Red Sea hotels reduce prices by 40% to attract tourists

Hotel prices will be reduced by 40% compared to last year during the summer season as part of a Ministry of Tourism marketing campaign to attract more tourists to Egypt, said Mohamed Soliman, manager at tourism company Al-Rawas Group.

“In the Red Sea area prices will now be as low as EGP 100 per night and as high as EGP 300 per night in Sharm El-Sheikh,” he said.

Soliman added that the agreement for the price reductions was signed between tourism companies and the Ministry two months ago, with the price agreement lasting until October.

“Occupancy rates during 2012 reached 30% in Red Sea hotels,” he continued. “Occupation rates in Cairo have plummeted as low as 10%.”

“The tourism sector usually depends on advance reservations which include prices, visiting times and dates,” said Tarek Salama, a tourism consultant. “Due to the current political circumstances these are lower than during the two previous years.”

Salama added that hotels and tourism companies are therefore reducing their prices in order to attract more guests.

“The tourism sector’s problems are a result of twenty years of corruption,” he continued. “The revolution just revealed these problems. Three years ago the former regime sold lands which overlooked the beaches in coastal areas such as Sahl Hasheesh, the North Coast and Ras Gharib, and hotel construction developed faster than the flow of tourists into Egypt.”

Salama explained that tourists who currently come to Egypt are not bringing much money into the country. “In the Red Sea area the kind of tourists coming pay less than $15 per night as part of ‘all inclusive’ deals,” he said. “They don’t pay any extra for staying at Red Sea hotels.”

According to a Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) tourism report, tourism revenues dropped by 38% to reach EGP 2.1bn in 2012, compared to EGP 8.8bn in 2011.

The Ministry of Tourism hopes to attract 25 million tourists to Egypt by 2015.

“Most of the visitors during the summer season are from Arab countries, Italy, and Spain,” said Hatem Saleh, the foreign tourism manager for the United International Company for Tourism. “I don’t think they will come this year due to the issues currently facing Egypt.”

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