Eid al-Adha spurs tourism in Egypt

With the arrival of the bright lights and warm greetings of Eid al-Adha, Egypt’s tourism sector is looking up.

After a period of stagnation due to political instability, the country’s many tourism attractions are drawing larger numbers of foreign visitors, officials told Al-Shorfa.

Occupancy rates at hotels in tourist areas have burgeoned and some hotels are fully booked, according to Mahmoud Shukri from the Tourism Ministry’s chamber of tourism promotion.

These “occupancy rates are quite comforting”, he said.

Ministry reports attribute the increase primarily to Saudi and Jordanian tourists.

“The ministry recently worked on attracting tourists from both countries, making it easier for them to come, making promotional offers and [price] reductions, and opening a land route that connects Egypt and Jordan,” Shukri said.

“In general, Arab tourists prefer Red Sea resorts as tourist destinations, while Hurghada, Alexandria and Safaga are favourite local tourist spots,” he added.

According to Shukri, the ministry, tourism agencies and resorts will focus their efforts in the near future on attracting tourists from countries like Poland, France, England, Russia and China for the Christmas and New Year seasons.

He said he expects fourth quarter tourist figures to improve on figures from the past three quarters, which saw more than 5.2 million tourists visit the country.


Shaker Abdul-Azim, a member of the board of directors for a tourist village in Sharm el-Sheikh, said Egyptian and UAE tourist resorts, particularly in Dubai, are currently competing to draw Saudi and Arab tourists.

Abdul-Azim spoke about positive aspects of the Egyptian tourism sector in this period.

More than 20,000 Jordanian tourists — “an excellent number for tourism exchange between the two countries” — arrived in the neighboring Egyptian and Jordanian towns of Taba and Aqaba, where measures to make land transportation more available brought down the cost of travel, he said.

In addition, international tourism companies have shown confidence in tight security measures in areas where resorts are located, Abdul-Azim said.

These companies also differentiate between internal security and isolated security incidents that happened in Sinai, he said.

“There is near unanimous confidence in Egyptian security, especially since no cases of harassment, terrorism or security incidents against tourists have recently been reported,” he said.

Far from Red Sea tourist resorts, Maggie Hanna, a tourist guide at the Giza Pyramids, told Al-Shorfa, “The days before Eid al-Adha witnessed a noticeable increase in tourists visiting Giza’s ancient sites.”

These tourists have many different nationalities, and most come from the Arab Gulf, in particular Saudis who come as families, she said.

“Tourist guides have been trying, with their available means, to offer all they can to restore confidence in Egyptian tourism by regulating tourist guides and keeping away intruders, who give this profession a bad name because they take advantage of tourists,” she said. “[We also] co-operate with tourism security forces and police to detect any security violations or offenses.”

Over the next few months, the tourism ministry and the tour guides association will join forces to make the most of Egyptian antiquities as a tourism magnet, Hanna said.

In collaboration with archaeology colleges, the ministry will train tourist guides and offer them educational courses, she said


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