Egypt hotel occupancy down 70pc
Cairo, March 21, 2009
Occupancy rates at Egyptian hotels have dipped to an average of about 70 per cent as the global economic slowdown hurts tourism in the country, tourism minister Zoheir Garrana said on Saturday.
A slump in tourism, which employs about 10 percent of Egypt's workforce, is among factors that could drag economic growth this year to its lowest in half a decade.
'The current occupancy rate is fluctuating between 66 and 70 per cent and that is a good level,' Garrana said in comments carried by state news agency Mena.
Garrana gave no figures on what occupancy rates had been previously.
Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes has said occupancy could fall below 50 per cent this year and the number of tourists drop by 18 per cent to 10.5 million.
Garrana said the government was targeting a decline of no more than 12 per cent, without giving further details.
Egypt is home to some of the world's most famous historic sites, such as the Pyramids of Giza. It also boasts beaches and coral reefs along the Red Sea. The majority of visitors come from European countries such as Russia, Britain, Germany and Italy.
Finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali said last week that economic growth could drop to as low as 4 per cent this fiscal year, its lowest since 2003-2004, on declining revenues from the Suez Canal and tourism.-Reuters