Occupancy rates in Marsa Allam range between 40% and 50%, said Deputy Chairan of the Tourism Investors Association Tarek Shalaby.
Shalaby noted that the area’s occupancy rates were not affected by the Kremlin decision to halt all flights to Egypt, and the British travel warning, following the Russian airliner crash in October.
Shalaby noted that Italians account for up to 30% of the total number of guests in hotels, adding that occupancy is expected to increase during the winter season.
Hotels of the region have about 10,000 rooms, with investments valued at more than EGP 15m. Shalaby said inbound domestic tourism is still below target due to the high cost of flights.
Shalaby added the area is characterised with being calm and sunny, with clear sea water and calm waves during winter, making it a major destination for diving enthusiasts to see the coral reefs.
The association is negotiating with a private airline to operate flights to and from Marsa Allam, according to Shalaby, noting that two additional flights per week can raise the occupancy rate by over 30%.
Chairman of the Tourism Committee at the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA), Ahmed Balbaa, said the flights to Marsa Allam have gotten more expensive, which limits the number of Egyptians visiting.
Shalaby noted that the energy crisis is one of the most prominent problems facing tourism investment in the region, especially during summer. “Investors are often forced to buy fuel from the black market,” he added, noting that the solution is in renewable energy, that they have not been able to set a price for with plants yet.
The association presented a report to the former minister of tourism, Khaled Ramy, calling for the ministry’s support to investors of the area with operational loans from banks.
Atef Abdel Latif, a member of the association, said about 17 hotels have shut down over the past year.