Caution October 19, 2023

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Egypt Travel Advisory

Travel advisory july 13, 2023, egypt - level 3: reconsider travel.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Reconsider travel to Egypt due to  terrorism . Exercise increased caution in Egypt due to  the Embassy’s limited ability to assist dual national U.S.-Egyptian citizens who are arrested or detained.

Do not travel to:

  • The Sinai Peninsula (with the exception of travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air) due to  terrorism .
  • The Western Desert due to  terrorism .
  • Egyptian border areas due to  military zones .

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Egypt. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, and have targeted diplomatic facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, western businesses, restaurants, resorts, and local government facilities. Terrorists have conducted attacks in urban areas, including in Cairo, despite the heavy security presence. Terrorists have targeted religious sites, to include mosques, churches, monasteries, and buses traveling to these locations.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the  Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices .

Local law prohibits protesting or demonstrating without a permit. Being near anti-government protests can draw scrutiny from Egyptian police and security forces. U.S. citizens have been detained for participating in protests and for posting content on social media perceived as critical of Egypt or its allies.

The U.S. Embassy may have a limited ability to provide consular services to dual U.S.-Egyptian citizens. Egyptian law considers dual citizens to be Egyptian citizens.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Egypt.

If you decide to travel to Egypt:  

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)   to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on   Facebook   and   Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report   for Egypt.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest   Travel Health Information  related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the   Traveler’s Checklist .

Sinai Peninsula – Level 4: Do Not Travel The Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks on security forces and civilians.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula as U.S. government employees are not authorized to travel to these areas (with the exception of the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; travel to Sharm El-Sheikh is only permitted by air). Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

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What to Do If You Have Upcoming Travel to Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon

By Jessica Puckett

The sailboat shown is an Egyptian felucca.

Many travelers with an upcoming trip to Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon are wondering how to proceed with their plans. As the Israel-Hamas war stretches past the one-month mark, efforts to evacuate more civilians from Gaza are increasing. And the Rafah Crossing, on the border of Gaza and Egypt, has been sporadically opening to hundreds of evacuees, most of whom are foreigners or dual nationals and their descendants, according to Reuters .

The initial deluge of tourists seeking to evacuate Israel and Palestine has subsided, and most travel companies have postponed tours of Israel until at least spring 2024. Indeed, the current guidance says to postpone upcoming trips to Israel, but what should travelers do about their travel plans to countries that border the conflict zones?

Jump ahead:

Should you travel to Jordan right now?

Should you travel to egypt right now, should you travel to lebanon right now.

  • Additional tips

After violence first erupted on October 7, the State Department issued a regional security alert throughout the Middle East on October 8, advising US citizens in certain countries to take caution. “Individuals should follow local government advice to increase their security awareness, avoid areas around demonstrations, and check local media for updates and traffic advisories,” the security bulletin stated. On Thursday, October 19, the department expanded that with a worldwide travel advisory .

Travelers have digested that advice in a number of ways—some canceling, and others staying the course. One luxury tour group, Red Savannah says that all trips they have arranged for clients in Egypt and Jordan are continuing as normal. “We have had only two cancellations, one of which was from a client based in Israel ,” says CEO George Morgan-Grenville. “We have also had new bookings.”

Likewise, popular travel company El Camino hasn’t canceled its scheduled trips through Egypt and Jordan . “Trips are continuing cautiously and with a close eye on what's taking place in these regions,” says Dave Dennis, a risk management consultant who works with El Camino. “Organizations rely heavily on their local partners that live, work, and raise their families in tourist areas to provide valuable insight on evolving situations. This is true within the Middle East but also across the globe on an ongoing basis. It's these critical partnerships that help make sense of broad government travel warnings and how these updates may relate to a specific itinerary, activity, or stability in a specified area.”

For some travel companies, interpreting those nuances means canceling or postponing certain tours in the surrounding area. “From the time the Israel/Hamas war started we received cancellations and inquiries if we were still going to conduct our tours,” in the Middle East, says Jerry Sorkin , a travel specialist with Iconic Journeys Worldwide .

If you’re deciding whether to go ahead with a trip planned in the area, there are a few factors to consider. “First, it's important to understand that every person has their own level of risk tolerance—the level of risk that they are willing to take for the activity they want to pursue,” Dennis says. “What's reasonable for one person might not be the same for another.”

Here’s the latest information travelers should know about traveling to Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt in the near future—including what the situation on the ground is, how travel agents are advising their clients, and how you can monitor the ever-changing situation from a travel perspective.

The US State Department has so far kept Jordan under a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution” travel alert that it first issued on July 13. The only regions that travelers are instructed to avoid are the country’s borders with Syria and Iraq, its refugee camps, and Zarqa, Rusayfah, and the Baqa’a neighborhood of Ayn Basha due to ongoing safety concerns, according to the department’s guidance.

Most tours through Jordan are operating as scheduled, visiting highlights like Petra , the Wadi Rum desert, the Dead Sea, and the capital Amman . Red Savannah says its trips to Jordan are continuing as normal, as are El Camino Travel’s and Intrepid Travel’s tours.

Even so, about 50 percent of hotel reservations throughout Jordan were canceled in October and about 60 percent of confirmed reservations have already been canceled for November, the Jordan Hotel Association told the Jordan Times .

For travelers who choose to reschedule their visit, United Airlines is offering a travel waiver for its flights into Amman. Customers booked to fly into the Jordanian capital through November 30 can change the date of their flight to any day through the end of the year (they also have the option of changing the destination to Athens instead), or they can cancel and receive a full refund. (United is the only US carrier that flies to the destination.)

Trips throughout primary tourist regions of Egypt are continuing to operate as usual. The country’s alert level from the State Department also hasn’t changed since July 13, and remains at a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” Tourists should continue to avoid travel to the Sinai Peninsula, the land bordering Israel and Gaza and to the east of Cairo, as it is a “particularly dangerous area” according to the department.

There have been demonstrations in Cairo and across Egypt that the US Embassy has warned Americans to avoid. “We know it’s a fast-moving situation, and the Mediterranean ring is under a lot of pressure now,” says Matt Berna, president, The Americas, for Intrepid Travel . “We are seeing an increase in cancellations in Egypt over the last 2 to 3 weeks so that’s worrying for the people of Egypt, not worrying for us because people tend to rebook somewhere else.”

Intrepid is making some small adjustments to its Egypt itineraries as the situation there continues to develop, including recent explosions in the Sinai Peninsula . “Following incidents involving projectiles in Taba and Nuweiba on October 27, 2023, travel advice levels for some areas of the Sinai Peninsula have changed,” Berna says. “We have made changes to Jordan & Egypt Express and Jordan & Egypt Uncovered to avoid these areas. Customers traveling on these trips are advised of these changes. All other Intrepid trips in Egypt & Jordan are running as scheduled.”

Red Savannah’s Egypt trips, which visit sites like the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Valley of the Kings, and Karnak Temple in Luxor, are continuing as normal.

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Nile River cruises throughout the country are also continuing to operate as planned. The only changes at this time are cancellations of post-cruise land packages through Israel—most lines have removed these add-on tours from itineraries for at least the next few weeks.

“We monitor world events very closely and make operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources,” says a statement from Uniworld updated on November 3 . “Our Jerusalem post-cruise extensions departing through December 31, 2023 have been suspended. Guests booked on these affected extensions will be contacted directly by the Uniworld team. The suspensions only affect Jerusalem, Israel, at this time and our cruises/tours in Egypt and Jordan are running as scheduled. We will continue to monitor and provide updates if any further changes are required.”

Viking has made similar cancellations of extended land tours through Israel, according to a company statement , as have AmaWaterways and Avalon Waterways, according to Travel Market Report .

“Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone in the affected areas,” Uniworld’s statement added. “The wellbeing of our guests and team members is always our top priority.”

“Cross-border skirmishes” between the Israeli Defense Force and Hezbollah militants have continued as recently as November 10, according to CNN . The clashes so far have been limited to the border region between Lebanon and Israel.

As of October 17, the US State Department has a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning for the country “due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah or other armed militant factions.” The State Department advisory adds that it has “authorized the voluntary, temporary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel and some non-emergency personnel from US Embassy Beirut due to the unpredictable security situation.”

As the violence has continued, the State Department’s travel warnings have become more stringent for the country. “The State Department recommends that US citizens in Lebanon leave now, while commercial flights remain available, due to the unpredictable security situation,” says a security alert from the US Embassy in Beirut issued on November 4.

Additional tips for considering travel

It’s good to remember that the standard guidance in the travel industry is that in harrowing situations, postponing a trip is usually a better option than canceling, if you can swing it. “We highly recommend postponing or rebooking to another region than canceling all together,” says Berna. "More than ever the world needs intrepid travelers. We want travelers to do and see incredible things, and for those experiences to have positive social and economic impacts and the host communities they visit.” Many travel industry workers based in impacted countries will also urge travelers to postpone their trips, and rebook when it makes sense to do so, as opposed to skipping the destination altogether.

One benefit for travelers post-pandemic is that the majority of travel operators now offer flexible changes and postponements. “Since COVID-19, we have seen a trend towards rebooking flexibility in the travel industry,” says Christina Tunnah, general manager Americas for travel insurance provider World Nomads . “Many US-based airlines retained the credit and rebooking policies from the peak of COVID-19 that can still be tapped into today. If you booked with a tour provider, contact customer service to understand what kind of policies may apply in this type of situation.”

Some tour companies allow cancellations within a certain window or will give a voucher toward a future trip if you’d like to postpone. “We offer to apply 100% of their funds towards a future tour to the same destination, so they can make their decision knowing this,” says Sorkin with Iconic Journeys Worldwide. But travelers who want to cancel their trip within 30 days will have to rely on travel insurance to receive their money back. “If they did not take out travel insurance, they did so at their own risk and signed a document when booking with us that they had declined to take out travel insurance,” Sorkin says. These types of cancellation policies are standard throughout the industry, which makes understanding travel insurance policies all the more important.

“We always recommend purchasing travel insurance as soon as you invest in your flights, accommodations, and other travel costs,” says Tunnah. “All policies are different, so be sure the policy you select offers the coverage you are most concerned with, such as trip cancellation or trip interruption. And always be sure to read your policy details.” For instance, trip cancellations due to war, invasion, or hostilities between nations are generally excluded from travel insurance policies, but some may offer coverage for terrorist incidents that occur in your departure or destination city, according to Tunnah. (World Nomads’ travel insurance policies for US residents offer trip cancellation coverage in the event a terrorist incident occurs within 30 days of the scheduled departure date, for instance.)

If you decide to go ahead with your trip, there are still precautions to take to ensure you’re as informed as possible. “If deciding to travel, research the areas visited, purchase travel insurance and talk to them about coverage and emergency support options, and consider contacting the local providers for insight,” says Dennis, the risk management consultant.

In your research, try to include international sources for the most holistic picture of what’s happening in the area. “It's important to seek out information from multiple sources to find a balanced understanding of regional safety and security,” Dennis says. “This may include reviewing US, UK, Canadian, and even Australian State Department travel warnings, local embassy updates, and if available, gaining access to information from professional security organizations. Each resource may have slight variations of information depending on the audience they serve, so it's important to gather as many perspectives as possible for a balanced approach.”

As a precaution, US tourists on international trips should always sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety alerts from the US embassy in the country they are visiting. Enrolling is free, only takes a few minutes, and will help the embassy contact you in the event of an emergency.

More than anything, making these difficult travel decisions is about building up a sense of personal intuition for what feels safe, and enjoyable. “Travel is wonderful, rewarding, and can be life-changing, and you can still have an amazing travel adventure even in areas outside of the immediate area impacted,” says Tunnah.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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Egyptology Is Having a Big Moment. But Will Tourists Come?

Tourism in Egypt has been buffeted by political instability and terrorism. But the pandemic has dealt the industry its biggest blow in years.

egypt tourism today

By Abdi Latif Dahir

CAIRO — On a cool morning last November, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister stood in a packed tent at the vast necropolis of Saqqara just outside Cairo to reveal the ancient site’s largest archaeological discovery of the year.

The giant trove included 100 wooden coffins — some containing mummies interred over 2,500 years ago — 40 statues, amulets, canopic jars and funerary masks. The minister, Khaled el-Enany, said the latest findings hinted at the great potential of the ancient site and showcased the dedication of the all-Egyptian team that unearthed the gilded artifacts.

But he also singled out another reason the archaeological discoveries were crucial: it was a boon for tourism, which had been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This unique site is still hiding a lot,” Mr. el-Enany said. “The more discoveries we make, the more interest there is in this site and in Egypt worldwide.”

Egyptology is having a big moment: Archaeologists announced this month that they had unearthed an ancient Pharaonic city near the southern city of Luxor that dated back more than 3,400 years.

The discovery came just days after 22 royal mummies were moved to a new museum in a lavish spectacle that was broadcast worldwide. In addition, the discovery of 59 beautifully preserved sarcophagi in Saqqara is now the subject of a recent Netflix documentary ; a bejeweled statue of the god Nefertum was found in Saqqara; the 4,700-year-old Djoser’s Step Pyramid was reopened last year after a 14-year, $6.6 million restoration; and progress is apace on the stunning Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open sometime this year.

But the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the industry, and what had been expected to be a bonanza season became a bleak winter.

Tourism is a crucial part of Egypt’s economy — international tourism revenues totaled $13 billion in 2019 — and the country has been eager to attract visitors back to its archaeological sites.

With travel restrictions, border closings and reduced capacity at hotels, international visitors to Egypt dropped by 69 percent in the first eight months of 2020 alone while revenues plunged by 67 percent in the same period, according to the World Tourism Organization, a United Nations agency.

Now more than ever, tourism in Egypt is facing “an unprecedented challenge,” Zurab Pololikashvili, the organization’s secretary general said in an email.

In recent years, Egypt’s tourism has been adversely affected by a string of misfortunes, starting with the political instability that followed the 2011 revolution and occasional bursts of terrorism, including attacks on tourists , bomb blasts that damaged prominent museums and a downed airliner that killed hundreds of Russian tourists in 2015.

But the sector was steadily recovering, with visitors attracted by both antiquities and the sun-and-sea offerings, growing to over 13 million in 2019 from 5.3 million in 2016. The coronavirus pandemic has reversed these gains, leaving hotels, resorts and cruises empty, popular sites without visitors and revenue, and thousands of tour guides and vendors with drastically reduced incomes or none at all.

“Tourism in Egypt just had one of its best years in 2019 and then came the pandemic which severely impacted it all,” Amr Karim, the general manager for Travco Travel, one of Egypt’s largest tour operators, said in a telephone interview. “Nobody knew what would happen, how we will handle it, how it will affect us. It’s strange.”

The pandemic, he said, disrupted how tour companies operated, how they priced their packages and how to work with hotels and abide by their new hygiene playbooks.

The pandemic also exposed the fragility of Egypt’s health care system , with doctors lamenting shortages in protective equipment and testing kits while patients died from lack of oxygen . With over 12,000 deaths, Egypt also recorded one of the highest fatality rates from the virus in the Arab world.

With a growing number of cases, health officials in Egypt have recently warned of a third wave of the virus. Authorities have also canceled large gatherings and festivals, and promised to fine those not complying with protective measures like mask-wearing, but many Egyptians do not abide by these rules.

Travelers are required to have a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arriving in Egypt, and hotels are mandated to operate at half capacity.

The crisis affected not just big companies like Travco but also smaller ones that had started betting big on the growing tourism industry.

Passainte Assem established Why Not Egypt , a boutique travel agency, in 2017 by interviewing prospective travelers and customizing itineraries for them. But after the pandemic began, most of her clients, who are from Australia, Canada and the United States, canceled their plans, she said, pushing her to suspend the business for now.

The experience left her feeling that “tourism is not stable at all,” she said. “It cannot be the only source of income. I have to have a side hustle.”

She now works as a manager of a company trying to revive and preserve traditional Egyptian handicrafts.

With shrinking bookings, the government has stepped in to cushion the blow to the tourism sector. Authorities introduced a raft of measures including allowing certain tourism-dependent businesses like hotels and resorts to delay the payment of utility bills, rescheduling debt repayments and providing financial aid to tourism workers.

The government has also sought to attract travelers by reducing the cost of tourist visas and entrance fees to archaeological sites, and has created programs aimed at increasing domestic tourism to make up for the lack of foreign tourists. A winter promotion, for instance, offered Egyptians discounts on domestic plane travel, hotels and museum admissions .

But Ahmed Samir, chief executive of the tour company Egypt Tours Portal , said the direct cash support for tourism workers was minimal. With reduced bookings, he was able to keep his employees in his marketing and social media departments on the payroll but at half salary.

“As a kind of sympathy to my employees, we tried to balance,” he said. But still, he added, “most of my friends’ companies closed completely.”

The slowdown in tourist arrivals has left areas usually swamped by tourists quiet.

At the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo, Mahrous Abu Seif, a tour guide, sat waiting for clients one morning. A few small tour groups, including from Russia and China, were going through metal detector scans to go into the museum. But he hoped that more clients would come.

“What can I tell you? We sit here and wait and wait,” he said, throwing his hands in the air and adjusting his sunglasses. “We don’t know what the future holds.”

On the other side of town, at the historic El Fishawy coffee house, a few locals gurgled their water pipes and drank mint tea or Turkish coffee while melodious Quran recitation ascended from a nearby speaker. Located in the centuries-old Khan el Khalili market, the cafe, along with souvenir and jewelry shops, was hit badly by the pandemic.

“I used to bring people here and it would be packed, but look at it now,” Mohamed Said Rehan, a guide with a local company, said of the cafe. “The pandemic is a big problem.”

Mr. Rehan said that he knows many colleagues and friends who had to stay home for months without income or who left the industry altogether. But he still clings to a thread of hope that tourism will pick up soon.

And some tourists have indeed started coming back.

In February, Marcus Zimmermann, a 43-year-old architect from Germany, was visiting Egypt for the first time, stopping first in Cairo and planning trips to the southern city of Luxor, home to the iconic Valley of the Kings. Mr. Zimmermann had hoped to come to Egypt last year with his mother, who dreamed of being an archaeologist, for her 70th birthday. But they had to cancel their plans because of the pandemic.

This year, he decided to come alone but promised to “plan the trip again” with her once she’s vaccinated.

Even though it will be tough attaining the prepandemic figures quickly, people like Mr. Karim who work in the industry hope tourists will start coming back by year’s end.

With all the new discoveries, renovations and the planned opening of new sites and museums, tourists will gradually flock back to Egypt, he said.

“People will start to move. People will start to travel,” he said. “I am optimistic.”

Nada Rashwan and Asmaa Al Zohairy contributed reporting.

Abdi Latif Dahir is the East Africa correspondent. He joined The Times in 2019 after covering East Africa for Quartz for three years. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya. More about Abdi Latif Dahir

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Egypt aims to double the number of tourists to reach 30 million by 2028, tourism minister says

Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Issa said. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Hundreds of tourists surround the Colossal head of the god Serapis, center, one of the most important gods in the Greek and Roman periods, at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Hundreds of tourists surround the statue of Djoser, at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Workers build a new fountain to replace the old one at the garden of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egyptian museum officials hang the planner of the new fountain at the garden of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Hundreds of tourists watch and film antiquities at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Hundreds of tourists watch and film antiquities at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Tourists surround the golden mask of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

A Toursit watches king tutankhamun sarcophagus at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The golden mask of King Tutankhamun is seen at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

A Toursit watches antiquities at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

A Toursit watches the seated statue of king Khasekhemwy, last king of the 2nd Dynasty of Egypt, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

A worker shows a Lotus flower to be returned to the new planned fountain at the garden of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt is seeking to double the number of visitors to the country in the next five years, its top tourism official told The Associated Press.

Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector recovers from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said Tuesday.

“We’re seeing unparalleled demand, unprecedented demand for travel into Egypt,” Issa said in an interview.

He said Egypt had received 10 million tourists in the first eight months of 2023, and was “well on track to achieve around 15 million this year, which is going to be a record year for the tourism industry.”

Egypt's goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy watches as he fails to save Cape Verde's Bryan Silva Teixeira Jr's second goal for his team during the African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match between Cape Verde and Egypt at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

The sector is a major source of foreign currency for the cash-strapped North African country. Last year, tourism revenues surged to $10.7 billion, up from around $5 billion in 2021, according to the Egyptian central bank.

The government’s plan focuses on what he calls the “supply side,” which includes increasing the number of hotel rooms in the country and seats on flights to Egypt by more than 30% annually, as well as encouraging more private investment in the tourism sector.

Issa said they would add 25,000 hotel rooms to Egypt’s current capacity of about 210,000. Such an increase, he said, would help the government achieve its target of 18 million tourist visits in 2024.

“That will be the fastest growth in (hotel) rooms in Egypt over the past 20 years,” he said.

Egypt has made a years-long effort to revive its battered tourism industry. The sector was badly hit during and after the popular uprising in 2011 that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the ensuring unrest. The country received over 14 million tourists in 2010.

The coronavirus, followed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, dealt another blow, just as the sector was getting back on its feet.

In recent years, the government has touted its ancient history as a major selling point. It has publicized pharaonic discoveries, building and renovating museums and tourist sites across the country.

Issa spoke to the AP from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, a neoclassical structure built in the late 19th century and the first purpose-built museum in the Middle East and North Africa.

The museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cairo, drawing an average of 10,000 visitors a day, said museum director Ali Abdel-Halim. It holds tens of thousands of antiquities in its collection, some of which have never been exhibited.

In recent years, the government has embarked on renovating the museum, in cooperation with five major institutions in Europe, including the British Museum and the Louvre in Paris, Abdel-Halim said.

The four-phase project, which is partly financed by the European Union, includes a renovation of the entire building, which was designed by the famed French architect Marcel Dourgnon.

For decades, the museum in central Cairo was the main facility housing Egyptian heritage treasures. But in recent years, the the government transferred many artifacts — such as the prized royal mummies — to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and the Grand Egyptian Museum , a mega-project which has been under construction for well over a decade near the famed Giza Pyramids.

Issa said they were working to finish construction and complete the installation by the end of the year, and the museum would be ready for its opening ceremony “very soon.”

He said they are working to set a date for the ceremony when many world leaders can attend.

“It’s going to be a magnificent day for ... the entire humanity that is interested in history and culture and archaeology and heritage,” he said.

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Is it safe to travel to Egypt right now? Latest travel advice

egypt tourism today

Monday January 15 2024, 17:35pm

The UK government has updated the list of areas in Egypt that it advises against all or all but essential travel to since fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas. The main tourist resorts — Cairo, Nile cruise stops including Luxor and Aswan, and the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh — are still considered safe. This has not changed in the wake of the joint strikes on Houthi bases in Yemen by UK and US forces on January 11, 2024, but there is updated advice. Here’s what you need to know.

Main photo: a driver feeds his camels near the Pyramids of Giza (Getty Images)

A local relaxes in Luxor, Egypt — there are no travel advisories for many such popular destinations

What’s the latest government advice about travelling to Egypt?

There are no travel advisories in place for popular tourist spots in Egypt such as Cairo, the cities along the Nile including Luxor and Aswan, and resorts by the Red Sea such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

However, the Foreign Office currently advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, and within 20km of the Egyptian/Libyan border (excluding El Salloum, where it advises against all but essential travel).

It also advises against all but essential travel to the following areas:

  • The northern part of the Governorate of South Sinai beyond the St Catherine-Nuweiba road, except for the coastal areas along the west and east of the peninsula
  • The eastern part of Ismailiyah Governorate east of the Suez canal
  • The area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, the Governorate of Faiyum, the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh, the Marsa Matruh-Siwa Road, the oasis town of Siwa, the Giza Governorate north-east of the Bahariya Oasis, the road between Giza and Farafra (except the road between Bahariya and Siwa where all but essential travel applies), Bahariya Oasis, Farafra, and the White Desert and Black Desert
  • The Hala’ib Triangle and Bir Tawil Trapezoid

Following the US and UK strikes on Houthi bases in Yemen, the Foreign Office said: “Military activity is currently underway in response to attempts by Houthi militants to prevent movement of international shipping in the Red Sea. While the area of activity is limited to the Red Sea and Yemen, there is a possibility that travel advice for nearby countries could change at short notice. You should continue to monitor travel advice and follow any relevant instructions from local authorities.”

In addition, terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt, according to the Foreign Office, and targets could include destinations popular with tourists. Most attacks are in the North Sinai region, but they may take place in other parts of the country too. 

The risk is heightened during public holidays and festivals, such as Christmas and Ramadan, and is particularly high around religious sites, large public gatherings and places frequented by foreigners. Stay vigilant and carry your photo ID with you at all times.

A mosque in the city of Hurghada, Egypt

Has Egypt been affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict?

Broadly, the Foreign Office warns that the border between Israel and Egypt (Taba) could close at short notice. Visitors should check with local authorities before trying to cross. It also warns that since fighting broke out in southern Israel and Gaza, demonstrations (often at short notice) have taken place. Tourists should be vigilant and avoid large gathering and protests.

On October 27, 2023, an official confirmed that a drone fell near a medical facility in the Red Sea resort of Taba, near the Israeli border, injuring six people. Authorities are investigating.

Two Israeli tourists and their local guide died after a police officer opened fire on a group of Israeli tourists in Alexandria on October 8, 2023, according to reports by the Israeli foreign ministry. This hasn’t however been confirmed by Egyptian authorities.

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Is it safe to travel to Sharm el-Sheikh?

Sharm el-Sheikh reopened to British tourists in October 2019, four years after a bomb exploded on a Russian plane carrying 224 tourists and crew. Security measures were increased at the Red Sea resort: x-ray scanners in hotels; security walls; and high perimeter fences around the airport were installed. The area of Sharm el-Sheikh is now deemed safe to travel to by the Foreign Office. This advice has not changed since the US and UK launched joint strikes on Houthi bases in Yemen after the terror group targeted commercial ships in the Red Sea.

Is it safe to travel to Hurghada?

Hurghada, a popular Red Sea resort, is also deemed safe to travel to by the Foreign Office. Again, travel advice has not been amended for the resort following the strikes on the Houthi bases in Yemen.

  • Best things to do in Hurghada

Can you drink alcohol in Egypt?

Egypt is an Islamic country. While attitudes are more relaxed in tourist resorts, customs can be very different elsewhere and more strict during Ramadan. Public drinking, for example, can lead to arrest — alcohol is only permitted in a licensed restaurant or bar.

Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs can lead to long prison sentences or even the death penalty. Visitors should be aware that what is legal in the UK may not be legal in Egypt. In 2017, for example, a British woman was jailed for three years for taking painkillers into the country. Tramadol, an opioid painkiller, is a prescription drug in the UK but is illegal in Egypt.

What about taking photos in Egypt?

Be aware of what you’re photographing. Taking pictures of military installations (strictly prohibited), embassies, government buildings, churches and even infrastructure such as train stations can lead to arrest. If you want to photograph any Egyptian citizens, you must have written permission from them; photographing children is not permitted.

Taking or sharing photographs that are perceived to be damaging to the country’s image is also forbidden. Similarly, making strongly negative comments about Egypt or its politics, including on social media, can lead to you being detained.

  • Best all-inclusive hotels in Egypt

On the Montaza Palace bridge in Alexandria, Egypt

What are Egypt’s entry restrictions?

Egypt no longer has Covid-related travel restrictions.

For entry into Egypt though, you’ll need at least six months of validity left on your passport. You’ll also need to apply for a tourist visa to visit most of the country. These can be obtained online before you travel or on arrival at dedicated desks inside the airport. This is valid for up to three months.

If you’re travelling to the resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba, you can get a free entry permission stamp upon arrival for stays of up to 15 days. You’ll have to get a visa if you want to stay longer or visit other places.

Do I need vaccines for Sharm el-Sheikh?

There are no essential vaccine requirements for visiting Egypt. However, the NHS suggests that it’s advisable to have polio and tetanus jabs. You may also want to consider hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid.

General safety advice for travelling in Egypt

In terms of safety on the ground, it pays to be vigilant. Protests take place frequently and foreigners taking part in political activities in the country could be detained or subjected to other measures. 

The Foreign Office says: “If you become aware of any nearby protests, marches or demonstrations, you should move away from the immediate area as the atmosphere could change quickly and without warning. Police have previously used water cannons, tear gas, birdshot and live ammunition for crowd control.”

At popular tourist spots, visitors can be harassed for money or to buy things. There’s also a risk of theft and mugging, even in taxis. Travelling as part of an escorted tour can help reduce the risks. If you are a victim of crime, you should contact the local tourist police who can help you make a report.

Public displays of affection can also be frowned upon.

Visitors to Egypt should take care when travelling in taxis

Is Egypt safe for female travellers?

In general, yes, it is safe for female travellers. However, there have been reported incidents of sexual assault and harassment in the country, including some affecting minors. Most of the reported incidents have taken place in the Red Sea region and, according to the Foreign Office, are often committed by someone the victim had already met, including hotel workers and excursion staff.

The Foreign Office advises: “Female travellers should exercise caution when travelling alone, particularly at night, in buses, taxis and microbuses. If you are travelling on public transport including microbuses, avoid being the last passenger left on board.”

  • What can women do to stay safe while abroad?

Is Egypt safe for LGBTQ travellers?

It can be problematic. While homosexuality is not technically illegal in Egypt, according to the Foreign Office, the charges of “debauchery” and “sexual deviance” have been used to prosecute LGBTQ people in the past. Sixty-six people were arrested in 2017 on debauchery charges after waving a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo, for example. Again, attitudes are more relaxed in tourist areas but public displays of affection are likely to cause issues.

  • Is it safe to go diving in the Red Sea?
  • Best hotels in Egypt

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How Egypt’s tourism businesses are bouncing back

There is light at the end of the covid tunnel as the country resumes flights and removes hotel capacity restrictions.

Hawa Safaga, a kitesurfing and windsurfing station in the Red Sea, saw bookings increase in October as Egypt's tourism recovers. Photo: Hawa Safaga

Hawa Safaga, a kitesurfing and windsurfing station in the Red Sea, saw bookings increase in October as Egypt's tourism recovers. Photo: Hawa Safaga

Nada El Sawy author image

On a recent Saturday at the Pyramids of Giza, the area was buzzing with something that had not been seen in more than a year: buses filled with tourists.

Travel restrictions and lockdowns because of the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out $17.6 billion from Egypt’s economy last year, including 844,000 travel and tourism jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The country's foreign tourist arrivals dropped 72 per cent and international tourism receipts dropped 66 per cent last year, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation. While Egypt hosted 13 million tourists in 2019, that number shrivelled to 3.6 million in 2020.

The travel and tourism industry accounted for about 12 per cent of Egypt's gross domestic product pre-Covid. The sector’s contribution to the economy fell to $14.4bn in 2020 from $32bn in 2019, according to the WTCC.

But now there are green shoots that the Arab world's third-largest economy is turning a page and its tourism industry is on the mend.

Hotels are gradually seeing their performance improve after a period of slow business when tourist activity ground to a halt in March 2020.

Occupancy rates have climbed steadily since May 2020, when hotels opened at 25 per cent capacity, up to last month when they were allowed to return to full capacity.

That rebound has been spurred by the resumption of Russian flights to Red Sea resort cities in August after a six-year hiatus, Egypt’s removal from the UK’s red travel list in September and the increased vaccination of tourism workers and tourists.

“After a long time of people staying home, they have the appetite to travel. So we are expecting a good flow of business in this winter season and onwards,” Alaa Akel, chairman of the Egyptian Red Sea Hotels Association and chief executive of the Jaz Hotel Group, tells The National .

The number of tourists has been increasing steadily since January and the country received 3.5 million visitors in the first half of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany has said he is optimistic about the rest of the year and expects numbers to return to pre-Covid levels by the end of 2022.

Russian tourists in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. All photos: AFP

EGYPT-TOURISM-RUSSIAN-AVIATION-ECONOMY Russian tourists in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. All photos: AFP

The return of the Russian market, which brought in the highest number of international visitors to Egypt before 2015, is a boon to the country's tourism industry. Flights had been halted for six years after a Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers and crew crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

“Since the reconciliation with the Russian market, it didn’t make sense to keep the occupancy at 70 per cent from the hotel inventory,” Mr Akel says.

With Covid precautions in place and the vaccination of all employees working in the hotel sector, the government was encouraged to allow full capacity, he points out.

It has not been easy for small and medium enterprises, which make up most tourism businesses globally, to stay afloat during the crisis.

Egypt’s central bank introduced a 50bn pound ($3.2bn) package at the start of the pandemic to support the tourism industry.

Over the summer, the German non-profit organisation enpact and the TUI Care Foundation selected 50 businesses in Egypt for a six-month tourism recovery programme.

The programme, which runs until January and is supported by the German government, includes €9,000 ($10,400) of direct financial support, as well as mentoring and training.

Omar Samra's Wild Guanabana shut down for most of 2020 before offering a local trip in the Red Sea mountains last November. Photo: Wild Guanabana

Among the recipients are mountaineer Omar Samra’s Wild Guanabana, an adventure travel company founded in 2009. The business started by offering walking and climbing experiences in Egypt, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania, and has expanded to more than 25 countries.

“We were severely impacted [by the pandemic],” says Mr Samra. “We’ve obviously endured lots of crises from revolution to terrorist attacks to Ebola to all kinds of things, but we’ve never had a crisis that basically impacted everything all at once.”

Wild Guanabana suspended all trips until November 2020, when they offered a local trip in the mountains near Hurghada on the Red Sea. By the end of 2020, the tour business was down 90 per cent and a new line of consulting work only made up for 30 to 40 per cent.

The company did not bring back international trips, such as Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Elbrus in Russia, until May of this year.

“Lots of businesses, including ourselves, contemplated closure,” Mr Samra says.

The recovery programme has given him a lifeline to hire back some of the employees he had to let go; the team had gone down from 15 people to five.

Mr Samra says the company is also focusing on niches within the local segment until international travel is back to normal.

Adventure G co-founders Amr Mashaly and Ethar Samir started their company in October 2020 with a focus on local travel experiences. Photo: Adventure G

Another entrepreneur in the recovery programme is Amr Mashaly. He had a tourism company based in London, offering sustainable and unique travel experiences in Columbia, Kenya, Mexico and Thailand.

After the pandemic hit, he decided to shut down the business and return to Egypt where he offered local travel experiences. In October 2020, Mr Mashaly started an online portal Adventure G with an initial focus on the Red Sea town of El Gouna and Fayoum, a city in an oasis 100 kilometres south-west of Cairo.

“Travellers are going to be looking for more local experiences. Even if they’re going to be able to travel internationally, the behavioural change has happened already,” Mr Mashaly says.

The relaxation of travel restrictions has also helped business. Since Egypt was removed from the UK’s red list, Adventure G will be hosting a group from the University of London in January in Cairo, Fayoum, Luxor and Aswan.

“Egypt is very open right now … this makes our life way easier,” Mr Mashaly says.

Hawa Safaga co-owners Julie Nassr and Ramy Sabry with their young daughter. Photo: Hawa Safaga

Hawa Safaga, a kitesurfing and windsurfing station in the Red Sea's Soma Bay, relies heavily on international tourists.

German-Egyptian Julie Nassr, who runs the business with her husband Ramy Sabry, says 65 per cent of their customers are German, 20 per cent French and the rest a mix of nationalities.

“We had planned to open another station and make further investment and then the pandemic came and we shut down completely for four months,” says Ms Nassr.

They struggled financially and had to rely on donations to upgrade their kitesurfing equipment. Usually the company charters boats and hires seasonal workers, but cut those costs once business was dramatically reduced.

The financial support from the recovery programme allowed Hawa Safaga to take a risk by chartering a boat for the month of October.

Owing to high vaccination rates in source countries, including France, Germany and Switzerland, and easier travel regulations, business in October “was almost as good as before the pandemic”, Ms Nassr says.

Hawa Safaga’s Facebook page declared last month: “Soma Bay is full of kites! Most hotels and stations are fully booked, including us. Tourism is back”.

Director Kaouther Ben Hania's Four Daughters has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards. Getty

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New reasons to visit Egypt now

Just discovered mummies and the upcoming opening of a blockbuster museum make the ancient land worth rediscovering.

