Dubai started the 2023 year by cutting off a 30% tax on alcohol sales and making liquor licences free, in an attempt to boost business and tourism.
Some Egyptians paid attention to these measures having concerns that this decision might impact Egypt as one of the main tourists’ hubs in the Middle East.
So Daily News Egypt discussed with tourism stakeholders to learn more about the impact of this decision on Egypt as a tourist destination, in addition to discussing if Egypt needs to take similar measures.
Yasser Sultan, Egyptian Travel Agents Association’s (ETAA) General Assembly member and General Manager of Egyptian Valley Tours, and Elhamy El-Zayat, former Chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), stressed that these measures are not expected to negatively impact the tourism movement in Egypt.
For his part, Sultan explained that Dubai is not a direct competitor tourism market to Egypt, as Dubai depends mainly on the shopping, conferences and the entertainment tourism patterns, while Egypt depends mainly on the beach tourism in addition to the cultural tourism. So the competitive edge is not in the prices of the alcohols or the taxes but it is in the patterns or tourism products that Egypt offers which are unique.
He explained further that Egypt competes mainly with Turkey and Tunisia, while Dubai competes with Saudi Arabia.
“Despite the current economic decisions, the programs of visiting Egypt have reasonable prices, and sometimes cheaper than its competitor markets,” he explained.
“Egypt is not in need to reduce or remove taxes, as it is considered one of the main revenues for the country, but Egypt needs to pay more attention to the tourism file and make it a national priority file,” Sultan concluded.
For his part, Elhamy El-Zayat said that these measures are not expected to negatively impact the tourism movement in Egypt as the tourist will not decide his tourism destination depending on the alcohol, mentioning that Egypt has unique archeological destinations that the tourists cannot neglect.
He called for reducing the taxes on alcohols in the hotels, explaining that for the high quality alcohols which is out of the list of the all inclusive, is very expensive evidencing that on the hotels the high quality whiskey bottle ranges to about EGP 17,000, while the glass ranges from EGP 400 to 500, while what is offered in the all inclusive is most of the times a low quality ones.
“So maybe if we cut down the taxes, maybe the spending rate of the tourist might increase, as he will consume alcohol in the hotel and outside the hotel in other restaurants, but we cannot remove it completely as it is one of the main revenues of Egypt,” he concluded.