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By Ehab Farouk
CAIRO, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Egypt‘s tourism revenues jumped 211.8 percent year on year to $5.3 billion in the first nine months of 2017, a government official said on Wednesday, as the industry starts to recover after years of political upheaval that drove visitors away.
The tourism sector is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency but it has struggled since a 2011 uprising that led the then president to step down.
A currency float tied to a $12 billion International Monetary Fund programme signed last year has also helped give the country a competitive edge.
“Tourism revenues jumped to $5.3 billion in the first nine months of 2017 compared with $1.7 billion the year before … The improvement in numbers came from an increase in tourists’ average spending to $88.2 per night,” said the official who requested anonymity.
The number of tourists who visited Egypt in that time jumped 55.3 percent to 5.9 million, with European visitors reaching 3.2 million, an 85 percent increase from the previous year, he added.
The number is still well below the 14.7 million who visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.
The industry took a blow when Russia, once responsible for a large portion of visitors to Egypt’s popular Red Sea resorts, banned its flights to the country following a plane crash in 2015 that killed over 200 people.
Egypt only made $3.4 billion in tourism revenues in 2016. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)