Travel giant resumes tour bookings for Egypt's Red Sea resorts

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Travel giant resumes tour bookings for Egypt's Red Sea resorts

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Egypt’s tourism revenues have been in a spin since the Arab Spring turned the country upside down. As tourism accounts for 11 percent of GDP the country desperately needs holidaymakers to return.

Now the German arm of TUI, part of Europe’s largest tour operator, has given the green light for a resumption of activity in Egypt’s Red Sea resorts.

“The Germans must come and see for themselves: It is absolutely safe here. The pictures you saw in the media ? that was Cairo and Alexandria. Here we did not experience any violence,” says Luxor’s Governor Saad Eldin.

But Luxor, the Nile, and the Valley of the Kings along with Cairo are still out of bounds, although TUI says it is reviewing the situation daily with a view to returning soon.

“We are persevering. But if we do not have any guests by November it will get very tight for us from January. I have money until December but it needs to come back in so I can pay my staff,” worries German hotel manager Urs Umbricht.

TUI is reviewing the rest of the country regularly, but relief cannot come too soon. Before the overthrow of President Mubarak Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry alone earned around 200 million euros a year. Today that figure is a few hundred thousand.