Officials at the Egypt Tourist Authority (ETA) are predicting a quick recovery for the national tourism industry following recent political turmoil.
ElSayed Khalifa, consul-director of the ETA in New York, admitted earlier this week there had been a “mass departure of tourists” in recent weeks, but expressed optimism the situation would be quickly reversed.
“Looking back to previous crises that hit this industry in the last decade, one can tell that the current crisis, despite all its negative effects on our business, will be and should be the fastest to fade and the least harmful of all,” he added.
Tourists have been fleeing the country as anti-government protestors continue to demonstrate in central Cairo.
The British Foreign Office (FCO) has continued to warn against “all but essential travel” to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.
However, resorts around Sharm-el-Sheikh have remained “calm” throughout the crisis.
Despite the concerns, Khalifa was quick to point out no single tourist has been hurt in Egypt during the crisis, while all tourists were able to make it back to their respective countries safely.
National governments – including Australia, India, Great Britain and the United States – all chartered emergency services to repatriate citizens.
Egypt’s cultural and historical sites have largely been kept safe. However, looting was reported in the national museum at the height of the crisis.
As for how the political situation is developing, Khalifa added: “A dialogue is going on between various political forces and the government, and it is evolving towards a national consensus that will make Egypt come out of the crisis stronger and more appealing to international travellers.”
In 2010, tourism revenue in Egypt exceeded $11 billion, and Egypt’s tourism industry employed about two million Egyptians, according to the tourist authority.
”When pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in Cairo on January 25th, the tourism community in the country was celebrating their best achievement ever, when 14.7 million tourists from all over the world visited the country in 2010,” Khalifa stated.
The demonstrations resulted in numerous cancellations for trips to Egypt in February and March, according to Khalifa.