The number of inbound tourists to Egypt during the first half (H1) of 2016 has declined by 51.2% year-over-year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).
In a report issued on Monday, the agency said that 2.3 million inbound tourists were recorded during the first six months of 2016, compared to 4.8 million tourists during the same period of 2015.
CAPMAS explained that a 54.9% decline in Russian tourists from last year had the largest impact, followed by the UK with a 14.9% decline, and then Germany with 6.4%.
Egypt’s civil aviation industry was exposed to several crises over the course of just a few months, causing the safety and security measures in Egypt’s airports to be criticised internationally.
On 31 October 2015, a Russian aeroplane crashed in Sinai after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh airport, resulting in the death of all 224 passengers and crew who were on board. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the incident.
Following this incident, many international airlines suspended their flights to Egypt. The government has been working since then on restoring regular flights and tourism to the pre-revolution rates in order to support the national economy.
In December 2015, the Egyptian government contracted with a British advisory company to help increase airports security at a cost of $32m.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation revealed last week that minister Sherif Fathy has departed for Moscow to resume the discussions regarding the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Egypt. In the meantime, a delegation of Russian security and transportation experts in Egypt is following up on the extra security measures at the airports in Cairo, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh.
In 2015, 9.3 million inbound tourists arrived in Egypt, a 5.6% decline compared to 9.9 million tourists in 2014, according to the report.
The statistics cited in the report showed that the number of inbound tourists from Arab countries reached 1.7 million in 2015, compared to 1.6 million in 2014—a 6.7% increase.