Egypt’s tourism revenue jumped 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to around $4.8 billion compared with the same period last year, a government official told Reuters.
Egyptian tourism has been gradually recovering from a 2011 downturn triggered by the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, helped by a currency float in late 2016 that halved the pound’s value and made the country a relatively cheap bet for foreign visitors.
The tourism sector is a pillar of the country’s economy and a key earner of foreign currency.
The official, who declined the be named, said visitor numbers during the first half of 2018 jumped 41 percent from a year before to about 5 million. A total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.
“Indicators suggest the sector will earn about $9 billion by the end of this year,” the official said, adding there were expectations of greater traffic from western Europe, Italy, Germany and Ukraine toward the end of the year.
That figure would mark a jump from last year’s $7.6 billion.
Egypt’s tourism industry had been hit by years of political upheaval and militant violence.
The country has witnessed a rise in attacks on soldiers and police since then army chief President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi toppled Islamist leader Mohamed Mursi in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
Later, the tourism industry was dealt a devastating blow in 2015 when militants bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all passengers and crew on board.
The Daesh group, which has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in an insurgency based mainly in North Sinai, claimed responsibility for the airline attack.
El-Sisi has pledged to wipe out the militants in a large counter-terrorism operation earlier this year.