Tourism investors owe $180M to government

05 Aug 2019

Cairo: The Ministry of Tourism’s dues for lands allocated to hotel and resort projects amounted to $180m until the end of last year.

A senior government official told Daily News Egypt that 600 investors have obtained land plots from the Ministry of Tourism over the past years and failed to pay the lands’ instalments due to low tourist arrivals in Egypt during the period 2011-2018.

According to the official, this year will see the settlement of these dues as the indicators of tourism improve, both in tourist arrivals and revenues.

Daily News Egypt was informed that the revenues of the tourism sector grew to $11.6bn, a growth of 49.5% over the previous year, driven by an increase in tourist arrivals, amounting to 11.3 million tourists, compared to 8.3 million in 2017.

The inbound tourism to Egypt declined sharply during the period 2011-2018 due to political unrest, suspension of Russian and British flights to some Egyptian airports in 2015.

“We are seeing a great recovery in tourism this year, and this is reflected positively on tourism investments and the development of existing hotels through the completion of replacement and renovation operations,” the official said. “We have 48,000 new under construction rooms expected to enter service in 2022,” he added.

The official predicted that occupancy rates in hotels and resorts of the Red Sea region will exceed 85% as tourist arrivals from European countries, especially from Germany, Ukraine, and Poland, are higher than last year.

He added that the Ministry of Tourism is intensifying tourism promotion in Eastern Europe, Germany, and new markets in Central and South Asia, which will continue to drive the growth of tourism movement during the current year.

“If Russia lifted its ban on flight to Egypt, the situation will change completely, as Russia is the biggest market for Egyptian tourism. Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada are very popular among the Russians,” he added.

Arabfinance

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