​Egypt hotels feel heat from Russia's economic crisis

Hotel occupancy rates are very low compared with last year

Baku. 25 December. REPORT.AZ/Hotel occupancy in the Egyptian resort cities of Sharm al-Sheikh, Hurghada and Sokhna have been noticeably low this winter compared to the corresponding period last year.

Experts attribute the low occupancy rates to the ongoing economic crisis in Russia, one of Egypt's main tourist markets.

Hotel occupancy rates have dropped by almost 30 percent in the three resort cities, according to officials from the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism.

They said that occupancy rates in capital Cairo and the southern provinces of Luxor and Aswan had witnessed a limited surge compared to the corresponding period last year.

In Cairo, occupancy rates reached 30 percent, Abdel-Fattah al-Asi, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, said, expecting this rate to rise in coming days.

He said most guests staying at Cairo hotels were either Egyptian or foreign, noting that Arab tourists did not generally visit Egypt at this time of the year because of the academic schedule in their home countries.

Al-Asi added that, in Sharm al-Sheikh, hotel occupancy rates had reached 42 percent, whereas in Hurghada, occupancy rates had reached 44 percent.

He said the decrease in the number of Russian tourists coming to Egypt had negatively affected occupancy rates in both cities.

"Hotel occupancy rates are very low compared with last year," Nagi Erian, deputy head of the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels, told The Anadolu Agency.

The head of the External Tourism Department at the Chamber of Egyptian Travel Companies, Adel Zaki, meanwhile, offered a grimmer estimate of hotel occupancy across Egypt.

He said in Cairo, hotel occupancy rates were no higher than 15 percent, compared to 12 percent last year.

Zaki said the Egyptian capital was not on the itinerary of most international tourists due to fears of terrorist attacks.

In the past eight months, some 1.9 million Russian tourists visited Egypt, compared to 1.7 million in the corresponding period last year, informs Report citing Anadolu Agency.

The falling value of the Russian currency, however, seems to have made foreign travel for a large number of Russian tourists impossible, according to tour operators.

Deputy chairman of the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels, Tamer Nabil, said Egyptian hotels had to reduce their prices by some 40 percent compared to last year's rates.

He added that hotels now charged guests between $20 and $30 a night for accommodation.

Nabil revealed that three hotels in Hurghada had to close down a few days ago because they lacked the funds necessary to operate.

There are 225,000 hotel rooms in Egypt, including 135,000 in the Red Sea area and in the southern Sinai Peninsula.

Around 8.2 million tourists visited Egypt during the first ten months of 2014, compared with 8.1 million in the corresponding period of last year.

Egypt's tourism revenue fell to $5.9 billion last year compared to $10 billion in 2012.

Egypt depends on tourism for some 20 percent of its foreign currency earnings. It has invested a total of $9.5 billion into the local tourism sector, according to figures released by the Tourism Ministry.

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