Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tourists will hardly feel local fuel hikes: travel expert - Egypt Today
Tourists look at the Abu Simbel temple during a daily sound and light show, on the eve of the anniversary of Pharaoh Ramses - Reuters

Tourists will hardly feel local fuel hikes: travel expert

Fri, Jun. 30, 2017

CAIRO – 30 June 2017: Tourists coming to Egypt will hardly feel the impact of the local fuel hikes due to the pound flotation, neither are hotel prices expected to increase, a travel expert told Egypt Today on Thursday.

"Transport cost will definitely increase, including visits to attractions that require transportation, because oil prices have increased," said Adel Zaki, former member of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association's board of directors.

Zaki explained that tourists may not even notice the price difference because of the November flotation of the pound, which resulted in the Egyptian currency losing half of its value before the U.S. dollar, meaning a "50 percent discount" for tourists. The dollar stands at LE 18.

Hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada have refrained from increasing their prices in fear of further reducing the occupancy rate, according to Zaki, who completely disagrees with that decision.

"They are waiting until the tourist influx is back to figures of 2010, and that is wrong. When there is currency flotation anywhere in the world, hotel prices are expected to rise. But maintaining such low prices, even if they bring some tourists, there is no profit margin; hence lower quality service in terms of the food, for example," he said.

He criticized that a holiday of seven days, including the flight and transportation, at a five-star hotel in Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Luxor and Aswan can cost only € 450.

The government has exempted many hotels from water and electricity bills, and froze the interests of their loans due to the decline in occupancy rate. The tourism sector in Egypt has suffered since the uprising of 2011.

Zaki emphasized that "the security situation is flawless, but there are still some foreign newspapers that distort the reality in Egypt for political reasons."

He recalled that he was told at Portugal's Leading Conference Hotel 2016 that "Europeans will not go to any Muslims country from Morocco to Indonesia" anytime soon.

Thus, Egypt must promote itself in other markets after decades of relying only on European tourists, especially in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, he urged.

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