The Ministry of Tourism is considering changing the rules of the timeshare system, following numerous complaints about the system, according to an official in the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels.
The timeshare system allows for the ownership of tourist accommodation units on the condition that a tourism company manages the unit on behalf of the customer in exchange for a share of the revenues.
The sources said that the tourism sector has relied too much on the timeshare system for more than 10 years to help the growth of the sector. It was supposed to change Egyptian culture of holidays or even attract foreigners to stay in Egypt and increase residence rates, but the ministry received too many complaints about it.
More than 70,000 accommodation units are still under construction. They were expected to be marketed by the end of 2011, but the decline in tourist influx to Egypt has been a huge setback, the official said.
The Chamber of Tourism Establishments, affiliated with the Egyptian Tourism Federation, will hold a meeting on Thursday to tackle the problems of the timeshare system and review customer complaints.
Tourism companies are responsible for the majority of the complaints due to negligence, which reflects badly on Egypt’s entire tourism system, according to the official.
The tourist traffic reached 9.3 million tourists in 2015, a decline of 600,000 tourists from the previous year. Revenues registered $5.9bn in 2015, compared to $7.3bn in 2014.
The official added that tourist accommodation units can be the “dark horse” of Egyptian tourism if they are better marketed both at home and abroad. However, the past five years have been very difficult, and many companies have halted the construction of their projects.
Despite the difficult conditions experienced by tourism companies, accommodation sales actually increased last year, especially units along the Red Sea, such as south Hurghada in Sahl Hasheesh. Most of the accommodation units were sold to Arabs, especially nationals of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabiam, and Kuwait. Sale rates grew by 20-25%, however, the official said these sales rates may look great, but are in fact lower than 2010’s sale rates.
The tourism sector in Egypt had achieved its highest revenues in 2010 with $12.5bn as 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010. This declined to less than 9 million tourists in 2011.