The largest archaeological museum in the world, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), is due to open later this year (or early in 2023) outside Cairo . This dazzling showplace near the pyramids of Giza cost more than a billion dollars to build. It will hold a large chunk of Egypt ’s ancient artifacts, including the treasures of King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The museum isn’t the only attraction drawing tourists back to the North African country. New openings include the Mummies Hall in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, and two tombs in nearby Saqqara, including the newly restored Tomb of Djoser, with its labyrinth of hieroglyphic-covered corridors. The promise of fresh discovery means trip bookings for Egypt are up more than 100 percent from some countries.

( Egypt is one of our 25 best places to visit in 2023. See the full list here .)

“So many sites are getting revamped, conserved, and preserved,” says Egyptologist and National Geographic Explorer Nora Shawki . “Even going to the pyramids is smoother, with electric busses getting you there and more dining and services.”

Though it suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt has a robust tourism infrastructure, making trips here easier than you might expect. Here’s what to know before you go.

Is Egypt safe?

The biggest danger in Egypt may be getting hassled for business, from the ad hoc tour guides just outside temples and tombs to hawkers offering “free” souvenirs and camel rides beside the pyramids at Giza. Otherwise, street crime is almost unheard of. “The riskiest thing you’ll do in Egypt is crossing our busy streets,” says Shawki.

While terrorist activities in the Sinai Peninsula and Western Desert mean the U.S. Department of State currently classifies Egypt under a Level 3, or “reconsider travel” advisory these areas aren’t close to typical tourist attractions including in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan .

How can I see the top sights?

Egypt is large—about twice the size of France—and you’ll need a combination of air, river, or overland travel to see Cairo, Luxor, and the Nile River-side temples.

You can rent a car, but it’s not recommended. Although millions of dollars have been invested in road improvements, signage is inconsistent and road congestion common. Some areas, like the Nile Valley, require security convoys, and military checkpoints are the norm. Guided tours and taxis are the best ways to get around; Uber also operates in Cairo and Alexandria.

A 10-day trip focused on the highlights of ancient Egypt could include time in Cairo (the pyramids, museums), Luxor (Valley of the Kings, Temple of Karnak), and a cruise along the Nile.

Additional spots worth adding to your itinerary include resort areas like Sharm El-Sheik on the Red Sea for diving and snorkeling or oasis towns such as artsy, archaeology-rich Tunis Village (about two hours by car from Cairo).

What can I see in Cairo besides pyramids?

Most travelers start in Cairo, where a clutch of museums gives a crash course in Egyptian history. In a sprawling contemporary building designed to resemble an ancient sailing ship, the Grand Egyptian Museum took 20 years and more than a billion dollars to construct. Within its 870,000 square feet are more than 100,000 artifacts including 5,000 objects from the tomb of “boy king” Tutankhamun.

( See why the Grand Egyptian Museum is fit for a pharoah .)

Open since 1902, the Egyptian Museum has 100 galleries and more than 170,000 artifacts, including animal figurines, funerary papyri, and stele decked in colorful hieroglyphs. The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization , which debuted in 2017, covers the entire history of Egypt from pre-historic times until today. It’s the new resting place of the ancient Egyptian royal mummies, relocated with great pomp , last year.

“The Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism has made a phenomenal effort to open new archaeological sites and make older places accessible, such as the Serapeum at Saqqara, and the underground galleries beneath the Step Pyramid of Djoser,” says Colleen Darnell, an American Egyptologist and coauthor of the upcoming Egypt’s Golden Couple: When  Akhenaten  and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth . 

Just outside of Cairo, Saqqara is the country’s largest archaeological site and home of its oldest pyramid. It also offers new discoveries, including 59 sealed sarcophagi and the ornate tomb of Wahtye, a high priest who died in the 5th century B.C .

What about all those famous tombs and temples?

Luxor, a 90 minute direct flight from Cairo, holds the grand Temples of Karnak and Luxor as well as the tomb-filled Valley of the Queens and Valley of the Kings, including the dazzling burial space of King Tut. 

Luxor’s 1.7-mile, statue-decorated Avenue of the Sphinxes recently reopened, showing off decades of excavations and renovations. You’ll need a day or two to explore it all. Luxor is also the launch point for cruises on the Nile.

( Learn how epic feats of engineering saved Egypt’s Abu Simbel temples .)

It’s worth the quick flight or three-hour drive from Aswan (the terminus of most Nile cruises) to see the 13th-century B.C. rock-cut temple at Abu Simbel on Lake Nasser. Because the temple looks particularly dazzling during the evening light and sound show, Kerry Ann Derwin, a Middle East travel specialist with Audley Travel , often books her clients into a local guesthouse such as the Eskelah Nubian Ecolodge .“It gives a more intimate look at the temple,” she says. 

Should I take a Nile cruise?

Boats have cruised along the Nile River since pharaonic times, and a two- to five-day cruise takes in ancient ruins and modern village life. You can book trips on river barges, steamboats, private yachts, or dahabiyas , elegant two-masted sailing ships with four to 10 cabins each. Generally boats travel between Luxor and Aswan.

“Going down the Nile gives you a glimpse into the past, and it’s also a quick way to see many of the riverside temples,” says Shawki. You’ll glide past farms where workers still plow fields with oxen and spot birds like cranes and egrets.

When should I go?

Most of Egypt has a desert climate, meaning hot days and cooler nights. The most comfortable times to visit are between March and June or in early fall (late September through early October). “But if you want the sites to yourself, July and August are great,” says Jasmine Padda, an Egyptian specialist with Kensington Tours .

What should I wear?

In Egyptian cities, you’ll see women dressed in everything from burqas to jeans and tank tops. Tourists can get away with modest casual clothing in most places, but both men and women must cover their knees, shoulders, and chests while visiting mosques or other religious sites. It’s a good idea to bring a lightweight scarf.

It’s also nearly always sunny and often hot, so pack a hat and high-SPF sunblock.

Where can I stay?

In Cairo, there are a range of four- and five-star hotels catering to international visitors with well-oiled security teams and concierges who can offer advice and book tours. Properties (many from chains such as Hilton and St. Regis) in the Zamalek and Garden City neighborhoods are well-located for both sightseeing and safety. For pyramid views and nostalgia, the Mena House has been open since the 19th century; it’s now renovated and expanded. 

Two luxe historic properties also lure travelers in Luxor and Aswan: the circa-1905 Winter Palace Luxor and the circa-1899 Old Cataract Aswan . Both offer Egyptian-style decor and atmosphere as well as modern comforts. Smaller guesthouses are also an option in these smaller cities, particularly in the Nubian villages around Aswan.

Read This Next

This desert oasis is a time capsule of egypt’s grand past, in tajikistan, visit the ruins of a once mighty silk road kingdom, take a tour of the maya underworld—if you dare, inside this ‘easter island in the andes‘.

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20 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Egypt

Written by Jess Lee Updated Oct 16, 2023

Home of the ancient Pharaohs, Egypt is a destination full of dazzling temples and tombs that wow all who visit. It's not all historic treasures and tourist attractions, though. With vast tracts of desert for 4WD adventures, the Red Sea's world-class coral reefs and wrecks for divers, and cruising on the famed Nile River, there are plenty of things to do in Egypt for all types of travelers.

Beach lovers head to the Sinai or the Red Sea Coast to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor.

Cairo is the megalopolis that can't be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow pace of the countryside.

With so much to see and do, Egypt offers visitors a chance to create itineraries that combine culture, adventure, and relaxation all on one trip.

Plan your sightseeing with our list of the top attractions and places to visit in Egypt.

1. Pyramids of Giza

2. luxor's temples & tombs, 3. cruising the nile, 5. abu simbel, 6. diving the red sea, 7. explore historic cairo, 8. south sinai's beach life, 10. egyptian museum, 11. white desert, 12. alexandria, 13. abydos temple, 14. siwa oasis, 15. st. catherine's monastery, 16. red sea beaches, 17. coptic cairo, 18. wadi al-hitan, 19. temple of hathor, 20. monastery of st. anthony.

Pyramids of Giza

The last surviving wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are one of the world's most recognizable landmarks.

Having awed travelers down through the ages, these tombs of the Pharaohs Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mycerinus), guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, are usually top of most visitor's lists of tourist attractions to see in Egypt and often the first sight they head to after landing.

Today, sitting on the desert edge of Cairo's sprawl, these megalithic memorials to dead pharaohs are still as wondrous a sight as they ever were and an undeniable highlight of any Egypt trip.

To beat the crowds , get here around 7:30am and enter through the main Pyramid of Khufu site entrance (rather than the Sphinx entrance). This means you can have finished exploring the interior tunnels and burial chambers of the Pyramid of Khufu by the time the tour buses start pulling in at 8:15am.

Most visitors limit their site visit to the three pyramids and the Sphinx, but there is plenty more to see on the Giza Plateau. If you can, reserve time to explore the funerary complexes of the eastern cemetery (on the east side of the Pyramid of Khufu). The tombs of 6th dynasty high officials Qar and Idu and the tomb of Meresankh III (who was one of Pharaoh Khafre's wives) are all open to the public.

  • Read More: Pyramids of Giza: Attractions, Tips & Tours

Karnak Temple

Famed for the Valley of the Kings , Karnak Temple , and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions.

This is ancient Thebes, the power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.

Luxor's east bank is home to the modern city, with its vibrant souq; the two temples of Karnak and Luxor; and the museum. The west bank's lush farmland and barren cliffs are where the vast majority of Luxor's tourist attractions sit, with so many tomb and temple sights that it has been called the biggest open-air museum in the world.

Spend a few days here exploring the colorful wall art of the tombs and gazing in awe at the colossal columns in the temples, and you'll see why Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.

The Valley of the Kings is one of Egypt's most visited sites but, if you are willing to get up extra early, you can beat the crowds . All of Luxor's archaeological sites open at 6am, but hardly any visitors (and no large tour operators) take advantage of this.

Kick off your sightseeing with a 6am start at the Valley of the Kings, and you'll get to experience the interiors of Luxor's famed New Kingdom tombs with hardly anyone else (except the handful of other wily early risers) there.

Cruising on the Nile at Luxor

Egypt is defined by the Nile. For many visitors, a multi-day cruise upon this famed waterway that saw the rise of the Pharaonic era is a highlight of their Egypt trip.

Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to see the temples that stud the banks of the river on the route between Luxor and Aswan, plus sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by sand dunes, is one of Egypt's most tranquil vistas.

The two famous sights on a Nile Cruise are the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu's Temple of Horus , where all the big cruise boats stop.

If you'd prefer a less crowded and slower experience, though, and don't mind "roughing it" a bit, you can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt's traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats), which also allows you to create your own itinerary.

The vast amount of cruise boat itineraries depart from either Luxor or Aswan, but feluccas can only be chartered for multi-day trips from Aswan.

Feluccas on the Nile at Aswan

Egypt's most tranquil town is Aswan, set upon the winding curves of the Nile. Backed by orange-hued dunes, this is the perfect place to stop and unwind for a few days and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere.

Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Then ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on Aswan's east bank. Afterwards, relax in one of the riverboat restaurants while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past.

Make sure to jump aboard a felucca at sunset to sail around Aswan's islands. This is by far, Aswan's most popular activity and the most relaxing way to take in the local sights.

There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, including Philae Temple on its island, but one of Aswan's most popular things to do is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.

Abu Simbel

Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II's great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings.

Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible engineering feat carried out by UNESCO in the 1960s, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting to save it from disappearing under the rising water of the Aswan Dam.

Today, exploring Abu Simbel is just as much about admiring the triumph of this international effort to save the temple complex as it is about gaping in wonder at Ramses II's awe-inspiring building works, itself.

Most people arrive in Abu Simbel on organized day trips from Aswan, which all have an early morning start to get to the temple complex at 8am or 9am.

After 11am, nearly everyone has cleared out and headed back to Aswan. To wander through Ramses II's colossal monument without the crowds, overnight in Abu Simbel village itself and visit the temples after midday.

Divers enjoying the underwater beauty of the Red Sea

Below the Red Sea's surface is another world as fascinating as the temples and tombs on land.

The coral reefs of the Red Sea are renowned among scuba divers for both the soft corals on display and the vast amount of sea life, ranging from colorful reef fish and nudibranchs to sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays, and even dugongs.

For divers, the most famous town to base yourself in is Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, closest to the reefs of Ras Mohammed National Park, as well as the reefs of the Straits of Tiran.

