Egypt’s tourism industry, a cornerstone of Egyptian economy, has been struggling. The number of tourists visiting Egypt fell from 14.7 million in 2010 to 9.8 million in 2011 following the January 25 Revolution. Tourism revenue has also dropped by more than half between 2011 and 2014.
Recent events and security breaches have further exacerbated the economic crisis in Egypt and complicated efforts to rebuild the tourism sector, causing the number of tourist arriving into the country to fall by over 45 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
After the crash of a Russian jet in October 2015, Russia and the UK both suspended flights to and from Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.
Later, the torture and murder of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, whose body was found in a roadside ditch in Cairo in February, spurred a diplomatic crisis and raised concerns regarding Egypt’s human rights situation. Human rights groups say torture marks on his body fit a pattern that suggested Egyptian security services had killed him.
The Egyptian prosecution’s recent detention of Regeni’s lawyer, Ahmed Abdullah, has further hurt Egypt’s image, prompting Regeni’s family to issue a statement of concern.
On its website, the British Foreign Office says British and foreign nationals have been arrested during demonstrations. “The atmosphere at demonstrations can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.”
Nonetheless, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Yehia Rashed, said during a televised interview last month that the ministry has a six-point plan to restore tourism over six months, hoping to attract more than 12 million tourists by the end of 2017.