Tourism – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:32:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Eid increases occupancy in hotels of Red Sea, Sharm El Sheikh, Alexandria, North Coast: tourism workers https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/eid-increases-occupancy-hotels-red-sea-sharm-el-sheikh-alexandria-north-coast-tourism-workers/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/eid-increases-occupancy-hotels-red-sea-sharm-el-sheikh-alexandria-north-coast-tourism-workers/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:30:26 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629907 Eid Al-Fitr holiday next week is expected to increase hotel occupancy in many resorts in Egypt, thanks to increased bookings from individuals and families

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The bookings of Alexandria hotels for next week during the celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr have reached 100%. Many citizens tend to spend the Eid holiday in Alexandria, as an escape from the high temperature in Cairo and other governorates.

Antonio Ghazal, the former head of the Egypt Hotels Association (EHA) in Alexandria, said that summer is considered an important season in Alexandria, where occupancies go up to 100%, which increases prices by 50%.

He explained that the prices of rooms start at EGP 2,500 per person and increase based on the number of stars, the location, and the demand of citizens—where the hotels overlooking the sea are usually more expensive.

He stressed that the Eid Al-Fitr holiday coinciding with the summer greatly increases hotel occupancy by Egyptians, where foreigners and Arabs represent only 5% of occupants.

Ghazal pointed out that occupancies will see a rise starting next week in Alexandria, the North Coast, and Marsa Matrouh, adding that a slight decline will take place after Eid before recovering.

He demanded the government of Alexandria to make more efforts to take the governorate out of the frame of seasonal tourism and turn it into one with tourism all year long, allowing investors to invest in it throughout the year.

He said that the means of reaching Alexandria, Matrouh, and the North Coast are easily available, whether by air, sea, or land, which helps the government pay more attention to them.

Hisham El Abd, vice head of the EHA, said that some Alexandria hotels have closed booking until the end of the season because of a shortage in vacant rooms. He explained that the week of Eid will see the highest occupancy.

He said that the flotation of the pound has resulted in a 100% increase of prices for local products used by hotels and offered to customers, so compared to previous years, this year will witness a noticeable increase.

He added that citizens resort to renting chalets when they do not find empty rooms in hotels, and their prices are usually less than hotels.

He revealed that the summer season increases employment in hotels by no less than 50% compared to winter, which witnesses the closing of many hotels.

The director of bookings at the Steigenberger Cecil hotel said that the prices in his hotels start at EGP 1,800 per person.

He explained that there is a 50% increase in prices compared to last year due to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

The bookings director at Four Seasons Hotel in Alexandria said that the price of a room in the hotel starts at EGP 5,000, excluding meals, with an unspecified increase over last year’s price.

He added that there are no vacant rooms over next week, while bookings during the week after will range between 50% and 60%. The hotel also seeks to attract guests by providing shows and concerts.

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Go Bus raises ticket price EGP 10 on Eid holiday trips https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/go-bus-raises-ticket-price-egp-10-eid-holiday-trips/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/go-bus-raises-ticket-price-egp-10-eid-holiday-trips/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:00:28 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629897 Company will raise ticket prices by EGP 10 from next week across all trips

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The Go Bus tourist transport company is set to increase its prices by EGP 10 on all trips starting from the Eid holiday, before raising the prices again to offset the losses it incurred following the flotation of the pound that hiked prices of spare parts and maintenance costs.

Maher Nassif, chairperson of the company, said his company had given up 50% of its profits this current year following the flotation, as it could not raise the prices with the same value of the flotation in order to keep its clients.

He added that the company will raise ticket prices by EGP 10 for all trips starting next week.

Nassif said that the price per ticket from Cairo to Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh start from EGP 95 to EGP 280, while the price from Cairo to Marina ranges between EGP 130 and EGP 160. The price from Cairo to Marsa Matrouh is set at EGP 120.

Ticket prices from Cairo to Alexandria begin at EGP 55 to EGP 70, and EGP 115 to EGP 185 from Cairo to Dahab.

Nassif pointed out that the company will have 20 additional trips on Eid days to Marsa Matouh, the North Coast, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh due to the high demand for reservations, especially to the Marsa Matrouh governorate, which alone, will see the addition of six more trips.

He noted that the company has launched its Cairo-Dahab line and plans on opening new lines to other tourist destinations, especially as the seasonal lines are only active for specific times, such as the North Coast and Marsa Matouh.

Nassif also said that the company has added 25 new MCV buses with investments of EGP 100m last week.

He added that the company is negotiating with Saudi Arabia to transport pilgrims into the country next season and is currently expecting a reply from the kingdom after the end of the current season.

Nassif stressed that the tourism transport industry is currently suffering from the high cost of buses, including imported models and locally assembled ones, next to the surge in prices of spare parts, which hinders renewing the fleets of the companies.

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The North Coast’s hotels are the most expensive: hotel managers https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/north-coasts-hotels-expensive-hotel-managers/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/north-coasts-hotels-expensive-hotel-managers/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:30:45 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629893 Single rooms EGP 3,400, while chalets cost EGP 12,000

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The occupancy rate of the North Coast’s hotels reached 100% during the holiday week, and room prices have seen a 40% increase compared to last year, following the flotation of the pound.

The reservation agent at Marassi resort said that the occupancy rate exceeded 99% during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, and only a few chalets and apartments are available.

He added that the resort’s occupancy throughout the summer season is not less than 90% because of its competitive services compared to other places in the North Coast.

The agent said that they increased their employment by 50% since the beginning of the summer to serve the guests, noting that this kind of employment is temporary.

The booking agent at El Alamein Hotel in Marassi said that all the hotel rooms are booked during the week of the holiday.

She explained that the hotel will not hold musical concerts during Eid al-Fitr. The single and double room prices start at EGP 5,000.

She stressed that the hotel is in demand throughout the summer and the occupancy is not less than 90%, while there are no guests during the winter.

The booking agent at Hacienda said that the room prices start at EGP 4,800 per night, while chalets start at EGP 12,000.

She expected that the occupancy rate will reach 95% after the Eid holiday.

The occupancy rates during the summer will stay high, she predicted.

The reservation agent at the Iberotel hotel in the North Coast said that all the hotel’s rooms are reserved during Eid week and the week after, adding that the second week in July will witness a decline of 30% in the occupancy rate.

He said that the single superior room costs EGP 3,820 for 3 days, while the superior double room costs EGP 3,040. He added that the double family room costs EGP 4,115, while the triple family room costs EGP 3,820 per person.

He stressed that the prices increased by 40% compared to last year, and the prices of some services were tripled.

The booking rates among Egyptians reached 40%, compared to 60% by Arabs and foreigners, while the number of Egyptian visitors is expected to decline after the end of the holiday week. He revealed that his hotel will not hold any large parties during Eid al-Fitr because the reservations have already exceeded the number of rooms, so there is no need to hold parties.

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Egyptian individuals, families increase hotel occupancy rate in Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh: tourist workers https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/egyptian-individuals-families-increase-hotel-occupancy-rate-hurghada-sharm-el-sheikh-tourist-workers/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/egyptian-individuals-families-increase-hotel-occupancy-rate-hurghada-sharm-el-sheikh-tourist-workers/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:00:36 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629889 Egypt's promotional campaigns abroad remain unsatisfactory, fail to bring significant numbers of tourists from Arab world or other countries

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For hotels and tourist facilities in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, Eid Al-Fitr will bring celebrations and a 60% increase in bookings.

Nagy Erian, former vice head of the Egyptian Hotel Association (EHA), said that there is a 60% increase in bookings in cities, which coincides with the Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.

He explained that the increase only takes place during the week of Eid and goes back to declining to normal levels, so they race to offer services that attract guests, such as concerts and shows.

He revealed that the increase in prices start at 30% as a result of the Egyptian pound’s flotation.

Kamel Abo Ali, chairperson of a group of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada hotels, said that there is a great recovery in the bookings of hotels during Eid.

He pointed out that 30% of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh visitors are Arabs, while domestic tourism represents 70%.

A number of hotels and tourist facilities in the two cities have been developed in the last period and will be reopened in Eid Al-Fitr to attract the largest number of customers.

He stressed that Egypt’s promotional campaigns abroad are still unsatisfactory and could not bring the targeted numbers of visitors, whether from the Arab world or other countries.

He asked to delay any support programmes of domestic tourism until the end of the year, as citizens travel during the summer months to various tourist areas, especially resort cities.

Ahmed Balbaa, chairperson of Balbaa Group for Hotels, said he has reopened a number of hotels to benefit from the time of holidays and the expected tourist flow coming from abroad.

He pointed out that the high occupancy rates will not exceed the Eid Al-Fitr week, where all Egyptians will return to work again and all the occupancy rates will decline again.

He explained that prices should increase because of the increase in input prices after the flotation of the Egyptian pound, which caused prices to increase by 100%.

He stressed that there are a number of demands to revive the tourism movement, mainly allocating the management of airports in tourist cities to specialised international companies and exempting the sector from financial commitments for two years. Balbaa demanded to drop any legal actions against the sector regarding its dues in order to give hotels and tourist facilities the chance to train new staff and pay salaries from the Emergency and Crisis Fund for a year and then announcing it to reassure the employees.

The hotel booking agent at Viking Sharm El-Sheikh said that there is a boom in booking rate during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, up to 70% by Egyptians, Arabs, and foreigners.

He pointed out that room prices reached EGP 3,000 because of the flotation.

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Nile Air purchases latest airbus planes A321neo https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/15/nile-air-purchases-latest-airbus-planes-a321neo/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/15/nile-air-purchases-latest-airbus-planes-a321neo/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:00:15 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629185   Nile Air company has requested to purchase the most recent single-aisle airbus planes, model A321neo. The company made the purchase request to the European manufacturing company for the model A321ceo in April, as an upgrade from A321neo. CEO of the company, Ahmed Ali, said that Nile Air is the first airline company in Egypt …

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Nile Air company has requested to purchase the most recent single-aisle airbus planes, model A321neo.

The company made the purchase request to the European manufacturing company for the model A321ceo in April, as an upgrade from A321neo.

CEO of the company, Ahmed Ali, said that Nile Air is the first airline company in Egypt to request the latest technologies of an airbus of the single-aisle model of A321neo.

He added that A321neo airbus will provide “new levels of comfort and longer flight time.” The company’s goal is to show their commitment to operation of the latest fleets of aircrafts from their Egyptian headquarters.

He said the airplane will contain 220 seats in business and economy cabins.

The new flexibility and abilities of the A321neo will allow Nile Air increase and expand the company’s flights to Europe, the Middle East and local destinations in Egypt.

The new plane is equipped with the latest amenities, including comfortable seats, advanced technology for entertainment and the latest technology in flying, according to Ali.

Ali said that there was a has been a contract to purchase the plane since 2007.

 

The airbus 320neo family, which includes A321neo, provides the latest engine technology which saves 15 percent of fuel and provides longer operation time, in addition to a low cost of maintenance and less harmful emissions.

 

With nearly 4500 purchase request from about 80 clients since the launching of this model in 2010, the A320eno has acquired a market share of 60 percent..

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$22m allocated annually for tourism promotion campaign: head of Tourism Promotion Authority https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/15/22m-allocated-annually-tourism-promotion-campaign-head-tourism-promotion-authority/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/15/22m-allocated-annually-tourism-promotion-campaign-head-tourism-promotion-authority/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 07:30:03 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629179 Arab tourism has achieved the highest rates during the first 4 months of 2017

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The Tourism Promotion Authority works according to a scientific strategy based on the study of target markets and promotional plans before proceeding to move in those markets to achieve optimum results, said Hisham Al Demiri, head of the authority, in a press statement on Wednesday.

Al Demiri explained that the rumours that Egypt’s international promotional campaign has a budget of around $40m annually is completely incorrect, adding that the allocated campaign budget is $22m a year.

He clarified that this amount is used for promotions in 26 different markets, where the share of each market does not exceed $800,000. He added that there are many new and promising markets that were added, which were not included among the 26 markets, such as some countries in Latin America and Southern Europe. Allocating a portion of the total amount to cover those markets, he said, resulted in reducing the share of each of the 26 markets.

Moreover, Al Demiri pointed out that only $19m was used in the first year in 2016, according to market studies conducted in the first year, taking into consideration the travel ban imposed by many countries to Egyptian tourist destinations after the Russian plane accident in 2015 and applying the general policy of the state to rationalise spending.

He explained that at the beginning of the second year of the campaign, the authority only used $9m, according to market studies and estimates, which advised them to focus on the winter season, which is the largest and the most important Egyptian tourism season.

Al Demiri said that marketing has now evolved significantly and that the world is moving towards digital marketing, adding that the ministry succeeded in organising campaigns relative to each market and its acceptance of the Egyptian campaigns.

