Egypt is experiencing record growth as a tourist destination in the post-pandemic scene, with flight bookings skyrocketing and demand for package holidays close to surpassing 2019 figures.
With this in mind, it’s fair to say the North African nation is one of the trendiest destinations right now.
But why are tourists, in particular those coming from the West, suddenly obsessed with it, and what are some of Egypt’s strongest assets?
Travel demand for Egypt has been increasing steadily since mid-2022, when the country dropped all health restrictions, fully reinstating normality and allowing foreigners to enter, whether vaccinated or not.
Interestingly, Americans have been at the front of this recovery:
U.S. arrivals are now expected to exceed 2019 levels by 2024, and according to Stefanie Schmudde, Vice President of Product Development & Operations at Abercrombie & Kent, Nile cruises are among the most sought-after activities.
‘We continuously add new departures for various journeys across Egypt at various price points, and they sell out regardless’, Schmudde offered, amid news that Egypt is set for a further increase of 28 percent in the number of visitors throughout 2023.
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The future is promising, and the sector continues to grow.
AmaWaterways unveiled its inaugural Nile River journey only in 2022 and already sees an ‘extremely strong demand’ for more cruises – so much so that a second ship is launching in 2024 already.
Viking is yet another cruise operator noting a sharp spike in demand for Nile cruise bookings. Richard Marnell, Executive Vice President of Marketing for the company, has stated their ‘offerings’ in the region are widening in response to the successful resumption of tourism.
Americans are not the only ones flocking to Egypt for a timeless vacation: Westerners, in general, are returning en masse.
A recent report issued by Skyscanner has shown a 53 percent rise in British search for flights to Egypt compared to 2019, while travel agency Travel Republic noted a 163 percent surge over the pre-pandemic era – in regards to five-star resorts, demand for those are up by 70 percent.
You get the point. Egypt is both literally and figuratively hot right now, but what is the fuss all about?
Egypt is one of the most ancient and culturally-charged nations.
Located in North Africa, in the historical Maghreb region, it is best known for being the Land of the Pharaohs and boasting an endless supply of Ancient World wonders.
Its capital, the sprawling Cairo, is a megalopolis distinguished for being the largest city in all of Africa and a tourism powerhouse housing the landmark Egyptian Museum, where some of King Tutankhamun’s artifacts and other treasure troves can be admired.
Within short driving distance of central Cairo, tourists will find the Giza Plateau, Egypt’s most famous archaeological site, with its iconic pyramids, mausoleums, and Great Sphinx.
Beyond Cairo, Alexandria is a popular destination.
A traditional Mediterranean city and a center for the sciences, packed with Greco-Roman ruins, it features a 15th-century citadel – the imposing Qaitbay – right in its historical core, as well as a developed resort scene and sandy beaches.
Other attractions further afield include Sharm El-Sheik and Hurghada, both fast-developing vacation zones situated between the Red Sea and the desert, Luxor, the gateway to the Valley of the Kings, and other Ancient Egyptian wonders.
Jacqueline Dodson, President of Barrhead Travel, a travel agency with over 85 shops across the U.K., has affirmed that demand for Cairo is ‘really accelerating’ among Brits, while other resort destinations in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheik have seen bookings double year-on-year.
Dodson adds that Egypt is rising in popularity due to its competitive prices.
Similarly to Tunisia, it is attracting budget-conscious travelers in search of more affordable sunny getaways amid the shocking inflation that’s threatening to plunge most of the Western World into an economic crisis.
Egypt, on the other hand, has a depreciated currency, which benefits Western visitors converting their hard-earned tourist dollars into Egyptian pounds, and as Dodson puts it, the value on offer is great for all-inclusive hotels, tours, cruises, and tourist activities in general.
‘Bookings into Cairo have quadrupled since last year’, Dodson concluded, ‘and river cruising on the Nile is something we’re repeatedly getting requests for’.
While different sources offer varying estimates, one thing is clear: Egypt is a lot cheaper than most Western destinations. Livingcost.org has calculated the average cost of living to be 85% less expensive than in the United States, while My Life Elsewhere places it at 63.5%.
Naturally, these data apply to daily expenses, such as food, gas, and electricity, and don’t necessarily reflect prices for tourist attractions or resorts, but they do offer an indication as to how far your U.S. dollars could stretch in Egypt when you’re on a budget.
There are currently no entry restrictions for traveling to Egypt from the United States. Americans – and all other foreign arrivals – are welcome requirement-free:
Recently, the country launched a new five-year multi-entry tourist visa allowing slow travelers and digital nomads to remain in the national territory. Find out more here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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