Bank recommends grace period for tourism investors, cites financial crisis 
Central Bank of Egypt - YOUM7
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CAIRO: The Central Bank of Egypt called on the Ministry of Social Solidarity to postpone collection of dues owed by tourism investors to banks for one more year, Atef Abdel Latif, member of the Marsa Alam and South Sinai investors associations was quoted by Al Ahram Wednesday.

He also urged the ministry to postpone insurance premiums payments for travel agencies and hotels to the end of 2016 and to spread them out in installments, citing the sharp decline in hotel occupancy rates in the area following the crashed Russian airliner that kept tourists away.

“The insurance premiums payments totaled 620 billion EGP (roughly $72 billion) in 2015 up from 540 billion EGP in 2015,” Abdel Latif said, adding that “the dues are not huge, compared to the ministry’s dues owed by other institutions, but tourism sector investors are unable to afford them on time.”

Hotel occupancy in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm al Sheikh stood at 14 percent during the second week of January, head of South Sinai’s task force Essam Khedr told Youm7.

According to the Chamber of Tourism, hotel rooms in Sinai resorts exceed 15,000.

“This represents a more than 80 percent decline compared to any period before November 2014,” Khedr said, pointing out that “the sharp decline is caused by the travel ban imposed by Russia and some other European countries to Egypt following the Russian airliner crashed over Sinai late October.”

A total of 3.9 million employees work in Egypt’s tourism sector, the Tourism Ministry reported in a statement in 2014, adding that 1.8 million of them being direct employees.

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