Improved security helped Egypt’s tourism sector become the fastest growing in North Africa last year.

The growth of 16.5% was linked to the improved security infrastructure, which has helped to attract international visitors back to Egypt’s shores.

This has allowed major travel companies to resume operations in popular destinations such as Sharm el-Sheikh.

The new figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council come despite the UK continuing to ban on flights to the Red Sea resort airport following the downing of a Russian charter aircraft after take off from Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2015.

The figures for 2018 follow record travel and tourism growth of 54.8% in the previous year.

“Although the sector has not yet fully recovered to pre-crisis levels, the size of the Egyptian travel economy in 2018 ($29.6 billion) is the healthiest it has been since 2010,” the WTTC said.

Travel and tourism is responsible for 9.5% of all Egypt’s employment, or 2.5 million jobs.

The GDP contribution from the sector is projected to grow even further, by 5.4% in 2019, according to the WTTC.

President and CEO Gloria Guevara said: “We are delighted to see the strong recovery of the Egyptian travel sector – a sector so crucial to national economic growth and a key provider of jobs.

“WTTC also acknowledges [tourism minister] Rania Al-Mashat’s prioritisation of the sector and strategy to use the sector to enrich citizens and spread the benefits of travel and tourism across the country.”

Al-Mashat, spoke at a WTTC panel in November highlighting the importance of travel and tourism as a job creator, explaining that the travel sector is a “job multiplier” in Egypt.

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