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Canal & The Society

The Suez Canal ’s role is not confined to servicing the world trade. It goes beyond that to serve the Canal Zone community ...

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Tourism in Egypt

Introduction ( TOURISM IN UPER EGYPT )

Egypt was known throughout its history as a destination for tourists and travelers since it was visited by "Herodotus" during the ancient time, when he got surprised because of the vast difference between Egypt and his homeland. Egypt maintained this image throughout the middle and modern history. However, the discovery of the Pharaonic antiquities long time ago has added a special charm to Egypt beside, its unique religious and cultural monuments. On the other hand, Egypt enjoys a geographical location, moderate climate during the whole year-round, its smooth vast coastlines, and beaches with its unique treasures of coral reefs, which invest Egypt with advantages that guarantee for it a competitive edge.


Diversity of the Egyptian tourism modes

Egypt enjoys various fields of tourism, the most important are archeological or cultural tourism hur mohebas one of the oldest types of tourism in Egypt, where the ancient civilizations are visible to the naked eye, an incarnation of the nations that constructed these civilizations since the dawn of history. Despite the multiple types of tourism, and Egypt's cultural tourism remains the unrepeated, unique and non-competitive component of tourism as Egypt possesses one third of the world's known monuments.

Besides cultural and archaeological tourism, many tourism patterns has come into existence and has addressed broader segments of tourists across the world, including recreational tourism, beaches tourism, religious tourism, therapeutic tourism, eco-tourism, sports tourism, golf tourism, safari tourism, desert tourism, yacht tourism, and maritime tourism in addition to festivals tourism, and cultural events and finally conferences and exhibitions tourism.

In addition to these types of tourism, "Diving Centers Tourism" represents a tourist activity that attracts large number of tourists. Sharm el-Sheikh city is one of the largest diving centers in the world because of its potential environment and unique diversified nature which leads Sharm el-sheikh to be one of the major centers for attracting domestic and international tourism, in addition to being a resort for armatures fishing, tourism and diving. There you will find the biggest diving centers equipped with the latest devices, because of which, World Travel Awards awarded Sharm el-Sheikh the best global destination for diving in 2007.

In order to achieve further revitalization and tourist attractions, "Time-sharing Tourism", which was developed by Egypt, has revived. This new type of tourism grant non-Egyptians the right of ownership and usage of small units accommodation in some new urban areas as well as in tourist areas in each of the distinguished cities such as Sidy Abdul Rahman, Hurghada, Red Sea and Marsa Matrouh.

Moreover, conference tourism in Egypt has steadily increased over the past six years where the total events held in Cairo International Conference Center is 665 events, including 132 international and local conferences and 235 exhibitions and 298 cermonies and occasions. In 2008, Egypt witnessed a significant recovery for conference tourism, where many world conferences have been held on its territory such as Davos economic forum in Sharm El-Sheikh, The National Conference on Population and the African Summit.


Festival tourism is also one of the most important and latest means of tourist attractions, either sport, recreational, or artistic festivals. Egypt solely holds many popular festivals such as Cairo International Song Festival, International film festival, and Tourism and Shopping Festival, the annual fishing festival for amateurs and Alexandria International Festival for Mediterranean Song and the Sharm el-Sheikh International Championship for Bowling.

In September 2007, Al-Alsharkeya governorate organized the XVI International Festival for Arab horses, which is one of the most important tourism festivals in Egypt.

The festival has organized several shows including the musical taming horses and horseback gymnastics and other show of various musical trots with horses, in addition to, the skill of brandishing weapons while riding a horse.

In 2007, Egypt won the second rank among the best 5 tourist destinations in the Middle East for setting up conferences and festivals on the sidelines of Egypt's participation in the Gulf Incentive Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition.

Significance of tourism in National Economy

Tourism is currently representing 11.3% of Egypt's GDP, 40% of the total Egypt's non-commodity exports and 19.3% of Egypt's foreign currency earnings.

Egypt's plan to develop tourism sector

Because of the significant role of tourism in the national economy, the Ministry of Tourism has developed a plan to increase the capacity of the Egyptian tourism to become globally competitive, increase its share in pushing forward the national economy and attract more tourists to the Egyptian market. The ministry also diversified the tourist destinations to attract tourists from non-traditional markets as well as increasing the number of hotel rooms.

