The overnight devaluation of the Egyptian pound a few months ago meant a short term ‘bargain basement’ bonanza for foreign tourists coming here. The value of the Egyptian Pound to the dollar was halved, which meant that tourists were able to buy some goods at half the previous price – a bonus for the tourists but a disaster for Egyptian businesses. Those in the tourist industry who quoted tours and accommodation in Egyptian pounds were left reeling from the shock and it took them some time to recover their wits about what had just happened. Overnight they found theselves committed to providing services for prices that were now not even near covering the basic cost.
The bonanza for visitors is coming to an end.
Government subsidies on essentials such as electricity, gas, fuel for buses/cars etc are decreasing ever month so those costs are rising for the consumers. As is the cost of imported food, electrical goods, medicines etc, all of which have to be paid for in foreign currency.
Product and services providers have recovered from the shock and re-evaluated the cost of their goods and services. Result = at least a 50% increase in prices across the full spectrum of goods and services. Workers have to be given 50% increase in pay to bring them back to incomes to sustain a living – remember wages are not high anyway as tipping is regarded as part of personal income.
The month of March has seen a rapid rise in prices in the tourism industry, entry visa cost increases on July 1 and all entry fees plus transport costs are expected to go up by 50% sooner rather than later.
I just completed a 10 day trip around Egypt with a lovely group of American visitors. I had done a similar trip last November and was both shocked and pleasantly surprised at the number of tourists at the temples, tombs etc. Pleasantly surprised because the increase in numbers was more than I had expected. Shocked, when we arrived at Cairo Museum at 8.45am to find the entrance packed (and I mean packed) with toursts and the queue to get inside the gate streatching down the road outside – mostly Chinese tourists.
The guides and myself find ourselves in the odd situation of feeling delighted at the return of the visitors in such numbers, which of course means business for us but being tempted to also feel saddened that we no longer have the pleasure of having the Temples and sites just to ourselves and our guests. However, we unanimousely declare we will never again complain about being tired (as we have had a 6 year holiday, on and off) nor about crowded sites!
Since Tuesday I have been reviewing the cost of living, products, services etc that we incur in our day to day busines, with my team at Mara House and our cruise/Cairo hotel providers. While we are not yet finished we are concluding that the prices we charge also have to increase sooner rather than later.
It will take us another three days to complete our analyses and make decisions.
Regrettably I do not have the time to go through all my emails and contact everyone I have quoted over the last few weeks about the increase. In my quotes I sometimes tell my guests that the price will remain fixed for them at the price quoted for some time to give them time to complete their plans. Most keep an eye on my website for updates so I am relying on this post to get the message out to everyone.
PRICE INCREASES for MARA HOUSE packages and services.
- Reservations already secured by deposit are naturally not affected.
- To anyone I have already quoted a price I will honor it for bookings completed by deposit up to and incl. 16 April.
- If you have arrive on my site since today 06 April and we begin discussing a booking at the currently displayed old prices I will honor those prices until 16 April, provided the deposit is paid and booking confirmed by 16 April.
- Prices increases will come into effect on 9 April across all our services and packages
- Group tours with myself for October and November have already increased from €1675 to €1900 per person as of yesterday and are likely to increase again, but such is the increase in prices that I needed to pull a figure out of my head as a stopgap as places on those trips are being filled very quickly.
- MAY group tour with me is only a few weeks away so I am holding that trip at the price of €1700 per person for last minute bookings.
If your dream is to visit Egypt – I would do it now – unless you are super rich. The changes brought about by the events of 2011 and subsequent years mean that Egypt cannot go back to being a cheap or budget holiday option. Many hotels and tour operators have gone out of business which means fewer experienced suppliers. The middle and top end suppliers will steadily be increasing prices now and if you have a basic western level of expectation you will not want to explore the lower end of the market.