CAIRO: Egyptian tourism revenues have declined by 21.6 percent during the last fiscal year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s central bank has said.
About 2.3 million Egyptian citizens also lost their jobs amid the pandemic during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year.
A report by the Central Bank of Egypt said that tourism and travel receipts recorded $9.85 billion in sales during the last fiscal year, compared to about $12.57 billion during the previous fiscal year, which was an all-time high.
The repercussions of the outbreak negatively impacted Egypt’s revenues from tourism, which were expected to continue to reach historical levels.
In January, Danielle Curtis, director of the Arabian Travel Market in the Middle East, said that tourism revenues in Egypt would jump to $29.7 billion over the next five years at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent.
In a report for the Arabian Travel Market issued in January, Curtis said that Egypt is a major foreign market for Gulf Cooperation Council countries, as it received 1.84 million visitors from the region in 2019. The country is expected to achieve remarkable growth, bringing the total number of visitors arriving from the Gulf to 2.64 million by 2024, Curtis added.
Another report by financial group Hermes Holding issued in January predicted that Egyptian tourism revenues would exceed $20 billion annually in the next five years.
Hermes Holding cited great efforts by Egypt toward restoring its global tourism position, highlighting the reform strategy that the Ministry of Tourism has developed since 2018, which has contributed significantly to recovery efforts.
The Egyptian Ministry of Finance said that 28 percent of those who lost their jobs during the fourth quarter were in the wholesale and retail trade sector, 25 percent in the manufacturing sector, 21 percent in the food and accommodation services sector, 14 percent in the transportation and storage sector and 13 percent in the construction sector.
The unemployment rate reached its highest level in two years at 9.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020, compared to 7.7 percent in the first quarter.
The number of unemployed Egyptians during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year totaled 2.574 million compared to 2.236 million in the third quarter.
Egypt’s retail sector incurred the largest number of job losses during the pandemic, reporting 624,000. It was followed by the manufacturing sector with 569,000 jobs, the food, beverages and hospitality sector with 469,000 jobs, the transportation and storage sector with 309,000 jobs and the construction sector with 288,000 jobs.
However, the unemployment rate recorded a rebound from pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of the new fiscal year, reaching 7.3 percent due to Egypt’s gradual easing of precautionary measures.