The Ministry of Tourism is aiming at achieving several goals by 2010 , including attracting 14 million tourists, attaining 140 million tourist nights , equipping 24,0000 hotel rooms and accruing 12 billion dollar as a tourist income and providing 1.2 million jobs.

There are several plans to fulfill these strategic objectives including:

1- Plans to attract more tourists with a view to:-

• Maintaining the current growth rates and Egypt's competitive status on the major traditional markets like Britain, Russia, Italy, Germany and France.
• Achieving high growth rates in the number of tourists, who come from the emerging markets in a way that can be harmonized with the tangible speed in the growth of these markets like Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic.
• Upgrading Egypt's competitive status on the new markets and identifying the Egyptian tourism modes in a comprehensive and effective way - India and China.
• Improving the image of the Egyptian tourism types at the international level and achieving the highest quality of services received by tourists and to be careful on how far these services and prices of flights are harmonized
• Developing plans to promote and diversify the tourism modes on a sustained basis in a way that meets the needs and requirements of the overseas markets.
• Launching a promotion campaign via mass media of the major exporters of tourists and expanding this campaign via satellite channels.

To achieve these goals, the plans should include the following:

- Implementing a partnership programme with leading tour operators to support direct sales
- Implementing a programme to support charter flight in some destinations according to market needs so as to attract more flowing tourists.
- Implementing an international public relations campaign through outside travel offices
- Establishing and developing a website as a promotion to Egypt that has been launched in 13 languages (Arabic will be added to the website in 2008)
- Launching a promotion campaign on the Arab market under the title "welcome to Egypt" and expanding this campaign by tourism groups covering major Arab countries.
- Providing excellent tourist services with outstanding quality and delivering these services to visiting categories with high spending and special interests.
- Addressing new segments and launch new tourism modes, such as desert tourism, golf tourism, therapeutic tourism as well as accommodation, conferences and shopping tourism.

2- Plans to provide difference tourism modes, including the following:

- Developing the coastal and desert areas outside the city cordons.
- Planning and supervising tourism development projects
- Determining the body concerned that will manage the land earmarked for tourism investment.
- Maximizing the private sector's role in the development process and limiting the role of the state for planning, supervising and monitoring operations.
- Diversifying the tourism product (hotel, Ecolodge, environmental hotel, Safari tourism, yacht tourism, golf courts and accommodation units..).
- Undertaking infrastructure projects in the tourism development centres (implemented by the private sector, where the total investments stand at LE 3.3 billion in roads, electricity, water, sanitation and airports).
• Applying control systems, upgrading the quality and developing the ships' anchorage as well as reducing road accidents and training to raise the quality of services in Egypt.

Tourism Development Authority's plan until 2017

The plan of the Tourism Development Authority is aiming at boosting tourism and increasing the hotel rooms, tourism revenues and jobs until 2017, as well as attracting more tourists to reach 16 million tourists and increase the number of tourist nights to 130 million nights.

The main axes of tourism development strategy are as follows: -
• Changing the role of the public sector so as to become organized, encouraging and simplified as well as expanding the role of the private sector.
• Developing the legal and institutional framework.
• Supplying the areas of development with the necessary infrastructure.
• Preserving environment.
• Identifying the priorities for overall development.

Egypt's efforts to promote Tourism sector

Egypt's nature is gorgeous. The River Nile is one of the most stunning things as well as



Egypt's Red Sea coast and northern coast. Egypt is the genius of the place, it is famous for its history either pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Coptic, Arab or Islamic. It is the source of Arabic, human cultural products in literature, politics, art, journalism and architecture.

In conjunction with this natural environment, there is a developed and modern infrastructure of facilities and various affluent services tourism from a wide range of the most luxurious hotels to a global network of air, ground and maritime transportation as well as communications facilities and tourist guidance centers which make visiting Egypt, whatever the purpose of the visit, full of fun, excitement and interest.

