Europeans returning to Red Sea Riviera


European visitors are returning to Egypt's Red Sea Riviera rediscovering the region's attractions as a leisure playground giving access to some of the prime diving spots of the world, say hotels in the area.

A trio of Holiday Inn resort hotels are playing their part in rebuilding confidence in the region, which was hit hard by negative perceptions about safety in light of Middle East and world events of the previous few months.

Holidaymakers, diving enthusiasts, as well as conference and incentive organisers, are again being lured by the Red Sea's mix of sun, sand, surf, and a wide choice of historical sites and outdoor pursuits, from snorkeling and scuba diving to desert safaris and horse riding, say hotels.

German guests staying recently at the Holiday Inn Resort Safaga Palace enthused about its facilities, service, and convenient location. The resort is just 30 minutes from Hurghada Airport - which receives charter flights, and is a 50-minute flight from Cairo - while the ancient settlement of Luxor is just a two-and-a-half hour drive away.

Hotelier Martin Zugman from Bonn, enjoying a three-week visit with his wife, Thea, said: "We made good use of the beaches, and even formed a birdwatching group of guests for Crocodile Island. We felt safe and welcome at all times, and will be back next winter, maybe with friends from Germany and The Netherlands."

Event manager and artist's agent, Daniel Kottnauer, from Essen, stayed two weeks with his girlfriend, and said: "We had no fear of coming to Egypt and went diving, experienced a Jeep safari and look forward to coming back for a trip on the Nile."

The resort is among seven Egyptian properties managed by Six Continents Hotels now offering attractive winter packages starting at just $30 per person per night until the end of this month.

Egypt Air, the country's flag carrier, is offering special fares on all inbound flights and the joint drive was launched to correct negative perceptions of Egypt as a safe travel destination.