CAIRO: Hotel occupancy in the Red Sea and South Sinai witnessed an unexpected and notable increase during the first half of Ramadan, Deputy Head of the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels, Hany al-Shaer told The Cairo Post Sunday.
Shaer said the Hotel Chamber conducted a survey to monitor occupancy rates at hotels in Egypt’s touristic destinations of Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam during the first two weeks of Ramadan (June 29 – July 13.)
“Occupancy in hotels at Hurghada increased to 80 percent while occupancy in Sharm el-Sheikh hotels increased to 35 percent.” Shaer said.
He added that occupancy in hotels at Marsa Alam, south of Hurghada reached only 40 percent and that the percentage of foreigners in the hotels of the three destinations ranged from 60 percent to 85 percent.
The capacity of South Sinai hotels is estimated to be 62,000 rooms, hotel rooms at Hurghada are estimated to be 69,200 while Marsa Alam has a capacity of 20,000 hotel rooms, according to Shaer.
Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Despite a few instances of apparent recovery, continuous instability, political turmoil and the security lapse have remained challenges to the sector.
The losses in the sector are estimated at $6.8 billion in the past three years and tourism revenues fell to only $5.9 billion in 2013, down 41 percent from 2012, according to the Tourism Ministry’s report issued in March.
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.