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Hilton Worldwide plans to expand in Egypt

Source: Reuters.

Hilton Worldwide plans to nearly double the number of its hotels in Egypt within seven to 10 years as tourism returns to levels seen before a 2011 uprising, the company’s deputy head for Egypt and North Africa said.

Tourism is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency and provides income for millions of Egyptians but it has suffered since the uprising scared some tourists away.

But Mohab Ghali, vice president of operations for Egypt and North Africa, expects occupancy rates to improve from last year, especially in Cairo and Alexandria, but also in Hurghada and Marsa Alam, helped by a devaluation of the currency making holidays cheaper.

“We’re currently running 17 hotels in Egypt and we’re planning to increase that number to 30 hotels in between seven and 10 years,” Ghali told Reuters in an interview.

Ghali said Egypt held a special place for Hilton Worldwide, which is why none of its hotels shut even during the most difficult times.

“Egypt is a tourist destination … It’s not missing anything,” he said.

“If things remain stable, within the next six months, in the 2018 winter season, we can see pre-2011 numbers returning, with more revenues now because of the devaluation.”

The U.S. company, which runs thousands of hotels around the world, also plans to expand in Morocco and launch projects in Tunisia and Algeria in the next few years, he said.

“We run two hotels in Morocco and there are three others under construction. We’re planning to get to 10 in the coming years,” Ghali said.

“We will enter Tunisia with two or three hotels during the next five years, and we will have at least one hotel in Algeria within three years.”

In Egypt, Ghali said Sharm al-Sheikh and Luxor were the tourist destinations that had suffered the most in recent years, though it was too early to assess the impact of last month’s attack on tourists in Hurghada.

“We already have the reservations until September, but of course we’ll start seeing the impact, which I don’t think will be major … in the coming winter season,” he said.

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