Setting a precedent: Germany lifts Sharm al-Sheikh travel warning
Egypt’s ministries of Tourism and Foreign Affairs are working together to lift travel warnings imposed by European countries to the Sinai Peninsula following the bombing of a tourist bus last February, according to Chairman of International Tourism Sector Ahmed Shoukry.
Germany is one of the most important tourism markets for Egypt, along with Russia, Britain and France, according to Shoukry.
Europeans visiting Egypt account for 72% of total tourism traffic to Egypt annually.
Germany issued a travel warning to its citizens for the Sinai Peninsula following the bombing of a tourist bus in Taba. Fifteen European countries followed Germany’s lead and took the same decision.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, travel advisories issued for the Sinai Peninsula led tourism revenues to decrease in the first quarter of 2014 to $1.3bn, down 43% from the same period last year.
Communication between the Ministry of Tourism and all European countries has been continuous in order to lift the travel warning for Sharm El-Sheikh.
South Sinai’s 62,000 hotel rooms represent approximately 33% of Egypt’s total hotel capacity, according to Egypt’s Hotels Chamber.
According to Chairman of the Tourism Investors Association in South Sinai Hisham Aly, German officials lifting the travel ban will increase hotel occupancy, which currently does not exceed 35%.
Aly expected occupancy to rise as other countries remove travel warnings to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou and the German Ambassador to Cairo Hansjorg Haber held an intensive round of talks last week focusing on methods to improve tourism cooperation between the two countries.