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Is Egypt’s military about to conquer Red Sea tourism?

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi recently issued presidential decrees transferring control over Red Sea and Sinai lands to the armed forces, a move that many believe will negatively effect local companies in the tourism sector and bring additional riches to the military.
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Having conquered numerous industrial sectors of the Egyptian economy, the Egyptian Armed Forces increasingly has its sights set on Egypt's all-important tourism industry. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, by decree, recently transferred control of chunks of Red Sea real estate — including entire islands and towns — to the nation's military. With these transfers, Red Sea residents fear losing their livelihoods to the investment priorities of the military, an economic behemoth that will now control the development of the transferred properties, prime land in one of Egypt's leisure and tourism hotspots.

According to data collected by CEIC, a London-based economic consulting firm, Egypt's total tourism revenue for 2018 totaled some $12 billion. That is a 50% increase over 2017 revenue, which stood around $7 billion. In addition, the Central Bank of Egypt reported that tourism revenue was up 36.7%, to $5.4 billion, for the first half of this fiscal year compared to the same period for the last fiscal year. The most recent annual report by the Cabinet indicated that for 2018 the Ministry of Tourism itself collected $9.8 billion from entry fees to museums and monuments and peripheral sales and other ticketing.

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