Terror attack takes toll on Egypt’s tourism, economy

Special to WorldTribune.com

The huge drop in tourism following the terrorist attack that brought down a Russian airliner last October has weighed heavily on Egypt’s economy.

Egypt’s deficit rose 240 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year due to falling tourism receipts, Suez Canal revenues, and transfers, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said on March 30.

Investigators examine the wreckage of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Sinai.
Investigators examine the wreckage of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268.

According to the CBE, tourism revenues fell by almost a third to $2.7 billion, from $4 billion, in the July-December period compared to the previous year.

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL’s) downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 over the Sinai Peninsula led Russia and the UK to suspend all flights to Egypt’s popular Red Sea resorts. All 224 people on board, most of them Russian tourists, were killed.

The CBE report said that “overall balance of payments deficit reached $3.4 billion in the first half of fiscal year 2015/2016, compared to $1 billion in the same period of the previous year, as the current account deficit more than doubled to reach $8.9 billion from $4.3 billion.”

The report said Suez Canal receipts declined by over seven percent for the period between July and December 2015. The Suez Canal Authority “has attributed declining receipts from tolls to a slowdown in global trade,” the CBE said.

The CBE said net official transfers (which include foreign aid bar loans), “plummeted by 99 percent to $32 million, from $2.6 billion, while remittances of Egyptian workers overseas decline by nearly 11 percent, as private transfers were shown to have declined by some 12 percent to stand at $8.3 billion.”

Foreign direct investment net inflows, meanwhile, rose from $2.6 billion to $3.1 billion, the report said.