924 tourists arrive in Sharm al-Sheikh, push hotel occupancy rate to 23%
Tourists visiting Karnak temple in Luxor. Youm7 archive.
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CAIRO: Some 924 tourists of various nationalities are scheduled to arrive at Sharm al-Sheikh Airport Tuesday aboard seven international flights, the head of South Sinai’s task force Essam Khedr told Youm7.

The airport will also receive 11 domestic flights carrying 785 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 23 percent.

A total of 1,832 passengers are scheduled to depart the airport Saturday, said Khedr. Resorts in South Sinai will receive a total of 602 tourists coming from southern Israeli port of Eilat through the Taba border land crossing Sunday, he added.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt witnessed a sharp decline following the crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai in late October. Germany, Italy, Russia, France, and the UK halted 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 UK-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.

The Tourism Promotion Authority said in a late December statement that the country received 9 million tourists in 2015, down from a previously predicted 17 million.

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