THE number of visitors to Egypt from Arab countries went up 15 per cent between January and June this year, according to a statement put out by the Egypt Tourism Authority.
The Egyptian Tourist Authority is aiming for nine million visitors this year, over last year’s 8.6 million. The target for 2014 is 16 million.
Qatar recorded a huge 86.9 per cent jump in visitors to Egypt, followed by Palestine (17.4 per cent) and the UAE (11.9 per cent), and their tourist nights rose 63.8 per cent, 26.9 per cent and 25.1 per cent, respectively.
Saudi Arabian visitors increased 8.9 per cent to 42,245, cementing its position as the premier regional market and fourth biggest overall after Germany, the UK and Italy, while Bahrain arrivals increased 8.3 per cent to 1,574 visitors. Lebanon and Libya also performed strongly, both recording double-digit growth.
“Cairo remains the busiest route from Dubai by volume and we are seeing more short breaks, thanks to the increasing number of flights in and out of the UAE,” said Munir Sherwani, manager for Al Rais Holidays. “The Sharjah-Sharm El Sheikh flights on Air Arabia are going fully booked and interest in Alexandria is growing.”
The success of the Nawart Masr (‘You Light Up Egypt!') campaign, which placed Arab visitors at its heart, was one of the key factors in the visitor upturn. The campaign highlighted the cultural similarities involving Egypt and its neighbours in North Africa and the Middle East.
The campaign, which took to the airwaves last December, focuses on the unique attractions that Egypt has on offer for Arab visitors. Shopping, entertainment, leisurely resorts, luxury hotels, and family-oriented fun are all highlighted through a series of television and print advertising.
An Airlink International spokesman said: “Egypt is one of the most tourism-friendly destinations all year round, due to its diverse attractions and natural beauty. This explains the heavy travel demands and increase in flights from airlines globally, and particularly the UAE.”
A nine-country roadshow, that toured the region earlier this spring, further strengthened links between Egypt and its close neighbours.
American visits to Egypt are now on pace to eclipse the record-setting year of 2000. The first six months of 2006 saw 118,044 American visits, surpassing last year’s total by 20.1 per cent and the year 2000 by three per cent. The performance was bolstered in June 2006 when there were 19,656 American visits, a 16.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2005.
Ayden Nour, consul – director, USA & Latin America, Egyptian Tourist Authority, said “Americans continue to be fascinated by Egypt and all it reveals, from the top of the Great Pyramid of Khufu to the rich coral reefs of the Red Sea resorts like Sharm El Sheikh. Egypt has much to offer to suit almost any taste.”
Americans have spent 1,315,608 nights in Egypt in the first six months of 2006, which is a 14.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2005. The average stay is 11 nights.
Despite these positive numbers, however, the total number of foreign tourists in July dropped by 5.4 per cent year-on-year. Tourist numbers from Italy fell 25.5 per cent, French tourist numbers dropped 25.8 per cent, Germans’ stays 6.8 per cent and those from Denmark and Spain 33.8 percent and 7 percent, respectively. However, the number of British tourists increased by 9.2 percent.
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