The Ministry of Tourism is studying the suspension of charter flights stimulation to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada without any prejudice to Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam, Taba, El Alamein and Matruh.
Charter flight stimulation is a programme launched by the Ministry of Tourism to promote tourism, encouraging tourism agencies to launch more charter flights to touristic destinations.
The programme consists of paying incentives to tourism agencies on the occupancy percentage or on the number of empty seats according to a designated system.
The systems in stimulating charter flights outlines the empty seats system, where the government pays the organising agency the value difference for the empty seats in the airplane for it to launch.
Another aspect of the programme outlines the occupied seats system, where the government pays a percentage according to the number of seats occupied. Both systems can be followed at the same time.
The programme also consists of reducing about 20% or 30% of the shelter and take-off fees, or exempting the airplanes from paying them, said Vice Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority Hani Al-Adawy.
He added that it has had a huge impact on promoting tourism in Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hurghada; however the government is studying the programme’s suspension to these destinations as tourism has started recovering there.
The Charter Flight Stimulation programme was launched at first to promote tourism in low occupancy destinations. The occupancy rates in Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hurghada currently stand at between 60% to 80%, which means these two destinations no longer need the programme, said the Head of Tourism committee and board member in the Businessmen Association, Ahmed Balbaa.
The stimulation of charter flights means that if the minimum seat occupancy for the airplane to launch is 50 seats and the tourism agency could not fill more than 40, the government pays the difference to reach that minimum so the flight can be launched, Balbaa noted.
The issue is that the tourists coming to these destinations with this kind of facilitation and cheap prices are not willing to spend more money, meaning less revenue for the government than the facilitation that it had paid in stimulating charter flights, amounting to about $100 per person, Balbaa added.
However, the programme is most needed in the low occupancy destinations such as Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam, Taba, El Alamein and Matruh to promote tourism in these destinations, said Balbaa.
For Taba and Nuweiba, the programme is needed as they have low occupancy rates, saidHani Gawish, member of the Investors of Nuweiba and Taba Association.
The main issue is that the prices are very low and do not cover the expenses of the touristic institutions, therefore the prices need to be elevated. However since the supply exceeds the demand, prices will remain low, Gawish added.
He further noted that domestic tourism must also be supported and promoted, noting that there is a programme recently taking place in this region, where the government supports the whole trip per person to encourage Egyptians to visit these destinations.