Holy Mummies! If you’ve ever wanted to travel to Egypt and get an amazing bang for your buck, there’s no time like the present. In an attempt to meet the economic and financial conditions of the International Monetary Fund and secure major international loans to help fund the government, Egypt’s Central Bank just floated the Egyptian Pound in the international currency markets. So what’s all this mean for travelers to Egypt? Well, for starters your money now goes a WHOLE lot farther!
When I first moved to Egypt back in 2003, we thought we were getting a good deal if the Egyptian Pound hit 6 to the [US] dollar. It usually hovered in the range of 5.5 back then, but sometimes you could luck up and get a full 6 to the dollar. Then when I lived there again in 2012 right after the Revolution, it was up to about 7 pounds to the dollar. The government was still artificially holding the value of the pound up, but we still thought we were getting a good deal for our dollar.
In late 2015 when I was there, we were getting 8 pounds for every dollar and thought we were winning the currency lottery. Now a year later after the flotation and devaluation of the pound by Egypt’s Central Bank, visitors to Egypt are getting an eye-popping 15-18 pounds to the dollar!!! That’s just beyond belief for those of us who have been following and working with Egypt’s tourism market for the past two decades. Never in recent memory has the exchange rate ever been this good.
While this is obviously hard on local Egyptians to deal with, it provides an enormous opportunity for tourists wanting to visit Egypt and get a good deal. Visitor numbers are still at all-time lows, so now you can get near-empty sites and amazing exchange rates. And the silver lining for Egyptians is that the more tourists who come in response to the better exchange rate, the more foreign cash there is that goes into the economy, the quicker conditions will improve.
Visiting Egypt now will be good for you and for local Egyptians. So what are you waiting for? Get going, get touring, and get spending that moola in Egypt.