Egypt Independent

Tourism losing US$267 mln weekly since 25 January uprising, study shows

The tourism sector has been losing US$267 million a week since the breakout of the 25 January revolution, a study conducted by the Tourism Ministry reported.

The ministry said that hotel occupancy rates dropped by 5 to 18 percent. Visiting tourists are also spending less money during their stays, the study shows, with an average expenditure of $72.2 a day, down from $85.

The study also says that Egypt has slipped on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness index, dropping from the 94th position in 2011 to the 142nd position. The study says the index does not take into consideration the current political circumstances. Egypt’s tourism competitiveness has declined due to the need to overhaul the infrastructure and the transportation system, the ministry added.

The study says that losses in tourism have led to layoffs and the loss of revenues from taxes and insurance.

Meanwhile, Ehab Moussa, coordinator for the Coalition to Support Tourism, said political instability and protests against the Muslim Brotherhood probably mean that Egypt will not be able to attract tourists over the coming year, at least.

He added that there are already signs of that since Christmas — normally a high season that the tourism sector had hoped would make up for their losses — has not attracted as many visits this year.

The current conditions, Moussa added, would likely push hotels and other tourist establishments to lay even more workers off, particularly if taxes are raised, leading to the collapse of the sector.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm