Hotels in coastal areas are counting on the spring school holidays and Egypt’s national holidays next April to increase their occupancy rates, said Tarek Shalaby, deputy chairman of the Tourism Investors Association in Marsa Alam.
He added that the hotels in coastal areas, both in South Sinai and the Red Sea, have begun to launch their special offers for Egyptian families to prompt them to spend their vacation there.
Ain Sokhna and Alexandria are the most popular coastal areas for Egyptians to spend their holidays during the recent period, according to former chairman of the Chamber of Hotels Waseem Mohey El-Din.
He added that Alexandria will take the lion’s share of Egyptian holidaymakers, especially during the summer.
The total capacity of hotels in Alexandria and the North Coast is about 4,000 rooms, according to the Chamber of Hotels.
Mohey El-Din expects a 15% increase in rooms’ prices compared to last year, especially in the five-star hotels. He attributed the rise in the prices of rooms to the rise in occupancy costs by more than 20% during the recent period.
“The prices range between EGP 600 and EGP 1,200 per room,” Mohey El-Din added, pointing out that hotels in Ain Sokhna and Alexandria will be the most expensive during the upcoming period.
Egyptian tourism has been suffering from a decline in tourists flow since the Russian plane crash at the end of October 2015.
Shalaby said he expects a significant rise in occupancy rates during April, to about 40% or more in the Ain Sokhna area, owing to its proximity to Cairo.
However, Shalaby does not expect any increase in European tourists during April due to the continued suspension of Russian and British flights to Egypt, as well as the negative impact of the killing of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni.
Regeni’s body was found in a ditch on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road in February, several days after he had gone missing during the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.
Tourist traffic in Egypt recorded 9.3 million tourists in 2015, compared to 9.9 million tourists in 2014.
Moreover, Mohey El-Din noted that the local tourists constitute the majority of hotel occupancy rates in Alexandria, all four seasons of the year.
The hotel capacity across Egypt includes 130,000 rooms in the Red Sea and the South Sinai, 30,000 rooms in the Greater Cairo area, approximately 21,000 rooms in Upper Egypt, Luxor and Aswan, and 4,000 rooms in the North Coast and Alexandria, according to the Chamber of Hotels.
The Ministry of Tourism has extended its tourist programme for Egyptians to the end of April in a bid to increase the occupancy rates in areas suffering from the decline in foreign tourist influx in Sinai, Luxor and Aswan.
Member of the Chamber of Tourism companies and travel agencies Tharwat Agami said these programmes are a lifeline for hotels in Luxor and Aswan, which have suffered huge losses over the last five years.
The hotel occupancy rates in Upper Egypt range between 10-15%, Agami said, expecting a 25% increase during April.