Central Bank of Egypt explores ways to salvage tourism amid COVID-19 crisis

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Governor, Tarek Amer, has held a high-level ministerial meeting to discuss methods of supporting the tourism sector during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Present at the meeting were Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani, as well as the CBE’s Deputy Governor, and a number of bank leaders.

Also present at the meeting were: the Chairperson of the Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers; the head of the Chambers of Hotel Establishments; heads of Travel and Tourism companies and agencies; and some tourism investors.

The meeting, held via video conference, discussed mechanisms to support Egypt’s tourism sector against the pandemic, as the sector is one of the most important contributors to the national economy.

The participants also discussed ways to overcome the obstacles facing investors, with the CBE Governor and Ministers reviewed the problems investors encounter in obtaining credit facilities as part of the CBE’s initiative to support the tourism sector.

This support has provided an amount of EGP 3bn in the form of loans to the sector, at a 5% return, through which salaries, with operations and renovations costs financed with loans with a return rate of 8%.

This amount also covers funding the salaries and liabilities of suppliers. An agreement was made to amend some of the parameters of the Ministry of Finance’s initiative to achieve maximum benefit for investors.

For his part, Al-Anani stressed the Egyptian Government’s keenness to exert its utmost efforts to support the country’s tourism sector and maintain its workers. It also aims to stabilize their conditions, as preserving these workers and their rights is a top priority for the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, especially in light of the current crisis.

The CBE Governor and Minister of Finance also directed for the concerned authorities to remove all obstacles facing investors and set clear and precise controls that can be used on a wider scale by the concerned authorities. They believe that this would help kick-start operation and provide the necessary support for this important sector.

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