The statement explained that the advertising campaign, launched in September 2016 in 11 markets, had a significant impact on improving the mental image of Egypt abroad, which led to the lifting of the ban on travel to Egypt, imposed by many of the major markets exporting tourists to Egypt from Europe, Asia, and the United States of America, with the exception of Russia, and the partial embargo imposed by England on Sharm El-Sheikh, as well as to a substantial improvement in the indicators of tourist movement starting in December 2016 after the launch of the campaign in target markets, as statistics show.

The first four months of 2017 witnessed a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals to Egypt from most markets, reaching a total of 51% compared to the same period of last year.

Furthermore, Arab markets witnessed a big leap, where Arab tourism has achieved the highest rates during the first 4 months of 2017, compared to the 8 previous years, an increase of more than 30% for the same period in 2010. The German market witnessed an increase of 50%, and the Italian market 30%, compared to the same period last year. As for the English market, which still has a ban on flights to Sharm El-Sheikh—the main destination for English tourism—it achieved a 20% increase compared to the same period.

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General Union of Air Transport appoints al-wakeel as legal advisor: Lamloum https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/15/general-union-air-transport-appoints-al-wakeel-legal-advisor-lamloum/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/15/general-union-air-transport-appoints-al-wakeel-legal-advisor-lamloum/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 07:00:43 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629182 The union's Board of Directors will discuss regulation after the end of Eid al-Fitr holidays, in preparation to submit it to the Minister of Aviation

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The General Union of Air Transport has appointed Hijazi al-wakil as its legal advisor to develop the union’s legal regulations, for when they are presented formally.

Chairman of the union and NESMA Airlines Ashraf Lamloum said that the regulations will be presented to the Board of Directors for discussion after the end of Eid Al Fitr holidays and will be submitted to the Minister of Aviation. The main points of the regulations are agreement among all members on the rules that govern the work of the Union, exchange of experiences, and to avoid conflict of interests between the members.

He pointed out that the union’s rules prevent companies from flooding the market with tickets and the recruitment  of the same crews to different companies, except with their consent. He noted that all companies are working on the same systems to ensure honest competition

Lamloum said that some employees ruin the aviation market by moving between companies and then travel to the Gulf States after the local companies have provided them with a lot of training courses.

He added that the regulations ensure the integration of airlines under the umbrella of the Ministry of Aviation and their efforts to save funds. The union also helps to reduce the value of insurance when buying aircraft, as well as fees.

Lamloum added that membership to the union is open to all airlines and all related agencies, especially since there are 17 agencies and shipping companies in the union, however, the active membership will be limited to airlines.

He further added that the agencies will benefit from their membership in the Union as they get fuel in the Egyptian pound, though this will not be repeated in order to preserve the public interest of the state.

He continued that the union will help companies to get their rights from various aviation authorities.

He pointed out that the union does not study launching investments but it will sponsor the aviation and tourism exhibitions in Egypt.

Lamloum stressed that the union can not conflict with Egypt Air, but it will integrate with it and use its own system as well as launching joint marketing plans. The union will present its ideas to EgyptAir being the national airline and must be supported by all parties.

The union will confront violations of the law and prevent giving privileges to private airlines on the expense of other companies.

According to Lamloum the current crisis of EgyptAir lies in high labor and the decline of the successful airlines that can compensate losses.

Lamloum expects the declaration of the union by the end of this year and present its regulations to the Minister of Aviation, the parliament, the Cabinet and finally the President of the Republic to issue an official decree.

He said that the union will give the Minister of Aviation some powers if he supported the union without interfering in the members’ decisions, so that the role of the ministry will be only supervision.

He added that the challenges facing aviation include the instability of the market in light of the successive travel warnings to the region, in addition to the lack of sufficient investments in the sector, and the government bureaucracy that disrupts projects in navigation, airports and others.

He called for the support of airlines by paying the value of fuel in pounds and offer 50 percent cut on government services.

Lamloum said that the aircraft loads range from 60 percent to 70 percent adding that when the rate is less than 78 percent, it leads to losses.

He stressed that the union will confront manipulation of prices in the coming period by filing a complaint against companies that violate the Civil Aviation Authority, threatening to suspend the violating companies’ license in addition to expelling them from the union.

He said that the severing of relations between Egypt and Qatar does not affect the private airlines except Air Cairo, where it operated four weekly flights to Doha, while the impact is positive and a golden opportunity for EgyptAir to turn Cairo airport into a hub. He pointed out that the Middle East region is a high risk area, which increases the value of insurance and aircraft and other services to companies by 25 and 30 percent compared to the more quiet areas. He said that the private aviation fleet is represented in four aircraft of the company’s Nesma Airlines (4) Nile (6) EgyptAir (3) EMC (5).

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Ramadan entertainment programmes bring in crowds for hotels https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/ramadan-entertainment-programmes-bring-crowds-hotels/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/ramadan-entertainment-programmes-bring-crowds-hotels/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 07:00:36 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=628339 Prices range from EGP 400-450 for Iftar, EGP 300-350 for Suhur; artist events begin at EGP 600 per person 

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The traditional “Ramadan tents” have witnessed an unprecedented turnout this year. The crowds continue to come, despite prices that start at EGP 350 on weekdays.

Companies recorded twice the number of bookings. The Ministry of Tourism showed the total number of hotels licensed for tents, iftar, and suhoor reached 35 hotels.

Abdel Fattah El-Asi, chairperson of the hotel facilities department at the Ministry of Tourism, said that some 30-35 hotels were granted license to provide entertainment programmes in Ramadan.

He explained that all the liscensed hotels are located in Cairo and Giza, with the exception of three in Alexandria. El-Asi explained that hotels that have offered Ramadan programmes in the past must continue to maintain their clientel.

Hotels benefit from this on the financial side as well. He pointed out that prices range between EGP 400 and EGP 450 for iftar, and EGP 300 and EGP 350 for suhur on normal days. The price hikes to at least EGP 600 for the days when there are concerts.

El-Asi said that there has been a great demand on iftar and suhur in hotels throughout the holy month, especially on weekends. The demand provides incentive for the hotels to provide these programmes every year.

The Ministry of Tourism closely monitores the hotel facilities, said El-Asi, to ensure compliance with the programme liscensing rules. Hotels found providing programmes without a liscense can recieve heavy fines, by paying three times the tax value.

A booking official at the Nile Ritz-Carlton said that there was a positive and unexpected response to their garden Ramadan tent, adding that they are fully booked till the end of the month.

The average prices of iftar and suhour at the Nile Ritz-Carlton range from EGP 400-600, based on the program and the menu. Their official noted that companies have more of an appetite for the events than the individuals.

According to the booking officer at Kempinski Nile City Hotel, the programmes in Ramadan begin at EGP 450 to EGP 600, except for weekends, when prices go up by 10% at least.

She said all the weekends are fully booked until the end of the month and there are only Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays available now. She noted that corporate bookings are on all days of the week except Fridays, which are reserved by individuals.

There are special programmes for the weekends, which come with artists and a concert.

At the Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo, a booking official said that the Ramadan tent offered by the hotel is witnessing unprecedented demand this year from individuals and companies alike.

He explained that prices start from EGP 500 for all days, which is up by 50% from last year, due to the pound flotation and the price hikes of all inputs.

He stressed that the tent includes a number of artistic and popular segments.

The booking officer at the Four Seasons Hotel in Giza also pointed out that the hotel’s tent is hosting a great number of companies and individuals, but the proportion of companies exceeds the number of individuals.

She explained that the tent includes shisha and a DJ throughout the days, except for the weekly holiday, in which the hotel offers an oriental band as well. The prices at the hotel begin at EGP 350 per person.

She said prices witnessed a significant increase in the current year compared to last year by at least 50%.

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Tourism revenues still weak compared to 2010: EBCC Tourism Committee head https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/tourism-revenues-still-weak-compared-2010-ebcc-tourism-committee-head/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/tourism-revenues-still-weak-compared-2010-ebcc-tourism-committee-head/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 06:30:19 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=628336 Russia continues to keep flights to Egypt suspended, Britain to Sharm El-Sheikh after the fall of Metrojet airliner in Sinai

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Tourism revenues fell by 60% in the first five months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2010, which means that revenues are still lower than usual.

Pushed by declined revenues, the head of the tourism committee at the Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce (EBCC), Magdy Hanin, told Daily News Egypt in an interview that the contract with JWT—which is in charge of promoting Egyptian tourism—should be terminated, as the current situation is becoming costly with no return.

How do you see the losses of the sector during the current period, and what are the solutions for the recovery of the sector?

The sector is still affected by the absence of British and Russian tourists to Egyptian tourism destinations, most important of which is Sharm El-Sheikh.

Russia continues to suspend its flights to Egypt, while Britain does not operate flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. This came after the fall of a Metrojet airliner in Sinai in October in 2015.

The government, represented by the Egypt Tourism Authority, is demanding the cancellation of its contract with the public relations firm JWT, which is in charge of promoting Egyptian tourism.

Why are you asking to cancel the contract with JWT?

The company has no target or business plan. The European market has changed its features. The company is not moving to other alternative markets, including the Far East and eastern Europe. It also failed to form an external strong Egyptian tourist lobby.

The alternative markets are the solutions to the recovery of the sector by putting the Far East markets, especially promising ones, including China and India, at the top of investor and government priorities, as well as implementing comprehensive programmes that are in line with these types of tourists and that meet all their requirements.

The programmes that attract these countries are not limited to cultural or beach tourism, but must include heritage sites because of the tendency of Chinese and Indian tourists to visit these places.

The selection of JWT was successful at first, because it made the best offers in the government tender. Yet, the completion of the contract leads to losses to the state, due to the change in the external situation.

The results of promotions in the European market were not successful, but actually the opposite. In addition, the Arab market cannot measure the success of the publicity company, as moving for that market was only because it could be an alternative for the European market.

How do you see the growth in Arab tourism during the past year?

Arab tourism supports Egypt in the coming period, because of the cultural similarity among all Arab countries, as well as the common interests of these countries, which forced them to support Egypt.

It is necessary to intensify the publicity in the Arab markets, especially the Gulf countries and the Arab Maghreb, and facilitate the procedures of granting visas, in order to attract the largest number of tourists during this period. Arab tourists spend three times more than foreigner tourists at least, as foreigners usually commit to a specific programme.

How do you see the phenomenon of burning prices between hotels in the current period?

The prices of hotels in Egypt are very low. We in the committee hold periodic meetings with tourism officials in government institutions, but the promises from the government that the committee receives are not fulfilled.

Egyptian diplomacy is responsible for determining the fate of tourism by improving Egypt’s image in foreign meetings.

Companies and owners of enterprises must develop and maintain facilities in order to qualify for hosting the most profitable types of tourism, since the current period does not require investors to vacate existing facilities.

Raising prices requires that all tourist and hotel facilities start immediately to maintain their facilities to develop their tourist product, so that they can start raising prices to suit the potential of the Egyptian tourist destination. This will contribute to increasing the national income of the country, as these establishments will pay taxes and fees on time.

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Sunnier skies ahead for tourism sector despite challenges, as new bookings uptick https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/sunnier-skies-ahead-tourism-sector-despite-challenges-new-bookings-uptick/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/sunnier-skies-ahead-tourism-sector-despite-challenges-new-bookings-uptick/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 06:00:54 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=628330 Egyptian cities are checked in again on global travel agency list for this summer

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It seems the worst is over for Egypt’s tourism sector, as a recent rebound in bookings suggests that travel agencies are putting Egyptian cities again on their lists after years of ups and downs, which made most tourists escape visiting Egypt due to rising violence and political turmoil.

A recent survey conducted by Trip Advisor, an online travel website, showed that bookings to Egyptian cities have grown in the last three months by almost 65% year-on-year, an annual growth rate that hadn’t been witnessed since the 25 January Revolution in 2011, which toppled former president Hosni Mubarak and his regime.

Foreign travel agencies and tourist companies told Daily News Egypt that they are getting more persons who favour Egypt as their next destination this summer, with security procedures on board and a state of tranquility all over the country.

Tourism is a vital sector for Egypt’s ailing economy, with its total contribution to the GDP rising from 8.5% in 1988 to a high of 19.5% in 2014, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

But the sector has been in a free fall since 2011, with chaos hitting Egypt’s streets and terrorist attacks resurfacing.

Over the last couple of years, Egypt has exerted more efforts to revive the sector by introducing a developed tourism infrastructure and propaganda to convince foreigners to again make Cairo on their favourable destination list.

