SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Sharm El-Sheikh’s streets have come back to life with the warm weather and bright sun overlooking the beaches, as tourists bask in the heat and warmth.
“I like Sharm El-Sheikh more than anywhere else in Egypt, because my kids enjoy the atmosphere of the sea and play ball on the beach in warm weather and bright sun,” said Natasha Mikhail, a Russian tourist visiting Egypt for the fifth time.
“I love to travel, especially to Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh to enjoy the sea and the freedom to do some personal trips without reference to tourism companies.”
Mikhail said she visited Egypt twice before the 25 January Revolution and three times after, but she enjoyed the resort more before the revolution.
She added that this time is better than previously, with less sexual harassment by local men who stare at her.
“Shopkeepers lowered rents 15% to resolve the crisis of recession, especially after the loss of the English and German tourists,” according to Mohamed Samy, a shopkeeper in Naama Bay.
Sami added that the Naama Trade Mall consists of three floors, where shops were working for 24 hours without interruption due to increased demand and influx of tourists, and rental value of the shops reached EGP 200,000 per month.
“After the revolution, there was a small number of German and British tourists in Sharm El-Sheikh, but the continuing violence and 30 June Revolution led to the closure of two floors of the mall, due to limited tourism from only Russian and Arab tourists,” Sami added.
“The Arab and Russian tourists are not considered rich tourists unlike the English, Swiss and German,” he said.
He stressed that a number of cafes and shops were closed and offered for rent, because of the deteriorating economic situation.
For his part, Ayman Saber, an employee in one of Sharm El-Sheikh’s tourist hotels, said that the tourism movement in the resort has become seasonal tourism.
Saber said that the Christmas season, which lasts from December until February, witnesses a turnout of English tourist.
“March is the season of Russian and Czech tourists; and for the rest of the year, tourism in Sharm El-Sheikh depends on Swiss, French and Polish tourists,” Saber said.
Mustafa Abdul Salam, a sales person in a hotel, said that the Russian and Arab tourists are “stingy”, unlike the English and German tourist, adding that most shops suffered significant losses and had to reduce costs by reducing labour.
He stressed that the accumulation of tourists in Sharm El-Sheikh does not represent a tourism recovery, and that tourism does not rebound only through rich tourists.
Source: eTN Global Travel Industry News