The Importance of Tourism to the Egyptian Economy

Egypt's history, its climate and its beautiful beaches have attracted large numbers of tourists, and tourism has become one of the most important sectors in the Egyptian economy. Although tourism in Egypt takes advantage of the many attractions it shares with its neighbors and many other countries in the Arab world, such as its warm weather, its sandy beaches and its culture, Egypt also has the advantage of its unique history and the many astounding architectural reminders of the Ancient Egyptians, notably the pyramids, which are likely to continue attracting tourists for many years to come. In addition to its cultural and historic attractions, Egypt has also invested in creating the hotels, resorts, services and infrastructure that is needed to welcome a large influx of tourists.

Tourism in Egypt can be divided into two basic types, although many visitors will wish to participate to a certain extent in both types of tourism when they visit the country. First, there is the historical or cultural tourism, which makes use of the many architectural attractions and the interest in Ancient Egypt. Second, there is the recreational tourism, which often involves beach holidays and cruises along the Nile. Other types of tourism are also exploited in Egypt, including safari and birdwatching vacations, golfing and other types of sports vacations and conference tourism.

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Tourists in Egypt often choose to visit Cairo, with its museums, markets and other attractions. Excursions to some of the historic sites, such as the Great Sphinx and Pyramids at Giza, the ancient city of Thebes and the Valley of the Kings at Luxor and Abu Simbel are popular. The city of Alexandria is a popular resort and has some excellent museums. More recently, the Sinai Peninsula has been developed as an important tourist attraction, with a number of impressive beach resorts being established to take advantage of the natural attractions of the area.

Tourism contributes a huge amount of money and employment to the Egyptian economy. In 2008, there were more than 12.8 million visitors to Egypt and they brought in almost 11 billion US dollars of revenue according to Approximately 12 percent of the Egyptian workforce is employed in the tourism sector.

The Egyptian government is keen to encourage even more tourism and development. The ministry of tourism dedicates a lot of resources to keeping Egypt's historic attractions looking their best, and to promoting Egypt as a tourist destination. It is also involved in a number of festivals and events. The government has also offered incentives to businesses in the tourism sector, such as selling land for just one dollar per meter square in the zones that have been designated for tourism. These types of programs have led to rapid development in the tourism industry. The importance of tourism in the region has also led to discussions between Egypt, Israel and Jordan about the joint development of the Red Sea "Riviera".

The importance of tourism for the Egyptian economy is not just that it is a major source of hard currency, but also that it provides a lot of employment for Egyptians and that it has encouraged rapid development that benefits Egyptians as well as tourists. The growth in tourism in Egypt has helped the entire economy.

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