Egypt Independent

Conferences, weddings save hotels from closing

An Egyptian tourism committee said on Sunday that Egypt's hotels are depending on non-tourist activities such as conferences and wedding parties to keep from closing.

Adel al-Sherbeeny, head of the hotels committee at a tourism chamber in the Red Sea Governorate, said a number of hotels had shut down because of the declining tourist numbers.

The numbers arriving in Egypt fell by 45.7 percent to about 1.9 million between January and March of this year, according to a government report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics on Sunday. During the same period last year, about 3.5 million tourists came to Egypt, according to the report.

Sherbeeny told Al-Masry Al-Youm that many companies that used to run three or four hotels now run only one, closing the others to limit their losses.

Tourism could restore Egypt's prosperity after society, politics and security are stabilized, Sherbeeny said, but this may not occur until after March 2012.

He said around half of those employed in the tourism industry are either on open-ended vacations or annual leave. The tourism support fund, which pays minimum wages during times of crisis, only disbursed salaries for February, he said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition