Rays of sunshine

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 6 Jan 2023

Egypt is a target destination for visitors seeking a warm winter holiday.

Rays of sunshine


In recent weeks travellers have flocked to Egypt in search of sun, sand, and sea.

“Egypt is always happy to welcome travellers from around the world and we are doing our best to make their visits as affordable as possible,” said Amr Al-Kadi, CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Authority.

According to the World Tourism Barometer published in December, global international tourism was on track to reach 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, with some destinations recently reaching levels close to 90 per cent of 2019 arrivals.

Occupancy rates in some Egyptian destinations reached more than 90 per cent in recent weeks, with Luxor topping the ratings.

“The occupancy rate of floating and fixed hotels in Luxor and Aswan during New Year’s Eve reached almost 100 per cent,” reported Mohamed Othman, head of the Cultural Tourism Marketing Committee.

The committee found inbound tourism to Luxor and Aswan was the best since 2019, with the Spanish, French, American and Italian markets all growing. Spanish tourists led the charge to Luxor for the second year in a row.

The number of one-day trips from Hurghada to Luxor has increased as new tourist products combine cultural and leisure tourism and operators make use of infrastructure development, including new highways and the restoration of monuments in Luxor and Esna, said Othman.

He cited the reduction in entrance fees to archaeological sites and the development of the Sphinx airport and upgrading of Bernis airport on the Red Sea as positively impacting visitor numbers.

Abdel-Rahman Anwar, head of the floating hotels section of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said the occupancy rate of Nile cruises between Luxor and Aswan had reached 70 per cent before Christmas and risen to 90 per cent between Christman and New Year.

Not all destinations fared as well. Sameh Howeidak, vice president of the Red Sea Business Association, blamed international economic stagnation for a fall in tourists visiting Hurghada where hotel occupancy rates barely reached 40 per cent, while Rami Fayez, a member of the Red Sea Hotel Establishments Association, noted a tendency among European travellers to spend Christmas at home with their family.

The cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre’s General Index of the Tourism Barometer confirmed an optimistic outlook for the tourism sector after canvassing representatives of tourism companies and hotel and other tourist establishments.

The barometer also reviewed the proposals of experts to revitalize the tourism sector. Recommendations included improving levels of service at Egyptian airports, establishing partnerships with major international tour operators, simplifying procedures for establishing tourism investment projects, raising tourism awareness among those working in the hospitality industry and promoting greater diversity in tourist itineraries.

The barometer also highlighted the need to revitalise domestic tourism by developing infrastructure to facilite access to destinations, and recommended more attention be paid to promoting yacht tourism, not least by establishing specialised ports.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 5 January, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


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