Egypt tourism rises by 15pc


Statistics recently released by the Egypt government show unprecedented tourism figures for August compared to past years.

Tourist's traffic during August 2002 soared to 574,000 tourists. An increase of 15 per cent compared to August 2001, and 11.4 per cent compared to August 2000.

Total room-nights increased by 19.5 per cent compared to last year, achieving 4.3 million room-nights, official government reports disclosed

The occupancy of hotels in Cairo and Alexandria during August averaged to 82 per cent and in the Red Sea to 83 per cent.

Arab tourists achieved the highest growth in August with 26 per cent increase [166,000 tourists]; and 27.2 per cent increase in room-nights over last year.

Topping the list is Saudi Arabia which jumped to number three position among the total incoming traffic to Egypt, following Italy and Germany. Other major Arab contributors are United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen with a total traffic of 70,271 tourists including Saudi Arabia during August this year.

Various Sheraton executives polled say there is an overwhelming tourism comeback, especially from the Arab countries. The Sheraton Heliopolis Hotel witnessed 18.4 per cent growth this summer from the Gulf countries during July and August compared to the same period last year; and 42 per cent growth from the Middle East in total, say Jacque Chevasson, general manager of Sheraton Heliopolis Hotel.

In centrally located hotels, El-Gezirah Sheraton Hotel achieved 12 per cent increase in July and August compared to last year. "Intra-Arab tourism has shown very positive indicators this summer. Our market-share from this market has definitely expanded compared to previous years; and our figures doubled from most markets, especially from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait," says Ibrahim Fahmi, area managing director for Egypt; and general manager El Gezirah Sheraton.

On the Red Sea, Sheraton Sharm Hotel & Spa had a great boost from the Middle East market. The hotel hosted 3,601 tourists between January and August this year compared to 373 only in 2001. Jordan and Lebanon top the list with 1,280 and 1,106 tourists respectively.

European countries, Egypt's classical feeder-markets, poured 366,000 tourists during August with an increase of 17.3 per cent compared to last year.

Italy topped the European countries at number one ranking replacing Germany with an increase of 31.1 per cent tourists and 19.8 per cent room nights compared to last year. "Italians are the number one customers for Sheraton Soma Bay," say Hossam Adib, director of sales and marketing of the hotel. "We've had an increase in August of 16.3 per cent from Europe in total of which eight per cent comes from Italy alone," he added.

Germany, ranking second, achieved an increase of 12.1 per cent tourists and 23.3 per cent room-nights.

Moving up to number three position, Saudi Arabia achieved a significant growth of 32.5 per cent compared to August last year.

Year-to-date, January to August 2002, total traffic counts to 3.3 million tourists with 21.5 million room nights which brings down the shrinkage of traffic following the events of September 11 to -6 per cent from -12.3 per cent for the first half of 2002 in comparison to last year.