Thomas Cook notes tourists return to Egypt and Turkey

The travel agent reported a rise in bookings to the two destinations this year.

Tourists are starting to return to Egypt and Turkey after a spate of terror attacks last year. Above, the Colossi of Memnon on the west bank of the Nile River at Luxor, 510 kilometers south of Cairo. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo
Powered by automated translation

Tourists are slowly returning to Egypt and Turkey after shunning resorts in both countries following a spate of terror attacks.

The travel agent Thomas Cook reported a rise in bookings to both countries this year.

“After a slow start to the season and a tough year in 2016, we’re seeing early signs that customers are beginning to go back to Turkey and Egypt,” said Peter Fankhauser, the chief executive of Thomas Cook.

Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot is expected to start flying to Cairo towards the end of this month, and is already active from Moscow to Cairo.

It is yet to resume flights to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. Aeroflot added Tunisia to its summer flight schedule that runs through October.

Aeroflot had banned flights to Egypt in 2015 after a plane carrying Russian passengers crashed in the Sinai Peninsula. The airline did not return requests for comment.

In Egypt, hotel development in Cairo as well as the Red Sea resort areas is on a roll. The Cairo hotel market expects to add more rooms in the luxury segment this year with the opening of the 366-room St Regis Cairo in August.

Last year, the market added Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir, Westin Cairo Golf Resort, Spa Katameya Dunes, and Nile Ritz-Carlton.

The average hotel occupancy in Cairo is expected to increase 7 per cent this year to touch 64 per cent, while the average daily room rate is expected to rise by 2 per cent to touch US$137, according to the consultancy Colliers International.