Tarek Shalaby, Deputy Chairman of Tourism Investors Association in Marsa Alam, has criticised the Ministry of Tourism for not supporting tourist investments in the region, which exceed EGP 15bn.
Shalaby added that the region is currently suffering from a significant decline in tourism.
Currently, hotel occupancy rates range from 20% to 40%, although the average occupancy, given the absorptive power in the region, does not exceed 25%, according to Shalaby.
More than 20 hotels have closed their doors, and there are more yet to fellow, Shalaby stated. The absorptive capacity in the region is about 10,000 hotel rooms, he added.
“More than five years ago, we tried to assist the Ministry of Tourism in supporting the flight line from Cairo to Marsa Alam, but it was to no avail. No Egyptian will consider visiting the region with a ticket price that exceeds EGP 2,000,” said Shalaby.
Shalaby said the decline in occupancy rates is a result of the continuation of the reduced price of the Russian rouble against the dollar, as well as the ongoing war in the Strait of Bab El-Mandeb in Yemen. He added: “We all refer to Hurghada as a separated area from Egypt, located in the Red Sea but now the Red Sea is at war although the war is thousands of miles away from Egypt.”
The Ministry of Tourism is targeting attracting 12 million tourists by the end of this year, according to Tourism Minister Khaled Rami.
Marsa Alam area is one of the most promising tourist areas in the Red Sea, according to Shalaby. He added that the Tourism Investors Association wants to know the reasons why the Ministry of Tourism is reluctant to support the region like the other tourist areas.
The association had already launched a tourism programme for Egyptians with a price ranging between EGP 1,000 to EGP 1,500 for three nights, but it failed to gain approval from EgyptAir.