Egypt earmarked for share of €21bn aid to combat Covid tourism downturn

Egypt is in line for a share of a €21 billion pot of funding to help countries recover from the collapse in tourism caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Other countries set to benefit from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation support are among those most dependent on tourism for jobs and economic growth.

They include Jordan, Morocco, Greece, Croatia, Tunisia, Albania, Georgia, Lebanon, Montenegro and Uzbekistan.

The EBRD said it is committing all of its activity in 2020-21 to helping its regions counter the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with investment expected to reach up to €21 billion.

The technical co-operation package, 90% funded by the EBRD and 10% by the UNWTO, is due to be delivered by August.

Assistance in Egypt will include:

  • Training in impact analysis, measurement and monitoring of Covid impacts in the tourism sector; the development of tourism recovery incentive programmes;
  • Reviews of the effectiveness of operational protocols on safety, hygiene and security activity;
  • Work on building the resilience of tourism enterprises as they adapt to the Covid-19 reality, including safety and hygiene protocols, by developing tailor-made training programmes;
  • Institutional strengthening to better co-ordinate the recovery and further growth of Egypt’s tourism.

Egypt’s ministries of international co-operation, and tourism and antiquities have engaged with UNWTO and the EBRD to ensure their national priorities are addressed.

In the three years prior to the pandemic, Egypt turned around a sharp drop in tourist arrivals that followed the Arab uprising of 2011.

Numbers fell from 14 million visitors in 2010 to a low of 5.3 million in 2016.

They then climbed to 8.3 million visitors in 2017, nearly 11.3 million in 2018 and 13.1 million in 2019.

But the impact of Covid has reversed the trend and is stalling the tourism sector in the country.

Similar support is currently ongoing or envisaged for a number of other countries with economies that are highly dependent on tourism, according to EBRD-UNWTO.

The joint response is in line with three strands of a UNWTO tourism recovery technical assistance package covering   economic recovery, institutional strengthening and building resilience, as well as marketing and promotion.

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