2014 tourism up 27 percent, but below expectation
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Tourism revenue rose to US$7.5 billion in 2014, up from US$5.9 billion in 2013, Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou announced Sunday.

According to Reuters news agency, the Minister said Egypt received 9.9 million tourists in 2014, compared to 9.5 million the year before.

The numbers indicate that Egypt’s tourism industry is beginning to rebound after violence and political instability frightened off tourists during the turbulent post-revolution years.

From July 2014, the tourist industry showed positive year-on-year growth. Experts attributed rising visitor numbers to stability in Egypt and the country’s improving international image.

However, 2014 figures remain far below expectations, and much of this year’s increase can be attributed to dismal numbers for 2013, which was the worst year for tourism since the 2011 revolution.

In October 2013, Zaazou announced that he expected Egypt would see US$11 billion in revenue and 13.5 million tourists in 2014. The revenue he announced Sunday was 10 percent lower than this forecast, while visitor numbers were roughly 27 percent below his earlier projection.

Numbers for 2014 also fall short of 2012, when 11.5 million tourists visited Egypt, bringing in $10 billion. 

In 2011, despite the upheaval of the January 25 revolution, Egypt recorded 9.8 million tourist arrivals and $8.8 billion in revenue.

2010 was a record year for tourism, with 14.7 million visitors and $15.5 billion in revenue.

In December 2010, on the eve of the revolution, Egypt’s foreign reserves stood at $36 billion, with tourism serving as a key source of foreign currency. By the end of December 2014, reserves had dropped to $15.3 billion.

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