Ongoing demonstrations and political instability continues to plague tourism in Egypt.
Despite political changes ushered by the end of the Mubarak regime, the volatile political situation coupled with continued sit-ins has hampered the tourism sector because tourists expect security and safety above anything else, Egyptian tourism officials and tour guides said.
The distribution of visitors has shifted substantially across Egypt.
Tours to Cairo and Alexandria are almost non-existent, according to Mahmoud al-Mohammad, a board member at the Chamber of Travel Agencies at the ministry of tourism.
"Tourist activity is not entirely absent, but it varies from region to region, and tourist groups prefer to visit Al-Ghardaqa, Safaga, Port Sokhna, and Sharm el-Sheikh," he said.
According to al-Mohammad, 47,119 tourists from various countries arrived at seaports and airports of the aforementioned sites while only 1,259 arrived at the Port of Alexandria in the second week of April, and almost none at Cairo Airport.
Al-Mohammad attributed the low figures in Cairo to ongoing tension in the downtown area and the repeated closure of the Egyptian Museum.
"It is not possible to attract tourists to Cairo when the Egyptian Museum and archaeological sites are closed whereas other areas attract beachgoers seeking rest and relaxation," he said.
According to the ministry of tourism, the losses in tourism revenue from February to April amount to $1.5 billion.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics reported that February tourism revenue was down $440 million compared with February 2010. The statistics represent losses at five-star facilities only, not at all facilities, shops, and tourist agencies.
In coastal areas outside of Cairo, the situation is somewhat different.
Hosni Bassiouni, director of a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh, said the decision to detain Mubarak and his sons and the launch of corruption investigations revived the region, which was suffering from the strain of demonstrations where protesters were demanding the Mubaraks' arrest and removal from Sharm el-Sheikh and the vicinity.
Bassiouni said large numbers of tour groups visited the beaches which revived hope for a revival of tourism to the area as the summer approaches.
"The constant tension in big cities like Cairo and Alexandria has kept archaeology tourists away. Only beachgoers come to Egypt now," he said. "Visitors from several countries have stayed away, and the majority of tourists are Eastern Europeans and the British, who love the Egyptian shores."
According to Bassiouni, Al-Ghardaqa benefited the most, primarily because its security situation is stable. Projections indicate that a rise in hotel occupancy to normal levels in Sharm el-Sheikh and the Red Sea may occur in early October when large numbers of Russian tourists visit Egypt.
He said average spending by tourists who visit for recreation only does not exceed 500 euros while tourists who plan to visit all Egyptian territories typically spend at least 2,000 euros during their stay.
Zahi Abdel Nour, a tour guide who works for a tourist agency in Cairo said, "The persistence of protests wasted all the efforts made by tour guides in the Cairo area, especially as the protests make headlines in the international press, which wipes out any promotion or positive news about tourism in Egypt."
Clashes that occurred in Tahrir Square earlier this month caused many tourists to cancel their stay in Egypt and return to their home countries or visit other tourist destinations, Abdel Nour said.