The UNWTO is assisting with Egyptian tourism. // © 2010 Egyptian Tourism Authority
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently announced that it is strengthening its collaboration with Egypt to enhance tourism to the country. Areas of cooperation will include new accommodation quality standards; the development of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA); and the U.N. Millennium Development Goal Fund (MDG-F) Dahshour project on rural tourism.
As Egypt looks to enhance its hospitality industry in the face of a significant surge in investment, especially in the hotel industry, the UNWTO said it will work to establish stricter guidelines. Hotel capacity in the country has increased by approximately 7,000 rooms in the period of one year, to a total of 220,000 hotel rooms. Under this partnership, UNWTO has trained a select group of specialized auditors which will now carry out quality audits of accommodations in Egypt.
The UNWTO is also working closely with Egypt to enhance its capacity to measure the economic impact of tourism and provide consistent, internationally benchmarked tourism statistics. According to the UNWTO, strengthening the TSA project will provide supporting evidence to consolidate tourism's economic significance; its social impact and potential; and its future prospects.
Meanwhile, the MDG-F Dahshour project will help foster the development of sustainable rural tourism through capacity building initiatives that promote entrepreneurship, the development of tourism guides and protecting and managing the archaeological and natural resources of the area. The project is financed by the Government of Spain/UN MDG-Fund and implemented in partnership with five U.N. agencies (UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO, ILO and the UNWTO) and five partner institutions of the government of Egypt, including the Ministry of Tourism.
These initiatives are designed to reinforce Egypt's position as one of the leading tourism destinations worldwide and strengthen a critical economic sector of the Egyptian economy. In 2009, the country received 12.5 million international visitors, generating $10.8 billion. In the period from January to November 2010, the number of visitors to Egypt increased by 18 percent, while revenues reached $1.5 billion, an increase of 16 percent.
Tourism represents Egypt's largest growing source of foreign currency and is the main generator of employment opportunities. To enhance the tourism industry's potential to create jobs, the government has invested strongly in human resources. The Ministry of Tourism, in cooperation with the Egyptian Tourist Federation, has been implementing an intense human resources training program with the participation of over 100,000 trainees. As a result, a dedicated training center has been built, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East.