Egypt is aiming to revive its tourism industry, which has suffered greatly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, by introducing a new multiyear visa and expanding eligibility for visa-on-arrival to more nationalities. The new visa program includes a five-year multiple-entry visa for $700, and a single-entry 30-day visa on arrival for $25, which can now be obtained by over 180 nationalities. The development comes as part of a wider strategy by the government to boost tourism, which is a crucial source of foreign currency and jobs for the country’s economy.

The tourism industry in Egypt has been hit hard by the pandemic, with tourist numbers dropping from around 13 million in 2019 to just 3.7 million in 2020, according to the country’s statistics agency Capmas. In response, the government has set a goal of increasing tourist numbers by 25-30% annually and reaching 30 million by 2028. The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Ahmed Issa, has expressed confidence that Egypt will reach its target of 15 million tourists this year, which would make it a record year.

While the country has experienced a decrease in tourism from its two leading sources, Russia and Ukraine, other nationalities have made up for the loss. Tourist numbers from countries such as the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain have increased, with the number of Italian tourists rising by 250%. Mr Issa has said that China also has the potential to become one of the top-10 source markets for Egypt. In 2019, about 220,000 Chinese tourists visited Egypt, out of the 150 million Chinese tourists worldwide.

To make it easier for tourists from other countries to enter Egypt, the government is also making entry procedures simpler for citizens of Turkey, Algeria, Israel, Morocco, and Iran, with more details to be announced soon. Additionally, Egypt is promoting its cultural tourism, such as archaeological discoveries and the opening of new museums. Twenty new museums have been opened in the past four years, and the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria is set to open soon. Furthermore, the long-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum, which has been under construction since 2005, is expected to open between October and January.

The tourism strategy, led by Mr Issa, includes doubling the number of hotel rooms to 300,000, increasing the number of seats on planes flying into the country, investing in promotion, and improving the overall visitor experience. The plan requires an investment of about $30 billion, which will come from a combination of public and private funds.

In conclusion, Egypt is taking steps to revive its tourism industry by introducing a new multiyear visa, expanding visa-on-arrival eligibility, making entry procedures easier for citizens of certain countries, and promoting its cultural tourism. The government’s strategy, which includes increasing the number of hotel rooms, investing in promotion, and improving the visitor experience, aims to boost tourist numbers by 25-30% annually and reach 30 million by 2028.