Egypt has received 126,000 tourists since it reopened its seaside resorts to international flights and foreign tourists on July 1, after a three-month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany, said on Monday.
According to Al-Anany, this “great achievement” demonstrates the success and efficiency of the procedures introduced by his ministry. His comments came during a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and the visiting Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili.
Madbouly said the virus hit the world at a time when Egypt’s tourism was breaking its own records in terms of the number of arriving tourists.
“It will take some time to pick up the same pace due to tourists’ reluctance to travel at the time being,” the prime minister said.
He stressed that Egypt’s policies target maintaining a balance between the requirements of health and the economy.
Egypt, which has so far registered 97,340 COVID-19 infections and 5,262 deaths, resumed international flights in early July after it lifted a partial curfew it has been imposing since late March and reopened restaurants, cafes, theaters, and cinemas, as well as hotels, museums, and archeological sites, all with limited capacity.
About 600 hotels nationwide were allowed to reopen, having met the safety protocols announced by the authorities and at a reduced occupancy of 50 percent.
All travelers coming to Egypt have to present a recent PCR test that proves they are free from COVID-19 as of September 1.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Pololikashvili also discussed the recent prominent tourism projects in Egypt amid the coronavirus outbreak.
During their meeting in Cairo, Sisi highlighted Egypt’s strategy to resume tourism under precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in coordination with all concerned parties, which aims at achieving a balance between the return of tourism in Egypt, and ensuring the safety of tourists and workers in the tourism sector, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.
Tourism is one of the main sources of national income and foreign currency in Egypt. The country’s tourism revenues hit a record high of 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.