities ministry has been highlighting archaeological discoveries, such as the latest find of 250 sarchophagi and 150 bronze statuettes in Saqqara," it said.

    "These discoveries are very important because they will bring back cultural tourism to Egypt," famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass said at the event via Zoom, the UAE daily noted, adding that "2022 will be a very important year for the whole world." He pointed out that it would be the 100-year anniversary since the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb on November 4.

    Egypt is keen to promote other types of tourism as well, such as extreme sports, the daily stated, quoting Ahmed Abdullah, chief executive of Skydive Pharaohs, as saying that the company would take part in the expo to increase sports tourism.

    The idea behind Skydive Pharaohs was to "see the treasures of Egypt from another view", he told The National, noting that they "organise skydiving events over famous sites, such as the Pyramids of Giza, and will be going to Alamein on the north coast, Sharm El Sheikh and Marsa Alam this year". (ANSAmed).

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