In the aftermath of militant islamic attacks in the 1990"s, the number of tourists in Egypt dropped. However, the turn of the millennium saw figures increase. In 2004, 8 million people came to the North African country from abroad. Last year, the amount rose to 8.6 million people, who proceeded to spend USD6.5 billion. This year has seen an increase of 12% on 2005 and the total amount of people expected to come to Egypt is predicted to reach 16 million by 2014. Tourism is one of the main sources of foreign currency for Egypt.
The Mediterranean coastline of Egypt offers an exotic and relatively inexpensive holiday to lovers of sea and sun. The country boasts a range of ancient sites, known to every schoolchild: the sphinx, great pyramids and the valley of the kings. But the visits to such monuments have been causing concern amongst representatives of the Egyptian tourism industry. The increasing numbers of tourists are damaging the ancient sites they come to see. Comparisons have even been made with the weather and erosion, as some believe that huge influxes of people speed up the ageing of attractions more than the natural elements themselves. Tourists are said to be wearing away paintings with bags and bodies. Similarly, increasing numbers of people are causing higher rates of perspiration and humidity which in turn is causing walls to wear away.
However, attempts are being made for bodies such as Egypt"s Supreme Council of Antiquities to work together with tourist organisations in order to solve this problem.