Egypt aims to welcome 20 million tourists and bring in US$26 billion in revenue by 2020, Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy told the Cabinet in a presentation on Wednesday.
Achieving these figures would require the country to more than double 2014 arrival numbers and more than triple tourism revenue.
In 2010, Egypt’s best-performing year, around 14.7 million tourists visited the country, bringing in some $15.5 billion. But those numbers crashed after the 2011 revolution, and the nosedived again after former President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in 2013.
In tourism’s worst year since the revolution, 2013 saw just 9.5 million visitors and $5.9 billion in revenue.
The numbers improved slightly in 2014, when Egypt received 9.9 million foreign tourists and $7.5 billion in revenue, according to former Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou.
The current year is off to a mixed start. More tourists arrived in January and February 2015 than in the same months the previous year, but those visitors spent less time — and presumably less money — in the country.
According to a Cabinet statement, the Tourism Ministry plans to reach its 2020 goal by raising the country’s profile as a modern, hospitable and secure destination.
This includes marketing efforts such as the “Egypt is Close” campaign, which targets Arab tourists and will continue throughout the summer months.
The county will also aim to raise its profile in the long-haul, cultural tourism market by boosting its presence at international tourism fairs, and through an online ad campaign “in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and the company Google.”
In the longer term, the ministry also aims to raise the profile of Egypt’s unique historical and cultural attractions, and improve the “manner and reputation” of cities like Luxor, Aswan and Cairo.
The Cabinet statement did not list specific measures that will be taken to achieve these goals.
The ministry also plans to stimulate growth in new types of tourism, including eco-friendly, community-based and religious tourism.
It also hopes to develop new hotspots for the industry, including expanding beach tourism to Taba, Marsa Alam and the North Coast by supporting airport expansions and the construction of new hotel rooms in these areas.
Overall, with the rooms available and those currently under construction, Egypt should have the capacity to host 34 million tourists per year, Ramy said.
Based on the available information, the plan appears to be broadly similar to the goals already put in place by Zaazou, who lost his post in a Cabinet reshuffle in March.
In September 2014, Zaazou said his plan aimed to increase arrival numbers to 25-30 million and revenue to $25 billion by the year 2022.