Nile cruises float again as Germans soak up Red Sea holidays

Demand for Nile cruises is improving as Germans flock to Egypt in strong numbers this year, according to tour operators who are responding with new offers for the winter season.

July 04, 2018
The Nile remains a top attraction for Egypt holidaymakers.
Photo: Gettyimages

Egypt is consolidating last year’s strong comeback on the German market thanks to a mix of attractive prices for high-quality hotels and better consumer confidence in the destination. The country already recorded an 88% rise to 1.23 million German visitors last year following a heavy slump in 2016.

Bookings are continuing to soar this year, with major tour operators, including FTI, TUI, Thomas Cook and Egypt specialist ETI, reporting high double-digit growth rates for Red Sea beach holidays in destinations such as Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Sharm El-Sheikh. In particular, families have regained confidence in the destination and are returning in large numbers. Tour operators are now expanding capacity for the winter season with a wide range of newly-opened hotels.

However, demand for Nile cruises and cultural trips to the Pyramids is also picking up, according to several tour operators and cruise firms. In response, they are adding new offers to win more customers back to the Nile, where slumping visitor numbers have had a severe impact on the local tourism industry over the past few years.

Both ETI and Thomas Cook reported good demand this summer for combinations of Red Sea beach holidays with Nile cruises. FTI will have daily flights from El Gouna to Luxor this winter to enable customers to combine more flexibly a Red Sea beach holiday with a Nile cruise. In contrast, Alltours and DER Touristik are more cautious about demand trends for the river.

Cruise specialist Phoenix Reisen has broadened its portfolio this year with more short trips, combined holiday offers and new excursions, while 1A Vista Reisen has a mix of different cruises and excursions to several oases. Smaller firms are also trying to offer something different. Wikinger Reisen, for example, offers sailing trips on yachts and a visit to the country’s biggest camel market in Daraw.

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