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Egyptian hotels reopened with reduced occupancy are nearly full: Official



Cairo  /  Sun, May 31, 2020  /  03:31 pm
Egyptian hotels reopened with reduced occupancy are nearly full: Official

Elderly men walk along the Kasr el-Nil bridge connecting the island district of Zamalek to the city centre of Egypt's capital Cairo, early on May 24, 2020 on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday which starts at the conclusion of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AFP/Samer Abdallah)

Egyptian hotels operating with a new reduced occupancy rate of 25 percent to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus have almost reached full capacity, a tourism ministry official told Reuters on Sunday.

Egypt suspended international flights in March and shut down restaurants, hotels and cafes in order to combat the pandemic. Although airports remain closed to all but domestic and repatriation flights, hotels were recently allowed to reopen at a quarter of their usual capacity if they met strict health and safety protocols.

Around 78 hotels, mostly along the Red Sea coast, met these rules and are currently operating with an occupancy rate of 20-22 percent, said the ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. An additional 173 hotels across the country have applied for a licence to reopen and will be considered in the coming week, he added.

The government said it aimed to increase the permitted occupancy rate of hotels to 50 percent in June. Tourism is one of the country's main sources of foreign currency and accounts for 5 percent of GDP.

Egypt has so far registered 23,449 cases of the new coronavirus including 913 deaths. Some of the first cases registered in the country were of foreign nationals. 

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