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Cairo, July 4 (Reuters) – Egypt’s tourism revenue was between $ 3.5 billion and $ 4 billion in the first half of 2021, and the country received about 3.5 million tourists from January to June, Ghada Shalaby, deputy tourism minister, told Reuters.

The country’s revenues from the vital sector were about $ 4 billion in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, a 70% decrease from $ 13.03 billion in 2019.

“We expect the number of tourists in the next period to increase by 45 to 60% compared to last year,” said Shalaby.

The average tourist spends around $ 95 per night, she added.

Tourism income is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt and the industry typically accounts for up to 15% of the country’s gross domestic product. (Reporting by Mohamed Sayed; writing by Mahmoud Mourad; editing by Alex Richardson and Elaine Hardcastle)