Tourism is important to Egypt, with the sector's contributions making up around 11% of the nation's GDP, but this industry is increasingly under threat as the much-publicised violence and political unrest continues. Understandably, there is a strong correlation between the rise in violence and increased threats to tourists and the drop in visitor numbers, bookings and potential revenue.
Three quarters of visitors to Egypt used to holiday around Sinai – now hotel occupancy rates are falling sharply.
The coastal region around the Red Sea and Sinai is crucial to this tourism revenue – with approximately 75% of visitors holidaying in this area alone – but now foreign delegations are re-assessing the current threat to any of their citizens. Now that militant groups have begun targeting foreign visitors as well as local police and military forces, such as the recent bombing in Sinai that killed four tourists, these high percentages could very easily drop, especially now that officials from around 24 countries have, to some degree or another, encouraged tourists to leave the area or avoid travelling there all-together. Sources claim that hotel occupancy rates in Sharm El-Sheikh have reduced from 55% to 48% in a single week and it cannot be a coincidence that this has occurred at the same time as these travel warnings and so soon after the bombing. Additionally, it is said that 20% of reservations in place at the usually-popular resort have been cancelled.
The numbers do not lie.
Local Egyptian authorities may try to maintain the idea that these Red Sea resorts and the areas around Sinai are perfectly safe but the statistics show that it may be futile because the damage is already being done through cancellations and lost revenue. It really is a simple pattern: the more problems that occur, the more likely it is that tourists will continue be put off from travelling, that these booking figures will continue their downward slide and that these Red Sea resorts will suffer.