In the latest edition of the international Travel and Tourism Development Index, Egypt tops the list of tourist destinations in Africa. The country owes this, among other things, to investments in the visa system.
Travel and Tourism Development Index
The Travel and Tourism Development Index is an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The first edition was published in 2007. In the most recent edition (2021), 117 countries are assessed. The purpose of the index is not to see which country is the most popular as a tourist destination, but to determine how attractive a country is for foreign investors to invest in the tourism sector. The highest possible score a country can get is 6, the lowest is 1. In the latest index, there wasnʼt any country that received a perfect score of 6. The country that ranks highest, Japan, has a score of 5.2.
Egypt on top in Africa
Egypt ranked 51st out of 117 countries that were assessed, moving up six places compared to 2019. Only Saudi Arabia made a more significant jump (from position 43 to position 33). This means that Egypt has the highest score of any country in Africa. It is not surprising that Egypt scores so high. The country has not been idle during the corona pandemic. Egypt was one of the first countries to reopen its borders after the global COVID-19 outbreak, as early as July 2020. In 2020 and 2021, the government of Egypt made significant efforts to invest in the tourism sector and in the countryʼs visa system. For example, it was announced that the Egypt e-visa will soon be valid for 5 years and will have a maximum duration of stay of 90 days instead of the current 30 days. In autumn 2021, Egypt also made the e-visa available to an additional 28 countries.
The country has also made a significant effort to build new tourist attractions, such as the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, which was officially inaugurated in 2021. Another major project, the Grand Egyptian Museum, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Due to the large-scale investments, the Egyptian tourism sector is recovering rapidly. In the first half of 2021 alone, as many tourists were welcomed as in the whole of 2020.
Investments in 2022
Egypt will continue to make significant efforts to invest in the tourism sector in 2022. Recently, the e-visa for Egypt was made available for another 78 countries. With the further digitalisation of the visa system, Egypt hopes that the congestion at the airports will decrease, because more travellers will now be able to apply for a visa online before departure, instead of after arrival at the airport in Egypt. In addition, the Egyptian government has also made a deal with the German company Siemens to build one of the largest high-speed railway systems in the world, to make travelling through the country as quick and easy as possible.
However, the war in Ukraine is causing major problems for the tourism sector in Egypt. A large part of the tourists to the country come from Russia and Ukraine. Besides the fact that no new tourists come in, many tourists from these countries are stuck in Egypt. The government of Egypt has extended the visas of Ukrainians and Russians who are already in Egypt free of charge.