Egypt’s Tourism Authority formed a crisis group to follow up on the effects of the Russian plane that crashed in Sinai on the tourism flow to Egypt, according to head of the authority Sami Mahmoud.
Mahmoud said the Ministry of Tourism did not cancel Egypt’s promotional campaign, noting that it was delayed in six major countries – Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Ukraine, and Italy – until the reasons behind the incident are revealed.
It is not true that tourism companies abroad cancelled their trips to any tourism areas in Egypt and the number of travellers to Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh is stable, he said. European tourism to Egypt represents 72% of the total number of tourists annually.
The average occupancy rates in hotels in Sharm El-Sheikh is 60%-70%, according to head of the South Sinai Tourist Investors Association Hisham Ali. None of the tourists in those hotels ended their visit earlier. “The situation is quiet and stable and the travel movement coming to the area is normal,” he said.
Russian tourists coming to Egypt represent about 35% of the total tourists, according to Mahmoud, amounting to 3.1 million tourists in the past year, with $2.5bn out of $7.3bn registered in 2014.
Despite the expectations that Russian tourism will decline more than 20% because of the decrease in the price of rouble, the declining rate of tourism flow from Russia amounted to 10% in nine months in 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, Minister of Tourism’s economic consultant Adla Ragab said. Russian tourists amounted to 2 million in nine months in 2015.
An official in the Ministry of Tourism, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Russian tourists tend to visit the coastal areas in the Red Sea and South Sinai, while not preferring the historical sites. The expenditures of Russian tourists range from $50 to $60 per night.
The Ministry of Tourism is studying with Russian trip organisers launching trips between Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh to Luxor to visit the archaeological sites to increase tourism flow to the area. It is allocating 25% of the promotional efforts for Luxor and Aswan in the next promotional campaign.
The ministry contracted with JWT to impellent the promotional campaign for three years with a cost of $68m.
“The plan by the Ministry of Tourism started to be implemented since October 2014 and is still valid to increase the travel flow to Egypt. It plans to reach 10 million tourists by the end of 2015. Next year will be the beginning of the real reform,” the official said.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou said in a press statement that there is a short term plan to cover between October 2015 and March 2016 to restore tourism flow to Egypt. The ministry revealed the discussions Zaazou made in London with officials from Thomas Cook Company about increasing the number of visitors coming through the latter to Egyptian tourist destination. Thomas Cook intends to increase its clients’ trips to Hurghada by 36%.
Zaazou’s meeting with Thomas Cook included a detailed demonstration about the rules of the system to encourage charter flights and stress on continuing the joint campaign programme.
He also met with representatives of Holiday Designers Company about the necessity of continuing participation to enhance Egypt’s touristic image and to focus on cultural tourism.
Holiday Designers representatives said they will continue to support Egyptian tourism and are focusing on golf tourism, which opens new horizons.