CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt expects to receive about 13 million visitors in 2008, 19 percent more than in 2007, a Tourism Ministry official said on Wednesday.
Income from tourism in 2008 will be $11.6 billion, 23 percent up on 2007, added the official, who was confirming a newspaper report quoting Tourism Minister Zoheir Garrana.
The figures suggest a slight deceleration in the rate of growth of the Egyptian tourist industry. In the financial year 2007/8, which ended in June 2008, the number of visitors rose 25 percent and the income from tourism rose 32 percent.
The investment bank EFG-Hermes said it doubted the ministry's forecast. "Our forecast for tourist arrivals is more conservative: we expect them to reach 12.1 million in 2008," the bank said in a report.
The prediction of 19 percent growth to 13 million also did not match official monthly figures released during 2007, which showed a cumulative total that year of 9.736 million visitors.
But the ministry official, who asked not to be named, said the correct figure for 2007 was in fact 11.2 million.