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

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.


Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

Updated 19 min 38 sec ago

Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

  • NOC said it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day within two weeks

BENGHAZI: Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) said on Monday it had lifted force majeure on the El-Feel oilfield and that by doing so it had ended all the closures of oilfields and ports that resulted from an eight-month blockade by eastern forces.
NOC said on Friday it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) within two weeks and 1 million bpd within four weeks after lifting force majeure on the ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.
The blockade was imposed in January by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and ended in September when he agreed to reopen oil facilities after talks with members of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
NOC has been gradually lifting force majeure in facilities where fighters no longer remained and restarting production in them.
On Sunday a first tanker in eight months docked at Al-Zawiya port and began loading, an engineer there said, after force majeure was lifted last week on Sharara, Libya’s biggest oilfield.
Al-Waha Oil Co, an NOC company, also said on Sunday a first tanker was bound for Es Sider and may dock there early on Tuesday.
Force majeure refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract, in this case NOC, from meeting its obligations.