Tourism booms during Christmas
Vendor in Giza pyramids - YOUM7(Archive)
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CAIRO: Hotel occupancy rates in Egypt’s top touristic destination of Aswan reached 30 – 40 percent during the Christmas and the New Year holidays, according to head of the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism Establishments in Aswan Abdel Hady Mohamed Sunday.

“60, out of more than 200 Nile cruises, running between Luxor and Aswan, operated excursions during the past 10 days. The occupancy rate ranged from 50-70 percent of tourists; mainly Europeans and Chinese,” Mohamed told The Cairo Post.

This is the highest hotel occupancy rates in the city since the January 25, 2011 Revolution, he added.

Abu Simbel city, 260 kilometers south of Aswan, also witnessed the largest gathering of tourists since 2011 as “during the past 10 days, over 1,500 tourists visited the city’s breathtaking temples built by Ramses II,” head of Abu Simbel Antiquities Department Hossam Aboud told The Cairo Post Saturday.

In Luxor, the site of Egypt’s majestic archaeological sites, hotel occupancy rates also witnessed a notable increase reaching 45 percent compared with 29 percent during the same period a year ago, head of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism in Luxor Tharwat Agamy was quoted by Youm7 Friday.

“The touristic overturn on Egypt’s historical landmarks was not affected by the calls of pro-Muslim Brotherhood to stage a mass protest on Nov. 28. The rates reflect an improvement in the tourism industry,” said Agamy.

The country has suffered successive low tourist turnout since the January 25 Revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. In 2010, Egypt had its highest number of tourists on record at 14.7 million. In 2013 however, only 9.5 million holidaymakers came, according to CAPMAS.

Captain Helmy Rizk, head of Egypt Air Express, which handles Egypt’s domestic flights said the rate of flights operating from Cairo to Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea resorts and vice versa reached 85 percent during Christmas and the New Year, according to Al-Borsa.

“The company had operated daily four return flights from Cairo to Aswan and other five from Cairo to Luxor during Christmas,” he added.

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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