Thursday, 13 February 2014 4:18 PM
Visiting London yesterday, Wednesday February 14th 2014, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Mr Hisham Zaazou, spoke frankly of the challenges Egypt has faced during the last three years and continues to tackle moving forward.
Mr Zaazou commented that on-going unrest in Cairo focused around the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution, had resulted in a widespread international misperception that the rest of Egypt isn't a safe destination for tourists.
“The issues we continue to face on the path to democracy are ‘Egyptian-on-Egyptian’ in their nature and are focused solely in our capital Cairo. International visitors have not been targeted,” stated Mr Zaazou.
“However, events in Cairo are being perceived as happening across Egypt which is simply not the case. For the time being, we will adopt a pragmatic approach of not promoting Cairo and focus on the rest of Egypt – Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea. There’s one million square kilometres of country beyond Cairo that is unrivalled in its appeal to UK visitors.”
In September 2013, only 300,000 tourists visited Egypt, a drop of 90 percent compared to September 2012. With four million Egyptians directly dependent on tourism, and a further 16 million indirectly dependent, Mr Zaazou spoke passionately of his uncompromising mission to reverse international perception of Egypt.
“We are adopting a three pronged approach to reinvigorating tourism. Firstly, we are working to develop and reinstate international flights such as EgyptAir’s London – Luxor route which recommences on February 17th. Secondly, we will be aggressively communicating with Egypt’s target audiences through PR and communications campaigns including social media and bloggers. And thirdly, we’re working closely with our valued tour operators partners globally to encourage their clients to return or experience Egypt’s wonders for the first time. Never has a holiday to Egypt been better value!”
“Furthermore, shorter term ‘tactical’ plans are in place, including incentives for airlines and tour operators, and an expansion of our successful live streaming in-destination webcams from five sites to 25. If potential visitors really want to see what’s happening across Egypt, all they need do is speak to their travel professional or log on,” commented Mr Zaazou.
Concluding a packed day of media and tour operator briefings, Mr Zaazou concluded, “I am confident that our pragmatic approach of distancing Cairo from the rest of Egypt coupled with ambitious short and medium term promotional plans will see 2014 being the year that Egypt tourism bounces back.”