Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anani and Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba have met with a number of investors from Hurghada coastal city to discuss increasing inbound tourism.
Also present at the meeting were: Red Sea Governor Amr Hanafi; Members of Parliament (MPs) from Hurghada; Montaser Manna, Deputy Minister of Aviation; the President of the Egyptian Tourism Federation; and some representatives from Hurghada’s tourism federation.
The meeting comes part of a series of meetings that both ministers agreed on holding with investors in Egypt’s various tourism cities.
This will ensure they can listen to the demands and proposals set out by investors and tourism entities, to support and increase the tourism and flights to these cities. The meeting was also instigated to discuss the challenges facing the tourism industry there.
During the meeting El-Anani reviewed the efforts made by the state to support the tourism sector during the pandemic. This included postponing the procedures for signing administrative seizures on hotel and tourism projects for another year ending on 31 December 2021.
There will also be the postponement of debt payments owed on hotel establishments during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, relevant from April 2020.
The schedule of payments is set to begin in May 2021, and will take place over the course of 36 months. This comes in addition to the exemption from paying visa fees for tourists coming to South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor, and Aswan in the period from June 2020 until 30 April 2021.
The minister said that the state has taken these unprecedented measures to support the tourism sector under the directives of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The measures have been put in place to ensure the rapid resumption of Egypt’s tourism industry as soon as the crisis ends and to keep employees in the sector.
He added that for the first time, a Ministerial Committee for Tourism and Antiquities has been established, headed by the Prime Minister.
El-Anani referred to his meeting with the Chairperson of the Tourism and Aviation Committee in the Parliament and the Chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation.
The meeting saw discussions on the mechanisms of supporting the sector and stimulating the return of tourists, along with the Cabinet’s decisions were activated to support the sector. The meeting indicated that there are discussions to amend a number of laws.
With regard to investors’ requests to apply the one-stop-shop system for licences, El-Anani explained that for the first time, the permanent committee for licensing hotel and tourism establishments was formed under his chairpersonship.
It includes in its membership the leaders of all parties concerned with tourism activity in Egypt, by a decree of the Prime Minister.
El-Anani said that the committee is specialised in researching hotel and tourism projects and working to confront the problems and obstacles they face. The committee also aims to research and study requests from investors to obtain operating licences for hotel and tourism facilities.
This is in addition to renewing them, taking decisions in their regard, and informing the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in its decisions to take over the issuance or renewal of licenses in accordance with the legally established controls.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is also providing support to encourage tourism to Egyptian tourist attractions. Enaba said that the reduction in landing, accommodation and ground services fees for airlines and tour operators will continue to be applied at a rate of 20% on ground services and 50% on landing fees and accommodation.
These will apply to airports in Egypt’s four tourist governorates, from June 2020 to 30 April 2021. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had a major role in launching an initiative in Egypt to activate the domestic tourism movement.
This saw the 50% reduction in the rate of domestic airline tickets to the cities of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan, and Marsa Alam. This is to encourage demand for tourism products and for Egyptians to visit tourist destinations, as well as the discounts offered by EgyptAir on its ticket prices from abroad to Cairo.
With regard to the investor’s request to operate an internal flight route between Hurghada and Alexandria, Enaba indicated his ministry spares no effort in operating any new flights or airlines. This is particularly if they encourage tourism movement, whether from abroad or internally, provided the demand for these flights is available.
During the meeting, it was proposed to operate direct airlines for EgyptAir from Germany to Hurghada, and from Italy to Sharm El-Sheikh. Enaba stated that EgyptAir is in the process of establishing a low-cost entity that will allow the operation of those flights and enter into competition with charter airlines.
Also, Air Cairo, affiliated to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, is already operating lines linking the cities of Germany with Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.