Impact of Political Unrest on Egypt Hotels

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Mohammad et al., J Tourism Res Hospitality 2012, 1:3 http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2324-8807.1000102

Journal of Tourism Research & Hospitality
a SciTechnol journal
Importance of the research: To date there is no published information on the impact of the Egyptian political events of 2011 on hotel occupancy in Cairo. This paper provides an enhanced understanding of the negative effects of the political incidents of 2011 on hotel occupancy which is a main source of hotel revenue and a significant contributor of foreign exchange earnings to the Egyptian economy. It also evaluates the response of Cairo hotel managers and the Egyptian government with respect to these negative impacts and identifies lessons for the wider hotel industry in dealing with the negative impacts of political instability.

Research Article

The Impact of the Egyptian Political Events during 2011 on Hotel Occupancy in Cairo Abuelkassem A.A. Mohammad1, Eleri Jones2*, Abdelbary A.A. Dawood3 and Hanaa A. Sayed4

Abstract
The tourism industry is the cornerstone of the Egyptian economy generating approximately 11.4% of Egyptian GDP and providing about 12.6% of direct and indirect job opportunities for the Egyptian workforce. It is the most important source of foreign exchange earnings for the national income at 20%. Despite its importance, the tourism industry is extremely vulnerable to negative events, such as terrorism, financial crises, natural disasters and political instability. This paper investigates the impact of the Egyptian political events throughout 2011 on occupancy rates in Cairo hotels and evaluates the responses of both the hotels and the government to these events. The data on hotel occupancy was collected from Egyptian Ministry of Tourism reports and shows that the political events of 2011 had a strong negative impact on the hotel industry in Egypt as hotels in Cairo and other major cities were severely hit by these events. The occupancy rates of Cairo hotels sharply declined in comparison to the occupancy rates of 2010. Juxtaposition of the occupancy data against media reports of the political events shows that each public disturbance incident had a significant negative impact on hotel occupancy in Cairo and, as a result, hotel revenues decreased. Short-term responses of the hotels included reducing room rates and reducing expenditure by laying off staff. Alongside this the government response was to financially compensate the damaged hotels. The inadequacy and inappropriateness of these responses was evidenced by hotel occupancy remaining low throughout the year. This paper discusses the alternative strategies that the hotels and the government could adopt with a particular emphasis on ensuring the safety and security of tourist and using the media to communicate this to tourists and encourage their return to a destination which provides lessons for other crisis-hit destinations. Purpose: This paper, first, explores the consequences of the political events in Egypt during 2011 on the occupancy rates of Cairo hotels and, second, critically evaluates the short-term responses of Cairo hotel managers and the government to these consequences. Research methodology: The secondary data used in this research was collected from reports produced by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism on occupancy rates and media reports of the unfolding political events during 2011. The data was presented graphically using Microsoft Office Excel 2007. *Corresponding author: Eleri Jones, Associate Dean (Research), Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK, Tel: +44-(0)-29-2041-6937; E-mail: EJones@cardiffmet.ac.uk Received: July 18, 2012 Accepted: August 18, 2012 Published: August 24, 2012

Keywords: Egyptian revolution; Political instability; Hotel
occupancy; Cairo hotels.

Introduction
Egypt suffered a series of political events and clashes during 2011. These events started on 25th January 2011 when tens and thousands of people...
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