The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) decided to extend its tourism support initiative to December 2018, an initiative that was originally launched in December 2015, according to a press statement released by the bank on Thursday.
The initiative aims to provide financing facilities to tourism-related activities, including the construction and renovation of hotels and tourist projects, travel agencies and booking services, land transport companies, restaurants, and other entertainment activities.
Moreover, banks will accept requests from such tourism activities to postpone the due dates of the repayment of the funds they received for up to three years, under the previous conditions determined by the CBE, such as that local components must also be used in 75% of the renewal process, and that renovation and renewal must abide by the new standards and specifications of the Ministry of Tourism.
On the other hand, the initiative also included allowing banks to postpone repayments on consumer and real estate loans obtained by tourism sector workers for six months from their due date, without applying interest on late payments, according to the statement.
Since 2013, the CBE has issued consecutive initiatives to support the tourism sector, which accounted for around 15% of Egypt’s GDP in 2010. Tourist arrivals dropped to 5.3 million tourists in 2016 from around 9.3 million tourists in 2015, as several countries implemented travel bans to Egypt following the downing of a Russian airliner in Sinai. Prior to political unrest in 2011, Egypt tourist arrivals reached a peak of 14.5 million tourists in 2010.
However, tourist arrivals are now on an increasing trend, with around 7.5 million from the start of 2017 until November.