The General Manager at Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa, Florian Gruhl, told Daily News Egypt that the tourism sector has seen remarkable improvements and that their performance numbers reflect this.
Daily News Egypt sat down for an interview with Gruhl, who talked about Hilton’s plan in the coming five years, especially, after they received TripAdvisor’s Traveller Choice Award 2018 for the ninth consecutive year, the HolidayCheck Award 2018, The Cristal Hygiene Award 2018 for the fifth consecutive year, and the Booking.com Guest Review Award 2017. The interview also touched upon the challenges still facing the tourism sector in Egypt. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
What your plan entails as new general manager for Hilton Luxor in upcoming five years?
Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa has outstanding resort facilities and I look forward to working with the team to enhance our services and ensure we cater to all the needs of our valuable guests.
Over the next years we would like to increase our market share and verify our position as the best hotel in Luxor. On the commercial side, my focus will be to increase number of visitors arriving to our stunning property and provide them with the best services Hilton has to offer.
How liberalising Egypt’s pound exchange rate affects guests’ average spending in your hotel?
With the current economic reform plan in place, the tourism sector has seen remarkable improvements, and our performance numbers reflect this. Hilton is one of the fastest growing companies in the hospitality sector worldwide, providing excellent quality of services and a wide range
of amenities in our hotels across the world. As such, we are confident that our guests across the world look for Hilton hotels in any country they visit.
How do you see tourism in 2018 for Egypt, for Hilton hotel group, especially, in Luxor?
Tourists are coming back to Egypt. Tourism in Egypt hit an all-time high in 2010 with almost 15 million visitors but fell in 2015 to below 5 million. However, now, and after challenging years, visitors are returning to Egypt. There were over 8 million tourists in 2017 and 2018 numbers are even more promising. The most important fact is that people feel safe again in Egypt, which is reflected in the increase of annual charter flights, especially, to Luxor in the past year. Several traditional flights from Germany, Spain, and Italy are making a strong comeback, and flights from new countries, such as Turkey are in the pipeline to open routes to Luxor. The traditional ‘Classic Tours’ are back and are even more popular than ever. People will always come to Egypt to see the Pyramids in Giza, The Valley of the Kings in Luxor, or to stay at one of the relaxing beach resorts in the Red Sea.
Currently, which most prominent nationalities stay at your hotel?
The most prominent nationalities are Egyptians on business trips or weekend getaways from the busy city of Cairo, followed by Americans who come to Luxor to see historical locations, such as the Luxor and Karnak temples. The third largest group are Western Europeans like the British, French, and Germans.
In your opinion, what needs to be developed in Egypt to attract more tourists?
The infrastructure of Egypt needs further development and major tourist projects, such as the new museum of Egypt that needs to be completed in time.
For a place like Luxor it would be great to see more entertainment venues, as these would help to drive the number of visitors and increase their average length of stay.
What challenges does tourism still face in your opinion?
Some of the charter flights have not returned to Luxor yet, and flight tickets from domestic carriers are relatively costly for flights from Cairo to Luxor. Charter flights to Cairo would give an extra incentive towards popular classic tours.