By Rana Yehia
With the Ministry of Tourism’s current strategies, all signs indicate an increase in tourist numbers, and that it may reach 12 million tourists by the end of 2015.
The 2014 figures show 10 million tourists arrived in Egypt in 2014, with this year’s figures indicating a potential 2.5 million increase, said Raouf Bakry, member of Marsa Alam Investors Assembly.
However, Minister of Tourism Khaled Rami told Daily News Egypt in a press conference Sunday that Egypt is targeting a 20% growth in tourist numbers next winter, and 15% next summer. He noted that Egypt’s tourism income was $7.5bn in 2014, a growth of $1.6bn compared to 2013.
Most of the tourists heading to Egypt come from Western Europe, where there is a strong comeback of Italian and German tourists in, despite a huge decrease in Russian tourists’ numbers. In spite of the Russian decrease, Egypt is targeting other nationalities to reach its aim of increasing the numbers by 20%, Bakry added.
Tourists mostly target the Red Sea and South Sinai areas, with government support given to promote tourism in Luxor and Aswan during the next period. It is hoped this will increase the numbers of tourists heading there next winter, Bakry noted.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, hotel capacity in Egypt is at 225,000 rooms, 65% of which are in the Red Sea and South Sinai, while the rest are distributed between Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan.
The increase in Egypt’s tourism is attached to the country’s stability in security. Whenever the security situation stabilises, tourism rates will rise, said the CEO of tourism company Blue Sky, Hisham Al-Shaer.
Meanwhile, occupancy rates of hotels reached 70% in Hurghada and Sharm Al-Sheikh last winter, whereas it has currently remained between 40% and 50%, with the majority of tourist groups being German and British, Al-Shaer added.
Tourist expenditure per night during last year increased from $74.3 per night at the beginning of the year to $81.3 at its end, according to Rami.
However, the Ministry of Tourism aims to double tourism income over the next five years from the current $81.3 to $120 per night, according to Economic Adviser to the Minister of Tourism Adela Ragab.