Middle East Crisis: Egypt Calculates Economic Losses

Saudi Arabia launches a megaproject in civil aviation sector

Abdulaziz Al-Duailej

Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea area have cost Egypt’s economy dearly. The North African country’s shipping revenue through the Suez Canal has fallen by about 50 percent in recent months. In addition, the war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the armed Palestinian movement Hamas has reduced the flow of tourists to the land of the pyramids to a minimum. According to Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Eissa, it will be impossible for Egypt to reach the goal and welcome 18 million foreign tourists in 2024 due to the ongoing escalation of geopolitical tensions. Eissa, however, emphasized that the Egyptian government, which is interested in strengthening the hotel sector, will soon “announce new incentives” for investors who decide to participate in hotel renovations.

Things are much better in the UAE, where last year Dubai International Airport surpassed its pre-covid level of annual passenger traffic. According to Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, the airport served nearly 87 million passengers in 2023. The increase was 31.7% year-over-year, surpassing the 86.4 million recorded in 2019.

Air connectivity is seen by the countries of the Arabian Peninsula as a very effective tool for developing national economies and attracting global investment. On February 20, a group of senior civil aviation officials from Saudi Arabia embarked on an international mission to explore opportunities in Singapore, China, and the USA. The delegation, led by Abdulaziz al-Duailej, chairman of Riyadh’s General Authority for Civil Aviation, has begun official visits to these three countries to “explore opportunities for cooperation in the field of transportation.” The ultimate goal is “to improve international travel opportunities, boost tourism in the kingdom, and promote cultural and trade exchanges between Saudi Arabia and relevant countries.”