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Egypt's Red Sea resorts prepare to reopen as coronavirus lockdown eased

Red Sea hotels will be allowed to reopen after obtaining a safety certificate [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 May, 2020

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Hotels at Egypt's main seaside destinations are reopening at reduced capacity for domestic tourists from Friday, as the government eases the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to salvage the economy.
Egypt's Red Sea resorts and hotels have been preparing to reopen for domestic tourism at a limited capacity after being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

The government is allowing hotels to reopen starting from 15 May, but at a low capacity and only for domestic tourism.

Hotels can only open after they obtain a safety certificate granted by the ministries of health and tourism, and even then will be allowed to host guests at only 25% capacity.

Ahmed al-Waseef, the head of Egyptian Tourism Federation said: "We are ready, we are ready to open in a safe environment, branding hygiene-safety certificate, together with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health.

"All those regulations are set to really put a standard where by we show the importance of safety to our visitors," he added.

Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled el-Enany said he had visited various hotels and resorts to inspect their readiness for reopening and discuss the details of the new guidelines.

In response to the coronavirus, a lockdown was imposed by the Egyptian government on four major tourist cities, bringing the industry which accounts for some 12% of Egypt's GDP, to a halt.

Comment: Sisi uses coronavirus to enshrine new powers at the expense of his people

The industry has welcomed the reopening, albeit limited.

Maged Fawzy, chairman of The Egyptian Hotel Association said of the lockdown: "The [sector] was shocked because it all happened in a very short period, hotels closed all of a sudden and of course, the sector was very negatively impacted, as well as on the investors because they had to shift from very high occupancy to a lull."

"This 'lockdown' paralaysed the sector completely," he added.

The country's initial outbreak occureed among tourists and staff on a Nile cruise ship operating in Luxor, the destination of millions of tourists every year.

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