Elhamy al-Zayat, the head of the Egyptian tourism chamber, has asked for a meeting with President Mohamed Morsy to discuss the tourism sector.
“The president should know the whole truth. The sector is in dire straits and in real danger of collapse,” he said.
He told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the tourism sector is deeply in debt because of loans taken out during the transitional period, and that investments in the industry are in danger.
He expressed particular concern for the Nile cruise and floating hotel industry, saying that only 10 out of 270 floating hotels are operating.
“The occupancy rate is very low as a result of the security situation,” he said.
Osama al-Ashry, first undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism, said that the occupancy rate of floating hotels is 15 percent. He added that in Sharm el-Sheikh the hotel occupancy rate is 45 percent, in Hurghada it is 50 percent, and occupancy is between 25 and 20 percent in Aswan and Luxor.
Zayat expressed his hope that a liberal, competent figure would be appointed as tourism minister during this difficult stage. The next minister must be able to counter negative images of Egypt that spread as a result of incidents such as the recent murder of a student by suspected ultraconservative Islamists in Suez, he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm