Tourism in Sharm El-Sheikh’s hotels has risen to 70% in October, according to an official in the Chamber of Hotels. The official noted that occupancy rates in hotels increased on the back of an increased inflow of tourists from Germany and Italy in the past period.
The official expected that the increase in occupancy to reach 80% in some establishments by the end of the year, as inbound tourists increase so that they would spend Christmas in South Sinai.
However, despite the increase in occupancy during the current period compared to the same period last year, the official said the occupancy rate is measured in view of the hotels that are still operating as there are many hotels that closed during the last period due to the suspension of Russian and British tourism to the region.
The hotel capacity in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh account for about 33% of 65,000 rooms in South Sinai.
The official pointed out that hotel losses in Sharm El-Sheikh exceeded $1bn since Russian and British tourism stopped in November 2015, following the fall of a Metrojet airliner.
He added that Russian tourists accounted for the bulk of the inflows into the city, while the British were the most frequent visitors to the city, where some of them have residential units with value of £150m.
Ahmed Balbaa, chairperson of the Tourism Committee of the Businessmen’s Association, said that Sharm El-Sheikh is able to recover within a short period of time if the suspension of the decision of Russian and British flights to it.
He noted that the demand will be strong on Sharm El-Sheikh resorts, especially from western Europe, expecting the winter season to be much better compared to last year.
The Ministry of Tourism decided to allocate $10m to promote Sharm El-Sheikh in international markets, especially European markets, this season.
“We have a strong willingness to participate in the upcoming tourism WTM exhibition in London in November, with hopes that the number of companies exceed 100 companies,” he added.
The official also said that the Ministry of Tourism has a great interest in the marketing of the city, especially the European markets, both in the east and west of the continent, adding that there are arrangements with some English companies in this aspect, but it depends on lifting the decision to suspend flights from the British government to visit Sharm El-Sheikh.
Revenues for Egyptian tourism, according to the official, have risen over the past nine months to $5.3bn, up by 212% from the same period last year.
He said that they hoped the numbers would reach 6 million tourists by the end of the year, but indicators point to over 7 million, compared to 4.5 million in the last year.
Tourism for Egypt is one of the most important resources for foreign currencies, along with revenues from the Suez Canal, remittances of expatriate workers and non-oil exports.
Chairperson of the Nuweiba-Taba Investors Association Samy Soliman said that the improvement in occupancy will restore the employment lost by the sector over the seven years since the 25 January Revolution.
He noted that an increase in occupancy rates in Sharm El-Sheikh will improve that in Nuweiba and Taba.
He said occupancy rates are still weak in the region, but in any case they are better than those of last year in the same period.