It is expected that hotel occupancy in March will increase to up to 80% due to the influx of participants in the Economic Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The conference will be a millstone in increasing the flow of tourists to Egypt and promoting tourism during the current year.
The percentage of occupancy in Sharm El-Sheikh hotels is currently around 40%, according to Chairman of the Tourism committee in Association of Businessmen Ahmed Balbaa .
Balbaa said there has been no change in occupancy since the beginning of the year. He added that the current situation, along with the political atmosphere, and Egypt’s declaration of a “war on terror” did not affect occupancy rates, because Sharm El-Sheikh is far from conflict areas.
Ali Ghoneim, a member of the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels, said the percentage of occupancy in Sharm El-Sheikh is currently 35%. He said it is expected to increase in March to between 70-80%.
Ghoneim added that the rate of occupancy was affected by the decrease in the rate of the Russian Rouble. Prior to the rouble’s decline, Russian occupancy in Sharm El-Sheikh was approximately 70%.
Meanwhile, Taba and Nuweiba suffered from a severe decline in hotel occupancy rates, according to head of the Taba-Nuweiba Investors Association, Sami Suleiman.
Suleiman said the rates of hotels occupancies are almost non-existent in the two South Sinai cities. He added that the Economic Conference in March will not help in increasing the percentage of occupancy in hotels in these two cities.
Suleiman attributed this to the long distance between the conference’s venue in Sharm El-Sheikh, and Nuweiba and Taba, as the minimum distance is 160 km.
“The association is working on developing new proposals and ideas for tourism projects to develop and revitalise international tourism, in cooperation with the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority,” said Suleiman. “A meeting is being held Thursday to discuss specialised studies in this regard.”
Hotel capacity in South Sinai is 162,000 rooms, 40% of which are in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Tourism income to Egypt during 2014 totalled $ 7.5bn, a $1.6bn increase compared to 2013.
Ministry of Tourism is coordinating with the South Sinai governorate to prepare for the Economic Summit, according to an official at the Ministry of Tourism.