With a long history of warmly welcoming visitors to its country, Egypt continues to stay true to its reputation, as Natalie Hami discovers.
As the phoenix rises from the ashes, Egypt continues to defy current circumstances and strive for better days.
Recent events have indeed shaken the country’s travel and tourism industry, however, its stakeholders insist upon simply taking certain vital measures to reassure visitors of the safety of Egypt.
These essential measures begin at the top with the government and Egypt Tourism Authority, according to media advisor and spokesperson, Ministry of Tourism, Rasha El Azaizy, who explained to TTG that the government is set to introduce a series of security measures which include the installation of CCTV cameras in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada as well as in some resorts.
El Azaizy said: “Our strategy has been to be both bold (in order to seize back the agenda) and transparent in all that we do. In December the first bold step was to undertake a review of international security companies and to appoint the company Control Risks.”
Referring specifically to airport security, she added: “At a time of heightened global security concerns, the Egyptian government is appropriately reviewing airport security. As part of this exercise, Control Risks has been appointed to review existing security processes and procedures at a number of key Egyptian airports.”
At the same time, Egypt Tourism Authority has launched its campaign #thisisegypt, which highlights Egypt’s touristic destinations dividing it into four main geographic attractions: the Nile Valley, the Red Sea Riviera, the White Mediterranean and the Western Desert.
“The four destinations will be promoted across different audiences and seasons based on each of the targeted market’s unique attraction points,” commented El Azaizy.
According to El Azaizy, the hashtag, #thisisegypt, originally began as a grassroots initiative developed by Egyptian youth. It was adopted by the Egypt Tourism Authority to mobilise Egyptians, who play a significant role in boosting tourism, to help change how the country is perceived, by portraying an experiential and authentic image to the world.
“We are working with marketing and advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, in coordination with global public relations agency Burson Marsteller Worldwide, to manage the #thisisegypt three-year integrated marketing and communications campaign that seeks to reshape Egypt’s image to the world and encourage consideration of the country as a tourist destination,” said El Azaizy.
A DIFFERENT PATH TO SUCCESS
Egypt’s marketing campaign is far-reaching, with the government eager to explore previously unchartered territory, as far as source markets go.
It is targeting a slew of feeder markets from the region and internationally including the KSA, Kuwait, Jordan, the UAE, the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, China, India and the US, among many others.
Needless to say, it seems that the destination’s tourism stakeholders are following suit and wisely looking to new markets.
Managing director, Eastmar Group, Youssef Fayez told TTG: “The UK and Russia would have to be the most important countries for everyone, although other markets are growing, especially Eastern Europe and Asia. We are focusing our business on the UK and India at the moment; the Indian market is doing much better as the UK is on hold.”
Currently, flights from the UK to Sharm El Sheikh are on hold. The areas to which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel do not include the tourist areas along the Nile river (such as Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) or the Red Sea Resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.
Vice president sales and marketing – Africa, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, Teri Friesen commented that the hotel company is focusing on the domestic market as well as markets such as Eastern Europe, England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
“The GCC market is growing as well and Egypt has seen more tourists from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during 2015 than in previous years. We are working to ensure we develop offers that appeal directly to travellers from the GCC and the KSA.”
Stepping outside of the region is Nature Travel Egypt, who according to its chairman, Gasser Riad, the Latin American markets are the way forward for the company.
“Now I’m in Brazil attending four different travel fairs and I see that it is a very promising market for Egypt.” Riad also stated that he will be visiting travel fairs in India and Romania.
Meanwhile, director of sales, Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino, Sharm El Sheikh, Ahmed Ibrahim noted that the main feeder markets for Sharm El Sheikh are Russia and Britain.
“Currently both of them decided to stop their flights until further notice which is always extending further from the British Foreign Affairs, then we are obliged to tackle any kind of business available in the market to keep our hotels open.”
On a more positive note however, Ibrahim pointed out that the property will be participating in major international travel exhibitions to maintain their relationships with tour operators, as well as having the opportunity to touch base with new potential partners.
Looking ahead to a prosperous future anew, Egypt’s stakeholders amass once more to promote this distinct destination.