May 22, 2011 / 1:01 PM / in 7 years

Tourism to Egypt down 46 percent in first quarter

CAIRO (Reuters) - The number of tourists visiting Egypt slumped 46 percent in the first quarter when mass protests ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the government’s statistics agency said on Sunday.

<p>A group of Dutch tourists listen to a guide near the Djoser's step pyramid in Saqqara, outside of Cairo March 5, 2011. REUTERS/Peter Andrews</p>

The unrest that began on January 25 prompted embassies to issue travel warnings and many tour groups cancelled trips, throwing an industry that is a major source of foreign currency into crisis.

Foreign reserves fell to $28.0 billion in April, the lowest in four years.

“The tourism industry is still affected by the recent events in Egypt causing a great decline in the number of tourists ... which reached 1.9 million tourists,” the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said.

Egypt’s economy contracted an estimated 7 percent in the January-March quarter. The International Monetary Fund has projected growth of 1.0 percent this year, down from 5.1 percent in 2010.

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