Reduced Tourist Visa Costs Might Help Revive Egypt’s Hospitality Sector
Following the ease of lockdown restrictions, Egypt’s hotel industry is trying to kick start with a new beginning by adjusting to the new normal. As of now, nearly 70 hotels have received the health safety certificates which are mandatory as per the health guidelines released by the Egyptian government and the World Health Organisation. As per the ministry, the approved hotels are currently located in five provinces: Red Sea, Alexandria, South Sinai and the Suez and Cairo.
The Chairman of the Red Sea Hotels Chamber, Alla Aaqel announced that the hotels are working with maximum capacity of 25 percent in an experimental opening till May end. Post this month, they can accommodate a 50 percent capacity. Valets have been banned, yet casinos can operate with a limited 50 percent capacity.
As per the Egyptian government guidelines, any violation of precautionary measures by the boat owners can be subjected to stripping the license for several months. Also, for controlling the spread of the virus, Safari trips and diving have been suspended till May 29.
As per Aaqel, “The move won’t compensate the losses caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 for the tourism sector that has generated record-high revenues of 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.”
According to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the state might resume most activities around mid-June. It is likely for the government to allow in-house dining at restaurants with stricter measures. Even after the announcement of the eased rules, Egypt’s hospitality industry seems conscious about following all necessary precautionary measures. The Egyptian hotels in Hurghada on the Red Sea were the first hotel groups to receive domestic tourists. Sources claim that 11 foreign tourists and 57 Egyptian guests checked into the hotel initially.
Meanwhile, to promote the growth of Egypt’s hospitality industry and to ease travelling for citizens in the post Covid-19 world, the government has reduced the cost of tourist visas in June, July and August. Against the earlier amount of $25, arrivals to Luxor and Aswan airports in the north of the country will now be paying US$15 for the next three months.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, the UK government has suggested people to avoid all essential travel to Egypt. For those who have to stay in hotels, Egypt’s hospitality industry has necessitated sterilisation prior to reopening the hotels and ordered the hotel staff to wear masks and PPEs. Others can switch to virtual tours of Prague and Spain, which is the safest way to travel in the current crisis.