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Dramatic drop in tourism to Egypt in December 2015 Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Dramatic drop in tourism to Egypt in December 2015

South Sinai was a popular tourist destination [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 February, 2016

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The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped by around 43 percent in December compared to the previous year, according to official statistics.
Official statistics released by the Egyptian government show that the number of tourists arriving in Egypt during the month of December fell by around 43 percent compared to the same period last year.  

The Central Agency for Statistics recorded a total number of 444,000 tourists compared to 781,000 tourists, with 41 percent of visitors coming from Western Europe, and 26.4 percent from the Middle East.

The news comes after an Egyptian government official said Egypt has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since last year's suspected bombing of a Russian plane, which crippled the country's vital tourism industry.

South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda was quoted by the state-run Al-Ahram daily on Friday as saying that hotel occupancy in the resort cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada stands at less than 20 percent and that the cities are losing nearly 2 billion Egyptian pounds (more than $250 million) each month.

Russia suspended all flights to Egypt and Britain halted flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after the October 31 crash.

The Islamic State group claims that it planted a bomb onboard and Moscow has concluded the plane was downed by an explosive. But Egypt claims it is still investigating the cause.

Egypt is the second largest destination for Russian tourism after Turkey, with almost 2.5 million Russian tourists visiting Egypt in 2014. 

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