Inbound tourists decline by 45% in August: CAPMAS

Inbound tourists to Egypt declined in number by 45 percent in August, compared to the same month of last year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) on Sunday.

In a statement, CAPMAS said that the number of tourists visiting Egypt from around the world totaled 503,000 tourists in August, compared to 915,200 tourists in the same month last year.

CAPMAS said the overall decline was due to a decline in arrivals from several key European nations: Russia (55.2 percent), the UK (15.9 percent), Germany (14 percent) and Italy (6.2 percent).

Moscow suspended its flights to Egypt in the wake of a Russian plane crash that occurred in Sinai, killing 224 persons, most of whom were Russian nationals in October 2015. Tourism in Egypt has been in decline ever since.

The highest decline in the number of tourists was in June, at 59.9 percent. The number reached 41.9 percent in July, 51.7 percent in May, 54 percent in April, 47.2 percent in March, 45.9 percent in February and 46.3 percent in January.

A gradual return of direct European flights to Sharm al-Sheikh and Luxor was witnessed over the past few days coming from Germany, Italy, UK and Turkey. The government has been in negotiations with Russia to lift its ban on flights to Egypt.

The tourism sector declined by 22.7 percent during the first nine months of 2015-2016, compared to a growth by 34.6 percent during the same period the previous year, according to estimates from the Planning Ministry.

Tourism is considered one of the main sources of foreign currency for Egypt, which is suffering an acute shortage of US dollars.

The number of nights foreign tourists spent in Egypt reached 3.5 million in August, compared to nine million nights in August 2015, marking a decline of 61.3 percent, CAPMAS said.

The overall decline in nights was blamed largely on the 92.6 percent decrease in nights spent by Eastern European visitors. Russia has the biggest share of the decline with 99.5 percent, said CAPMAS.

On averge, tourist visitors stayed in accommodation for 6.4 nights in August, compared to nine nights in 2015.

Edited translation from Aswat Masriya

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