Sharm al Sheikh hotel occupancy rate plunges to 16 %: source
Tourists in Hurghada - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO: The occupancy rate at Sharm al Sheikh hotels has notably declined to 16 percent due to the travel ban imposed by Russia and some other European countries to Egypt, according to Essam Khedr, head of South Sinai’s task force.

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.

Sharm al Sheikh International Airport received 6,766 tourists mainly from Europe and Southeast Asia, Khedr told Al Ahram Friday.

Over 6,000 tourists; mainly from Southeast Asia and Middle East regions have arrived in Cairo International Airport Friday, official source at the airport told Al Ahram.

Egypt’s political turmoil following the 2011 January uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak has badly affected 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 last week.

Revenues from tourism represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP.)

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