In 2018, total revenue from tourism reached EGP 174.1 billion, a 124% increase on the previous year, representing 15% of the country’s GDP. The tourism sector is one of the largest employers in Egypt, providing 3.1 million jobs or 9.5% of the total workforce.

In 2018, Egypt recorded 9.8 million international arrivals, an increase of 48% compared to the previous year. The majority of international tourist arrivals were from European countries (59%), with most arrivals from Germany, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, the Middle East (22%), with most arrivals from Saudi Arabia and Jordan and African countries (7%), with Sudan being the key market. The average stay in 2018 was 10.8 nights, up from 7.9 nights the previous year.

The Ministry of Tourism is responsible for tourism policy and for establishing a coherent legal and regulatory framework for tourism development. Two tourism authorities fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry:

  • The Tourism Development Authority - works primarily on setting and implementing regulations for tourism projects and investments, by assisting with the provision of land and facilitating access to loans for developing infrastructure projects.

  • The Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) - responsible for promoting inbound and domestic tourism. It manages the development and diversification of the tourism product, both regionally and internationally.

Private sector involvement is aided by the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) which is composed of five tourism industry business associations – the Hotels Association, the Travel Agents’ Association, the Chamber of Tourist Establishments, the Chamber of Tourist Commodities and the Chamber of Diving and Water Sports. The Federation works closely with the Ministry of Tourism in areas related to tourism planning and in managing the Tourism Workforce Skills Development Project. By law, the views of the ETF are considered before any new legislative measures are taken.

The Ministry collaborates with national and international partners in order to deliver its objectives. This includes: partnerships with intergovernmental and international organisations to align work on UN Sustainable Development Goals; co-ordination with Saudi Arabian authorities and liaison with stakeholders for automated procedures for the Haj and Umrah pilgrimage seasons; collaboration with the Tourism Development Association on infrastructure, water and waste treatment; co-operation with the Ministry of Environment, UNDP and the Global Environment Facility on green tourism initiatives; and, work with UNDP and the National Council of Women to launch the Gender Equality Seal programme.

The tourism budget of Egypt for the 2018/19 fiscal year is EGP 1.8 billion, up from EGP 1.6 billion the previous year.

In November 2018, the Ministry of Tourism launched the Egypt Tourism Reform Programme (E-TRP), which aims to create a sustainable tourism sector through structural reforms to strengthen competitiveness and alignment with international standards. The overarching objective of E-TRP is to have at least one individual from each Egyptian household employed either directly or indirectly by the tourism sector. Designed as a policy framework, aligning its goals with the UN SDGs the E-TRP has had buy-in from both public and private sector stakeholders.

The five structural reform pillars are:

  1. Institutional Reforms - modernise the ministry’s organisational structure, improve and elevate the skillset of the workforce to ensure that the quantity and quality of workforce meet labour market needs. Actions include administrative restructuring and modernisation of the organisational structure, capacity building of the workforce and incentive programmes to strengthen price competitiveness to increase inbound tourism. For instance, a grant was made available for a Tourism Vocational Education Training project in co-operation with the Egyptian Tourism Federation. To date, 8 000 people have been trained in various tourism areas. The hotel sector alone has a target of 9 600 trainees by the end of 2019 and 400 000 by 2030.

  2. Legislative Reforms - E-TRP has made changes to the legal framework governing tourism, which had remained unchanged for nearly five decades. The private sector is playing a role in drafting the new legislation.

  3. Marketing and Promotion new campaigns to showcase Egypt’s contemporary dimension, diversify revenue streams and increase the resilience of the sector through new source markets.

  4. Infrastructure and Tourism Developmentincluding development of a private equity fund aimed at upgrading Egyptian hotels and resorts and helping restructure those struggling financially. Development projects have been completed in 67 tourist areas, with a focus on bringing hotel health, food safety and overall quality up to international standards across the industry.

  5. Global Tourism Trends - including branding Egypt as a responsible destination with recognised environmental and social sensitivities, promoting the economic empowerment of women, and encouraging innovation and digital transformation (e.g. Smart tourism).

The Ministry launched the first Egypt-Tourism Reform Programme Progress Report 10 months after launching E-TRP to highlight what had been achieved in the tourism sector. The Report showed that the Ministry had succeeded in achieving most of the E-TRP goals in less than 10 months. This success is credited to effective co-operation between the government and the private sector.

During the past two years, the Ministry of Tourism in Egypt has been working with various stakeholders to upgrade the TSA system in order to be more inclusive and representative. The Ministry of Tourism signed a new protocol of co-operation with the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform to redefine the survey segments and set a comprehensive plan for the new results in 2020.

The updated system incorporates collecting data of inbound, domestic and outbound tourism surveys in collaboration with the Central Agency for Pubic Mobilization and Statistics and includes enhancing the collection of data to enable in depth study of the expenditure of international tourists and Egyptians residing abroad through more inclusive and broader segmentation. In addition, tourism surveys will be conducted to assess domestic tourism expenditure for Egyptians and foreign residents.

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