"We are operator rather than investor"

"Here, we are operators, not investors," said Erkan Yıldırım, and highlighting that Rixos has been operational in Egypt for 12 years, with a stronger focus on management in the last 5 years. He clarified that Rixos, unlike other hotel chains, is not a property owner but an operator, managing the investments of their Egyptian partner with their own know-how. Yıldırım emphasized that Rixos has not invested any capital in Egypt.

Rixos will open 5 new hotels in 2-3 years in Egypt

Yıldırım revealed that their investor has 49 percent share in Rixos Hospitality Egypt, a hotel management company,  which established in the country. Currently operating 5 facilities in Egypt, Rixos plans to open more hotels in Cairo, Luxor, and other destinations, aiming to reach a total of 10 hotels and 10,000 rooms within the next 2-3 years and  making Egypt one of Rixos's largest centers.

Egypt has hihg occupancy in summer season

Yıldırım also highlighted the unique features and advantages of Egypt as a tourism destination, emphasizing its year-round tourism potential. He dispelled the perception of Egypt as solely hot and desert, stating that Egypt has a dry climate without oppressive heat. He noted that Egypt attracts visitors from the Middle East and Gulf countries, and despite having a winter season, the high occupancy occurs during the summer due to school holidays.

Egypt has a good balance between price and quality

Addressing the economic aspect of tourism, Yıldırım pointed out that Egypt's proximity to Europe makes it an attractive destination, with markets like Italy and France being particularly busy. He mentioned the increasing importance of the economic dimension in vacations. Yıldırım also highlighted that while demand is high, Egypt has maintained a good balance between price and quality.

"Rixos has become a pioneer in hospitality in Egypt"

Erkan Yıldırım, CEO of Rixos, noted that the increasing strength of Rixos in Egypt has, in a sense, made it a pioneer among hotels in the country. He explained that they have shattered the perception of Egypt as a 'cheap destination,' leading to the opening of new hotels and the implementation of new concepts. Yıldırım stated, "For example, we converted one of our facilities into an adult-only hotel, and many hoteliers immediately began to follow us. This, in fact, benefits us. We do not want to be the only top-tier hotel in the places we go to. Our vision and mission in the places we have been for years are to bring new added value. This mission makes them more sellable at a higher quality and price. Egyptian hoteliers are pleased with this. When we opened a hotel in Hurghada during the pandemic and set the price at $500, the hoteliers there said, 'This is the price of Dubai. It is too high.' Because the prices there were $150-200. When we increased it to $500, they also raised their prices to $250-300. In fact, the ones benefiting the most from Rixos' opening are the hotels in that destination."

Accor wants Rixos to operate Swissotel here

Yıldırım mentioned that before the crash of a Russian passenger plane in 2016, Sharm El Sheikh had many international chains, but after the incident, there was no movement in the region. Yıldırım explained, "Therefore, a significant portion of the brands withdrew from here. However, Hilton, Marriott, Accor, and other groups still have some hotels. On one hand, Rixos is rapidly expanding. But chains are starting to return to Sharm El Sheikh. One of them is the Swissotel brand of Accor. Accor wants Rixos to operate Swissotel here because they have seen Rixos' success in all-inclusive. The Swissotel here will be the largest room capacity Swissotel in the world and also the first hotel in Accor's 'All-Inclusive Collection' for all-inclusive hotels."

A mega facility with three thousand rooms is on the way

Providing information about the mega facility with 3,000 rooms that they will open in Egypt, Yıldırım said, "We are in the process of building a new hotel here that will operate under the name Radamis Rixos. In addition to hotels with 3,000 rooms, this facility will have many units, including a casino, conference centers, shopping malls, sports areas, aqua parks, and entertainment centers. We will open this facility step by step. The first phase of the facility will be operational in January 2024, and the second phase will be in the first half of 2025. We do not operate the casino; we lease it. This facility, located 5 minutes from the airport, will be a lifestyle destination. In this sense, both Accor's and Rixos' largest facility will be opened here, in Sharm El Sheikh."

Other destinations where our negotiations are ongoing in Egypt include El Alamein, the port city of Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. Rixos will dominate and manage the accommodation sector in Egypt within 4-5 years."

"We employ teh most qualified staff"

So, is there a personnel problem in Egyptian tourism as there is in Türkiye? Erkan Yıldırım responds to the question:

"In the past, there was a belief that service and hospitality were poor in Egypt. Rixos attracted the most qualified managers and staff here with its management strategies, the salary and price strategy it applied here. Formerly, the upper management in our hotels was mostly composed of Turks, but we trained and put Egyptian friends into operation. Now we have Egyptian general managers and senior executives. Because Egypt has a population of over 110 million, 70% of whom are young. They are very inclined to learn and foreign languages, and they have advanced self-confidence. There are people who speak beautiful English, Russian, and Italian. Unfortunately, there is still a language problem in our country, and, in my opinion, 50% of tourism is a foreign language. We provide regular training to our staff here every day. We have Russian and English teachers. At the same time, we offer the best housing and social facilities. Therefore, we do not have a problem finding qualified personnel in Egypt."

Yıldırım mentioned that there is inflation in Egypt, and it affects costs, but thanks to the increase in foreign exchange rates, the cost increase can be compensated. Yıldırım said, "Here, 80-90% of income is in foreign currency, so the increase in foreign exchange absorbs the cost increase."

Editor: Savaş Daş