With Egypt's tourism rebounding, hotelier government debt comes due

Cairo Skyline from Cairo Tower
Egypt reportedly has 48,000 new hotel rooms poised to open in 2022. Photo credit: Lukas Bischoff/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

After years of a tourism drought, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism is looking to collect outstanding monies for lands allocated to hotel and resort projects.

According to local news site Daily News Egypt, the government is poised to collect $180 million from 600 hospitality investors who obtained land from the Ministry but failed to pay off their debts due to the decrease in tourism arrivals from 2011 to 2018. 

A senior government official told the site the payments will be settled this year as tourism numbers and revenues improve. Egypt reported 11.3 million visitors in 2018 compared to 8.3 million the year before. As a whole, the tourism sector reported revenues of $11.6 billion in 2018, an increase of almost 50 percent over 2017. The numbers have been bouncing back after the better part of a decade of political unrest and suspension of some international flights to some Egyptian airports.

The official told the site Egypt has 48,000 new hotel rooms poised to open in 2022, and occupancy at Red Sea hotels and resorts is likely to surpass 85 percent.  The Ministry of Tourism is boosting tourism promotion in Eastern Europe, Germany and new markets in Central and South Asia, which it expects to help raise visitor numbers for the remainder of 2019. “If Russia lifted its ban on flight to Egypt, the situation [would] change completely, as Russia is the biggest market for Egyptian tourism. Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada are very popular among the Russians,” he said.