They are back

“We are getting more demands from our clients to visit Cairo. They think that the worst could be over for this blockbuster destination. In the heydays, if you want to visit Egypt, you have to arrange it almost a year before,” Tim Flin, a senior reservation agent at Tomas Cook, told Daily News Egypt.

Egypt’s tourism sector has been on a roll in the period from 2007 to 2011, with total revenues hitting $14bn in the fiscal year (FY) 2009-2010, according to official data published on the Ministry of Tourism website.

“It is high time to come back despite challenges. We have called off some winter programmes on terrorism alarms, but despite this, our clients are asking for a few days in their programme there,” Flin added.

Earlier in May, Thomas Cook cancelled some of its holidays in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Earlier in May, Thomas Cook cancelled some of its holidays in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Earlier in May, Thomas Cook cancelled some of its holidays in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The agency has been practising so-called “rolling cancellations” to Sharm El-Sheikh over the past 18 months.

The tour operator first took holidaymakers to Egypt in 1859.

The company said in a press release last April that it was seeing strong demand across most of its markets, including a recovery in holiday bookings for Turkey and Egypt.

For another tour operator, Egypt is coming back to be a favourable destination for its clients.

“We have nearly tripled our numbers over the last year, and we are receiving more and more requests to visit Egypt,” said Robert Drumm, president of the Swedish tour operator Alexander & Roberts.

“Due to growing demand, we are adding more new things to our programme to visit Egypt. The conditions are getting perfect, albeit challenges,” Drumm told Daily News Egypt.

“Street chaos and violence are over. While terrorist events still occur, they seem to be fairly focused on discrete targets. As horrifying as they are, bookings remain on a steady pace despite these events, as terror events happen in non-Middle Eastern places elsewhere,” said Drumm.

“Terror attacks are being carried out in London. We do not have to shed more light about this point. Terror is everywhere,” he confirmed.

Another travel agency, but American this time, confirms this point of view.

Intrepid Travel, an American tour operator based in California, says that it has increased its Egypt departures by 140%, to 48, for 2017, compared with the 20 it offered in 2016, and the company reported a 70% bump in bookings for travel to its Middle East destinations overall this year over last.

Tourico Holidays, a Florida-based global travel distribution company, has also seen a surge in demand for Egypt. The company reported that reservations for destinations throughout the Middle East are up by 112% year-over-year, with Egypt alone having experienced a 300% jump in reservations compared with last year.

Hard to find a room

A busy lobby in one of Cairo’s renowned hotels could give further details about the bright picture.

After waiting in a long row in a five-star hotel over the Nile last week, it was very hard for Samantha Barry to find a room, as she wanted to change the hotel during the course of her visit to Cairo.

“I tried to change the hotel, but in vain. I almost checked three hotels and all are complete, especially here in Cairo,” Barry told Daily news Egypt.

“I have to stay in the hotel in the tour operator programme. This didn’t happen the last year when I was here. Egypt is getting crowded by foreign visitors,” she added.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt this year could come close to levels seen before its 2011 uprising, encouraged by investments in airport security and a cheaper Egyptian pound, the country’s Minister of Tourism told Reuters earlier this year.

The number of tourists coming to Egypt’s beaches and ancient sites stood at 9.3 million in 2015, compared with more than 14.7 million in 2010.

German market researcher GfK said last week that German holidaymakers’ bookings for trips to Egypt in the upcoming summer season were up 91% from last year, but were still 23% below pre-uprising levels.

Egypt has been offering incentives to airlines, such as EasyJet and Germany’s Air Berlin, and tour operators, such as TUI and Thomas Cook, to bring more tourists to the country.

Optimistic outlook

A recent report issued by Oxford Business Group draws an optimistic picture for Egypt’s tourism sector.

The report said that the Egyptian tourism sector will perform well over the long term, and that the recent declines in terms of numbers employed and the share of the GDP are not characteristic of the sector’s performance.

“Tourism still contributes greatly to the economy, and it has considerable potential. Some areas have significant room for development, such as parts of the White Mediterranean, while even the more established sites can be better utilised through additional investing and improved marketing campaigns,” the report explained.

“Overall, the country can enhance its tourism competitiveness internationally by improving infrastructure and by being more welcoming to foreign visitors. Ultimately, Egypt can get much more out of its natural and historical assets than is currently the case. It can also get ahead of the trend by developing what it has in a sustainable and eco-friendly way, thus guaranteeing that tourism will continue to contribute to the economy over the long term,” it added.

The report also said that addressing the recent concerns about stability and security is not expected to be easy, but the country is currently making tremendous efforts to assure the world that travel there is safe, and it is committed to keeping tourists safe, investing a sizeable marketing budget to overcome the negative impressions of the country.

However, it may take time to win back some potential visitors, as many international tourists will want to see a period of stability before committing to a trip to Egypt.

“Over the long term, investors in the country are confident in its prospects. They are using this current slowdown to develop new markets, such as those for domestic and regional travellers, as well as investing in infrastructure and training for staff. When international visitor numbers begin to rise again, the operators expect that they will be well placed to take advantage of the increase in traffic, and they see this period as a time for consolidation,” it finished.

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Aqaba and Beirut key touristic cities in MENA region: Colliers International https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/07/aqaba-beirut-key-touristic-cities-mena-region-colliers-international/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/07/aqaba-beirut-key-touristic-cities-mena-region-colliers-international/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:15:02 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=628350 A forecast report conducted by Colliers International for the hotels of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the three-month period from May to July 2017 has showed that Beirut and Aqaba are the key touristic cities in the region for that period. Regarind Jordanian Aqaba, the report showed that it continues to benefit …

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A forecast report conducted by Colliers International for the hotels of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the three-month period from May to July 2017 has showed that Beirut and Aqaba are the key touristic cities in the region for that period.

Regarind Jordanian Aqaba, the report showed that it continues to benefit from the domestic demand and the demand from visitors of Scandinavian countries, as well as capturing tourists from both Egypt and Turkey.

In Beirut, an increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) is expected to take place and emanate from both average daily rate (ADR) and occupancy rates, according to Colliers International’s report. The report expected the city to witness a busy summer season with high leisure demand from the Lebanese Diaspora living abroad.

Dubai is another busy city this summer, benefiting from school holidays and Eid Al Fitr vacation. Other MENA cities are steady in terms of hotel occupancies, such as Sharjah, where the hotel market in Sharjah is going through a recovery phase with modest growth in occupancies.

“The upcoming Eid holidays and school vacations in the Gulf countries, followed by strong growth in the Chinese market, will keep the RevPAR in line with the rates of last year without declines,” the report said.

The return of the summer heat and Ramadan is expected to lower the demand in Ras Al Khaimah; however, the strong local demand over Eid and school holidays, along with international leisure demand from Germany, UK, Russia, and India will keep the three-month RevPAR growth in line with last year.

In Jeddah, both occupancy and ADR levels continue to decline due to a drop in demand by the corporate and leisure segments. “This is primarily due to the cuts in the government’s and private sector’s spending, with little recovery expected in the medium term,” the report said.

The market of Riyadh is also witnessing a downward trend in the performance of hotels.

A combination of new supply and lower demand has resulted in a dip in RevPAR, which is expected to continue into the next three months, according to the forecast by Colliers International.

Colliers International is a global company in commercial and real estate services, with over 15,000 employees operating in 68 countries.

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Egy Tourism alliance aims to establish EGP 2bn fund https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/egy-tourism-alliance-aims-establish-egp-2bn-fund/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/egy-tourism-alliance-aims-establish-egp-2bn-fund/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 09:00:44 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627530 Fund will be launched at the end of the current Umrah season

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The consortium of tourism companies, Egy Tourism, intends to establish an investment fund for the companies with a capital of EGP 2bn in the coming period.

Chairperson of the alliance, Ahmed El-Bakry, said that the fund aims to move Egyptian tourism ahead, noting that the initial closure will be worth EGP 20m.

He added that the tourism sector is capable of leading the Egyptian economic development.

He explained that the fund will invest its money in the rental of hotel rooms, aviation, and boats to enable companies to provide integrated services.

The fund will be launched at the end of the current Umrah season after the companies receive their dues from the Saudi agent worth SR 200,000, he added.

Al-Bakry noted that Saudi Arabia has developed a new system for booking and does not require Egyptian tourism companies, which will be implemented starting next year.

He added that the alliance is currently negotiating with the official bodies to reduce the ceiling on pilgrimage numbers, where the current ceiling is too high and companies cannot reach them easily.

He pointed out that the current ceiling is 135 passports for economic pilgrimage and 90 passports for the 5-star trip.

Moreover, El-Bakry said that the cost of advertisements went up by 100% for the paid ads on Facebook and 250% for printed ads in newspapers and magazines.

He explained that bringing down the ceiling by 50% would enable tourism companies to take part in the pilgrimage season, especially as the tourism companies start their work after the end of the work of the ministries of interior and social solidarity.

He stressed that the alliance will consider all the problems and challenges facing the sector to ensure that the largest number of companies join the alliance.

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Supreme Council of Antiquities postpones increasing ticket prices of archaeological sites to November https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/supreme-council-antiquities-postpones-increasing-ticket-prices-archaeological-sites-november/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/supreme-council-antiquities-postpones-increasing-ticket-prices-archaeological-sites-november/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 08:30:07 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627516 Ticket for the Great Pyramid of Giza was increased from EGP 200 to EGP 300 for foreigners, from EGP 100 to EGP 150 for foreign students, second pyramid ticket increased from EGP 30 to EGP 60 for foreign students

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The Supreme Council of Antiquities ordered the postponement of the increase of the archeological sites and museums ticket fees for foreigners and Egyptians until November, instead of October.

According to the letter sent by the Supreme Council of Antiquities to the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association, the council has agreed that the visit to the Egyptian civilisation panorama at the headquarters of the National Authority for Civilization Coordination is a part of the visit to the Citadel area, according to a monthly programme on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays of each week and be separate tickets to be printed and collected by the Ministry of Antiquities. This will be applicable starting July.

The area of ​​the pyramids is one of the most prominent areas, where ticket prices have been increased from EGP 80 to EGP 120 for foreigners and from EGP 30 to EGP 60 for foreign students.

Ticket for the Great Pyramid was increased from EGP 200 to EGP 300 for foreigners, from EGP 100 to EGP 150 for foreign students, second pyramid ticket increased from EGP 30 to EGP 60 for foreign students.

An official at the Ministry of Antiquities said there is a package ticket for the area of ​​the pyramids and the Great Pyramid and Khufu ship for EGP 400 for foreigners and EGP 200 for foreign students.

According to the official, the postponement comes in light of the decrease in the tourist flow of the areas and archaeological sites during the current period and may continue until the end of this year, according to the current tourist conditions in Egypt.

The tourist traffic to Egypt declined during the past year to 5.3 million visitors, down from 9.3 million in 2015, a drop of 40%.

The statement, obtained by Daily News Egypt, stated that the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square and the Museum of Islamic Art will not be opened at night during Ramadan, while the Textile Museum will be open between 8 pm and 12 am at double the price.

The Supreme Council also agreed to increase the ticket for the taftaf bus at the citadel of Salahuddin Citadel in Cairo, starting from the beginning of July.

Former chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) Elhamy El-Zayat said that the Egyptian tourism sector is going through a difficult phase due to the decline of tourism inflow from Russia and Britain since the crash of a Russian airliner at the end of October 2015.

He expressed his happiness with the decision to postpone the increase, saying that it will contribute to increasing inflow to the archaeological areas in the coming period, noting that there is cooperation between the ETAA and the council.

Daily News Egypt revealed last week that the Ministry of Antiquities issued a programme called Cairo Pass at discounted prices to visit the archaeological areas for a period of five days, starting from November.

The ministry hopes to increase revenues this year to secure funding for the restoration of archaeological shrines, museums, and archeological sites in light of the sharp decline in revenues during the past six years.

The Ministry of Antiquities’ revenues peaked in 2010, a year during which 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt and revenues amounted to EGP 1.3bn.

 

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Cairo hotel prices increased by 30% amid Arab tourist increase  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/cairo-hotel-prices-increased-30-amid-arab-tourist-increase/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/cairo-hotel-prices-increased-30-amid-arab-tourist-increase/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 08:00:00 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627487 All operating inputs have seen a doubling in prices following the flotation of the pound

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The occupancy in hotels in central Cairo is currently increasing due to an increase in the inflow of Arab tourists. This rise is expected to continue throughout the month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.

Tawfik Mukhtar, director of the Nile Ritz-Carlton, said that there was a significant rise in the current occupancy rate, registering 70%.

He added that Arabs are responsible for most of the reservations, as many of them are seeking to spend the month of Ramadan in Cairo.

He pointed out that prices are witnessing a rise of not less than 30% as a minimum, as all operating inputs have seen a doubling in prices, following the flotation of the pound.

Prices of some wines have also gone up by 300% after the flotation of the pound.

He stressed that hotels seek to work with local products as an alternative to the imported ones, but some guests cling to the imported product, which drives hotels to satisfy their customers’ wishes.

He pointed out that the room price per night starts at EGP 2,700 and varies according to the type of the room and its view.

Hotel capacity in Greater Cairo is more than 25,000 hotel rooms, most of them are located in hotels overlooking the Nile, while the rest of the rooms are located east of Cairo and in the pyramids area in the west of the city.

Hussein Shoukry, the general manager at Safir Hotels Egypt, said that the current occupancy ratios in Safir Hotels group in Cairo are 70%, as Arabs represent 90% of it in terms of nationalities of guests.

Shoukry added that prices rose by 30% in Ramadan, compared to 2016’s season, because of the flotation of the pound.

He expected occupancy rates to improve, supported by guests of Arab nationalities, until the end of Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Prices will start at EGP 2,000 per night in the hotel, with its equivalent in dollars for non-Egyptians.

The number of Arab tourists in 2016 was 2.5 million, compared to 1.7 million tourists during 2015, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia topped the list of visitors from Arab countries with more than 500,000 Saudi tourists visiting Egypt during 2016.

The reservations representative at Conrad Cairo Hotel said that the hotel prepared a package of six nights at a cost of EGP 9,000 or its equivalent in dollars for non-Egyptians.

He explained that these prices are the hotel’s mean to attract guests in the current times. He pointed out that occupancy ratios are improving by 50% compared to a month ago.

He stressed that the flotation of the pound increased prices by at least 100%, but the hotel gives up on part of its profits and raises prices at varying rates, starting at 30% compared to the time before the flotation of the pound.

Hilton Zamalek Hotel is offering 7 days, 6 nights at a cost of EGP 8,200 throughout Ramadan.

The hotel’s reservations representative said that there was an increase of 40% compared to the period before the beginning of Ramadan.

He revealed that price increases start at 30%, affected by the price hikes of all inputs following the flotation of the pound.

An official at the Ministry of Tourism said that Arab tourists visiting Egypt during the last days of Ramadan will increase, especially families from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are expected to spend their holiday here.

He expected ratios of occupancy during the holiday and the week after Eid to increase to more than 80% following the influx of families from the Gulf and some from Europe.

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Hotel food supplies prices up by 40% https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/hotel-food-supplies-prices-up-by-40/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/hotel-food-supplies-prices-up-by-40/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 07:30:21 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627482 Owing to dramatic rise of prices, hotels do not stock food commodities

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The food supplies to Cairo and Alexandria hotels have increased 40% from the previous year, due to rising occupancy rates.

“There is an increase in the food supplies to Cairo and hotels by over 40%, compared to the same period of the previous year,” said Tawfik Mokhtar, executive assistant manager and director of sales and marketing at The Nile Ritz-Carlton.

He explained that the reason for that is the high occupancy rates, particularly by the Arabs, whereas the rates exceed 75% currently, emphasising the hotels’ readiness for Ramadan.

Moreover, he added that the prices of imported food supplies increased by 100%, compared to 40% hike in prices of domestic products. The price difference is entirely bore by consumers. The price of alcoholic beverages also surged by 300%.

Mokhtar said that hotels don’t hoard food commodities anymore but rather purchase needed commodities only, due to the huge rise of costs, which makes over-purchasing in vain.

Mokhtar also noted that hotels in areas that celebrate Ramadan import more food commodities quantities by 30 %, in comparison to prior months.

Hisham Al-Abd, former deputy of the hotel facilities chamber in Alexandria, said that the governorate started its preparations to host internal and external tourists who are fleeing from the high temperature.

He added that there is a high rate of food commodities supply by at least 30% currently. It is expected that this rate will be consistent until September.

He noted that in Ramadan the turn out on hotels, restaurants, iftar, and sohoor increases, which boosts the supply of food commodities.

Al-Abd pointed out that there is a big increase in the costs of the national products that reaches 40%, and 100% for the imported items, which makes hotels resort to national products mainly, and to imported items per guests requests.

The general secretary of the Giza Chamber of Commerce and head of the Tourism Division, Mohamed Embaby, said that Cairo and Giza hotels are witnessing an increase in quantities of supplies by 40% at a minimum. These increases are predicted to continue during the month of Ramadan and the end of the year.

These increases may extend to the Red Sea governorate if the current hotel occupancy continues to recover, according to him, noting that the increases will not reach Luxor and Aswan, as well as South Sinai.

He stressed that there is a crisis suffered by the tourism sector, which is the reluctance of suppliers to postpone payment of their dues, and ask them to pay in advance; otherwise, products will be exported, increasing pressure on investors.

He added that the sector is neglected among 11 parties and cannot continue unless they are fully unified.

Majed Fawzy, former deputy of the hotel facilities chamber, said that the hotel supplies started to flourish in light of the current recovery in the inbound tourism movement both from the Arab world and the world.

Yet, he noted that this recovery only impacts the regions that have already been seeing more occupancy, including Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria. He added that the prices surged by 40%, which is a new burden on the sector, as it cannot afford all these increases in conjunction with the government demands that exhaust it and which it cannot evade.

He stressed that initiatives for the tourism sector must also include helping the sector meet its requirements.

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High operation costs force Egyptian hotels to reduce prices in summer https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/30/high-operation-costs-force-egyptian-hotels-reduce-prices-summer/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/30/high-operation-costs-force-egyptian-hotels-reduce-prices-summer/#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 14:34:46 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627366 North Coast hotels will record the highest prices in the next summer, followed by Ain Sokhna at EGP 1,500 per night, then Hurghada and South Sinai

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Egyptian hotels are preparing a number of touristic offers for the next summer season after the holy month of Ramadan, especially in the coastal areas, including South Sinai, the Red Sea, and Alexandria governorates, according to hotel employees and investors.

They said that the touristic areas in the Red Sea, such as Ain Sokhna and Hurghada, as well as Alexandria and the North Coast, will attract the most Egyptian families compared to other resorts in South Sinai.

Waseem Mohy El-Din, former chairperson of the Chamber of Tourism, said that Egyptian hotels and resorts will provide a number of touristic offers in the next summer, especially as the summer season will actually start after Ramadan, unlike the last three years.

He expected that the occupancy in Alexandria and the North Coast would reach 95%, while it would be 75% in Ain Sokhna and 70% in Hurghada.

Mohy El-Din attributed the high expectations in Alexandria, the North Coast, and Ain Sokhna to their proximity to large residential communities in Cairo.

He added that North Coast hotels will record the highest prices in the summer followed by Ain Sokhna at EGP 1,500 per night, then Hurghada and South Sinai.

Adel Rady, chairperson of the Investors Association in Marsa Allam, said that the occupancy rates in the last three months exceeded 50% in some hotels, supported by a growth in the flow of foreign tourists from European countries.

He ruled out a growth in Egyptians flowing to Marsa Allam during the summer, as most Egyptians prefer to go to near coastal areas, whether Ain Sokhna or Alexandria.

Mohamed Hassan, a hotel manager in Sharm El-Sheikh, said that the hotels there started to study several offers for Egyptians for Eid al-Fitr holidays at prices of more than EGP 600 per night.

He noted that the hotels with prices less than EGP 600 would not offer quality accommodation in light of the high operation costs​ in the last seven months due to the liberalisation of the pound’s exchange rate against the dollar.

Hassan pointed out that food and energy prices increased by more than 80% and 50%, respectively, which led to an increase in many hotels’ prices of accommodation, otherwise they would not offer meals.

A hotel manager in Ain Sokhna, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the tourist turnout after Ramadan will increase significantly, especially from Cairo residents, which will lead to price hikes ranging from EGP 1,500 to EGP 3,000 per night.

The head of the Tourism Investors Association in South Sinai, Hesham Ali, said that the tourist turnout will grow by more than 50% compared to the same season last year, especially as most of the holidays come during the summer months.

The capacity of the Sharm El-Sheikh hotels reaches about 33,000 rooms out of a total of 65,000 in South Sinai, representing about 15% of the hotel capacity operating in Egypt, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

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Ministry of Antiquities offers annual museum tickets at discounted prices  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/28/ministry-antiquities-offers-annual-museum-tickets-discounted-prices/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/28/ministry-antiquities-offers-annual-museum-tickets-discounted-prices/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 06:30:09 +0000 http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/?p=626945 Revenues of the Ministry of Antiquities during the past two years dropped by over 90%, which forces it to look for new sources of income through discounts

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The Ministry of Antiquities has begun offering annual museum tickets for Egyptians and foreigners with a price of EGP 200 for Egyptians, EGP 50 for Egyptian students, $90 for foreigners, and $50 for foreign students.

An official at the ministry said that these tickets aim to increase the ministry’s financial resources in the coming fiscal year, amid a decline that persisted over the past five years due to the decline of tourist inflow.

He added that the ministry lost over 90% of its resources, which prompted it to look for new alternative resources through providing discounted tickets for Egyptians and foreigners.

The peak income of the Ministry of Antiquities was in 2010 with over EGP 1.4bn. But last year, the ministry’s income was less than EGP 100m.

The tourist traffic to Egypt declined during the past year to 5.3 million tourists, marking a decline of 40%, compared to 9.3 million tourists in 2015.

Elhamy El-Zayat, former chairperson of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism, said that the offer benefits the ministry and helps it develop the archaeological shrines and museums in light of Egypt’s declining tourism revenues.

He added that the Egyptian tourism sector with all its components is able to recover during the coming period as long as there is stability in the security situation, which is very strong compared to other neighbouring countries.

He pointed out that Egypt is not the only country suffering from terrorism during the current period, but countries around the world face fierce attacks from terrorism.

The official at the ministry predicted revenues to climb by 20% this year, due to improved inflow to Egypt during the first quarter of 2017.

He expressed optimism that the number of tourists will reach over 7 million this year, thanks to the domestic tourism by families, individuals, and university students, which will increase revenues.

The Cabinet had agreed to provide EGP 1.2bn to the Ministry of Antiquities in the next fiscal year to improve the archaeological shrines and museums in different regions of the Republic, especially along the Nile valley, in the governorates of Luxor, Aswan, Minya, Assiut, and Sohag.

According to the official, the ministry will review the entry fee of many museums and archaeological sites under construction, especially in South Sinai and the Red Sea region.

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Supreme Council of Antiquities to launch Cairo Pass permits for foreigners in Cairo and Giza https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/28/supreme-council-antiquities-launch-cairo-pass-permits-foreigners-cairo-giza/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/28/supreme-council-antiquities-launch-cairo-pass-permits-foreigners-cairo-giza/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 06:00:58 +0000 http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/?p=626937 The Supreme Council of Antiquities decided to issue “Cairo Pass” permits to foreigners to visit the monument sites and Islamic museums in Greater Cairo, including Cairo and Giza, and will apply the decision starting 1 November, according to an official at the Ministry of Antiquities. The council mentioned in its decision—obtained by Daily News Egypt—that …

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The Supreme Council of Antiquities decided to issue “Cairo Pass” permits to foreigners to visit the monument sites and Islamic museums in Greater Cairo, including Cairo and Giza, and will apply the decision starting 1 November, according to an official at the Ministry of Antiquities.

The council mentioned in its decision—obtained by Daily News Egypt—that the permit will be valid for five days during official working hours, whereby the visitor can visit all archaeological sites mentioned an unlimited number of times during the validity period of the permit.

The value of the permit is $100 for foreign visitors and $50 for foreign students, and the value can be set for other foreign currencies, such as the euro or British pound.

According to the decision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the permit will be authorised through the headquarters of the Department of Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Antiquities in Zamalek, the Saladin Citadel of Cairo, the Egyptian Museum, or the pyramids.

The council explained that the documents required to obtain the permit include a personal photograph, passport copy after checking the original one, or university ID of the foreign student.

A source at the Ministry of Antiquities said that applying the process of the combined “full package” permit for visiting all the archaeological sites in Cairo and Giza was based on requests from foreign tourism companies following the success of the experiment in Luxor.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany told Daily News Egypt previously that foreign tourism companies submitted requests to the ministry to apply the experience of issuing the permit package held in Luxor on all archaeological sites, but in the form of a full package that includes all the archaeological sites throughout the country.

The source added that the aim of issuing these permits serves as an attempt to improve the financial resources of the ministry and to maximise the resources of the dollar, and it also serves the tourist through purchasing permits only once during their visit.

He explained that the beginning of the experiment was in November 2016 in Luxor, causing the archaeological sites to receive high turn-out rates through a great number of tourists groups.

Adel Zaki, a member of the board of directors of the Chamber of Tourism Companies and Travel Agencies, praised the decision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities to issue combined permits for visiting all archaeological sites. He added that it reduces travel fees for tourists and increases the number of visit opportunities at the same time.

He continued that despite the success of the idea, it can not be relied on for attracting more tourists to the Egyptian cultural destinations​, due to the decline in tourism rates.

He explained that the addition of the package will have a good return, and it is expected to attract some foreign nationalities, but not European, whom they hope to bring back soon and who had previously represented 72% of the volume of inbound tourism.

According to the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the total prices of foreign visitor tickets at all archaeological sites in Cairo and Giza—by calculating the value of the exchange price of the dollar at EGP 18—would reach $147 (EGP 2,630), but they suggested to make it only $100.

The total price of foreign student tickets was calculated to be $73 (EGP 1,315), but the board reduced it to only $50.

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The state has succeeded in lifting most travel bans imposed on Egypt: Soha El Torgoman https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/25/state-succeeded-lifting-travel-bans-imposed-egypt-soha-el-torgoman/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/25/state-succeeded-lifting-travel-bans-imposed-egypt-soha-el-torgoman/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 06:00:56 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=626701 Procedures for adding the path of the holy family to the UNESCO have started, which will secure financing to develop the areas

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Soha El Torgoman, general manager of Ramses Hilton Hotel and a member of the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) and the Technical Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Tourism, said that tourism in Egypt is improving. In an interview with Daily News Egypt, she explained all aspects related to the Egyptian tourism situation.

What is your assessment of the current status of the tourism sector?

The situation has become very different now than before the crisis of the crash of a Russian airliner.

What are the differences you see?

I think that the Egyptian tourist situation is improving. All the countries that had a travel ban imposed on Egyptian destinations following the fall of the airliner have been lifted, except Russia, which is still intact due to political reasons, and Britain on Sharm El-Sheikh only.

Do you think that the tourism sector has begun recovering from the crash?

Yes, the situation began to recover. This is evident by the fact that all nationalities are coming to Egyptian destinations​ after 18 months since the crash.

Do you see a change in the inflow map?

The Egyptian tourist map has completely changed during the last period. The sector used to rely on specific nationalities and certain markets, which made it very vulnerable to changes. I think that the Egyptian tourism sector has begun to rely on new markets and adopted new types of tourism that were not included before.

What are the most important new markets?

India, China, and Ukraine, as well as Latin America, which grew by 200% in the first quarter of the current year. The tourism from the Gulf has also increased significantly.

What are the new types of tourism?

The classic or cultural tourism that was customary before 2011 relied only on floating hotels. But now, Luxor and Aswan are seeing a boom across floating and traditional hotels.

Are there new nationalities starting to appear in tourist destinations?

The Gulf tourism began to emerge in areas that were not dependent on the Arabs, such as Aswan and Luxor, in addition to their interest in Sharm El-Sheikh, which was limited previously. The North Coast region began to heavily attract Arab tourism. I expect to see rental and buying prices go up there amid the growing Arab attention that will follow Ramadan.

Has there been a significant difference in the marketing of Egyptian tourist destinations?

For the first time, the Egyptian tourism sector relies on online marketing through bloggers and international reservation sites. It has become the first method of marketing in the world and we have to rely on it without the need for paper and printed publications and advertisements. The bloggers also have a great impact on global tourism marketing.

Did the use of electronic marketing increase inflow?

Electronic marketing has helped to limit the control of travel agents and major tour operators that had a monopoly over Egyptian tourism. It enabled us to reach tourists without dealing with operators.

What other new tourist patterns has Egypt started to introduce?

The path of the Holy Family has become one of the most important tourist patterns during the recent period. It will become the forefront of tourism patterns in two years, as it will attract a large number of Copts around the world to visit Egypt.

How did Egypt start promoting and marketing the path of the Holy Family?

A year ago, the Ministry of Tourism began to pay attention to the path of the Holy Family, when the minister visited Italy and was asked to prepare for the visit of the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar and the Pope. The path of the Holy Family will be added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

What are the advantages of adding the path of the Holy Family to UNESCO?

Once it is added, UNESCO will secure the funding necessary to develop these sites, in addition to helping the ministry promote them.

What is the number of sites within the path of the Holy Family?

The path includes 37 sites. The state is working to secure these sites and will begin with eight of them. This was presented to tour operators too.

What is your assessment of the participation of the tourism sector in international exhibitions?

The Egyptian Tourism Authority is currently working to use the help of a specialised company to prepare for the sector’s participation in international exhibitions. The authority aims to make Egypt a trademark on the world map of tourism.

Will Egypt be placed as a trademark as a whole or by placing different marks on the country’s tourism destinations?

We seek to make Egypt, as a whole, a trademark. When Russia and Britain lift the travel ban, we will begin dividing Egypt into different brands. We want to make the path of the Holy Family a brand, as it combines two types of tourism, classic and religious. This will be in parallel with the marketing of other sites.

Why did we recently start to pay attention to the path of the Holy Family at last?

Egypt needed a new tourist product to be presented to the world in light of the recent crises that the state faced.

What are the most important tools used by the ministry and the sector in increasing the inflow of tourists in the recent period?

Changing the charter flights incentive scheme to include regular flights is an important step, as many tourists come on board regular flights.

How did tour operators benefit from this scheme?

There were many complaints about the fees in Egyptian airports. The ministry is now paying these fees on behalf of the tour operators, which brings the total cost down and keeps foreign exchange available in Egypt.

As a lady who manages the Hilton Ramses Hotel, can you tell us how successful Egyptian women are in managing hotels?

I am the first Egyptian woman to manage a hotel in Egypt. I am also the first Muslim Arab woman to manage a hotel belonging to the Hilton Worldwide Group. I am currently training female experts to make them become top choices for Hilton leading positions. Egyptian women can become very successful in managing hotels in Egypt, as they have many advantages, such as patience and tolerance, which were planted in them by God.

What is the role of the Hilton Worldwide Group in empowering women to manage its hotels?

Amongst Hilton’s priorities is putting women in leading positions. There are plans to increase the number of women working at the group’s hotels to 20%, up from 10% previously.

How many women manage hotels in Egypt?

There are only two now, including me. But this is new and likely to increase more in the future.

What are the most important measures you took when you took over the Hilton Ramses Hotel?

When I was first appointed, I attended all meetings for all departments of the hotels for more than three months. This was one of the most important steps that helped me get to know all employees and learn first hand all operations. It also kept an open line of communication with them to exchange suggestions and views.

What has the development of the hotel been like since you took over the management?

I have been very interested in the way we welcome guests and the service quality at the hotel. Egyptians do not have the genes to serve others, but they have outstanding hospitality genes.

Why is the manager of the food and beverages department at hotels always not Egyptian?

Lack of interest in the technical and special study for the hospitality sector has weakened it much in the last few years, along with the poor quality of training for the sector’s employees.

Does Ramses Hilton train staff?

One of the most important activities carried out by the hotel management and the international group is training. The group provides an online university to develop the skills of the staff. There is also a specialised training manager at the hotel. We may cut allocations for training, but we never cancel them.

Are there any directives from the Supreme Council for Tourism to train workers in the tourism sector?

As a member of the Technical Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Tourism headed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, I stress that we have been tasked to train all the public servants that deal with tourists.

What are the developments in the hotel?

We have completed the first phase of development, which includes upgrading 68 rooms; 63 regular rooms and 5 suites. They will be opened for Eid Al Fitr, including a big suite called Diwan, which overlooks the Nile River. It is also a duplex with a special kids area. There is also more development in the pipeline, such as opening a hall named after the hotel, Ramses, which will include different areas to match all visitors. The second phase of development will include upgrading two floors, the pool, the reception, and restaurants. This will begin in November. After Eid Al Fitr, we will also repaint the outer walls of the hotel in cooperation with Sipes.

Is the development of the hotel related to competition with other hotels overlooking the Nile?

Yes, we are developing the hotel for competition. And we are targeting all types of guests, including the high-spending guests. The renovations will change the personality of the hotels completely.

What nationalities choose to stay at Hilton Ramses?

The Saudis and Gulf countries are at the forefront, as well as the Spanish, the Americans, and the Chinese, followed by Malaysians and Indonesians.

Have you applied the value added tax in the hotel?

Hilton Group is very committed to the implementation of all new laws adopted by the government, including the decision to apply the VAT.

What is the effect of the flotation on revenues and expenses?

The decision to float the pound hiked revenues more than costs. That decision was good for the Egyptian tourism sector, especially foreign tourism.

What is your favorite award?

I was awarded the GM Leadership Award across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The winner of the award is chosen based on a global internal survey, through which criteria, including team engagement, trust, and leadership effectiveness, are evaluated.

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70% occupancy in Cairo hotels, 8% increase in Sharm El Sheikh in Q1: Colliers International https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/24/70-occupancy-cairo-hotels-8-increase-sharm-el-sheikh-q1-colliers-international/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/24/70-occupancy-cairo-hotels-8-increase-sharm-el-sheikh-q1-colliers-international/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 13:45:22 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=626704 The report addressed hotel occupancies and provided an outlook for four main Egyptian cities

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A Colliers International report for Egyptian hotels in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Hurghada has revealed that Cairo hotels will witness an addition through the opening of St. Regis Cairo and Radisson Blu Nasr City, in addition to the reopening of the Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino, representing a 10% increase in total branded supply within the city.

Cairo achieved occupancy levels above 70% in the first quarter of 2017, the highest since 2007, and occupancy is expected to increase further as consumer confidence returns to the city on account of government efforts, according to the report.

As for the report’s outlook for 2017, the planned airport to be established in 6th of October City is expected to witness a number of businesses establish some presence in Western Cairo. As a result, the market may appeal to hotel investors as demand could grow further.

As for Alexandria, supply is expected to remain constant in 2017 and 2018 as forthcoming developments face delays, Colliers International said.

The Alexandrian hotels market is less prone to seasonality fluctuations due to the diverse market segments it caters, and because it is mainly a domestic and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) driven market. This relative stability supports a healthier occupancy performance throughout the year when compared to Egypt’s other coastal destinations.

The distinct geographical location of Alexandria, coupled with its natural resources, provides it with the opportunity to capture significant leisure family demand. Moreover, the cultural demand and reduced journey time when compared to other coastal cities in Egypt is expected to further fuel demand from domestic leisure visitors with reduced spending power.

In Sharm El-Sheikh, supply is expected to grow at a cumulative growth rate of 4.5% due to the confirmed Citystars complex, which is expected to comprise of three hotels, namely Raffles, Fairmont, and Swissotel. 2017 is expected to see demand levels increase as travel bans are lifted and the destination is perceived as even more affordable due to the Egyptian pound devaluation.

Occupancy rates have increased by 8% in the first quarter of 2017 in Sharm El-Sheikh, and according to the report, this trend is expected to continue over the course of the year.

On the other hand, development delays are expected in Hurghada due to the current conditions of the market, so supply is expected to remain constant throughout 2017.

The destination is expecting higher occupancy levels with the lifting of flight bans. Additionally, it is expected to appeal to family travellers due to the deflated value of the Egyptian pound.

Colliers International is a global company in commercial real estate services, with over 15,000 employees operating in 68 countries.

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Albatross Holding for Tourism opens new hotel with investments exceeding EGP 1bn: Abo Ali https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/albatross-holding-tourism-opens-new-hotel-investments-exceeding-egp-1bn-abo-ali/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/albatross-holding-tourism-opens-new-hotel-investments-exceeding-egp-1bn-abo-ali/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:54 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625918 The project is a message to tourists and investors in all fields from all over the world that Egypt is safe

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Albatross Holding for Tourism opened its new hotel in Sharm El-Sheikh with investments of more than EGP 1bn, according to Kamel Abo Ali, head of the company.

According to Abo Ali, the company will open the second project during the current period, despite the tourism crisis experienced in Egypt over the past year. He added that the company is insisting on establishing these projects to serve as a strong message to the outside world to be confident and invest in Egypt, especially in the tourism field.

The tourist traffic in Egypt declined during the past year to 5.3 million tourists, compared to 9.3 million tourists over the previous year—a decline of 40%—due to the suspension of tourist traffic coming from Russia and Britain.

Abo Ali pointed out that it is a message to tourists and investors in all fields from all over the world that Egypt is safe and is just going through a transitional stage that will end quickly.

The cost of the project exceeds EGP 1bn, and it is located on an area of 200,000 square metres in Umm el Sid plateau in Sharm El-Sheikh and contains 650 hotel rooms.

The hotel is 5-stars and includes the largest water games city in the Middle East on an area of 80,000 square metres.

Abo Ali said that they haven’t yet decided whether all people will be allowed to enter the aqua park or it will only be accessible to the hotel’s guests only.

Abo Ali revealed the visit of football player Cristiano Ronaldo’s family to Egypt, where they attended the opening ceremony of the hotel. He stressed that we should exploit this visit in tourism marketing, as it is considered a message to tourists that emphasises the security and safety of Egypt, as Ronaldo’s family is being followed on social media by tens of millions of fans of the player, and also his sister Katia is a famous singer in Portugal.

He added that their tour in Cairo and Hurghada is a message to tens of millions of people to visit Egypt, and the company will focus on that in the coming period to invite celebrities to visit the country. Abo Ali pointed out that his company started this month in the construction works of its new hotel.

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Antiquities ministry to allocate EGP 10m for Grand Egyptian Museum’s employees’ wages next FY https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/antiquities-ministry-allocate-egp-10m-grand-egyptian-museums-employees-wages-next-fy/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/antiquities-ministry-allocate-egp-10m-grand-egyptian-museums-employees-wages-next-fy/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 08:00:06 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625917 Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate EGP 10m in wages and salaries for the Grand Egyptian Museum’s employees in the state budget of fiscal year (FY) 2017/2018, according to an official at the Ministry of Antiquities. The official said that the government has decided five months ago to transform the …

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Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate EGP 10m in wages and salaries for the Grand Egyptian Museum’s employees in the state budget of fiscal year (FY) 2017/2018, according to an official at the Ministry of Antiquities.

The official said that the government has decided five months ago to transform the Grand Egyptian Museum into an economic body, so that it can achieve revenues that will enable the museum to cover its needs. However, the project is scheduled to be opened in July 2018, and the museum has no financial resources at this time.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved the Ministry of Antiquities’ request to increase the loan allocated for the establishment of the Grand Egyptian Museum to $700m instead of $300m.

The cost of establishing the museum is estimated at $1bn, of which $860m is provided by JICA.
Established on 117 feddans, the Grand Egyptian Museum is set to be the world’s largest museum, with the main exhibition built on a third of its total area. The museum includes entertainment facilities and commercial buildings next to the museum garden, all of which make the museum a new monument by itself—ready to welcome 8 million visitors per year. The Ministry of Antiquities intends to transfer 2,000 antiquities to the Grand Egyptian Museum this year in preparation for the partial opening of the museum.

More than 40,000 artifacts were transferred to the museum’s restoration centre, of which 31,000 monuments have been restored, including 2,700 artifacts belonging to King Tutankhamun, according to the project’s supervisor, Tareq Tawfik, in a previous press statement to Daily News Egypt.

The Grand Egyptian Museum will be one of the most important monuments in Egypt after the completion of the project in 2022, aiming to provide more tourist inflow to Egypt and tourism revenues, according to the general supervisor of the project, adding that the project is a big leap in the projects implemented by the ministry during the recent period.

The Ministry of Antiquities hopes to partially open the Grand Egyptian Museum in the first half of 2018, while the museum will be fully opened in 2022.

Tawfik added that the ministry has completed the construction phase representing 52% of the total project.
He pointed out the ministry is now working on completing the interior exhibits and the outdoor squares, which includes green areas and parks.

Tawfik said the estimated cost of the project is $1bn, which is likely to increase after the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision to float the exchange rate.

JICA has secured $860m of the total project’s cost in a facilitated loan, while the Egyptian government provided $250m.

The main building is located on an area of 160,000 square metres—making it the world’s largest exhibition. The museum includes 14 restoration labs for all antiquities: wooden, heavy (more than 250 kg), and small antiquities, as well as the Grand Stairwell—on which 100 king statues will be placed to showcase the different eras of Ancient Egyptian history—in addition to a conference hall that can accommodate up to 1,000 visitors a day.

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Price hikes overshadow restaurant offers in Ramadan https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/price-hikes-overshadow-restaurant-offers-ramadan/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/price-hikes-overshadow-restaurant-offers-ramadan/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 07:30:35 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625907 Programme for meals and shows during the month of Ramadan see prices rise by 50-100% as a result of flotation

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The prices of suhoor and iftar in Ramadan are increasing by 80% compared to last year as a result of price hikes following the flotation of the pound.

Amin Sabla, former chairperson of the Chamber of Tourism Establishments of the Egyptian Tourism Federation and head of the Bon Appetit restaurants, said that the prices of meals in Ramadan, whether iftar or suhoor, will rise after the liberalisation of the exchange rate of the pound against the dollar in November 2016.

He explained that there are five types of facilities. The first are the alcohol-friendly facilities, which close during the holy month. The second type are the major establishments, which suffer weak demand and are limited to the iftar and suhoor hours—where a facility of 100 seats cannot serve more than 100 people twice a day, unlike the traditional service during the rest of the year, in which they serve hundreds of customers per day.

He added that the third type does not usually see big demand during the year except during Ramadan, during which all seats are taken.

The fourth type of establishments serve oriental sweets, which see a positive response during the month.

The fifth type of establishments are the takeaway restaurants, which halt work during the day, but see demand during the night hours.

According to Sabla, the deterioration of the economic situation led to the absence of prior reservations for companies and families to tourist restaurants during the nights of Ramadan.

As a result, the contracts with artists and musical bands to host concerts declined during the second half of Shaaban.

He explained that nearly 50% of reservations are made by companies that host celebrations for their employees. He said that the price of a meal on a boat ranges between EGP 300-600 per person for iftar or suhoor. The boats that host concerts besides food offer higher prices.

Ramadan Hagagy, member of the Chamber of Tourism Establishments of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said that Ramadan usually sees a 90% increase in demand on floating restaurants during iftar and suhoor.

He also expected prices to see a rise of up to 20% at least because of the price hikes of most commodities.

One of the service providers at the Ondine Maadi restaurant said that the restaurant is now preparing for Ramadan with an expected unprecedented customer demand for iftar and suhoor, especially from businesspeople, companies, and government agencies.

He noted that prices will range between EGP 400 and EGP 700 per person, plus tax and service charges.

He expected bookings to increase by 20% compared to Ramadan last year, as it coincides with high-school exams, and the desire of the people to leave homes for students as not to negatively affect their concentration.

He explained that the restaurant is applying for a licence regarding the installation of Ramadan decorations outside the restaurant on the Corniche, waiting for licences from the Ministry of Tourism to provide programmes at the beginning of the month.

Nagy Erian, the deputy head of the Chamber of Tourism Establishments of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said that establishments are now racing to obtain a licence from the Ministry of Tourism to provide special programmes during Ramadan.

He pointed out that all programmes are witnessing at least a 50% increase in prices, up by 100% due to the flotation of the pound.

A salesperson at Nile Maxim boat said that the price of iftar on board ranges between EGP 500 and EGP 700.

He added that all restaurants on the board contracted with artists to host suhoor concerts, noting that the band prices increased by 100% from last year.

One of the booking staff at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel said that the lowest iftar menu begins at EGP 360 per person, while the lowest price for suhoor is EGP 550.

She added that the period during which they offer iftar is only two hours, while suhoor extends over a period of four hours.

Another booking employee at the Sofitel Al Jazeerah Hotel said that the hotel’s iftar prices range between EGP 400 and EGP 500 per person. As for suhoor, meals start at EGP 300.

Ramses Hilton will provide the possibility of an overnight stay at discounted prices to attract customers.

The sales representative there said that the price per room, including iftar and suhoor is at EGP 999 per person, while double rooms are at EGP 1,399.

Abdul-Fattah Al-Assi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism for Hotel Establishments, warned hotels not to offer Ramadan programmes without a permit from the Ministry of Tourism, as this would make them liable to paying three times the tax.

He explained that the hotels that offer Ramadan programmes are in Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria only; Ramadan programmes cannot be held in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada and other tourist cities, he added.

He expected hotels to continue submitting requests for programmes until the beginning of Ramadan.

He pointed out that the applications include the duration of the programme, along with the prices that the establishments set based on their view of the market and the economic situation of citizens.

He noted that the ministry did not change the prices submitted by the hotels, even though it reserves the right to amend the prices based on its own view.

He explained that the ministry decided to leave the prices open for hotels to decide, due to the general price hikes.

He pointed out that all the hotels that applied for permits have been approved, and none were rejected.

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Beirut and Aqaba hotels a “hotspot” this summer: Colliers International https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/10/beirut-aqaba-hotels-hotspot-summer-colliers-international/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/10/beirut-aqaba-hotels-hotspot-summer-colliers-international/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 14:22:49 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625017 Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah steady, Jeddah and Riyadh occupancies continue to decline

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A forecast report conducted by Colliers International for the hotels of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the three-month period from April to June 2017 has showed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egyptian cities have experienced an increase in the number of reviews from Russian travellers who tend to view their stays in these cities positively. It has also showed that the key cities in terms of occupancies this summer are expected to be Beirut and Aqaba.

In Beirut, an increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) is expected to take place and emanate from both average daily rate (ADR) and occupancy rates, according to Colliers International’s report. The report expected the city to witness a busy summer season with high leisure demand from the Lebanese Diaspora living abroad.

As for the Red Sea resort in Jordan, the report showed that it continues to benefit from the domestic demand and the demand from visitors of Scandinavian countries.

Other MENA cities are steady in terms of hotel occupancies, such as Sharjah, where the hotel market in Sharjah is going through a recovery phase with modest growth in occupancies. “The upcoming Eid holidays and school vacations in the Gulf countries, followed by strong growth in the Chinese market, will keep the RevPAR in line with the rates of last year without declines,” the report said.

The return of summer heat and Ramadan is expected to lower the demand in Ras Al Khaimah; however, the strong local demand over Eid and school holidays, along with international leisure demand from Germany, UK, Russia, and India will keep the three-month RevPAR growth in line with last year.

In Jeddah, both occupancy and ADR levels continue to decline due to a drop in demand by the corporate and leisure segments. “This is primarily due to the cuts in government and private sector’s spending, with little recovery expected in the medium term,” the report said.

The market of Riyadh is also witnessing a downward trend in the performance of hotels. A combination of new supply and lower demand has resulted in a dip in RevPAR, which is expected to continue into the next three months, according to the forecast by Colliers International.

Colliers International is a global company in commercial and real estate services with over 15,000 employees operating in 68 countries.

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Luxor suffering from decline in tourism: tourism officials https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/10/luxor-suffering-decline-tourism-tourism-officials/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/10/luxor-suffering-decline-tourism-tourism-officials/#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 12:46:11 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625003 Hotel occupancy in Luxor declined in the past six years due to the decline of tourist influx to Egypt

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The average occupancy rate in Luxor’s hotels during the first third of 2017 is 25%, said tourism officials/specialists.

Luxor governorate began suffering from the decline of tourism indicators since February 2011. Fifty planes used to arrive from all European countries on a weekly basis to Luxor, but now the city only receives four German flights per week, with an average of 400-500 tourists.

The percentage of fixed and floating hotel occupancy in Luxor governorate during the period from December 2016 to April was 25%, while the average price of the night was estimated at EGP 300.

Ehab Qidees, former chairperson of the Chamber of Tourism Establishments and the director of one of the hotels in Luxor, said that there were 40 hotels in the governorate (of which 11 were between 4 and 5 stars), with an estimated 4,000 beds.

He added that the number of floating hotels is 253, of which 100 hotels are suitable to operate, and in the peak period—during mid-year vacation which extends for two weeks—60 hotels are operational. During the rest of the year, only 30 hotels operate.

Qidees pointed out that there are 100 floating hotels that have been out of service since 2011 because of the lack of the periodical maintenance on a yearly basis.

The Egyptian Hotels Association requested from the Ministry of Tourism to grant loans of no more than EGP 600,000 to be allocated to the maintenance of floating hotels as a result of the erosion of their wooden floors and which have suspended their operations for a long time. However, there was no response, unlike the initiative announced by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), which provided EGP 5bn to renovate and replace hotels.

In 2015, the number of tourists who visited Luxor was 250,000, while the number of tourists in 2010 was roughly 3.5 million. Currently, there are no regular flights, and most of the tourists who arrive in Luxor come for a one-day visit, according to the chairperson of the Egyptian Hotels Association.

He pointed out that the occupancy rate at the peak time of the tourist season—the period from September to the end of April—did not exceed 25%.

China ranks first in terms of the nationalities visiting Luxor, followed by the United States, Germany, and Italy.

The effects of flotation of the pound were most visible on the hotel sector, as prices of goods and products used in meals increased, which in turn raised the cost of the meal, Qidees added.

Ramadan Hagag, an owner of one of the floating hotels, said that the number of hotel rooms in Luxor is roughly 13,800, divided between stationary and floating hotels.

He added that the rate of occupancy in the floating hotels in the period from February to March 2017 reached 100%, but throughout the winter season from September 2016 to April 2017, it stood at 21%.

Hagag explained that the most prominent nationality that accepts cultural tourism in Luxor is China, followed by Germany, and the average price per night is $20 (EGP 360) in Egypt.

He pointed out that companies that manage floating hotels have been trying to lay off 40% of their employees so that expenses could be covered—in light of the decline in the size of revenues and the increase in energy prices—and those companies have suffered losses since 2011.

He called on the state to support floating hotels for maintenance through allowing them to obtain loans from banks, in light of the high cost of operations and insurance, especially as tourists want to receive a good service at a low price.

Adel Al-Shazly, a member of the board of directors in the Chamber of Tourism Establishments for Upper Egypt and the general manager of 3-star hotels, said that the occupancy rate in Luxor ranged from 5% to 20% throughout the year, with the maximum during the winter season from December 2016 to April 2017.

He added that the average price of rooms in one to three-star hotels range between EGP 50 and EGP 160 per night, while the price per night in four-star hotels is EGP 300 and in five-star hotels EGP 450.

He pointed out that the level of pricing in hotels has declined because of the low economic level of the tourists arriving to Luxor, as the city is no longer receiving high-spending tourists.

The offered supply declined as a result of a 60% price-hike in goods, merchants said

The monthly income of bazaars ranged between zero and EGP 3,000, compared to EGP 5,000 and EGP 500,000 six years ago.

The number of bazaars in Luxor is 1,800, said Bakri Abdel Gelil, head of the Bazaar Owners Association in Luxor. Most tourists prefer to buy souvenirs like Pharaonic stones, cotton clothes, silverware, and papyrus.

In the past few years, the market has witnessed a decline in demand as a result of low tourism rates, and product prices increased by roughly 60% compared to last year; therefore, traders reduced the quantities of the offered products and reduced imports.

Some bazaar owners have changed their activities altogether because their incomes have declined significantly, and many of them established restaurants, coffee shops, and other shops.

Abdel Gelil pointed out that 50% of all products in bazaars are imported from China.

In terms of the decision of the Minister of Industry regarding the ban of importing products from China, he said that the bazaars have a stock of Chinese products sufficient for three years.

He pointed out that the demand on the cultural tourism in Luxor, Giza, and Aswan is relatively weak, compared to the demand on recreational tourism in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.

He pointed out that most of the bazaars are located in the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple, Luxor Corniche, Savoy Street, and the tourist market.

Bazaar owners rent shops from the governorate, the Ministry of Tourism, or the Ministry of Religious Endowments. The average rental price in Savoy Street and Luxor’s west bank ranges from EGP 500 to EGP 850 per month, while bazaars affiliated to the Ministry of Tourism have rents that range from EGP 2,000 to EGP 6,000. The average size of a bazaar is 3×4 metres and up to 60 metres.

He added that the association has sent notes to the Ministry of Tourism since 2011 regarding the most prominent problems facing bazaar owners.

Mohamed Hassan, the owner of a spice business in Luxor, said that the price of products rose by 60-70% compared to 2016. The price of a kilogram of hibiscus reached EGP 100, and as a result, the customer buys half a kilogram most of the time instead of three, for example, he added.

The price of cardamom increased from EGP 200 per kilo to EGP 420, and the price of nutmeg rose from EGP 280 to EGP 550.

He added that the most purchased products include pepper, cumin, cilantro, nutmeg, tamarind, hibiscus, and carob.

He noted that the size of imported products out of all products offered for sale ranges between 25% and 30% compared to the local ones, including licorice, skin products, mastic, and cardamom from several countries, including Malaysia, Turkey, Sudan, and Indonesia.

He mentioned that the demand on products has declined by 70% compared to the past two years.

He said that Egyptians represent most of the groups that visit the tourist market, and sometimes there are frequent visits by foreigners from France, Germany, England, Russia, and Poland.

Shops overcome the increase in costs by dividing the cost of transporting goods amongst themselves—due to the decline of the demand—in addition to reducing the offered supply. Shops now order six or seven tonnes of the various products as one order throughout the year, unlike six years ago, when they used to order 12 tonnes that they replenished every three or four months.

Mohamed Hassan, a silverware shop owner, said that visitors of the tourist market prefer Italian silverware more than Egyptian, adding that the former represents 75% of all silverware on display.

He added that prices have increased compared to last year. The price of one gram of Egyptian silver is EGP 8, which increased to EGP 15, while the price of one gram of Italian silver increased from EGP 12 to EGP 25-30.

Hassan noted that the size of the monthly income used to be EGP 60,000 to EGP 70,000 before 2011, but now it ranges between EGP 6,000 and EGP 12,000 based on the turnout.

He added that silverware shops are one of the most popular in the tourist market, since most of customers are Egyptians and they prefer to buy silver, while bazaars and papyrus shops receive less customers.

Carreta owners demand support due to the decline of demand, riders

A grant of EGP 1,400 was announced to be provided to carreta riders several months ago to subsidise them as a result of the decline in tourism over the past six years, but they haven’t yet obtained it.

Carretas are one of the most popular means of transportation for tourists who visit Luxor’s most famous temples and ancient sites. The cost per hour of a carreta ride is about EGP 80.

Gamal Ismail, head of the Karnak Temple caretta stop, said that there are 340 licensed carretas in Luxor and 800 unlicensed ones.

The average amount spent on a horse per day is about EGP 70, of which EGP 20 is spent on berseem, EGP 40 on five kilograms of cereal, and EGP 10 for hay, according to Ismail.

He noted that there are three main caretta stops in Luxor: in Abu Haggag Square, at Luxor Temple, and at Karnak Temple. Each of these accommodate 75 carretas.

Meanwhile, other stops accommodate 37-42 carretas.

He added that the governorate announced a fixed tariff of EGP 80 per hour, yet occasionally the price is reduced when the customer haggles.

Moreover, he noted that tourists want to visit a number of archaeological sites in Luxor, including the Crocodile Island, the Holy Fountain, and temples.

A carreta owner, Ibrahim Mohamed, said that a grant of EGP 1,400 was announced a few months ago that would be provided to carreta owners when the number of tourists declined, but there has been no grant yet.

He added that the governorate disburses an allowance of 120 kg of cereal for each owner every four month as the price reached EGP 8 per kg.

Another owner, Al-Shazly Mohamed, said that tourists want to visit the Avenue of the Sphinxes, the Egyptian market, and some streets around the city. The tours take between 30 and 90 minutes.

The price per tour is different, as foreign tourists prefer hour-long tours worth EGP 50, while Chinese tourists ask for 30-minute tours for EGP 20-25. Some Egyptians prefer longer tours and spend about EGP 100.

Mohamed noted that carreta owners pay EGP 300 per year to renew the licences from the union, next to taxes, fines, utilities, and cleaning fees.

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Exciting times for Al Dau Development and Hurghada https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/10/exciting-times-al-dau-development-hurghada/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/10/exciting-times-al-dau-development-hurghada/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 12:42:22 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625006 Lars Geweyer, CEO of the Al Dau Development Hotel Division, is a native German with over 25 years of international hotel management experience across four continents.

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Lars Geweyer, CEO of the Al Dau Development Hotel Division, is a native German with over 25 years of international hotel management experience across four continents. Geweyer has performed project management, pre-openings, and ongoing operations as general manager and area general manager. He was post-opening the general manager for the Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel in Hurghada and was responsible for setting up the operational procedures for all properties in Hurghada. Geweyer continues to oversee operations at the Hurghada hotels and is now responsible for the hotel division operations and development.

Here we ask Mr. Geweyer for his insight into developments in Hurghada.

 

How does Steigenberger Al Dau Resort stand out compared to other hotels in the area?

Our property offers an ultimate vacation experience to every guest. It’s hard to compare us to other hotels, as Steigenberger Al Dau Resort is a fully integrated facility consisting of two category-leader hotels, a conference centre, shopping areas, and all the activities one could imagine such as night clubs, a golf course, a spa, and a diving and aqua centre. The award winning 5-star deluxe Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel is a haven of sophisticated luxury located directly on the azure blue Red Sea shore offering its guest exceptional service and eclectic facilities for perfect getaways. The benchmark 5-star family hotel Steigenberger Aqua Magic is the most vibrant family resort at the Red Sea, with an internationally certified Aqua Park and enormous aqua facilities, offering its guests unique opportunities for outstanding family vacation. Both hotels have a designated private beach area and access to aqua activities at IIlios Dive Club and Aqua Centre. The restaurants and bars offer cuisines from all over the globe, from sumptuous buffets to fine dining. Another important aspect is our unrivalled Luxury All Inclusive formula. It includes 24-hour food and beverage service and an array of a-la-carte dining, free Wi-Fi, free rounds of golf, unlimited use of pedal boats and canoes at the aqua centre, free introductory windsurfing, and dives. In addition, there are discounts on spa treatment menus. Our “little guests” are very well taken care of and enjoy a carefree vacation, with two fully-equipped kids’ clubs, supervised learning activities, and mini-disco nights.  We have the best Asian dining in town at the S-Square with three authentic restaurants serving Sushi, Teppanyaki, and Asian noodles.

For those who opt to dance the night away, Elements Club and Lounge offers daily party nights, a resident DJ, and a sports bar. The resort is an idyllic playground for land and aqua pursuits. The fully internationally certified aqua park features extensive water slides include family slides, tubes, free fall slides, and a multiple-feature family water playground. Sports and leisure activities, which feature our luxurious spa, also include a floodlit, 9-hole golf course, Thalasso Spa and fitness centres, boccia and beach volleyball, table tennis, as well as daily animation programmes and evening entertainment shows.

This unique structure allowed us to tailor the best in class value for our guests as they can enjoy the full array of experiences our resort can offer.

 

Talking about unique experiences, you have just introduced the new loyalty programme ALDAU Select. How is it different from the old repeat guest privileges?

We have always strived to offer the best benefits for our loyal guests. With ALDAU Select programme, we aim to redefine the whole loyalty concept and bring it to a different level. Achieved by combining the offerings of both our properties into a unified programme, it brings an unrivaled set of benefits for Steigenberger Al Dau Resort guests. Our loyal visitors will enjoy a 15% discount on our best available room rate when booking through our website and an array of other complementary services.

 

Al Dau Heights and Al Dau Strand are Sami Saad’s new high-class gated compounds in Hurghada. Are there special discounts for Repeater Guests wishing to buy? 

We are glad to offer our Repeater Guests an exclusive discount of 5% on all our unit types at Al Dau Heights and Al Dau Strand gated residential neighbourhoods.

 

Do you believe the new Village Mall, the first open-air retail experience in Hurghada, will be a major attraction for visitors to Hurghada? 

We believe that introducing a new shopping experience to the Red Sea destination such as ALDAU Village Mall will be a great attraction. For the first time at the Red Sea, we are also signing up an exciting roster of tenants to introduce many international brands to the Red Sea for the first time, also with exciting Cairo restaurant concepts that have not yet found their way to Hurghada.

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4,000-year-old funeral garden unveiled west of Luxor https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/04/4000-year-old-funeral-garden-unveiled-west-luxor/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/04/4000-year-old-funeral-garden-unveiled-west-luxor/#respond Thu, 04 May 2017 07:30:31 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=624256 This discovery is the first of its type in Thebes

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Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Egyptian antiquities sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, announced in a press statement on Wednesday that the Spanish archaeological mission in Dra’ Abu el-Naga, west of the city of Luxor, has successfully unearthed a funeral garden during the archaeological excavations in the courtyard of one of the tombs of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

The importance and value of this disclosure is the uniqueness of the garden and the fact that it was never found before in the ancient city of Thebes, where funeral gardens were previously unknown to archaeologists except through the carvings and murals painted on the entrances of the tombs of the New Kingdom of Egypt, according to Afifi.

“It also sheds light on the environment and the work of afforestationthat took place in the city at the time,” Afifi stated, referring to the act of planting trees in the desert.

Moreover, José Galan, the director of the Spanish mission operating on site and research professor at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, said that the garden is a small 2-by-3-metre rectangle divided into squares, each with an estimated length of 30 cm.

He explained that the garden contained different kinds of plants and flowers, adding that the mission also found in one of the sides of the garden the roots and trunk of a small tree, which dates back to 4000 BC. This is in addition to the bowl containing dates and other fruits, which were probably presented as an offering to the gods.

On the other hand, the mission also found a small funeral compartment near the front of the cemetery, which contained three rock funereal stelae dating back to the era of the 13th Dynasty, said Hani Abu-Elezz, head of the ministry’s central department of Upper Egypt.

