Occupancy rates at hotels in downtown Cairo jumped to 60% during the beginning of March, according to Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation Elhamy El-Zayat.
He added that occupancy rates had deteriorated over the past two months, but are now on track for improvement, especially in downtown Cairo.
In February, occupancy rates declined to lower than 40% in some downtown Cairo hotels, but improved in March.
El-Zayat anticipated that occupancy rates will continue to increase for hotels in Cairo, not just downtown hotels, until the Easter holidays, as foreigners and Arabs flow to Egypt.
“Despite travel warnings, foreigners have a great desire to return to Egypt,” El-Zayat said.
Egypt’s tourism industry—once a prime source for foreign currency reserves—has suffered under the effect of repeated incidents in the years since the 25 January Revolution.
More recently, the spiralling insurgency—which was concentrated in North Sinai but has expanded to urban areas, including Cairo—has aggravated concerns over security among potential tourists to Egypt.
In particular, the downing of the Russian Metrojet aircraft that killed all 224 people on board prompted the Russian and UK governments to issue travel bans to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Moroever, despite the growth in occupancy in downtown Cairo hotels, El-Zayat said that occupancies in some hotels are lower than 15%, especially in the western parts of the city. Hotels in eastern and central Cairo have been doing better over the past five years.
The manager of a hotel in western Cairo said many hotels in the area have closed their doors amid severe losses in the tourism sector. He attributes the significant decline in European tourism to Egypt as the reason for low occupancy rates.
El-Zayat anticipated that hotels in touristic areas will be more popular, owing to the approach of the Easter holidays. He predicted that Ain Sokhna will be the busiest area compared to other regions and will reach occupancy rates of more than 70%.