Colliers International’s latest MENA Hotels Quarterly Review (Q3 2020) shows that Egyptian hotels have been the region’s worst-hit so far by COVID-19, with occupancy going down at least 50% during this year, despite the resumption of international flights and reopening of prime tourism spots, Invest-Gate reports.

Cairo’s occupancy rates were most vulnerable to the pandemic, descending 67% during the first nine months of 2020 versus the year ago, followed by Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, and Alexandria at 57%, 55%, and 47%, respectively, as highlighted in Colliers International’s quarterly study, published on November 24.

The report reveals the extent of the falls in hotel occupancy, with other cities such as Makkah and Medina, as well as Kuwait City, Manama, and Muscat, seeing an almost 50% YoY decline in occupancy rates by the end of Q3.

As for the UAE, Dubai saw the steepest slumps for occupancy falling 38%, whereas Abu Dhabi’s slipped by 24%, compared with Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah at 28%. The emirate of Fujairah fared the best, with occupancy down by 14%, Colliers added.

“A total of 5,300 quality-branded hospitality keys have entered the market between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, with 95% of this new supply opened in Dubai … Most of these openings were in the first half of Q1 2020. Due to the outbreak, many hotel developments scheduled to open in 2020 have faced delays,” read the paper.

Back in June, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), in cooperation with the finance ministry, had agreed to extend EGP 3 bn worth of credit guarantees to the tourism sector, under the EGP 50 bn tourism support program, according to a previous official statement.

The initiative aimed at covering wages of those working in hotels and tourist facilities, aiming to avert any layoffs or furloughs in light of the Coronavirus headwinds. It comes under the CBE’s total EGP 50 bn financing package for upgrading tourism infrastructure, the statement noted.

From budget reallocations, diversion of marketing spends, and postponing investment plans, Coronavirus has not just been a storm in a teacup that put the kibosh on the hospitality industry. Invest-Gate earlier laid out the flow of pandemic spillovers on hoteliers, attempting to help owners/operators craft ways to steer through today’s uncharted territory and buffer potential negative implications. For the full article, click here.