After more than a year and a half of declining tourism figures, the tourism sector in Egypt is rapidly recovering. Although a visa is usually required for Egypt, there are a limited number of destinations in the country where people are allowed to stay without a visa.
The lowest point was in 2020
The coronavirus hit Egypt hard, not only in terms of the high number of infections and deaths, but also because of the impact on the tourism sector. Tourism is an important part of the Egyptian economy. In 2019, the tourism sector accounted for $32 billion in revenue, almost 9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Just 12 months later, this was down to $14 billion, or almost 4% of GDP. The lowest point was reached in 2020 when only 3.7 million tourists travelled to Egypt, the lowest number in more than 10 years. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, 844,000 people in the tourism sector lost their jobs.
It is therefore no surprise that Egypt was one of the first countries to open its borders. While in other countries border closures were still in place, Egypt announced as early as July 2020 that it would welcome tourists back.
Nowadays, things are much better in Egypt. The tourism sector is recovering rapidly. The number of hotel bookings has risen sharply and resorts also see a huge increase in the number of holidaymakers. Visa applications are also being submitted massively again. In the first half of 2021, Egypt received 3.5 million visitors, almost as many as the total number of tourists in 2020.
There are several reasons why Egypt is receiving so many tourists after a long time. In 2020 and early 2021, hotels and resorts were not allowed to operate at maximum capacity. For a long time, they were only allowed to use 50% of their capacity. Later, this was increased to 70% and nowadays hotels and resorts are allowed to operate at full capacity as before. However, the Egyptian government has imposed strict hygiene conditions on them. Although there are more than 1200 hotels in Egypt, less than 900 were actually allowed to open. The rest did not meet the hygiene conditions.
Resorts in Egypt are popular among Western tourists in the autumn and winter months. As of August 2021, the Egyptian government is again allowing Russian flights to fly to these resorts. Russian flights to resorts in Egypt had been halted since 2015 after a Russian passenger plane crashed into the Sinai. Foreign governments have also noted that things are improving in Egypt. For example, in September, the UK removed Egypt from the red list of travel destinations with a negative travel advice. Travellers from Egypt do not have to self-isolate when returning to the UK if they are fully vaccinated and they have a negative PCR test result after day 2 in England.
The Minister of Tourism, Khaled El Anany, expects that the number of tourists to visit Egypt will be back to the former level in 2022.
Do you need a visa Egypt?
For some travellers, there is still uncertainty about the visa requirements for Egypt. In order to stimulate tourism to the country, the Egyptian government announced in 2020 that a visa would no longer be required upon arrival at the airport in Sharm-el-Sheikh. However, it is not possible to leave the Sharm-el-Sheikh region and one can only stay in Egypt without a visa for a maximum of 15 days. In addition, may only stay overnight in a resort in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba.
Apply for an Egypt visa
Many travellers prefer not to be limited by these rules. If this is your case, you can apply for the visa Egypt as normal. The visa conditions and the price of the visa have not changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As before, you can apply for the visa by filling in the online application form. After payment, you will be asked to upload a scan of your passport. If the upload is approved, your visa will usually be issued within a week.