Tourism dips in Egypt's main holiday hub
Luxor, Egypt - Very few holidaymakers are visiting Luxor for the Christmas and New Year season, deepening the economic woes of Egypt's southern city, which is a main tourist destination.
Hotel occupancy in Luxor currently stands at about 25 percent, even lower than last season's estimated rate of 34 percent.
“Occupancy rates on Christmas Eve hovered at 25 percent, while they peaked to 100 percent in the years before the January revolution,” Luxor governor Mohammed Badr said, in a reference to the 2011 uprising that forced longtime dictator Hosny Mubarak out of power.
“Around 5 000 tourists from several countries including Britain, France and Germany have come to Luxor to celebrate Christmas,” Badr told dpa.
Tourism, a main source of income for Egypt, has been hard hit by the unrest that has gripped the country since Mubarak's ouster.
In June, security forces foiled a militant attack in the vicinity of Luxor's Karnak temple, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Security has since been enhanced in Luxor, famed for its ancient monuments and Nile cruises.
“Celebrations will continue until the New Year amid heavy security measures around hotels and tourist sites in Luxor,” the city's police chief, Essam al-Hamaly, said.
“Security forces are monitoring entrances and exits of the city, as well as islands on the Nile River and nearby mountainous areas,” he added.
In October, Egypt's tourism suffered a severe blow after a Russian jet crashed after taking off from the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 on board.
Russia said a terrorist bomb brought down the jet. The Islamic State terrorist militia claimed responsibility for the crash.DPA