UAE-based TIME Hotels Management has signed a deal with Egyptian travel and tourism firm Edris Group to manage the refurbishment of the Tuthotel in Luxor. The hotel overlooks the river Nile and will undergo a complete refurbishment, upgrading it from a 79-room property to a 161-room four-star hotel. Previously managed under the Edris brand, it will be renamed ‘TIME Tuthotel’. Edris group will still own the property, which is expected to reopen by the end of this year. “I’m really optimistic about the future of the Tuthotel property now that its management is in the hands of TIME, which in my opinion, is one of the most ambitious brands in the Middle East hospitality industry,” added Ahmed Edris, chairman of Edris Group. Overlooking the world-famous Nile, the hotel is situated 25 km from Luxor International Airport. In a press conference held in Dubai on Sunday, Mounir Fakhry Abd ElNour said he anticipated 14.7m tourists this year, approximately the same number that visited in 2010 - the year before a popular revolt ousted Egypt\'s government. “The first quarter of this year witnessed a 40 percent growth compared to the same time last year,” Mounir Fakhry Abd ElNour told reporters at a press conference. In 2010, tourism generated around US$12.5bn in income, before the the number of visitors slumped to 9.8bn in 2011, lowering the income to US$8.8bn, he said. “My aim for 2012 is to see numbers rise back to 14.7m people,” he added. The growth of tourism numbers will be driven by a number of projects, including the reopening of the Nile cruise from Cairo to Aswan and offering chartered airlines in conjunction with tour operators, said Abd ElNour. However, Abd ElNour said he expected elections over summer to impact tourism. “Numbers will be slow in May and June because of the presidential elections but [we will see] a rise later,” he said. Tourism represents 11.3 percent of Egypt’s GDP and is the North African country\'s biggest service export, representing 49 percent of all service exports. The highest number of tourists come from Russia, followed by England and Germany. “Our number one is Russia, with 2.8m visitors in 2010 and close to 1.85m visitors to be precise in 2011,” he said, adding, “Number two is England with 1.5m visitors in 2010 and around 1.2m in 2011. “[Very importantly], Germany is third with 1.3m visitors in 2010 and 1m in 2011,” he continued.