1.7K tourists arrive in Sharm, push hotel occupancy rate to 15%
Tourists riding camels in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh - REUTERS
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CAIRO: Some 1,724 tourists of various nationalities are scheduled to arrive at Sharm al-Sheikh Airport Friday aboard 13 international flights, the head of South Sinai’s task force Essam Khedr told Youm7.

The airport also will receive 14 domestic flights carrying 859 Egyptians and Arab tourists visiting the Red Sea resort city, Khedr said, adding that the average occupancy rate at Sharm al-Sheikh hotels at the moment is estimated at 15 percent.

A total of 2,221 passengers are scheduled to depart the airport Friday, said Khedr.

During the past few days, hotel occupancy rates at Sharm al-Sheikh soared to 24 percent after 14,100 holiday makers, most of whom are Egyptian, arrived to the Red Sea resort city to spend the Sham el-Nessim holiday, Khedr told Youm7 earlier this month.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt has witnessed a sharp decline following the crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai in late October. Germany, Italy, Russia, France, and the U.K. are among the states that decided to halt flights to and from Egyptian airports shortly after the crash.

The industry took a further dive following the murder of Italian Cambridge University graduate, Giulio Regeni, whose body was found dumped along a highway with signs of torture in Egypt’s Giza governorate in early February.

British and Italian tourists account for more than 65 percent of Sharm al-Sheikh holiday makers, the Tourism Ministry’s economy adviser Adela Ragab was quoted earlier by Youm7.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in February 2016 decreased by 45.9 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported.

In February, the U.K.-based Thomas Cook travel company cancelled all bookings to Sharm al-Sheikh until November 2016, extending a travel ban that began when the government suspended flights following the Russian airliner crash.

The sector, which is the nation’s second highest source of national income after the Suez Canal, provides direct and indirect employment to up to 12.6 percent of the country’s workforce.

Egypt’s tourism authorities said in late December that the country received 9 million tourists in 2015, down from a previously predicted 17 million.

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