CAIRO: Egypt’s domestic tourism is expected to register unprecedented rates during the mid-year holiday, scheduled from late January to early February, according to the head of Domestic Tourism Dept. at the Tourism Promotion Authority Ahmed Hamdy Wednesday.
“The reservation indices at the hotels and Nile cruises in Aswan and Luxor indicate a year-on-year increase of 20-30 percent in domestic tourists to the said touristic destination,” Hamdy told The Cairo Post.
While an average Egyptian may spend less than a foreign tourist, domestic tourism is greater in number and expected to have been a more reliable source of income for the sector, said Hamdy.
Several hotels have been attempting to make up for the losses incurred from the absence of inbound tourism by providing additional discounts to Egyptians.
“In order to encourage Egyptian families to flock to Upper Egypt, hotels and Nile cruises agreed to offer significant discounts that amounted to more than 50% in some cases. This activity reflected positively on domestic aviation and bus transportation, which also offered competitive prices,” he added.
Egypt has launched several domestic and international campaigns to promote the ailing tourism sector, which has witnessed a notable drop due to the security lapse followed the January 25 Revolution in 2011.
The government’s efforts to promote domestic tourism have resulted in an increase in the number of domestic trips to 15 million trips in 2013, compared to 12.4 million in 2009, according to Tourism Ministry report published in October 2014.
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.
In December, the Tourism Promotion Authority, in collaboration with the private sector, launched an initiative to promote domestic tourism. The initiative features low rate packages and promotional offers presented to Egyptians taking part in the initiative, which will last until late February.
“The packages were offered to individuals through several travel agencies and are also offered to employees of both public and private sectors. An average Egyptian family will be able to spend 4-5 days on board a five-star Nile cruise with full board at around 1,100 EGP per person including a return flight ticket,” said Hamdy.
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.