Tourists back at Sharm; new Rotana attracts

Olympic sized pool at Grand Rotana Resort and Spa

Sharm El Sheikh is the most popular beach resort area in Egypt’s south Sinai area.

Its popularity declined last year following the bombings in the shopping district of Na’ama Bay. Officials say that the numbers are down from 90 per cent to 70 per cent as compared to the previous year but visitors can see that the bombings are a thing of the past as the town is bustling with tourists once again. This in spite of the fact that it is still winter and Sharm is predominantly a summer resort.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Egypt is one of the leading travel and tourism economies in the Middle East, and indeed in the world, ranking second and 14th respectively in 2005. In the best case scenario, Egypt will be able to boost international arrivals to 13.4 million per year by 2011, increase travel and tourism industry GDP by 12 percent in 2011 with an addition of $1.6 billion, generate 223,000 more industry jobs by 2011 and push up overall real GDP across the economy by 1.8 percent by 2011. Last year, Egypt enjoyed eight million arrivals, 12.1 per cent up on 2004.

Rotana brings in the numbers
The opening and expansion of Grand Rotana Resort and Spa reaffirms the belief that Sharm is still one of the star tourist attractions of Egypt. One of the few five star resorts and spa in the region, it is the third Rotana property after Coral beach – Tiran and Montazah to open here.
“The Grand Rotana Resort and Spa in Sharm El Sheikh is truly an inspiring seaside getaway. The property has its own 450-metre stretch of private beach, a stunning 3,600 sqm pool which is as large as three Olympic-sized swimming pools and the entire property is surrounded by a lush tropical landscape with over 2,000 palm trees”, says Salim El Zyr, president and CEO of Rotana hotels. The resort also has nine beautiful villas with four or five bedrooms each, 480 rooms and 45 Club Rotana executive rooms and suites. F&B services include four restaurants, one beach bar and a night club. The property’s Spa will be fully functional by April.

Getting there
One of the easiest and cost efficient ways to get to Sharm El Sheikh is by flying Air Arabia, the low-fares airline operated out of Sharjah. Air Arabia flies to Sharm every Thursday and Sunday with fares starting from Dh250 (one way, exclusive of taxes and surcharges). Flying Air Arabia is also very convenient because of its superb online booking facilities.
With a plethora of water sport activites like snorkelling, deep sea diving, jet skiing it’s no wonder that Sharm gets a major chunk of the tourists that come to Egypt. A report released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, noted that 686,150 tourists spent 6,492,538 tourist nights in Egypt in May 2004. It was also noted that 74 percent of the tourists were European, 13.6 percent were Middle Eastern, followed by Asian and African.

By Sonorita Chauhan