Nile cruise rates will increase due to oil price hike: official
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: The recent oil price hike will lead to a 50 – 70 percent increase in the rates of cabins onboard Nile cruise ships, former chairman of the Chamber of Floating Hotels at Tourism Ministry Mohamed Karem told The Cairo Post Monday.

Karem said the Ministry of Tourism did not yet previously inform any travel agency that own Nile cruises about the oil price hike. “Travel agencies will now have to adjust their rates according to the new prices before the winter season begins mid-September,” Karem said.

Egypt’s cultural tourism prospers mainly during the winter season from October to March.

Over 72 percent of tourists visiting Egypt spend three to six nights onboard a Nile cruise ship on average, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics’ (CAPMAS) 2011 report.

The Cabinet increased the price of fuel by 78 percent on Friday. According to the new pricing structure, diesel price increased from 1.1 EGP per liter to 1.8 EGP per liter.

According to the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), the tourism industry receives 12.5 billion EGP in annual diesel subsidies.

Chairman of Wings Tours agency Atef al-Wasef told The Cairo Post that tourists in Egypt use several means of transportation and the oil price hike would accordingly result in a rise of rates in travel packages.

“Most tourism businessmen were not aware of the decision before it was issued and we have not coordinated with foreign tour operators on raising their prices,” Wasef said.

Despite ongoing campaigns to assure foreigners that Egypt is a safe destination, the tourism sector has been in constant decline since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The decline of the number of tourists worsened financial and caused organizational problems.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped a significant 27 percent in February 2014 from last year, according to CAPMAS. The losses in the sector are estimated at $6.8 billion in the past three years and tourism revenues were only $5.9 billion in 2013, down 41 percent from 2012.

Egypt depends on tourism for around 20 percent of its hard currency. The sector’s total investments are valued at $9.8 billion, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

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