Days after Marriott announced a new Ritz-Carlton for Sharm el Sheikh, Hilton Worldwide has announced plans to add five hotels to its Egypt portfolio over the next few years. Hilton currently manages 18 hotels across Egypt in Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Luxor, and Taba. The company is reportedly the largest hotel management company in the country.
Christian Muhr, Hilton VP of Egypt and Levant operations, said that the company plans to bring the DoubleTree brand to Egypt next year with the 197-room DoubleTree by Hilton Ain Sokhna, as well as another hotel in Ain Sokhna under the Hilton brand. The company also plans to launch the Hilton Cairo Nile Maadi Hotel, as part of the expansion plan, while a management contract has been signed for another hotel in Damietta, and the Saudi Egyptian Construction Company signed a contract with Hilton to manage a four-star hotel in new Damietta. Hilton will also manage a new hotel in the Pyramids area, with implementation set to begin in 2017.
“I expect the hotels carrying the Hilton brand to triple the current number within 10 years,” Muhr said.
In March this year, Hilton opened the Hilton Alexandria King's Ranch, Hilton Worldwide's 18th hotel in Egypt (pictured above).
While civil unrest and last year’s downing of a Russian plane drove down tourism numbers in Egypt and made hotels less profitable, Muhr believes the country is turning a corner. The new Suez Canal project presents “a huge investment opportunity in all fields of industry and tourism,” he told the Daily News Egypt, and said that improving infrastructure (including roads and bridges) also helps to serve tourism. At the same time, training and education build skills in dealing with tourists, raising the quality of services provided and boosting the nation’s appeal for international visitors.
Occupancy levels of Hilton hotels in Cairo and Alexandria rose during the summer, compared to the first months of 2016. (Russian and British tourism, however, has declined, he acknowledged.)
Muhr further suggested adopting an open-skies policy in Egyptian airports in the hopes of improving inbound tourism numbers. He advised the Egyptian government to target tourism from India, China, and the Americas.
He added that the “fair share” of inbound tourism to Egypt is 40 million tourists "at the very least."