Egypt leads the recovery of the hospitality industry in North Africa
With most COVID-19-related restrictions lifted and international tourist flows having recovered sharply, the hospitality industry in Egypt is performing well above expectations and better than that of neighboring countries.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that foreign tourist arrivals to Egypt fell 72% in 2020, from 13 million in 2019 to just 3.6 million in 2020.
In the first half of 2021, however, Egypt welcomed 3.5 million tourists, and preliminary data suggests higher figures for the second half.
Generally, the increase in tourist flow can be explained by the current pandemic situation in Europe. As closures, as well as COVID-19 regulations, continue in most countries, temperatures are now starting to drop in winter. , and most Europeans would like to escape the rather restrictive life in their home country to a pleasant vacation destination, ”said Lars Pursche, general manager of Kempinski Soma Bay, near Safaga, Egypt.
The rebound in the Egyptian hotel industry was boosted by the resumption in August of flights from Russia, which were suspended after a Russian plane bombarded over the Sinai Peninsula in 2015 that killed all 224 people. on board. Tourism was also aided by Egypt’s removal from the UK’s red list in September, leading to an increase in flights from other European countries.
For the first 10 months of 2021, the average occupancy rate in Egypt stood at 47.9%, compared to 28.4% in the same period of the previous year and 67.8% in the same period of 2019, according to data from STR, the hotel analysis company of CoStar.
The average daily rate over the same period was 1,271.13 Egyptian pounds ($ 80.91), compared to 1,205.01 Egyptian pounds in 2020 and 1,353.31 Egyptian pounds in 2019, while revenue per room available for these three years were 609.40 Egyptian pounds, 342.04 Egyptian pounds and 917.53 Egyptian pounds. , respectively.
STR data also shows that the occupancy rate in Tunisia has reached a cumulative average of 29.2% in the first 10 months of 2021. During the same period in 2020, the occupancy rate has established itself. on average at 22.5%, compared to 62.5% in 2019. ADR in the market increased slightly, however, from 216.58 dinars in 2019 to 224.22 dinars in 2021.
The Tunisian hotel RevPAR is down sharply, from the 2019 average of 137.52 Tunisian dinars to 65.49 dinars for the first 10 months of this year.
“Our occupancy rate has improved considerably since September, but still not like before the time of the coronavirus,” said Leila Ben-Gacem, owner of the Dar Ben-Gacem hotel in the capital Tunis.
“I am optimistic for next year because there are many initiatives in the field of developing tourism diversification,” she said.
“There is better attention paid to small tourist accommodation, but the booking windows are also much smaller, stays are longer, and guests are more willing to venture out to small local restaurants or on public transport. “, she added.
Morocco’s hotel industry has also managed to recover slightly from last year’s crisis, STR data shows.
In the first 10 months of 2021, Moroccan hotels recorded an average occupancy of 30%, compared to 26.8% during the same period of 2020 but still well below the 61.5% reached in 2019. ADR for the same period was 1,081.52 Moroccan dirhams ($ 117.15), compared to 1,027.57 Moroccan dirhams in 2019, while RevPAR stood at 324.92 Moroccan dirhams, compared to 251.21 Moroccan dirhams in 2020, but almost 50% lower than the 2019 figure of 631.67 Moroccan dirhams.
Rachid Oubassou, Cluster Manager, Sales and Marketing, Radisson Blu Marrakech, said: “We felt a small recovery, not a full recovery. The COVID-19 virus has not gone away. Today, we know that the future can be better if the pandemic does not get worse. “
The recovery of the Egyptian hotel industry has been hampered by government orders to limit hotel occupancy rates first to 50% and then to 70%.
The recent withdrawal of this rule should encourage further improvement in operational performance.
“With the recent lifting of the occupancy limitation previously set by the government, hotels in Egypt can now again accommodate guests up to their full capacity,” Pursche said.
Egyptian hoteliers are optimistic.
“We expect strong demand over the New Year and a continuation of previous seasonal trends that are typical of tourism in Egypt. While there remains uncertainty whether any foreign countries could close for foreclosure during the Christmas season, we think positively and look forward to a successful 2022, ”Pursche added.
Noha Nabil, Director of Marketing and Communications at Desert Rose Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, said “Once the tour operators and charter flights were back, we can safely say that actual demand and bookings have returned. at the pre-coronavirus level. The occupation has returned to normal.
“Now we are allowed to come back to 100% [occupancy]. Since last winter, we have also returned to normal tariff rates, ”she said, adding that expectations were good.
“We are exhausted with a versatile segmentation quota of our core markets Russia, Germany, UK, Ukraine, Romania and Belarus,” she said.
“A lot of flights are open, and we think over the last year and a half of the pandemic… people are able to better assess the once assumed risk of travel. The epidemiological situation remains unpredictable, but we believe the aforementioned state of mind may be the most relevant factor in explaining why people have started to travel again and are willing to spend more on their long-awaited vacation, ”said Pursche.
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