Employees of the Egyptian tourism sector said reservations for the new summer season looked encouraging, especially for cities like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, and added that the tourism sector has benefited from European countries lifting their travel bans to Egypt.
In statements given to AlArabiya.net, they said the occupancy rate for this season was between 50 to 65%, percentages they said were normal for this time of year but that everyone was putting their hopes on next summer to make up losses accumulated over the past three years.
Adel Salem, sales manager for Roca Travel, said there was more than one positive indicator that benefited the tourism sector, including the Egyptian constitution and the roadmap to democracy. He added that participation in the constitutional referendum sent a message of confidence to tourists that Egypt had better days ahead of it.
He also indicated to AlArabiya.net that the second factor was European countries lifting the travel bans to Egypt and that these bans were lifted as soon as the constitution passed, making the new summer season look encouraging. He said the main problem that still persists is the low prices of touristic services in most tourist areas in Egypt.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou expected the Egyptian government to make $9bn in 2014 off tourism, through heavy marketing in key countries that send tourists to Egypt.
In a statement Zaazou said: “2014 will be the year we recover as a sector, in comparison with revenues from last year.” He indicated that forecasted revenues will not be solely based on increasing tourism traffic but also on creating new tourism products.
Zaazou mentioned that Arab tourism, specifically from the gulf, is one of the most important to Egypt and represented 20% of tourism to Egypt annually, compared to 72% for European countries and 8% for other countries.
Zaazou added that the ministry would start a number of touristic programs to attract tourists from Arab countries, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan through agreements with hotels in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Translated from Al-Borsa newspaper