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Instability shakes Egypt’s tourism industry once more

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Tourism has declined further since calls from activists to revive the 2011 revolution and oust the Morsi regim

TourismAn Egyptian camel owner waits for customers as tourists visit the Giza pyramids, south of CairoAFP Photo / Khaled Desouki

An Egyptian camel owner waits for customers as tourists visit the Giza pyramids, south of Cairo
AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki

The tourism sector in Egypt has deteriorated in the wake of instability in Egypt, with violence in Port Said and unrest across Egypt, tourism officials said.

Tourism has declined further since calls from activists to revive the 2011 revolution and oust the Morsi regime, Amr Sedky, deputy chairman of the tourism chamber’s board of directors, told Daily News Egypt.

Many tour organisers refused to take bookings after calls for protests in January 2013, particularly after clashes at the Semiramis Hotel in Cairo.

The Semiramis is one of Cairo’s oldest and most luxurious hotels. During recent clashes, it has been surrounded by clouds of tear gas and protesters have taken refuge in its entrance.

Internal tourism has lifted the occupation rate to 45-48% in hotels.However, these rates are expected to fall to less than 30% after the end of the midyear vacation, said Hatem Mounir, Secretary of the Tourism Chamber in the Red Sea Governorate.

“Tourism in Turkey has been flourishing thanks to Egypt’s poor situation, and tourism rates in Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco have also improved,” Mounir added.

“On 7 January we received a group of Russian tourists and that gave us hope, but unfortunately the situation declined immediately,” said Mounir.

Christmas and New Year celebrations in Egypt once acted as a good source of tourism income with hotel occupation rates of almost 100%, but these rates have plunged to about 65%.

Product price rises are also expected to be detrimental to tourism. “Tourism in Egypt will target middle-class and high-class tourists only, to adapt to new high prices,” said Sedky.

Both Sedky and Mounir said that tourism depends mainly on the stability of Egypt’s political situation.

“Tourism needs time to recover, maybe a year or more,” said Mounir.

Sedky said that tourism might never recover to previous levels, particularly after the peak tourism year of 2010.

“Around 14.4 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010,” Sedky concluded.

 

 

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Hend El-Behary

Hend El-Behary

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