In the 1990s, a new development policy had been established with the issuance of the Presidential Decree No. 425 for the year 1992 to establish the General Authority for Development of Tourism which contributes to the development of integrated tourism with the assistance of distinctive international and national expertise. The establishment of the General Authority is a leap that provided all the necessary guarantees and incentives to attract investors to set up resorts, airports, new roads in the depth of the desert and on the beaches.

The Tourism Development Authority also added (since it was established till early 2008) 75,000 rooms to the hotel capacity in Egypt.

The number of tourist companies was about 1,409 companies in 2007.

The Tourism sector has witnessed a remarkable progress in the period (1981-2007), where tourism investments were LE 35 billion.

The government encouraged the private sector to invest in the promising tourist areas through tax exemptions of these sectors up to ten years, as well as develop and improve tourist facilities and services at the public level.

It is worth mentioning that 90 % of the current tourism projects in Egypt are established by Egyptian investments and 10% by Arab capital.

Egypt's interest in tourism has reflected on the competitive position of the Egyptian tourism in the Middle East and the world in 2007 as well as the indicators of the tourism sector's performance in the fiscal year (2006/2007) and indicators of the tourism sector in the period (July 2007 till March 2008)

1- Competitive status of the Egyptian tourism in the Middle East and the world in 2007:

The Egyptian tourism's share of total Middle East tourism is 23%, 1.2 of the world tourism and 1% of the total international tourism revenues. Meanwhile, the Egyptian tourism provided services for about 11 million tourists, spending about 112 million nights, thus Egypt ranked in the first place among the states of the Middle East and North Africa and ranked the 24th among the most important world tourism destinations.

Egypt's share of the total growth of world tourism in 2007 was 3.5%.

2- The performance indicators of the tourism sector:

A - The fiscal year 2006/2007

In the fiscal year 2006/2007, the tourism sector succeeded in attracting large numbers of workers. It also contributed to creating more job opportunities for youth, increase employment in tourist sector as it was 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs.

Tourism became the main source of Egypt's earnings of the foreign currency, surpassing other sources that were holding the first position in the eighties and the first half of the nineties.

In 2007, the tourism revenues were about 7.6 billion dollars, with an increase of 800 million dollars from the previous year.
This remarkable increase in tourism revenues is attributed to the large annual increase in the number of tourist nights, which is an important indicator of the volume of the generated tourism revenues.

The value of total domestic restaurants and hotels were about LE 22,754 billion in 2006/2007, the private sector share was LE 22,500 billion and public sector 0,254 billion

The value of domestic production of restaurants and hotels is around LE 43,736 billion in 2006/2007, including LE 511.0 million in public sector contribution and about LE 43,225 billion in private sector contributions.

Egyptian tourism achieved 13.6% during the fiscal year 2006-2007, in the number of tourists. This year witnessed 9.8 million tourists; compared with 8.7 million tourists who visited Egypt in 2005-2006.

B- Indicators of the tourism sector performance in the period (July 2007 - March 2008) and (third quarter of fiscal year 2007/2008)

The period (July 2007 -March 2008) of the fiscal year 2007 / 2008 witnessed a remarkable growth in the rates achieved by the Egyptian tourism industry as the number of tourists to Egypt reached 9.1 million compared to 7.2 million tourists during the same period in the last fiscal year, at an increase rate of about 26.5%.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the third quarter of the current fiscal year (2007 / 2008) hit 3.1 million tourists, compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year with number of tourists increasing by 24 percent

The tourist nights spent in Egypt witnessed an increase rate in the third quarter of the current fiscal year (2007/2008), achieving about 31.1 million tourist nights compared to 22.3 million in the corresponding period of the past fiscal year at an increase rate of about 40%. The reason behind this rise was the increase in the number of tourist nights achieved during the first nine months of the fiscal year (2007 / 2008) to reach about 96.7 million nights, an increase of approximately 33% compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

The increase rate in the tourists' movement and nights was behind the average increase of accommodation from 8-9 nights in the third quarter of the fiscal year (2006/2007) to 10 nights in the third quarter from the corresponding fiscal year (2007/2008).

This increase rate of tourists' accommodation correspond to the goals of the tourism development plan, that is to prolong the stay of tourists, in order to increase the rates of spending through diversification of the products and good usage of potential tourist attractions and events.