To dive the sites of the Straits of Gubal head to Hurghada or El Gouna on the Red Sea coast, while advanced divers should check out the resort of Marsa Alam, the nearest base for diving Egypt's "deep south" dive sites.

Thistlegorm wreck dive

As well as fish life and coral, the Red Sea is a major wreck-diving destination. The most famous wreck is the Thistlegorm, a British WWII cargo ship that was on its way to resupply Allied troops when it was bombed by the Germans in 1941.

Today the site is regarded by divers as one of the top five wreck dives in the world due to the vast cargo of cars, motorbikes, and WWII memorabilia that can be seen both scattered on the sea bed around the wreck and inside the ship itself.

Dive boat trips to the wreck are organized from both Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

The Red Sea offers year-round diving but for the calmest sea conditions and best underwater visibility, July and August are the best months . This is high summer in Egypt though with its accompanying sweltering on-land temperatures. If your Egypt trip doesn't solely revolve around diving, it's still best to avoid these months.

Read More: Diving in the Red Sea: Best Dive Sites

Islamic Cairo

The atmospheric, narrow lanes of the capital's Historic Cairo district are crammed full of mosques, madrassas (Islamic schools of learning), and monuments dating from the Fatimid through to the Mameluke eras.

This is where you'll find the labyrinth shopping souq of Khan el-Khalili, where coppersmiths and artisans still have their tiny workshops, and stalls are laden with ceramics, textiles, spice, and perfume.

Surrounding the market is a muddle of roads, home to some of the most beautiful preserved architecture of the old Islamic empires.

There is a wealth of history here to explore. Visit Al-Azhar Mosque and the dazzling Sultan Hassan Mosque , and make sure to climb up to the roof of the ancient medieval gate of Bab Zuweila for the best minaret-speckled panoramas across the district.

Mornings are the best time to visit this district as the narrow lanes are at their quietest. If you're planning to visit the area's mosques though, avoid visiting on Fridays (the Muslim holy day) . If you want to enter mosques as a tourist, dress conservatively (covering arms and legs) and bring along a scarf to throw over your head if you're female.

Keen shoppers should head to Khan el-Khalili in the evening: the shops here are all open until late and the souq is at its most vibrant after dark.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Cairo & Easy Day Trips

South Sinai

Egypt's South Sinai region, on the Sinai Peninsula, offers a beach for every type of traveler.

Sharm el-Sheikh is a European-style resort town packed full of luxury hotels, international restaurants, and bags of entertainment options. A favorite with Europeans on winter-sun vacations, many of the resorts here cater to families on one- or two-week sun-and-sand breaks.

Dahab is a low-key beach town with a budget-traveler heart, which is just as much about desert excursions and adventures as the sea. It's particularly known for its cheap dive-package deals and for its lagoon beach area where windsurfing and kitesurfing are the top activity.

Up the coast, between the port town of Nuweiba and the border town of Taba are the bamboo hut retreats that offer complete get-away-from-it-all respites from life and back-to-basics beach life.

Pyramid and ruins at Saqqara

Everyone's heard of Giza's Pyramids, but they're not the only pyramids Egypt has up its sleeve. Day-tripping distance from Cairo , Saqqara is a vast necropolis of tombs and pyramids that was utilized during every era of Pharaonic rule.

It's best known for its Old Kingdom Step Pyramid, which shows how the architects of Ancient Egypt advanced their engineering knowledge to finally create a true pyramid shape.

There's much more to see beyond the Step Pyramid, though, with some of the surrounding tombs, such as the Mastaba of Ti, showcasing some of the finest tomb paintings you'll see in the country.

Nearby, the pyramid site of Dahshur is home to the Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid, which should be included on any Saqqara visit.

  • Read More: Exploring Saqqara: A Visitor's Guide

Egyptian Museum

A treasure trove of the Pharaonic world, Cairo's Egyptian Museum is one of the world's great museum collections . The faded pink mansion in downtown Cairo is home to a dazzling amount of exhibits.

The museum's exhibits cover the breadth of the Pharaonic era with highlights including its artifacts from pre-dynastic Egypt, the Old Kingdom galleries displaying the fine statuary from Egypt's period of pyramid builders, and the displays of glittering funerary goods unearthed from the country's most famous tomb finds.

Make sure to reserve enough time at the museum to fully view the galleries devoted to the grave goods of Yuya and Thuya and the royal tombs of Tanis (both upstairs).

Until Giza's much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) opens, the Egyptian Museum is also where you come to see a selection of the riches from Tutankhamen's Valley of the Kings tomb. When the GEM finally does open, these will be moved there (and the entire Tutankhamen collection will be displayed in full for the first time).

Everything else though in the Egyptian Museum's collection will be staying in place.

White Desert

Egypt's kookiest natural wonder is White Desert National Park, out in the Western Desert, just south of Bahariya Oasis. Here, surreally shaped chalk pinnacles and huge boulders loom over the desert plateau, creating a scene that looks like icebergs have found themselves stranded amid a landscape of sand.

This highly scenic environment looks like something out of a science fiction movie and is a favorite destination for 4WD desert trips and overnight camping , which are both easiest organized in Bahariya Oasis.

For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who's had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery.

Alexandria

Alexandria has a history that not many others can match.

Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra, and razzmatazz renegade city of the Mediterranean for much of its life, this seafront city has an appealing days-gone-by atmosphere that can't be beaten.

Although today, there are few historic remnants of its illustrious past left to see, Alexandria's long seafront Corniche road leading to its fort (sitting on the site where its famous ancient lighthouse once sat) remains a favorite summer destination to capture cooling sea breezes for Egyptians and foreign visitors alike.

Underwater archaeological projects here have imbued Alexandria's museums with interesting exhibits. The modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a contemporary interpretation of Alexandria's famed ancient library, and the handful of historic sights in town include an atmospheric catacombs site.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Alexandria

Abydos Temple

The Temple of Osiris in Abydos is one of Ancient Egypt's most fascinating artistic treasures.

The temple, begun by Seti I, sits amid a vast necropolis site where archaeological excavations are ongoing. There a various other temple remnants to see here but for most visitors, the Temple of Osiris is the main reason to visit.

Its hypostyle halls, graced by papyrus-headed columns, contain some of the finest relief-work in Egypt, with various scenes portraying the pharaoh and the gods of Ancient Egypt.

As the temple lies north of Luxor, it isn't on the main Nile cruise ship route, so it receives much fewer visitors than the temple sites in Luxor itself and the Nile-side temples to the south. This means you are often lucky enough to wander through the temple's halls with only a few other visitors on site.

  • Read More: Exploring The Temples of Abydos: A Visitor's Guide

Siwa Oasis

Sitting in isolation, in the western corner of the Western Desert, Siwa is the tranquil tonic to the hustle of Egypt's cities. This gorgeous little oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and numerous hot-water springs, is one of the Western Desert's most picturesque spots.

Siwa town is centered around the ruins of a vast mud-brick citadel, known as the Fortress of Shali, which dominates the view, while various temple remnants, including the Temple of the Oracle where Alexander the Great is said to have come to receive advice, are scattered throughout the wider oasis area.

This is a top spot to wind down and go slow for a few days, as well as being an excellent base from which to plan adventures into the surrounding desert.

St. Catherine's Monastery

One of the oldest monasteries in the world, St. Catherine's stands at the foot of Mount Sinai, amid the desert mountains of the Sinai Peninsula, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments.

This desert monastery is home to an incredible collection of religious iconography, art, and manuscripts (some of which can be seen in the on-site museum), as well as the burning bush.

For most visitors here, a trip to St. Catherine's also involves a hike up Mount Sinai to see sunrise or sunset. Take the camel path for the easy route, or climb the famous Steps of Repentance if you want better views.

Umbrellas on the beach in Hurghada

Egypt's Red Sea coastline offers swaths of sand for travelers who want a time-out from temple viewing.

During winter, the resorts scattered along the shore surrounding Hurghada jump into life as European families arrive on package tourism breaks.

The big bonus of choosing a resort on the Red Sea coast over one on the Sinai Peninsula is that you are within day-tripping distance to Luxor, so this is the best place to visit for beach life if you still want to easily see some of Egypt's most famous monuments.

Hurghada and El Gouna are the two main resort towns, while the smaller, and still being-developed, town of Marsa Alam is much farther south.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Red Sea Region

Fortress of Babylon walls

The Cairo district known as Coptic Cairo is one of the most important Christian sites in the country.

Originally the Fortress of Babylon, dating back to the Achaemenid Empire's conquest of Egypt in 525 BCE, this district is home to Cairo's oldest surviving church, synagogue, and mosque, as well as the excellent Coptic Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of Coptic Christian art and antiquities.

A section of the Fortress of Babylon's walls, which were repaired and expanded under Roman rule, are also still standing and are the entrance into the district.

Make sure to visit the Hanging Church, which holds a fine collection of icons and was built half over the Roman-era water wheel (hence the church's name). Then thread your way down the narrow alley to the Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus which, according to local tradition, was built atop the site where the Holy Family with the infant Jesus lived in refuge after fleeing King Herod.

Nearby, the Ben Ezra Synagogue is famous for being the site where the Geniza documents cache were discovered.

A short walk away is the Mosque of Amr Ibn Al As, built by the Arab Muslim army commander (and later, first governor of Egypt) after conquering Egypt.

Wadi Al-Hitan's fossils

Wadi Al-Hitan is in the Fayoum area, a lush and fertile depression fed by ancient canals and surrounded by desert.

The Fayoum itself, with Lake Quran, the pottery village of Tunis, and Pharaonic ruins scattered across the hinterland, is an interesting place to visit, but the main tourist attraction here, in the nearby desert, is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wadi Al-Hitan.

Amid the orange dunes and jagged rocks of this desert valley, a vast fossil cache of the oldest prehistoric whales (the basilosaurus and dorodontus) were discovered, hugely aiding human understanding of the evolution of whales.

Some of the finds have been kept in situ, with walking tracks radiating out from the visitor's center to skeleton sites sitting amid the sand.

In the visitor center itself, a museum dedicated to the site does an excellent job of explaining Wadi Al-Hitan's importance, and displays many of the site's other finds, including a skeleton of a basilosaurus whale that measures 18 meters long.

Temple of Hathor

The Temple of Hathor at Dendara was built in the late Pharaonic era and extended during the Roman period, though Dendara itself was an important cult center from early on in the period of Ancient Egypt.

A trip here is well worth a day trip from Luxor, as the temple's youth (in comparison to other Pharaonic temples) means that it is one of the most complete surviving temples in Egypt.

The reliefs and decoration here are in an excellently preserved state. In particular, while in the hypostyle hall, which was built by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, note the columns topped by heads of the Egyptian god Hathor, and the wall reliefs of the emperor paying tribute to the Egyptian gods.

Dendara is just outside the city of Qena, 80 kilometers north from Luxor.

Monastery of St. Anthony

Secreted within the jagged northern mountains of the Red Sea coast, the Monastery of St. Anthony has been a working monastery since the 4th century, and today is still home to around 120 monks.

The Church of St. Anthony, within the fortress-like compound, has an interior of secco wall paintings that are considered one of the most important collections of Egyptian Coptic art in the world and date from around the 11th and 12th centuries. The church is also home to the tomb of St. Anthony (the father of monasticism) and is a major pilgrimage destination for Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Monks run tours of the monastery that include visiting the church and some of the monastery's gardens, as well as allowing you to head up and walk on top of the monastery's walls.

St. Anthony's Monastery is very isolated. If you don't have your own transport, the easiest way to get here is to hire a driver from Cairo or Hurghada.

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Egypt Travel Guide: Plan Your Perfect Trip

Egypt touts spate of new historic findings to draw tourists as travel opens back up

CAIRO — Workers dig and ferry wheelbarrows laden with sand to open a new shaft at a bustling archaeological site outside of Cairo, while a handful of Egyptian archaeologists supervise from garden chairs. The dig is at the foot of the Step Pyramid of Djoser , arguably the world’s oldest pyramid, and is one of many recent excavations that are yielding troves of ancient artifacts from the country’s largest archaeological site.

As some European countries reopen to international tourists, Egypt has already been trying for months to attract them to its archaeological sites and museums. Officials are betting that the new ancient discoveries will set it apart on the mid- and post-pandemic tourism market. They need visitors to come back in force to inject cash into the tourism industry, a pillar of the economy.

