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Tourism earnings to fall by 39% to EGP 6.5bn by end of 2013: Tourism minister

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Zaazou said the average occupancy in the Red Sea and South Sinai is rising because travel bans have been lifted.

Beach on the Sinai Penisula (Photo by Rahim Hamada)

Beach on the Sinai Penisula
(Photo by Rahim Hamada)

Tourism earnings are expected to drop by 39% year on year to EGP 6.5bn by the end of 2013, according to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou.

Zaazou attributed this decline to the travel warnings on Egypt issued by several countries in mid-August of 2013.

Zaazou added that his ministry was working on reducing the drop in earnings by using the winter season to increase  tourism promotions in all markets, specifically European markets, pointing out that the past November saw 672,000 tourists as opposed to 559,000 in October of 2012. He also said that tourism earnings from January to October 2013 reached EGP 5.6 bn.

Speaking to Al-Borsa newspaper at the start of the Luxor Film Festival for Egyptian and European Films, the minister explained that the country’s tourism usually decreases during the first half of December, and reassured Egyptians that it would increase again around Christmas and the beginning of the New Year.

Zaazou said the average occupancy in the Red Sea and South Sinai is rising because travel bans have been lifted. Average occupancy has risen to 35% in Sharm El-Sheikh and 40% in the Red Sea Governate (which includes Hurghada, where most hotels are located), he added.

The ministry pointed out that initiatives set to begin in February will target attracting tourists through providing incentives to use charter flights and Egyptian hotels and on bringing more Arab tourists to Egypt.

On increasing the capital of AirCairo, a domestic carrier, Zaazou said, “at this time, the ball is in AirCairo’s court. The ministry is still awaiting the valuation studies from the company.”

Al-Borsa had reported that the Ministry of Tourism was planning on increasing the capital of AirCairo, with 60% of funding to be provided by EgyptAir and with equal shares of 20%  to be provided by the National Bank of Egypt and the Bank of Egypt.

AirCairo has expressed interest in increasing its fleet from four to eight planes. The Ministry of Tourism has meanwhile highlighted the need for additional charter flights to make up traffic lost to competing tourist destinations.

Translated from Al-Borsa Newspaper

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