Emirati tourists on the comeback trail to Egypt

The affordability of rooms compared to Dubai and an improving security situation mean tourists are returning to the country.
Tourists ride horse carts and camels at the Giza pyramids. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
Tourists ride horse carts and camels at the Giza pyramids. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

Tourism from the UAE to Egypt is on the rise as affordability lures holidaymakers.

The number of Emirati tourists grew by 49.8 per cent up to April compared to the same period last year, according to the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA).

The affordability of rooms compared to Dubai and an improving security situation mean tourists are returning to the country.

ETA also expects to open its Arabian Gulf headquarters in Abu Dhabi in July.

Some hotels in Dubai report feeling the effect of Egypt’s tourism recovery.

“When Egypt was closed, a lot of Saudi tourists used to come to Dubai, now that segment has gone missing,” said Samir Arora, the general manager of the four-star Ramada Downtown Dubai.

“Egypt is also taking some [of the UAE’s] internal tourists over longer holidays, and it would be interesting to see how the UAE market reacts to the last 10 days of Ramadan holidays, whether people would stay here or go overseas.”

Sharjah online travel agent Musafir.com says it has seen a 14 per rise in tourist numbers to Egypt so far this year compared to a year ago.

“We have seen a slight increase in onward tourism to Egypt from the UAE but the customers are still apprehensive due to the political situation,” said Raheesh Babu, the general manager at Musafir.com.

“With the stabilised political situation now, we expect to see a hike in tourism after Ramadan, mainly due to affordable hotel rates, flight connectivity and cultural tourism.”

On The Go Tours in London has seen an increase of between 10 and 20 per cent in Emirati and expat tourists from the UAE coming to Egypt year on year.

“Emirati families look to give their children a cultural experience, something more than a fantasy world or a shopping holiday, and holidays are normally a week in length,” said Simone Wilkins-Keshk, the head of product and operations for On the Go Tours in Cairo.

In April, room rates in Dubai fell 12.8 per cent year on year across four and five-star properties to touch US$373.78, according to Hotstats data. During the same month, rooms in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh were going for less than $49.

Arabs comprised 17 per cent of the total number of tourists who visited Egypt during the first four months, compared with 15 per cent in the same period last year.

The number of Saudi and Kuwaiti tourists are also on the rise by 69.9 per cent and 37.1 per cent respectively during the same period year on year.

Last month the Egyptian tourism agency launched a campaign called Masr Qariba, which means Egypt is close, to increase Arab tourism to the country, especially from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

ssahoo@thenational.ae

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter

Published: June 15, 2015 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one

Most Read