►Unearthing history: Egyptian archeologists find 5,000-year-old tombs near the Nile River

►A mummy like no other: Researchers announce world's first known case of pregnant mummy

But like countries elsewhere, Egypt continues to battle the coronavirus , and is struggling to get its people vaccinated. The country has, up until now, received only 5 million vaccines for its population of 100 million people, according to its Health Ministry. In early May, the government announced that 1 million people had been vaccinated, though that number is believed to be higher now.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

In the meantime, authorities have kept the publicity machine running, focused on the new discoveries.

Wowing the world with new discoveries

In November, archaeologists announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins dating back to the Pharaonic Late Period and Greco-Ptolemaic era, along with 40 gilded statues found 2,500 years after they were first buried. That came a month after the discovery of 57 other coffins at the same site, the necropolis of Saqqara that includes the step pyramid.

“Saqqara is a treasure,” said Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany while announcing the November discovery, estimating that only 1% of what the site contains has been unearthed so far.

“Our problem now is that we don’t know how we can possibly wow the world after this,” he said.

If they don’t, it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.

In April, Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s best-known archaeologist, announced the discovery of a 3,000-year-old lost city in southern Luxor, complete with mud brick houses, artifacts and tools from pharaonic times. It dates back to Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty, whose reign (1390–1353 B.C.) is considered a golden era for ancient Egypt.

That discovery was followed by a made-for-TV parade celebrating the transport of 22 of the country’s prized royal mummies from central Cairo to their new resting place in a massive facility farther south in the capital, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

The Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is now home to an archaeological museum, as is Cairo’s International Airport, both opened in recent months. And officials have also said they still plan to open the massive new Grand Egyptian Museum next to the Giza Pyramids by January, after years of delays. Entrance fees for archeological sites have been lowered, as has the cost of tourist visas.

Bringing back Egypt's battered tourism industry

The government has for years played up its ancient history as a selling point, as part of an effort to revive the country’s battered tourism industry. It was badly hit during and after the popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the ensuring unrest. The coronavirus dealt it a similar blow, just as it was getting back on its feet.

In 2019, foreign tourism’s revenue stood at $13 billion. Egypt received some 13.1 million foreign tourists — reaching pre-2011 levels for the first time. But in 2020, it greeted only 3.5 million foreign tourists, according to the minister el-Anany.

At the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Mahmoud el-Rays, a tour guide, was leading a small group of European tourists at the hall housing the royal mummies.

“ 2019 was a fantastic year ,” he said. “But corona reversed everything. It is a massive blow.”

Tourism traffic strengthened in the first months of 2021, el-Anany, the minister, told The Associated Press in a recent interview, though he did not give specific figures. He was optimistic that more would continue to come year-round.

“Egypt is a perfect destination for post-COVID in that our tourism is really an open-air tourism,” he said.

Lingering COVID-19 concerns

But it remains to be seen if the country truly has the virus under control. It has recorded a total of 14,950 deaths from the virus and is still seeing more than a thousand new cases daily. Like other countries, the real numbers are believed to be much higher. In Egypt, though, authorities have arrested doctors and silenced critics who questioned the government’s response, so there are fears that information on the true cost of the virus may have been suppressed from the beginning.

Egypt also had a trying experience early on in the pandemic, when it saw a coronavirus outbreak on one of its Nile River cruise boats. It first closed its borders completely until the summer of 2020, but later welcomed tourists back, first to Red-Sea resort towns and now to the heart of the country — Cairo and the Nile River Valley that hosts most of its famous archaeological sites. Visitors still require a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the country.

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In a further cause for optimism, Russia said in April that it plans to resume direct flights to Egypt’s Red Sea resort towns. Moscow stopped the flights after the local Islamic State affiliate bombed a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, killing all on board.

Amanda, a 36-year-old engineer from Austria, returned to Egypt in May. It was her second visit in four years. She visited the Egyptian Museum, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and Islamic Cairo, in the capital’s historic center.

She had planned to come last year, but the pandemic interfered.

“Once they opened, I came,” she said. “It was my dream to see the Pyramids again.”

El-Rays, the tour guide, says that while he’s seeing tourists starting to come in larger numbers, he knows a full recovery will not happen overnight.

“It will take some time to return to before corona,” he said.

The Telegraph

The Telegraph

Is it safe to travel to Egypt? Latest advice

Posted: 23 January 2024 | Last updated: 23 January 2024

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to Egypt, as tensions continue to escalate in the southern part of the Red Sea around Yemen, and the war endures between Israel and Gaza.

This month, after a series of attacks on shipping vessels transiting through the Suez Canal, the UK and the US have launched airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises : “Military activity is currently underway in response to attempts by Houthi militants to prevent movement of international shipping in the Red Sea. 

“While the area of activity is limited to the Red Sea and Yemen, there is a possibility that travel advice for nearby countries could change at short notice. You should continue to monitor travel advice and follow any relevant instructions from local authorities.”

As well as having a Red Sea coastline, Egypt also shares a border with Israel and Gaza, which remains a conflict zone following the deadly events of October 7 2023, when Hamas launched a series of bloody incursions in Israeli territory, killing more than 1,000 and prompting a backlash from the Israeli Government.

With the above in mind, holidaymakers scheduled to fly to the popular Egyptian resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, or indeed to the capital of Cairo, might be feeling nervous about travelling to the region. Here is everything you need to know about whether it is safe to visit Egypt, if flights have been disrupted, and your options if you wish to cancel your holiday.

Is it safe to visit Egypt?

Despite sharing a border with Israel and Gaza, and having a Red Sea coastline, Egypt is not directly involved in any of the current regional conflicts in the Middle East.

Egypt’s border with Israel and Gaza sits on the eastern end of the Sinai Peninsula, and the FCDO warned against travel to the entire Egyptian border region of North Sinai before the events of October 7 2023.

Last year the FCDO updated its advice to read: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the northern part of the Governorate of South Sinai, beyond the St Catherine-Nuweiba road, except for the coastal areas along the west and east of the peninsula.”

The FCDO also warns against all but essential travel to the Ismailiyah Governorate east of the Suez Canal, much of the Western Desert and the Hala’ib Triangle and Bir Tawil Trapezoid. 

The Foreign Office says: “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt” and lists six recent attacks between 2018 and 2022 which were carried out in Cairo, the Minya Province and near the Suez Canal. The FCDO also warns about political protests, which have occurred more frequently since the outbreak of war in Israel and Gaza.

As for Yemen, the popular Red Sea resorts in Egypt are more than 1,000 miles away from the Houthi airfields that have been subject to the airstrikes by the UK and US militaries. By way of comparison, this is around the same distance as from London to Lisbon. Most of the Houthi attacks on shipping vessels have been in the south part of the Red Sea, around the Bab al-Mandab Strait, although there have been a small number of incidents in the water closer to Egypt and Jordan.

Crucially, for British holidaymakers, the FCDO lists Sharm el Sheikh, Cairo and Hurghada as “green” , which means there is no advisory against travel to these areas.

Are flights still operating?

Airlines and tour operators continue to run flights into and out of Egypt. The typical flight path does not pass through Israeli airspace, but rather crosses over Italy and across the Mediterranean Sea. Likewise, flights from the UK will not fly over the conflict zone around Yemen.

What if I want to cancel my holiday?

If you have booked a package holiday and want to cancel your trip, contact your tour operator and they might offer flexibility with alternative dates. But be aware that, because the Foreign Office has not issued blanket advice against travel to Egypt, you will not be guaranteed a refund, nor will you be able to claim money back with your travel insurance company. 

If you have booked flights and accommodation independently, and wish to cancel, contact your travel providers to see if you can rearrange plans. Note, however, that given the circumstances they will not be obliged to issue refunds.

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Tourists on the beach in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh - Khaled Desouki/Getty

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  • Travel, Tourism & Hospitality ›

Leisure Travel

Tourism industry in Egypt - statistics & facts

The rich history and marine life attract tourists, the egyptian tourism sector faced a series of negative events, key insights.

Detailed statistics

Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP worldwide 2019-2033

Travel & Tourism market - Revenue forecast worldwide* 2020 - 2028

African countries with the largest international tourism receipts 2022

Editor’s Picks Current statistics on this topic

Current statistics on this topic.

Tourist expenditure in Egypt 2008-2022

Business Travel

Share of leisure and business tourist spending Egypt 2019-2022, by segment

Number of European tourists arriving in Egypt 2013-2022

Related topics

Recommended.

  • Tourism worldwide
  • Hotel industry worldwide

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Regional overview.

  • Premium Statistic Share of travel and tourism in Africa’s GDP 2019 -2023
  • Basic Statistic Total contribution of travel and tourism to employment in Africa 2008-2023
  • Premium Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals in Northern Africa 2013-2028
  • Premium Statistic Number of international tourist departures in Northern Africa 2013-2028
  • Premium Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals in selected African countries 2019-2022
  • Premium Statistic African countries with the largest international tourism receipts 2022

Share of travel and tourism in Africa’s GDP 2019 -2023

Share of travel and tourism in Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 2019 to 2023

Total contribution of travel and tourism to employment in Africa 2008-2023

Share of the travel and tourism sector in employment in Africa from 2008 to 2023

Number of international tourist arrivals in Northern Africa 2013-2028

Number of international tourist arrivals in Northern Africa from 2013 to 2028 (in millions)

Number of international tourist departures in Northern Africa 2013-2028

Number of international tourist departures in Northern Africa from 2013 to 2028 (in millions)

Number of international tourist arrivals in selected African countries 2019-2022

Selected African countries with the largest number of international tourist arrivals in 2019 to 2022 (in millions)

Selected African countries with the largest international tourism receipts in 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Economic contribution

  • Basic Statistic Contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in Egypt 2005-2023
  • Basic Statistic Value added of travel and tourism to GDP in Egypt 2019-2023
  • Basic Statistic Share of domestic and international tourist spending Egypt 2019 and 2022, by origin
  • Basic Statistic Share of leisure and business tourist spending Egypt 2019-2022, by segment
  • Basic Statistic Tourist expenditure in Egypt 2008-2022
  • Basic Statistic Employment impacts of travel and tourism Egypt 2012-2023

Contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in Egypt 2005-2023

Contribution of travel and tourism to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Egypt from 2005 to 2023

Value added of travel and tourism to GDP in Egypt 2019-2023

Contribution value of travel and tourism to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Egypt from 2019 to 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Share of domestic and international tourist spending Egypt 2019 and 2022, by origin

Distribution of domestic and international tourist expenditure in Egypt in 2019 and 2022, by visitor origin

Distribution of leisure and business tourist expenditure in Egypt in 2019 and 2022, by segment

Tourist expenditure in Egypt from 2008 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Employment impacts of travel and tourism Egypt 2012-2023

Number of jobs in the travel and tourism sector in Egypt from 2012 to 2023 (in millions)

Inbound tourism

  • Premium Statistic Number of tourist arrivals Egypt 2010-2022
  • Premium Statistic Number of tourist arrivals Egypt 2019-2022, by region of origin
  • Premium Statistic Number of nights spent by tourists Egypt 2019-2022, by region of origin
  • Premium Statistic Number of international tourist arriving in Egypt 2022, by means of transportation

Number of tourist arrivals Egypt 2010-2022

Number of tourist arrivals in Egypt from 2010 to 2022 (in millions)

Number of tourist arrivals Egypt 2019-2022, by region of origin

Number of tourist arrivals in Egypt in 2019 and 2022, by region of origin (in millions)

Number of nights spent by tourists Egypt 2019-2022, by region of origin

Number of international overnight stays in Egypt in 2019 and 2022, by region of origin (in millions)

Number of international tourist arriving in Egypt 2022, by means of transportation

Number of international tourist arrivals in Egypt in 2022, by means of transportation (in 1,000s)

Tourism expenditure

  • Premium Statistic Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of goods in Egypt 2008-2021
  • Premium Statistic Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of services in Egypt 2008-2021
  • Basic Statistic Outbound tourism expenditure in Egypt 2008-2021
  • Premium Statistic Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of goods in Egypt 2008-2021
  • Premium Statistic Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of services in Egypt 2008-2021

Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of goods in Egypt 2008-2021

Inbound tourism expenditure as share of exports of goods in Egypt from 2008 to 2021

Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of services in Egypt 2008-2021

Inbound tourism expenditure as share of exports of services in Egypt from 2008 to 2021

Outbound tourism expenditure in Egypt 2008-2021

Outbound tourism expenditure in Egypt from 2008 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of goods in Egypt 2008-2021

Outbound tourism expenditure as share of imports of goods in Egypt from 2008 to 2021

Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of services in Egypt 2008-2021

Outbound tourism expenditure as share of imports of services in Egypt from 2008 to 2021

Hotel sector

  • Premium Statistic Number of hotels and similar establishments tourism industry Egypt 2008-2019
  • Premium Statistic Number of rooms in hotels and similar establishments Egypt 2008-2019
  • Premium Statistic Hotel room occupancy rate Egypt 2008-2019
  • Premium Statistic Length of stay of international tourists in commercial accommodations Egypt 2007-2019

Number of hotels and similar establishments tourism industry Egypt 2008-2019

Number of hotels and similar establishments in the tourism industry in Egypt from 2008 to 2019

Number of rooms in hotels and similar establishments Egypt 2008-2019

Number of rooms in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in Egypt from 2008 to 2019 (in 1,000s)

Hotel room occupancy rate Egypt 2008-2019

Occupancy rate of rooms in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in Egypt from 2008 to 2019

Length of stay of international tourists in commercial accommodations Egypt 2007-2019

Average length of stay of international tourists in commercial accommodations in Egypt from 2007 to 2019 (in number of nights)

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egypt tourism today

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
  • Foreign travel advice

Warnings and insurance

egypt tourism today

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice .

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

Egypt-Libya border

FCDO advises against all travel to within 20km of the Egypt-Libya border, except for the town of El Salloum (where we advise against all but essential travel).

North Sinai

FCDO advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai.

Northern part of South Sinai

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the northern part of the Governorate of South Sinai, beyond the St Catherine-Nuweibaa road, except for the coastal areas along the west and east of the peninsula.

The eastern part of Ismailiyah Governorate

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the Ismailiyah Governorate east of the Suez Canal.

Western Desert

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, except for:

  • Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings
  • the Governorate of Faiyum
  • the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh
  • the Marsa Matruh-Siwa Road
  • the oasis town of Siwa
  • the Giza Governorate north-east of the Bahariya Oasis
  • the road between Giza and Farafra (but we advise against all but essential travel on the road between Bahariya and Siwa)
  • Bahariya Oasis, Farafra, the White Desert and Black Desert

Hala’ib Triangle and Bir Tawil Trapezoid

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the Hala’ib Triangle and the Bir Tawil Trapezoid.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel .

Conflict in neighbouring Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs)

The Israeli government has declared a state of emergency across the whole country. International borders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) could close at short notice. As a result, the land border into Israel from Egypt at Taba could close with little notice. Check with local authorities and consult the travel advice for  Israel  and the  Occupied Palestinian Territories  before trying to cross the border.

In response to events in Israel and the OPTs, a number of demonstrations have taken place in Egypt and protests have been planned, including after Friday prayers. Demonstrations could take place at short notice, with a heavy security presence in place. You should avoid large gatherings, demonstrations and protests. See  Safety and security

Entering Egypt from Gaza

The Rafah border crossing partially opened on 1 November. This is primarily to facilitate the evacuation of seriously wounded Palestinians and some foreign nationals. We understand that the crossing will continue to be open for controlled and time-limited periods to allow specific groups of foreign nationals, including British nationals, to cross. It is for the Egyptian and Israeli authorities to determine who is permitted to cross, and when. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will contact Embassies to let them know when their foreign nationals can cross. Should we receive notification from the Israeli and Egyptian authorities that individuals are permitted to cross, we will notify those people individually.

Movement to the Rafah crossing and beyond is at your own risk. You should only travel if you judge it is safe to do so. Check the  Israel and The Occupied Palestinian Territories travel advice.

The Egyptian authorities have said all aid going into Gaza from Egypt must be channelled through the Egyptian Red Crescent:

  • telephone: + 20 226 703 979, + 20 226 703 983
  • fax: + 20 226 703 967

They are unlikely to consider requests for humanitarian access made in Egypt at short notice.

Concern for friends and family

If you are concerned about friends or family, or need consular assistance call:

  • British Embassy Cairo on + 20 (0)2 2791 6000
  • +44 1767 667 600  (UK number) if you experience technical difficulties with the above number

Incidents in South Sinai  

On 27 October, an Egyptian Armed Forces spokesperson confirmed that an unidentified drone fell near a medical facility in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Taba next to the Israeli border, injuring six people. An additional unidentified drone also struck outside the town of Nuweiba, though no casualties have been confirmed. The authorities are conducting ongoing investigations.

Incident in Alexandria

On 8 October 2023, an Egyptian police officer is reported to have shot and killed two Israeli tourists and an Egyptian tour guide in Alexandria. A third tourist was injured. Remain vigilant and exercise caution at tourist and religious sites, as well as public gatherings. Find out more information on current risks on the  Safety and security .

Border crossings from Sudan

There are still people trying to cross the border into Egypt at Argeen and Qustul. Our ability to provide consular assistance is very limited.

If you are a British national and have crossed the border without valid documentation, contact the British Embassy in Cairo for consular assistance on + 20 (0)2 2791 6000.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram . You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

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Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon: What is the latest travel advice amid the Israel-Hamas war?

Israel is continuing to bombard Gaza - home to more than 2 million inhabitants - after militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack last weekend.

Over 1,400 people in Israel were killed in the Islamic group’s assault. Nearly 2,700 people in Gaza have been killed in Israel's retaliatory bombardment.

The UK and EU governments have already warned against all but essential travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

But travellers should also exercise caution when visiting some areas of neighbouring or nearby countries. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve booked a trip to Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, or Türkiye.

Is it safe to travel to Lebanon?

Lebanon, which lies to the north of Israel and shares a border, looks set to become involved in the deepening Israel-Hamas conflict.

Militant group Hezbollah has already exchanged missile strikes with Israel and tensions along the border are high.

The UK’s Foreign Office (FCDO) has now upgraded its guidelines for Lebanon , advising against all travel and urging Britons to leave the country.

“Events in Lebanon are fast moving. The situation has potential to deteriorate quickly and with no warning," the advice now says,

“Commercial routes out of Lebanon could be severely disrupted or cancelled at short notice and roads across the country could be closed. If you are currently in Lebanon, we encourage you to leave now while commercial options remain available.”

The Australian, US and European governments including Ireland and France have also issued 'no-go' travel warnings for Lebanon.

Is it safe to travel to Egypt?

Although Egypt shares a border with Gaza and Israel, the country has not yet been drawn into the conflict.

The Rafah border crossing may be opened to let Palestinians in Gaza escape to safety, but it is currently closed.

In terms of international travel, Egypt’s borders remain open and airlines and package holiday operators are continuing as normal in the country.

Flights to Egypt do not pass through Israeli airspace and have not been affected by the conflict so far.

Most of Egypt’s major cities and key tourist sites are located far away from the border with Israel and Gaza.

Beach resort Sharm el-Sheikh is the nearest, but it is still over two-and-a-half hours’ drive away from the closest border town and more than five hours away from the Gaza border.

Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor are located even further away.

The FCDO has not issued an “avoid all non-essential travel” advisory for Egypt as it has done for Israel.

As such, if you cancel your trip to Egypt you may not be eligible for a refund or be able to claim money back from travel insurance.

The FCDO does, however, urge tourists to remain vigilant and exercise caution at tourist and religious sites, as well as public gatherings, in Alexandria where two Israeli tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were shot and killed by an Egyptian police officer.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) strongly advises against travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, which borders Israel and Gaza, including the Taba-Suez Road. It also warns against travel to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing.

The DFA advises arriving by air if travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and immediate surrounds and Marsa Alam and immediate surrounds, and tourist areas in the Nile river (such as Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel).

Is it safe to travel to Jordan?

Jordan shares a border with Israel and the West Bank (one of the Occupied Palestinian Territories) as well as with Syria.

Last week, the FCDO updated its guidelines on travel to Jordan stating: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 3km of Jordan’s border with Syria.”

It also warned that border crossings between Jordan and Israel may be closed at short notice due to the ongoing conflict.

Jerusalem, Bethlehem: Tourism reels from Israel-Hamas war during busy period for pilgrimages

Israel: Warning to avoid all but essential travel as some flights resume

However, most tourist destinations in Jordan remain unaffected by the instability and flights to Amman and Aqaba airports continue to operate as normal.

If you have a package holiday booked and choose to cancel, you are unlikely to receive a refund unless the destination is in one of the FCDO’s ‘no-go’ areas.

The Jordan Tourism Board has released a statement emphasising that the country is a “safe and welcoming destination for tourists around the world.”

“Our commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all visitors remains unwavering,” the statement said.

“We want to reassure everyone that Jordan ’s borders are open to tourists, and we are eager to share our extraordinary experiences with the world.”

Is it safe to travel to Türkiye?

Some travellers have expressed concerns about holidays booked to Türkiye , but the country does not share a border with Israel and is located 879 kilometres away.

Travel to Türkiye is not affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The FCDO guidance still warns against all travel to anywhere within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria and against all but essential travel with Sirnak and the Hakkari province.

Tourist hotspots including Istanbul, Antalya and Cappadocia as well as coastal resorts remain unaffected and airlines are operating as normal in the country.

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Egypt Sees Record Tourism Despite Israel-Hamas War

Dawit Habtemariam , Skift

January 19th, 2024 at 5:17 PM EST

Egypt's tourism industry has been able to withstand some of the impact of the Israel-Hamas war.

Dawit Habtemariam

Egypt received a record-breaking number of tourists in 2023 despite the war between Israel and Hamas, according to a statement by the country’s tourism ministry on Thursday . 

The country brought in 14.9 million tourists, beating the previous record of 14.7 million tourists in 2010, said Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa. 

After the war broke out in October, multiple tour operators told Skift they saw a spike in trip cancellations from Western travelers.

“We saw this whole fear of quick escalation between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries,” said Yves Marceau, vice president of product for G Adventures, in December. “Right off the bat, Egypt, Jordan tanked. Anything in the Middle East tanked.”

Even though the war started in October, tourism to Egypt continued to grow, with 3.6 million tourists in the last three months. That was up 8% from 2022 though 600,000 short of Egypt’s goal.

Issa attributed Egypt’s record year to his ministry’s efforts like expanding hotel room capacity and going after new markets and encouraging Arab tourism.

By December, the war hadn’t spread as some feared, and tour operators said they saw fewer cancellations. Bookings for 2024 are beginning to pick up, said Marceau, but are still low.

