CAIRO: Hotel occupancy rates in Sharm al Sheikh Resort plunged to 20 percent following the Russian airliner crash, former chairman of hotels chamber in South Sinai, Hussein Fawzy told Youm7 Thursday.
“Egyptians account for 10 percent of the Sharm al Sheikh’s hotels occupancy rate,” said Fawzy describing the current situation of tourism industry in Egypt’s Red Sea Resort city as “catastrophic.”
Following the Russian plane crash that killed 224 passengers and crew, swift decisions were taken by a number of countries including Germany, Russia, France and the UK to evacuate their tourists from the resort town, after reports that a bomb may have been the cause.
On Nov. 13, tourism ministry sources told Youm7 the occupancy rate at Sharm al-Sheikh hotels reached 37 percent.
“Tourism will not return unless the Egyptian government can unveil the security procedures it has taken to secure its airports. I call upon the Egyptian bodies concerned to hire an international advertising company to promote Egypt’s tourism and change its prevailing negative image,” Fawzy said.
The Russian government announced Wednesday the plane crash in Sinai was as a result of a terrorist attack, with a bomb inside the cabin. An Egyptian-led investigation team said the debris at the crash site was consistent with an “in-flight break-up,” it has yet to declare the cause of the break up, and a final report is yet to be published.
More than 3 million Russian tourists visited Egypt, particularly Sharm el Sheikh, in 2014 with 1.7 million visitors over the course of the first seven months of 2015, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou stated last week.
Russian tourism investments in Egypt reached 2 billion EGP ($250 million) in 2014, he added.
The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the period Jan.-Sep. 2015 rose by four percent compared with the same period last year, according to official report.
Egypt’s political turmoil following the 2011 January uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak has badly affected the tourism sector, which has only recently started to rebound; Egypt’s second most important source of national income after the Suez Canal provides direct and indirect employment to up to 12.6 percent of the country’s workforce.
The country’s revenues from tourism industry decreased by 15 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year, said tourism ministry economic advisor Adala Ragab Monday.
Revenues from tourism represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP.)