Egypt's hotels, open at half capacity, had 40%-45% occupancy rate in Q1 2021 - official

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General view of hotels, banks and office buildings by the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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CAIRO, April 11 (Reuters) - 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. read more

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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. read more

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.

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Reporting by Mohammed Sayed; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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