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10 things you need to know today: January 21, 2024

Palestinian death toll reportedly passes 25,000, top Biden adviser to travel to Egypt and Qatar for hostage talks, and more

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Body bags laid in the street in Rafah, Gaza

1. Palestinian death toll reportedly passes 25,000

More than 25,000 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas , officials from Gaza's health ministry said Sunday. An additional 62,000 Palestinians have reportedly been wounded. This far and away marks the deadliest moment in the Israel-Palestinian conflict in decades and comes as Israel has continued to push for the total destruction of Hamas. However, it appears that an end to the fighting is not on the horizon, as Hamas continues to hold dozens of Israelis hostage and daily bombardments of the Gaza Strip by Israel continue. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls for a two-state solution, saying it is not currently feasible. The Associated Press , Reuters

2. Top Biden adviser to travel to Egypt and Qatar for hostage talks

A senior adviser to President Joe Biden will visit Egypt and Qatar this week to try and reenergize the countries to help secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, Axios reported Sunday. Brett McGurk, a National Security Council coordinator, will visit the region for the second time in a month, where he will meet with top intelligence ministers from both countries. Egypt's intelligence service was a key mediator in prior negotiations, and the Biden administration is hoping to bring them in for additional talks this time around. The trio of countries are continually pushing Israel and Hamas to try and find a proposal that would eventually end the war. Axios , The Wall Street Journal

3. At least 25 people reportedly killed during market shelling in Ukraine

At least 25 people were killed in Ukraine on Sunday during a shelling of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, the region's leader said. Denis Pushilin, who was installed by Russia to oversee the occupying forces, said the strike also injured an additional 20 people. Alexei Kulemzin, the Russian-installed mayor of Donetsk, said the shells fell on a busy area of the city filled with a number of shops and markets. Pushilin claimed the attack was perpetrated by Ukrainian forces, though Ukraine's military has not commented on the shelling. Moscow claimed the attack was carried out "with the use of weapons supplied by the West ," though this has not been verified. BBC , Reuters

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4. Haley questions Trump’s mental capacity after he confuses her with Nancy Pelosi

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley questioned former President Donald Trump's mental stability on Saturday after he confused her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times. "Trump is at a rally and he’s going on and on, mentioning me several times as to why I didn’t take security during the Capitol riots. Why I didn’t handle Jan. 6 better," Haley said during a rally in New Hampshire. "I wasn’t even in DC on Jan. 6." Haley added that when "you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it." The two GOP candidates have been sparring ahead of the New Hampshire primary. CNN , The Hill

5. North Korea expresses willingness for Putin to visit country

North Korea's state news agency said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could soon visit their country. The invitation comes as the two authoritarian states have been working closer together , causing concerns among Western nations of an enhanced alliance. North Korean officials said Putin's visit would create "a new multi-polarized international order." The Russian president reportedly "expressed his willingness to visit [North Korea] at an early date" and thanked North Korea for the invitation. Putin last visited North Korea in 2000. North Korea has reportedly been selling weapons to Russia to use in their war against Ukraine, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Russia last year to shore up support. Politico , Bloomberg

6. Thousands protest in Germany against the country’s far-right

More than 100,000 people marched in cities across Germany on Saturday to protest the rise of the country's leading far-right party . Anger toward the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party began brewing after it was revealed that members of the far-right faction discussed implementing mass deportations of migrants. Opponents labeled the plan a vestige of the Nazi era and took to the streets in numerous cities. At least 35,000 people marched in Frankfurt, many carrying banners saying, "Defend democracy — Frankfurt against the AfD." Similar protests were also seen in the cities of Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dortmund and Nuremberg. A large demonstration in Berlin is also being planned for Sunday. The Guardian , CNN

7. Cold temperatures cause deadly chills across much of the US

Large swaths of the United States continue to experience deadly winter weather this weekend as dangerously cold temperatures take hold over much of the country. At least 89 people have died over the past week due to the weather, according to a CBS News tally, including 25 deaths in Tennessee alone. Many of the coldest temperatures were seen in traditionally moderate climates across the South; Louisville, Kentucky, saw a high of just 5 degrees Fahrenheit, while Atlanta reached just 21 degrees. Single-digit temperatures were also seen in states throughout the Midwest and New England. Dangerously cold temperatures are expected to continue into the coming week before a gradual warm-up. CBS News , The New York Times

8. NASA reestablishes contact with Ingenuity helicopter on Mars

NASA was able to reestablish communications with its Ingenuity helicopter on Mars two days after it lost its signal, the agency said Saturday. The helicopter's signal was lost last Thursday during a "quick pop-up vertical flight" to test its systems, NASA said. The Ingenuity was shown to have ascended to an altitude of 40 feet before the signal was lost. After a few days of trepidation, though, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote on X that contact with Ingenuity had been reestablished after a Martian rover performed "long-duration listening sessions for Ingenuity's signal." NASA said it was reviewing the data to understand why Ingenuity went offline for a time. NPR

9. Ravens and 49ers advance in NFL playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers advanced to their respective conference championship games on Saturday with a pair of wins. The Ravens were able to easily dispatch the Houston Texans 34-10, with Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson going 16 for 22 passing with two touchdowns. The 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in a heart-stopping 24-21 match that featured a star effort from 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Brock Purdy. The final two divisional games take place Sunday, with the Detroit Lions playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Buffalo Bills. Sports Illustrated

10. 'Saturday Night Live' returns to mock Trump’s courthouse appearances

"Saturday Night Live" returned following its holiday hiatus Saturday with host Jacob Elordi and musical guest Reneé Rapp. The show's cold open featured James Austin Johnson back in his role parodying former President Donald Trump. Johnson spoofed Trump's ongoing legal troubles and headline-making courtroom behavior, saying that 2024 would see him either "go to jail, be president, or frankly, 'The Purge,'" a reference to the horror franchise where all crimes are legal for a day. Johnson also made mention of Trump's dominating win in the Iowa caucuses and the poor performance of Ron DeSantis, saying he "went to 99 counties but bitch couldn’t win one." The Hollywood Reporter

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 Justin Klawans has worked as a staff writer at The Week since 2022. He began his career covering local news before joining Newsweek as a breaking news reporter, where he wrote about politics, national and global affairs, business, crime, sports, film, television and other Hollywood news. Justin has also freelanced for outlets including Collider and United Press International.  

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8%-growth in number of tourists visiting egypt since outbreak of gaza war: minister tells senate.

The total number of tourists that visited the country in 2023 amounted to 14.906 million.

14.9M tourists visit Egypt in 2023: Tourism Minister

The fourth quarter of 2023, in particular, experienced a surge in tourism activity, welcoming 3.6 million tourists, which marked an 8 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022

Maxim Investment Group to establish Egypt's 1st medical resort at LE1.5B

The resort will be built on 40 feddans, creating 4,500 jobs.

Egypt to become active player in establishing joint Arab market for electricity in 2024-2030: IDSC

The project considers macroeconomic trends, as well as trends at the level of the economic and social sectors that support the renaissance of the Egyptian state.

Chinese tourism to Egypt can reach 10M annually: Tourism expert

Tourism expert Muhammad Farouk said that Chinese tourism movements must be conducted through trade exchange.

Egyptian Cabinet approves LE 50B tourism initiative to boost hotel room capacity

Furthermore, this expansion is expected to create approximately 45,000 new direct and indirect job opportunities, providing a much-needed boost to the labor market

Saudi Al Lami Group to invest $500M in Egypt's tourism and real estate sectors

Highlighting the group's commitment to Egypt, Al Lami revealed that the total investments made by his group in the country currently amount to $3 billion

Tourism sector on way to meeting 2023 goals despite war on Gaza, tourism minister

Issa explained that the ministry recorded tourist arrivals of 1.3 million from 80 countries in October, an 8 percent increase year-on-year, highlighting its significance amid the escalating war on the Gaza Strip

Tourism Minister presents Egypt's plans to attract 30M tourists by 2028

The government plans to implement various promotional and marketing campaigns with tour organizers and relevant stakeholders, aiming to position Egypt as a desirable tourist destination in diverse tourist markets

Uzbekistan's amb: We are keen on consolidating ties between Samarkand and Alexandria

He expressed his hope that the direct ties between the cities of the two countries would give new impetus to the development of cooperation in the field of tourism, investment and cultural exchange.

Sharm el-Sheikh Int'l Airport receives 1st AEGEAN Airlines flights from Athens

Sharm El Sheikh International Airport received the first AEGEAN Airlines flight arriving from Athens Airport with 82 passengers on board.

Egypt adopts promotional events, campaigns to stimulate tourism

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa, chaired the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian General Authority for Tourism Promotion, at the Ministry’s headquarters in the New Administrative Capital.

Aswan set to operate hot-air balloon flights for the first time

· Aswan enjoys the unparalleled beauty, nature, and stunning views that God endowed it with.

Egypt transforms FY2021/2022 deficit into surplus of $882M in FY2022/2023, CBE

Egypt's tourism sector also reported strong growth, with revenues increasing by an impressive 26.8 percent on a yearly basis in FY2022/2023, soaring to $13.6 billion

Egypt’s tourism revenues increased by 26.8% in FY 2022/2023

The government's strategic efforts led to attracting a significant influx of visitors to Egypt, culminating in an impressive milestone of 7 million tourists during the initial six months of 2023

Enhancing tourism: Discussing Egypt’s development of airports in 10 yrs

Airports have an important and vital role in attracting economic and commercial activities and attracting direct and indirect investment to areas that need development.

Gov't reveals significant increase in banks' foreign exchange collection: Report

The report also indicated increase in foreign currency from tourism sector; Foreign investors who entered the Egyptian market again since January 11 and a major surge in trading amounts in the interbank market, as trading amounts since January 11 recorded an increase of more than 20 times compared to the previously recorded daily amounts.

All you need to know about Aswan's participation in Arab Tourism Capital 2024 competition

Upper Egypt's governorate of Aswan is participating in the Arab Tourism Capital 2024 competition.

Egypt, Argentina collaborate to enhance Egypt’s tourism sector

The meeting provided an opportunity to acknowledge the growing interest among Argentinian tourists in visiting Egypt.

Egypt, Argentina talk enhancing joint bilateral cooperation in tourism sector

Ahmed Issa began the meeting by welcoming the ambassador and his accompanying delegation, stressing the depth of relations between the two countries in many fields, including the field of tourism and antiquities.

Egyptian Parliament expresses condolences with flag lowering for Palestinian martyrs

The sun names egypt’s lost golden city top discovery of 2021, egypt joins major gas-exporters’ club, today in history: horror classic “carrie” premieres, moroccan police fire tear gas to disperse protests in north.

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Somalian and Egyptian presidents

Egypt backs Somalia in dispute over Ethiopia-Somaliland deal

Somalia mobilises regional support as Ethiopia considers recognising breakaway region to gain sea access

The president of Egypt, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has expressed his support for Somalia in a dispute over an offer by the breakaway northern region of Somaliland to give land-locked Ethiopia access to its coast in exchange for recognition of its independence.

In his strongest statement yet on the issue at a press conference in Cairo alongside the president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Sisi said: “My message to Ethiopia is that trying to seize a piece of land to control it is something no one will agree to.”

He added that his country would be ready to provide “support in case of aggression against one of the Arab countries, especially when brotherly countries ask us to stand by them”, raising concerns that Cairo may become directly involved in an escalating dispute between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa.

Relations between Somalia and Ethiopia have deteriorated since early January, when Somaliland and Ethiopia announced a memorandum of understanding that bypassed the Somali government, which has not exercised control over the self-declared republic since 1991.

Officials from Somaliland have claimed that the prospective agreement would involve Ethiopia gaining a naval base along its Gulf of Aden coastline in exchange full recognition. Ethiopia has remained tight-lipped on this aspect of the deal amid growing international pressure , though several officials have hinted at their support for Somaliland’s independence.

In an interview with the Observer this month, Somaliland’s foreign minister, Essa Kayd, said that unless the region receives recognition as an independent state, “nothing is going to happen”. “Ethiopia needs sea access and we need recognition, so you can see how these needs can be dealt with,” Kayd added.

Ethiopia has been landlocked since 1993, when its own restive northern region of Eritrea declared independence, making the country reliant on neighbouring Djibouti for virtually all of its international trade.

Somalia has mobilised the support of its international partners since Ethiopia and Somaliland announced the deal on New Year’s Day. Egypt , which has seen its own ties with Ethiopia deteriorate over a dam that Ethiopia has built on the Blue Nile, has been vocal in its opposition to the memorandum.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, said on Wednesday that Ethiopia was “a source of instability” in the region and called on it to respect Somalia’s territorial integrity.

The Somali government has rejected calls for mediation between it and Ethiopia over the deal until Addis Ababa renounces the pact and reverses course on the memorandum, which Somali officials have called an attempt to “annex” its territory.

In my address at NAM, I emphasized that the continuous reckless and irresponsible rhetoric emanating from the officials of Ethiopia constitutes a dangerous violation of Somalia’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, demonstrating an absolute disregard for the cardinal… pic.twitter.com/YLd27Cs0nM — Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (@HassanSMohamud) January 19, 2024

The Somali president raised the issue at a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, a 120-member bloc of countries, telling delegates in Uganda that the agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia allowed the latter to “annex a corridor to establish a naval base on our coastline” and calling the deal a “clear violation of Somalia’s sovereignty”.

Heads of state from across the region gathered in Uganda on Thursday at a meeting called by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an east African inter-governmental organisation, to tackle the fallout from the memorandum.

The prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, did not attend in person, but the regional body, in which Ethiopia exercises significant influence, issued a cautiously worded statement that called on all members to respect one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On Wednesday, the US national security spokesperson, John Kirby, expressed concern that further tension between Somalia and Ethiopia, which Somalia has threatened might lead to war , could undermine broader efforts in the fight against al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency group in Somalia.

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