Egypt looks to private firms, long-delayed museum to revitalize tourism


A tourist takes photos in Luxor, Egypt.
AP Photo/Amr NabilA tourist takes photos in Luxor, Egypt.

Tourism is ‘a product that has the most compelling competitive advantage of all the products that Egypt can offer globally’

Egypt aims to boost tourism by up to 30 percent annually over the next five years, bringing in private firms to operate popular sites and inaugurating a long-anticipated museum around the end of 2023.

In Egypt – home to ancient pyramids and Red Sea resorts – tourism is a crucial source of foreign currency and jobs for the North African country’s struggling economy. The industry earned $10.75 billion in 2022, up from $4.86 billion the prior year, when Covid decimated the tourism sector worldwide.

Yet, Egypt captures a little under one percent of the global tourism market, said Egyptian Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa.

“I think Egypt deserves and should be able to grow its tourism industry by 25 percent to 30 percent per annum consistently over the coming decade. And that should get us to about 30 million (visitors) by the year 2028,” he told Reuters.

“It’s a product that has the most compelling competitive advantage of all the products that Egypt can offer globally.”

Immediate priorities include expanding flight capacity and improving the investment climate by streamlining regulation, Issa noted. 

Private companies were also involved in pilot projects to manage 10 sites. These include the Giza pyramids, the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo, and the Grand Egyptian Museum which will soon house the country’s most prestigious artifacts.

A rebound in visitor numbers from European and other markets was compensating for losses from what used to be Egypt’s top two markets – Russia and Ukraine – Issa said, adding he expected a surge in Chinese tourists this year.

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