Tourism sector and hotel workers think the recent devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the dollar will not result in major improvement in foreign tourist inflow to Egypt over the second half of 2015.
According to tourism and hotel management company workers, the flow of tourists to Egypt depends mainly on the state of security in the country.
Elhamy El-Zayat, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), believes that despite Egypt being able to attract tourists from all over the world, the latest events negatively affect the tourist flow.
“It is natural that the devaluation of the dollar price would increase the flow of tourists to Egypt, as it works on decreasing the prices of Egyptian tourism services, compared to other countries in the region,” said Elzayat.
The Egyptian pound fell against the dollar over the course of this week by about 20pts..
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has devaluated the Egyptian pound against the dollar over this week, with the dollar price reaching EGP 7.83.
Hani Gawish, a member of the Nuweiba Investors Association, said that the increase in dollar prices will lead to an increase in the prices of food commodities. Gawish added that in case of the Egyptian pound’s devaluation, there will be a large-scale inflation wave in food commodity prices and industrial inputs.
Egypt’s inflation increased during May to reach 13.5%, compared to 11% last April, according to Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The present hotel occupancy in South Sinai varies from one place to another, with Sharm El-Sheikh registering over 50% occupancy. However, some hotels in the area of Taba and Nuweiba have closed as a result of the low occupancy rates.
Egypt’s tourism income reached $5.5bn in the first nine months of the previous fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015, compared to $3.1bn during the same period in FY 2013-2014, according to the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of Tourism hopes to increase the tourist numbers to 12.5 million by the end of 2015, in comparison to the 9.9 million tourists registered in the previous year.
The prices of the different aspects of the tourism industry, including salaries, facilities and the like, increased by 20%-30%, Gawish said. He added that salaries faced the highest hikes.
Hotel rooms in Egypt amount to 225,000 rooms, distributed across the Red Sea, South Sinai, Cairo, the North Coast, Alexandria, and Upper Egypt.
In spite of the relative improvement in tourism flows during the last period, according to Vice President of the South Sinai Investors Association Adel El-Sherbiny, the numbers have yet to reach the levels Egypt achieved in 2010.
In 2010, tourist numbers amounted to around 14.7 million, whilst 9.9 million tourists visited last year.
“The numbers are not as important as the hotels’ services prices,” Gawish said. “There is a significant drop in the prices in comparison to 2010, despite the increase in the prices of the food commodities, and salaries in 2015.”