TOURIST NEWS FOR EGYPT
Since the re-eruption of further unrest and violence in Egypt the tourism industry has yet again been battered by uncertainty, which has worsening the already fragile situation. Many Foreign Offices are currently advising tourists not to travel to parts of the country unless essential, included Britons who are advise against all but 'essential' travel to the country, excluding the Red Sea resorts. This advice is having a huge effect on the country's already weak economy, and it is unlikely there will be any remedy in the near future.
In reaction Egyptian Tourism authorities are trying to reassure visitors that they will be safe and secure and continue to declare that visitors who come to enjoy Egypt, as millions of tourists have done for years and years, will be welcomed by their friendly and hospitable Egyptian hosts.
Many travel companies are still provding holidays to Egypt, though the choice of destinations many be limited. They say they are closely monitoring the situation in the hope that it resolves itself quickly.
It is a very sad state of affairs, but only one the Egyptians can sort for themselves.
JULY - SEPT 2011:
It seems that tourists are still staying away from Egypt which is critically affecting some 2.5 million Egyptians who make their living from tourism. The Egyptian youth are using their Facebook accounts to try and persuade the traveller to return to Egypt and are desperate to remind tourists what they are missing out on. Hopefully the support they get will be significant. Egypt generated approximately $12 billion in 2009-10 from 15 million tourists but the occupancy rates in Luxor dropped to between 2 to 4 percent after the riots. Omar Suleiman, former vice president said on state television that the protests had cost Egypt $1 billion in tourism revenues. Desperate to lure back western visitors to the land of the Pharaohs, the Egyptian Tourist Authority is planning to lauch an extensive marketing programme in New York. However it's obvious that western tourists still remain very wary of returning to a country that is still suffering from instability and growing religious tension. Unfortunately not even a recent satellite survey that discovered the potential remains of hundreds, if not thousands, of previously unknown pyramids and tombs seems unlikely to bring a rush of tourists back into the country as they are unlikely to be excavated for many years.
More than two months after the revolution Egyptians who work in the tourist industry are still waiting for visitors to come back to their country. Today the pyramids are virtually deserted, demonstrating the severe blow the tourism industry had taken.
Tourists still haven't returned in any significant numbers, causing hardship to some 2.5 million Egyptian who rely upon foreign visitors for employment.
The revolution caused a crippling blow to a sector that provides one in every seven Egyptian jobs. It is estimated that the tourist trade is down by 90% as people fear a backslide into chaos. According to Egypt's Ministry of Tourism, at least one million tourists cancelled or curtailed their holiday between February and March 2011. Before the troubles started Egypt's economy was forecasted to grow by approximately six percent in the comimg year. Many of those in the industry say the drop in tourism this year is worse than after the 1997 massacre at Luxor. About 15 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism.Most Egyptians now hope that stability will return quickly, with analysts predicting an upswing towards the end of the year. However political uncertainty and sporadic low-level violence is not helping the recovery.
The high season for tourism in Egypt is October, November and December, so hopfully we will have a better idea of how things are recovering over the next few months.
Egypt is now offering airlines incentives to fly to their country as it seeks to stimulate demand. EasyJet and TUI Travel PLC confirmed the incentive, which is offered in the form of a reduction in levy charged to airlines that is worth about $5 per passenger, or as payments to carriers for unfilled seats to discourage them from cutting numbers of flights to Egypt or deploying smaller aircraft that carry fewer passengers. The offer started at the beginning of March and is open-ended, meaning the Egyptian government could pay incentives that run to more than $100 million over the course of the year. Many tour companies has slashed their prices for holidays to Egypt as the country struggles to win back holidaymakers, or have shifted their focus to alternative destinations such as Spain, Greece and Turkey.
The troubles in Egypt during January and February were a body blow to hotels, airlines, tour companies and shopkeepers with an estimated one million tourists fleeing Egypt, costing the economy US$1bn. Egypt's airline industry alone reported losses of $170m. Egypt's normally buzzing resorts paint a bleak picture with reports of deserted beaches, empty hotels and restaurants. Many hotels have had to close and all have seen a huge drop in occupancy, with rates of just 10 per cent. The Pyramids centre is said to be seeing on average around 300 foreign visitors a day, compared with the normal 4,000. Cautious advice from western governments may also restrict visitor numbers, as will the collapse of some smaller travel companies who specialised in Egyptian vacations.
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