Egypt's Tourism Industry Shows Signs of Recovery

10 May 2018

Officials in Egypt have been hard at work trying to resurrect the country’s tourism industry, which was severely impacted by years of political turmoil, terrorist attacks, and church bombings.

Those efforts appear to finally be paying off.

A new report from STR shows that hotel occupancy levels during the first quarter of this year were the highest they've been since 2010, a year when some 15 million foreign visitors arrived in the country.

Thanks to increased visitation in the Sharm el-Sheikh and Cairo/Giza markets, the country’s overall revenue-per-available rooms grew 35.5 percent year over year.

In just the Sharm el-Sheikh region the RevPAR increased 84.9 percent and in Cairo/Giza it was up 14.7 percent.

STR analysts expect the boost to continue thanks to the recent resumption of flights from Russia, after a two-year suspension. Flights were halted in November 2015 after a passenger plane exploded after take-off from Sharm el-Sheikh, resulting in the death of all 224 passengers and crew.

Hotel Management reported the suspension of Russian flights had a severe impact on the Egyptian tourism industry, resulting in many workers losing their jobs.

“With continuous efforts being made to improve safety and security in response to the demands of international travel partners, the remaining flight bans that have not already been lifted are expected to be removed in 2018. This should result in a further growth in demand and hotel occupancies,” according to JLL’s 2017 Year in Review Report for Cairo.

The report goes on to note that hotel supply in Egypt reached 24,000 rooms last year. That figure includes completion of a Sheraton Giza during the final quarter, which added 650 rooms to the market. More hotels are slated to open this year including Maadi twin tower Hilton, which has 256 hotel rooms. Intercontinental Hotel Group has also inked a deal to open a Crowne Plaza Hotel in Sheikh Zayed City in West Cairo. The property is projected to add about 187 hotel rooms and will be complete in 2021.

Officials in the country are also working to bolster the tourism industry on another front. Lonely Planet recently reported that Egypt has announced harsh penalties for anyone caught annoying tourists.

The new law, passed by the Egyptian parliament, is aimed at aggressive touts who often bother travelers “with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service.”

Those caught engaging in such activity will be fined.

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