Top Egyptian travel company sees sector recovering as tourists return

Tourists are seen on a beach in the Aqaba Gulf on the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt July 12, 2018. Picture taken July 12, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Top Egyptian travel company sees sector recovering as tourists return

  • Egypt’s revenues from tourism jumped 77 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018 to $4.8 billion
  • Tourism is a cornerstone of Egypt’s economy, a source of income for millions of citizens and a major source of foreign exchange

CAIRO: One of the biggest Egyptian travel companies, Travco Group, said on Tuesday that hotel bookings are rising as tourists return to the country after years of political turmoil and security concerns.
Tourism is a cornerstone of Egypt’s economy, a source of income for millions of citizens and a major source of foreign exchange. But the sector suffered severely in the years following 2011’s popular uprising and was further hampered by a spate of militant attacks which targeted visitors.
Egypt’s revenues from tourism jumped 77 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018 to $4.8 billion, while the number of tourists arriving in the country increased by 41 percent to just over 5 million.
Travco Group, which owns over 40 hotels in Egypt and abroad and is the local agent for Germany’s TUI Group, raised its prices by 30-35 percent at the beginning of this winter season, its CEO Hamed El Chiaty told Reuters in an interview.
“The level of tourist bookings during the current winter holiday season in Egypt is promising,” Chiaty said, adding that bookings from Germany, Italy, Poland and Ukraine were particularly promising.
In a devasting blow to the already struggling sector, Russia halted all flights to Egypt, and Britain stopped flights to Sinai, after an Islamist militant bomb attack brought down a Russian passenger plane in October 2015, killing everyone on board.
There have not been any major attacks aimed at the tourist sector in well over a year and Russia resumed flights to Cairo in April, although it has yet to authorize its aircraft to land in the Red Sea resort of Sham Al-Sheikh.
Chiaty said that Travco’s price increases were the highest in seven years, rising to pre-2011 levels, while occupancy levels at the group’s hotels were more than 80 percent, with the exception of Sharm Al-Sheikh.
Travco has market share of between 15 and 20 percent of the Polish, Belgian, English, Italian, Ukrainian and Austrian markets, Chiaty said, adding that it had recently refurbished its hotels.


Protesters, police scuffle in anti-tax protests in Jordan

Updated 48 min 9 sec ago
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Protesters, police scuffle in anti-tax protests in Jordan

  • The police fired several rounds of tear gas, as protesters dropped to the ground in coughing fits
  • Jordan’s economy has been hit by the fallout from years of conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq

AMMAN, Jordan: Hundreds of people have protested in Jordan’s capital against the government’s planned tax increases and high youth unemployment.
Some protesters near the prime minister’s office scuffled with riot police who fired several rounds of tear gas. Several people dropped to the ground in coughing fits.
It marked the first time police and protesters clashed since regular Thursday night protests resumed several weeks ago.
Previous demonstrations in the spring forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Hani Mulki who was replaced by economist Omar Razzaz.
Razzaz promised a more inclusive style of governing, but is also under pressure from international lenders to cut the government’s large deficit.
Jordan’s economy has been hit by the fallout from years of conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq, including trade disruptions and an influx of refugees.