x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Returning stability entices 30 per cent more tourists to Egypt

Egypt's tourism numbers increased by more than 30 per cent last month from the same period last year as visitors started to return to a country whose hospitality industry suffered steep decline last year.

Egypt's tourism numbers increased by more than 30 per cent last month from the same period last year as visitors started to return to a country whose hospitality industry suffered steep decline last year.

This year, numbers have rebounded after a 33 per cent drop in the number of tourists visiting the country last year amid the uprising against the then president Hosni Mubarak. The number of tourists visiting Egypt reached 1.04 million last month, a 30.8 per cent increase on April last year, according to Egypt's tourism ministry, as reported by Bloomberg.

Hoteliers have reported that the Red Sea resorts have been faster to recover than the major cities. But prices have been discounted.

"In Egypt … the resorts, we are running [occupancies of] between 70 and 90 per cent, but at the cost of the rate," said Rudi Jagersbacher, Hilton Worldwide's president for the Middle East and Africa. "The rate is low - so we are looking to try to make sure that we attract customers who are able to afford it to push up the occupancy," he said. "The key is to really generate business for Cairo."

In the capital, where hotels have been severely affected by the unrest, occupancy reached 52.5 per cent last month, a 67.8 per cent increase over April last year, according to figures from STR Global, a hotel benchmarking firm based in London.

Room rates in Egypt's capital, however, decreased by 13 per cent to US$100.56 (Dh369.36) last month. In total, 12.6 per cent of jobs in Egypt are generated by the tourism sector. In 2010, tourism accounted for 11.3 per cent of GDP.

Tourist numbers reached a peak of 14.7 million that year, followed by a 33 per cent decline last year, to 9.8 million, according to official statistics.

Revenue from tourism declined from $12.5 billion in 2010, to $8.8bn last year.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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