Egypt tourism numbers drop in first eight months of 2013

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Around 25 million tourists have travelled to Egypt in the first eight months of 2013, 0.5 percent less than during the same period last year, a report released on Friday by the Egyptian tourism ministry has found.

Amid the protests and travel warnings from foreign embassies, the report said that the most significant losses were from Middle Eastern tourists whose numbers fell to 1.15 million visitors, around 7.8 percent less than the same period in 2012 reported English daily Ahram Online.

The report shows that the number of North and South American tourists visiting Egypt has fallen 6.7 percent, African tourism to Egypt has decreased by 3 percent from last year's figures.

The numbers of tourists from Asia and the Pacific have dropped by 0.4 percent.

However, European tourism in the country has increased by 1.5 percent in 2013, reaching 5.38 million visitors, up from 5.30 million visitors during the same period in 2012, according to the report.

Russian tourists who represent the biggest number of European visitors have increased to 1.74 million visitors in 2013 compared to 1.41 million visitors the previous year.

The ongoing unrest and the imposed state of emergency in the country that followed the ouster of President Mohammad Mursi by the army, has caused many countries to issue travel warnings to Egypt.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in August warned against all but essential travel to much of Egypt, except for the Red Sea resorts.

Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, has recently appealed to the travel industry and asked countries to lift their travel alerts.

He expects several European countries to lift travel warnings by the end of the month or by early October, helping tourism revenues rise above 20 billion pounds by the end of 2013, according to Ahram Online.