According to Galan, the early studies reveal that the owner of one of them was called Renef Seneb, and the owner of the second was “the citizen Khemenit, son of the lady of the house, Idenu.”

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Sound and Light Company negotiates with Chinese investor to establish tourist project in Hurghada: El Shazly https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/04/sound-light-company-negotiates-chinese-investor-establish-tourist-project-hurghada-el-shazly/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/04/sound-light-company-negotiates-chinese-investor-establish-tourist-project-hurghada-el-shazly/#respond Thu, 04 May 2017 07:00:27 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=624254 Company’s losses last year reached EGP 19m, losses expected to decline by the end of FY to EGP 13m

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The Sound and Light Company, which is affiliated to the Holding Company for Tourism, Hotels, and Cinema, is negotiating with a Chinese investor to establish a hotel and shopping malls, in addition to a food court, with total investments worth $17m, on a 42,000 sqm plot of land owned by the company in the governorate of Hurghada.

Nagwa El Shazly, acting chairperson of the company, told Daily News Egypt that a feasibility study of the project was developed, and the Chinese investor is studying the project. The investor is expected to make an offer during the upcoming few months in order to negotiate the implementation of the project.

There is a piece of land owned by the company in Hurghada. Will a study be held to utilise the land?

We are negotiating with a Chinese investor to establish a hotel, shopping malls, and a food court on a land with an area of 42,000 sqm, with approximate investments of $17m.

According to the feasibility study, the financing allocated for the project is expected to be recovered within six years from the project’s operation, especially since Hurghada is considered one of the most important tourist areas in Egypt and has 20% of Egypt’s inbound tourism annually.

The French company Prism prepared to contract on developing the sound and light shows in the Pyramids area in January 2015.

The cost of the project is $50m. The company is waiting for approval from the Ministry of Antiquities to start implementing the project, which will take 14 months to be implemented.

Prism is currently preparing blueprints of the project and is expected to start working within two months.

What about the company’s losses last year? Is there a plan to reduce them over the upcoming months?

The losses were estimated at EGP 19m. I expect the losses to decline by the end of this fiscal year, with growth in the number of inbound tourists over the past five months.

What are the ranges of the reduction in losses expected by the end of this fiscal year?

Indicators say we will reduce losses by the end of this fiscal year to EGP 13m compared to EGP 18bn last year.

This decline in losses will take place despite the increase of material prices and the inevitable prices in salaries, which represent 70% of total expenses.

This decline in losses will be done through two parallel aspects. The first depends on promoting sound and light shows to increase revenues, and the second depends on reducing expenses as much as possible, including diesel, gasoline, and lighting inside the offices of the company.

This strategy adopted by the company has already enabled it to save 30% of its expenses. A decision was made to not operate ACs before the beginning of May in order to rationalise the use of electricity and lighting. One car was also allocated for the transportation of more than one head of a department in the company instead of allocating one car for each employee separately.

How does the tourism sector see the decision of increasing ticket prices which you have recently made?

The company has decided to activate a new increase in the fees of tickets in early April from EGP 125 to EGP 150 for foreign visitors. The increase is not random, though, and does not compensate the company for losses.

The increase comes against an increase of the costs of operating materials by 300% that took place during the past months in order to keep up with the increase of costs, not to increase the company’s profitability.

The ticket was worth $10 before flotation. The increase was supposed to take the price to EGP 200 in order to equal the current dollar exchange rate.

The company has carried out the slight increase in order to test the market and tourism companies first. The company had addressed tourism companies about the increase, and they have not showed objection.

It is decided that a meeting will be held soon with tourism companies in the presence of the chairperson of the Holding Company for Tourism and Hotels, Mervat Hataba, in order to notify the tourism companies about a new increase in the ticket prices after the agreement of all involved parties.

The Sound and Light Company provides facilitations and discounts for tourism companies and their tourist groups as a kind of promotion for the sound and light shows.

Are there any other activities other than the sound and light shows?

The activities of the company are divided into three activities. The main activity is the sound and light shows that are in five regions, including the pyramids and regions in Upper Egypt. This activity depends on tourism and security.

The second activity of the company is allocated to the implementation of lighting projects for others, such as the Citadel of Salah Ed-Din and Al-Moez Street.

The third activity of the company depends on the establishment of concerts and events, both in the Pyramids area of ​​Giza and the Temple of Phila in Luxor. These concerts are supposed to pay us off, but we always meet several obstacles.

Like what?

There are many obstacles facing the organiser of the concert, such as problems related to the payment of theatre rent and lighting services, in addition to paying another amount of money to tourism and antiquities police for securing the region during the concert, as well as the Ministry of Antiquities, as the area belongs to them.

These costs represent a heavy financial burden on the organizer of the concert, as the organizer pays money to roughly six different parties. If the financial return is good, the concert is held,but if not,then the concert gets cancelled.

In commercial concerts, there is a percentage paid for taxes, as well as paying an amount of money to the Musical Profession Syndicate and arts copyrights.

The company seeks to facilitate concerts to be held in the sound and light theatre, but the other authorities are out of its hands, while the organiser of the concert requests a reduction of the amount of money they pay to those authorities.

The sound and light show capacity in the pyramids area is 3,000 seats, with a courtyard rented by the Ministry of Antiquities, worth EGP 400 per person, compared to EGP 75 previously.

The rent received by the company from the organiser of the concert for the theatre does not exceed EGP 150,000, and there will be a special discount to government agencies and ministries, and the Ministry of Antiquities may get EGP 2m from the event for renting the courtyard for 5,000 people per concert.

What about lighting projects for others that are implemented by the company?

We recently completed a lighting project for four villas in Sheikh Zayed area in 6th of October City, where we are working on the implementation of lighting projects for all sectors, both public and private.

Work is also being done on studies and special measurements for the project of lighting the Fatimid Cairo wall for the benefit of the Ministry of Antiquities.

We are targeting projects for third parties during the fiscal year 2017/2018 worth EGP 10m.

Is there an improvement in the demand of sound and light shows in the current period?

Rates are good and exceeded 50%, and we hope to reach 90% during the coming period with the improvement of inbound tourism to Egypt.

What about scheduling the dues of the company with the Ministry of Antiquities?

The Ministry of Antiquities called for a delay fine against the Sound and Light Company estimated at EGP 7m for the project of lighting in the western Luxor.

The Ministry of Antiquities submitted a complaint to the State Council against the company because of its failure to comply with the date of implementing the project of lighting in western Luxor.

We reached an agreement with Mamdouh Al-Damaty, the former Minister of Antiquities, on scheduling debts owed, with EGP 1m paid per month, and the ministry began to repay it in May 2015.

Upon activation of this agreement, we were surprised that the ministry submitted the delay complaint to the State Council, which approved it.

It was agreed that the Sound and Light Company sent all documents that confirm its commitment to implementing the project in accordance with the time period specified in the contract, which is 13 months.

The Upper Egypt Electricity Distribution Company requested a further study of the project to adjust the cable track, whereby the project implementation period was extended by an additional three months, and the ministry did not mention the reason behind the delay complaint.

How much is the delay fine on your company?

The delay fine for was estimated at EGP 7m, and the company agreed to settle it by deducting 25% of the monthly instalment value that is worth EGP 1m.

We have exerted great efforts to negotiate with the ministry in order to obtain its approval on the repayment through deducting a monthly amount of money to collect the fine, instead of collecting it in one tranche, especially in light of the lack of income of the sound and light shows over the past years.

There is always a delay in the payment of the monthly instalment by the ministry, and it is scheduled to be paid during the first week of each month, in accordance with the agreement between the two parties, due to the lack of financial resources suffered by the Ministry of Antiquities in the recent period.

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Saudi Arabia led tourist traffic to Egypt in 2016: Rashed https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/saudi-arabia-led-tourist-traffic-egypt-2016-rashed/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/saudi-arabia-led-tourist-traffic-egypt-2016-rashed/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:00:27 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=623340 Arab tourists in 2016 amounted to 2 million, up from 1.7 million in 2015

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Arab tourism influx to Egypt during the past year accounted for 36.3% of the total traffic of 5.3 million tourists, according to Minister of Tourism Yehia Rashed. He added that Saudi Arabia was the top Arab country in terms of number of tourists to Egypt, with 507,000 tourists, followed by Jordan with 180,000, Kuwait with 150,000, and then Lebanon with 86,000 tourists.

Rashed said in a statement obtained by Daily News Egypt that the total number of Arab tourists in 2016 amounted to 2 million tourists, up from 1.7 million in 2017—an increase of 17.6%.

The first quarter of 2017 witnessed an increase of 38.8% in the number of Arab tourists compared to the same period last year, according to Rashed, expecting tourism to recover during the current year.

The Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority are successfully participating in the Arabian Travel Market exhibition held between 24 and 27 April.

Rashed said that the ministry’s participation in the exhibition aims at enhancing cooperation with the partners in the region and reinforcing efforts to attract Arab tourists, noting that Arab tourism is extremely important to Egypt.

He added that Egypt is always keen to provide attractive factors for the Arab tourist, the most important of which is facilitating entry and visa procedures and motivating aviation from Arab countries.

The minister explained that work is now underway to facilitate the entry of companions accompanying tourists arriving from the Arab Gulf countries, next to facilitating the receipt of visas at ports of access for tourist groups coming from the Arab Maghreb countries.

This year, the Egyptian booth reviews the Egyptian tourists’ destination that can satisfy all tastes, with a focus on cultural, religious, and therapeutic destinations, including the “Path of the Holy Family” destinations, which was revived by developing the sites on the Holy Family’s route. The ministry has already developed 8 out of the 25 points on the route.

The eight archeological sites include the Church of Abu Sarja, the Hanging Church in Old Cairo, the Church of the Virgin in Maadi, the three monasteries of Wadi Al Natroun, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Bird, the Muharraq Monastery, and the Holy Virgin Mary Monastery in Assiut. The development is being carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Antiquities, and the Coptic and Catholic churches.

Head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Hisham El-Demery said that Egypt aims to highlight therapeutic tourism through its participation in the exhibition, adding that a law is now being prepared to regulate that.

In the field of therapeutic tourism, the Helwan Sulfuric Centre for Rheumatism and Physiotherapy has been very important, next to the Bahariya Oasis and Siwa Oasis with their mineral water springs.

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Average night in Marsa Alam hotels costs $25: Shalaby https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/average-night-marsa-alam-hotels-costs-25-shalaby/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/average-night-marsa-alam-hotels-costs-25-shalaby/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:30:07 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=623336 Flights should cost less than EGP 2,500-3,000 per person, as one family of four cannot afford to spend EGP 12,000

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The average occupancy rate of Marsa Alam hotels in April reached 35%, according to deputy chairperson of the Tourism Investors Association in Marsa Alam, Tarek Shalaby, adding that 80% of tourists are German.

Shalaby pointed out that the average price of accommodation per night ranges from $20 to $25, noting that the hotels will not raise the prices unless occupancy rates increase first.

The hotel capacity in the Marsa Alam area is about 11,000 rooms, with investments exceeding EGP 15bn. There are an additional 6,000 rooms currently under construction.

Shalaby said that bookings in Marsa Alam hotels are stable and were not impacted by the recent bombings in the Delta and Alexandria.

He pointed out that Marsa Alam is considered one of the important tourist areas in light of the state’s tendency to establish the Golden Triangle project, which links the Red Sea to the inner cities in the Nile Valley during the next few months.

He added that reducing flight prices for Egyptians will boost occupancy rates, especially in the summer, as many families and individuals come to spend their vacations on the sea.

He stressed that flight prices must be less than EGP 2,500-3,000 per person, as a family of four would then pay EGP 12,000 for the flights only.

He called upon the government to subsidise the flights for Egyptians.

Moreover, Shalaby said that 30 hotels have shut down recently in the area, driven by weak occupancy rates, while the remaining hotels hope the rates will increase to help ease losses.

He pointed out that foreign individual tourism in the region increased significantly recently, especially from Italy, even though Italian airlines do not operate flights to Marsa Alam. He explained that Italian tourists come via Turkish or Polish airways.

According to Shalaby, individual foreigners spend the most compared to groups.

He expected bookings to increase again in the winter season, especially from Italians and Germans.

He noted that the inflow of Arab nationalities in the region is still very weak, as they prefer going to Sharm El-Sheikh, especially Jordanians and Lebanese.

The tourism traffic to Egypt fell last year to 5.3 million tourists, compared with 9.3 million tourists in the previous year—a 40% decrease.

Shalaby called on the Ministry of Tourism to promote tourism to Marsa Alam, especially in European countries, which account for 72% of all tourist inflows to Egypt.

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