CAIRO - The occupancy rate of Egypt's hotels, which are running at half capacity due to COVID-19 regulations, was between 40% and 45% in the first quarter, an official from the tourism ministry told Reuters on Sunday.
This amounts to an occupancy rate of nearly 25% if hotels were running at full capacity, according to Reuters calculations.
Tourism accounts for up to 15% of Egypt's national output, and is a key source of foreign currency. The industry revenues plunged 70% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with numbers of visitors sinking to 3.5 million from 13.1 million in 2019.
Egypt received 500,000 tourists in the first three months of 2021 and earned tourism revenues of between $600 million and $800 million, deputy tourism minister Ghada Shalabi said earlier this month.
The country shut hotels in March 2020 as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, but reopened them a few months later with a reduced capacity. Hotels currently have capacity capped at 50% in line with health regulations.
The hotel occupancy rate was 25% in January, then increased to 30% in February, before jumping to 45% in March, the tourism official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Egypt's Red Sea province saw the highest hotel occupancy in Q1, followed Sharm El-Sheikh in the Southern Sinai province, the official added.
(Reporting by Mohammed Sayed; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((email@example.com;))