The WTTC Annual Summit is only weeks away and the World Travel and Tourism Council is working hard pumping out positive reports on participating countries prior to the event in Seville, Spain.
WTTC has been claiming for years it represents the private industry of the global travel and tourism industry. This is echoed in every report releases.
In reality, WTTC represents some of the 100 largest private companies that bought a membership in the organization. Egypt is a mix of big business and many small and medium-sized companies in travel and tourism are currently suffering in that country.
Egyptian tourism boards are mostly nonresponsive not only to media. At the same time, the minister of tourism is high profile and working hard to raise the image of her country.
Therefore today’s release by WTTC is surprising. The release referred to a report claiming there was strong growth for Egyptian Travel & Tourism as it became the fastest-growing country in North Africa, growing by 16.5% – second only to Ethiopia when reviewing the whole continent. This is according to new research by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
This growth has been linked to the improved security infrastructure, which has helped to attract international visitors back to Egypt’s shores and has allowed major travel companies to restart operations in popular destinations such as Sharm el Sheik.
In the meantime, the U.S. State Department is warning Americans to not travel too not travel to:
- The Sinai Peninsula (with the exception of travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air) due to terrorism.
- The Western Desert due to terrorism.
- Egyptian border areas due to military zones.
Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Egypt. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Terrorists have conducted attacks in urban areas, including in Cairo, despite the heavy security presence. Terrorists have targeted religious sites, to include mosques, churches, monasteries, and buses traveling to these locations.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns media regulation law now in effect in Egypt. Ahmed Alaa describes holding a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo as the “best five minutes of his life.” Now he faces years in prison and says his family and his life have been destroyed.
The UK foreign office is telling British citizens:
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in Northern Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country. You should avoid crowded places and gatherings (including in or around religious sites) during religious festivals or times of heightened tensions. Terrorist groups have sometimes called for attacks at these times. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times. You should follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company if you have one. The authorities in Egypt maintain a significant security presence across the country, including armed security officers stationed at important sites, critical infrastructure, and road checkpoints. Extra measures are in place at tourist sites.
The Egyptian government’s counter-terrorism campaign has resulted in a reduction in the number of terrorist attacks on the Egyptian mainland since January 2015, although several attacks took place on the mainland in 2017.
In recent years, Egyptian security forces have dealt with 3 terrorist attacks on tourist locations. On 14 July 2017, 3 foreign tourists were killed and several others injured following a knife attack at beach resorts in Hurghada. Attacks also took place in Luxor in June 2015 and in Hurghada in January 2016, without loss of life.
WTTC noted in its report: Egypt tourism follows a year of record growth in 2017, which saw a Travel & Tourism growth rate of 54.8% in the country.
Tourism came to a still-stand due to terrorism before 2017. Therefore from almost nothing a 54.8% growth may not be such an impressive number after all.
Egypt’s Travel & Tourism sector now contributes to EGP 528.7bn and supports 2.5 million jobs. This means that more than one in ten of all travel jobs (24 million) in Africa are located in Egypt.
Although the sector has not yet fully recovered to pre-crisis levels, the size of the Egyptian travel economy in 2018 (USD$29.6bn) is the healthiest it has been since 2010.
In total, international tourists spent over EGP 218.1 billion in Egypt last year, accounting for over 27.3% of total exports. The largest inbound international markets were Germany (13%); Russia (12%); the UK (7%); Saudi Arabia (6%); and Italy (3%). Combined with domestic spending, Travel & Tourism supported 11.9% of the nation’s GDP in 2018.
For over 25 years, WTTC has compared the Travel & Tourism sector across 185 countries. The 2018 research shows that:
- Travel & Tourism in Egypt grew by 16.5% last year – significantly ahead of the global average of 3.9%
- This contributed 11.9% to Egypt’s GDP, worth EGP 528.7 billion (or US$29.6 billion dollars) when all direct, indirect and induced effects are taken into consideration
- Travel & Tourism is responsible for 9.5% of all Egypt’s employment, or 2.5 million jobs
- GDP contribution is projected to grow even further, by 5.4% in 2019
In November, Egypt’s Minister for Tourism, H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, spoke at a WTTC panel highlighting the importance of Travel & Tourism as a job creator, explaining that in Egypt the travel sector is a “job multiplier”. That is, for every job directly created in tourism a further three are supported.
Inclusivity is also central to Egypt’s Minister for Tourism, H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat’s strategy who hopes to translate the sector’s growth into enrichment by “creating at least one opportunity for one person in every household in the country” during her tenure.
WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara celebrated the results, “We are delighted to see the strong recovery of the Egyptian travel sector – a sector so crucial to national economic growth and a key provider of jobs.
“WTTC also acknowledges H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat’s prioritization of the sector and strategy to use the sector to enrich citizens and spread the benefits of Travel & Tourism across the country.”