Egypt upbeat over ‘20-20’

Khaled Ramy

Egypt is confident of achieving its goal of 20 million visitors and $20 billion in tourism revenues by  the year 2020,  Minister of Tourism Khaled Ramy tells TTN.

“We took a studied approach to setting this goal and we are now taking tangible steps towards achieving it,” he says. “The first was the launch of our ‘Masr Qariba’ campaign which is  aimed at Arab tourists to remind them of Egypt’s proximity to the Arab world not only geographically, but also culturally and historically.”

The Egyptian Tourism Authority also opened its first office in the region, based in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, earlier this year.

Globally, the authority is set to launch a campaign that will include up to 27 markets. “With this extended reach, we will continue to gear our efforts to woo more tourists to Egypt in a highly competitive global market. However, we are confident as Egypt is unique in what it has to offer, with over 7,000 years’ worth of historical attractions, year-round sunshine and more.”

Twenty to 25 per cent of the new campaign’s budget will be allocated towards promoting cultural tourism.  The campaign targets restoring tourism to cultural destinations by creating packages that combine visits to cultural destinations with opportunities to stay at beach resorts.

Ramy tells TTN that he is “a very big fan of Egypt” and in his free time, the minister goes diving in the beautiful waters of Sharm El Sheikh. “What started as a one-time experience soon became a hobby,” he says, adding that  diving is not just for those who seek adventure as it allows people to “experience a work of live, moving, breathing art, like nothing they have ever experienced before.” 

Ramy also recently joined Ahmed Gabr, the world record holder for the deepest scuba dive, and 644 other  divers in the world’s largest underwater clean-up to date!


Globally, Russia, Germany and the UK remain the three top markets for Egypt and will continue to do so until 2020 while at a regional level, Saudi Arabia remains the largest, he says.

“We have seen positive growth in the number of tourists from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait throughout 2014 and into 2015. Consequently, we look to these markets as three of our most important ones in the GCC.”

So will Egypt be concentrating on high-spending source markets or will the focus be on volume business?

Says Ramy: “Our work will always be a mixture of these two approaches since Egypt has something to offer to every type of tourist. We are working on competitive packages that will allow more visitors to experience the beauty of Egypt. In that sense, we will always be in the volume business.

“At the same time, we are ramping up our focus on high-spending markets. We are doing this through an approach which focuses on developing and upgrading our tourism services to suit the needs of high-category clients.” 


In line with the plan to generate $20 billion in revenues by 2020, Egypt is investing nearly $1 billion in two new resorts over five years. These will include an eight-million-sq-m resort on the Red Sea worth $654 million and a one-million-sq-m resort on the Mediterranean worth $327 million.

Meanwhile, the launch of the New Suez Canal is expected to have a positive impact on all sectors either directly or through a trickle-down effect, Ramy says.

Arabs are rarely considered tourists but rather an important part of Egyptian society, says Ramy. “They’ve always come to share Egyptian culture and history, or have followed it closely since their childhood. We are only reminding them that their second home is waiting for them with open arms.”

And with summer coming to an end, Egypt is now look forward to receiving tourists in its winter destinations in southern Egypt. “The serene Aswan, and Luxor, which contains a third of the entire world’s historical artefacts, are open around the year, yet as the weather becomes cooler during the months of September through March, we are ready to welcome more of those who are curious to go on a journey to discover the fascinating history of Egypt,” Ramy concludes.

Staff report


Increase in tourist count*

7.3pc   Global arrivals
18.7pc  Arab arrivals including
65.6pc  UAE tourists;
53.1pc  Saudi numbers; and
41.4pc  tourists from Kuwait

*From January to July 2015,  inbound to Egypt