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Egypt Reports Jump in Tourist Numbers
March 14, 2013

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Egypt was more of a tourist destination in 2012 than the year before, but traveler numbers were still below those seen before the revolution.

MENA, the state news agency, reported a 17-percent increase in the number of travelers visiting Egypt in 2012. The total figure was 11.5 million. The 2011 figure was 9.8 million. By contrast, in 2010, when Hosni Mubarak was still president, 14.7 million tourists visited the country.

Tourism has long been one of Egypt's main sources of revenue and of foreign currency, which it uses to buy food and fuel from other countries. The security situation has been varying degrees of volatile since February 2011, when Mubarak fled from power.

Also, the country announced a reduction in controls on the transfer of foreign currency in and out of the country. Specifically, visitors could once again bring in or take out more than $10,000. The government had set the $10,000 limit in December.

As well as tourist numbers, the amount of foreign investment in the country has continued to lag behind pre-revolution levels. The government of President Mohamed Morsi is still trying to meeting conditions set by the International Monetary Fund for qualification for a $4.8 billion loan. The treasury reported foreign reserves at $13.5 billion, down from $36 billion in January 2011.

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