It is also noted that there was a growth in the volume of "revenue" from tourists was 1.9 billion dollars during the third quarter of the fiscal year (2006/2007), to 2.6 billion dollars during the third quarter of the fiscal year (2007/2008) and about 6.2 billion dollars to about 8.2 billion dollars in the first nine months of the years (2006/2007), (2007 / 2008), which makes tourism takes an advanced position on the list of the main sources of foreign currency in Egypt.

Significant tourism events during 2007 - 2008:

- In 2007, tourism had flourished in Egypt as the number of tourists increased to exceed ten million. The number of tourists in Egypt has reached 11.1 million at the end of 2007. The following chart illustrates this:

- In 2007, Egypt won the prize of best tourist pavilion in Austria, among 300 participants in the International Tourism Exhibition that was held in Linz, Austria. Egypt Pavilion was designed in the shape of an ancient Pharaonic temple.

- In 2007, the new project to repair Rosetta city was completed, which is characterized by a unique historical architection that is related to the Islamic era, in addition to restoring the sole museum in the city which cost LE 25 million. This is the first project of its kind to restore the city's ancient buildings.

- In 2007, the large Gulf region was approved as the largest nature reserve containing universal treasures, mountainous and desert caves as well as landscape; it is currently one of the most important sources of tourism development of tourist areas in the world, because of all the rich natural ingredients, free from all types of environmental pollution.

- Alexandria: Capital of Islamic culture - 2008

- In 2008, the World Travel Awards organization has awarded the Pyramids of Giza the prize of the best tourist attractive element in the world, during the celebration of the Fourteen Meeting of the organization, which was recently held in the Caribbean islands

- In 2008, Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak has received the Declaration of Wadi Al-Hitan in Fayoum governorate, a world natural heritage, the first protected heritage in Egypt to join the list of World Natural Heritage sites which contains 259 locations

Report of the World Tourism Organization on Egypt at the end of 2007:

In the report of the World Tourism Organization, it has been announced that Egyptian Tourism has attained a great achievement in 2007 as the number of tourists who visited Egypt reached about 11.1 million tourists, an increase of about two million tourists equivalent to 22.1% than the previous year 2006.

Touristic nights were 111 million in December 2007 against 89 million nights in 2006, thus Egyptian tourism has been earned 9.4 billion dollars according to the accounts of the Central Bank of Egypt

The report pointed out that Russia is on the top of the ten major countries that exporting tourists to Egypt. The first place is a major surprise with more than 1.5 million tourists superior to the major countries exporting tourism to Egypt, such as Germany, England and Italy while Germany has exceeded one million tourists, and ranked second, and England came in the third place with more than one million tourists, then Italy, which is very close to one million tourists, although it was the first country in 2004 to achieve one million tourists.

At the Arab level, Libya came in first place with a score of 439,000tourists, then Saudi Arabia in the second place with 412,000tourists. The total Arab tourism was about 2 million Arab tourists.
Ten major countries , exporting
tourism to Egypt in 2007
Number in thousand

Sources of information:-
- Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC)
- The State Information Service (SIS) website (Egypt's news - the annual book)
- A report released by the Ministry of Economic Development published on the National Democratic Party's website
- Objectives of Ministry of Tourism plan till 2011 published on website of the National Democratic Party (NDP)

Canal History
13th century BCE

13th century BCE, A canal is constructed between the Nile Delta and the Red Sea. For the following centuries, the canal was only partially maintained...


1854, By a French initiative, the viceroy of Egypt, Said Pasha, decides for a project to build a canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea...


1858, La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez is formed to construct the canal.

17 Nov 1869

17 Nov 1869, With great splendour, the canal is opened for navigation. Dimensions were 22 metre in bottom width, 58 metre in surface width, and a depth of 8 metres...

2 Mar 1888

2 Mar 1888, The Convention of Constantinople guaranteed right of passage of all ships through the Suez Canal during war and peace...

13 Jun 1956

13 Jun 1956, Suez Canal Zone restored to Egypt.
26 Jul 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.

5 Jun 1975

5 Jun 1975, Suez Canal reopened...

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Egypt Gate

Egyptian Official Sites

Tourism Information

Places, directions, travel co. and more.

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