Following up on our conversation about the current state of travel to Egypt with industry insiders, we spoke with Mohamed Hegazy, director of the Egyptian Tourist Authority to get his insights on the situation.
And, he said, it’s largely business as usual…or at least business as it has been for the last two years. “There are several destinations in Egypt that have nothing to do with the events, like in Luxor or the Red Sea,” he said. “These places are far away from all the unrest, so that’s why we still have tourists there.” Visitors to areas like Hurghada or South Sinai are not seeing any problems, he added.
Summer is Egypt’s off-season, so the Authority already expected to see a dip in visitor numbers for July and August. While the situation in Cairo cools down, the Authority will not be actively marketing the destination until the September launch of high season. “By then,” Hegazy said, “things will be calm and quiet. We are optimistic about that. And we will promote everything from Nile cruises to Cairo.”
Year over year, he continued, the Authority has seen a visitor increase of almost 25 percent through May, including a good bump from U.S. travelers. “We’re waiting for the June figures,” he said, “and I think June’s numbers will be good, because everything that happened was at the end of the month. It’s July and August that we will have to monitor.”