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Egypt: Going beyond the regular

The resurgence of tourism in Egypt means new tourism offerings. Hisham El Demery, chairman, Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board talks to TBMEs Charmaine Fernz on the business mix and strategies ahead…

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Hisham El Demery, chairman, Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board

The Arab market has been an important and significant source according to the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board. This is evident from tourism figures which state that there has been a year on year progress of almost 13.2% growth in 2016 over 2015. The first quarter of 2017 has also performed very well compared to the same period in 2016.

The GCC market has a good appetite for the Egypt product and this is evident from the increased demand of new products. There has also been a shift in product preferences from the regular destinations of Cairo and Alexandria, today the Arab travellers want to go beyond to beach destinations like Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and even further down to El-Quseir, Marsa Alam.

A New Focus

The tourism ministry is keen to highlight the culture aspect of the destination. Egypt is a very old country with a lot of culture and heritage also there are a lot of hidden treasures. There has been an uptake on the classical tours. We have even see that there is a small percentage of the Arab market who come to Egypt during the winter season. This will be for the cruises from Luxor to Aswan and Cairo. This is a good indication that we have to be more proactive.

Taking a cue from these factors, the Ministry will be introducing new products to the GCC and Arab market. We will be launching the holy family trip. When Pope Francis visited Egypt, he highlighted the fact that the holy family had lived in Egypt for three and half years. During these three and half years, they touched upon some 25 locations. Of these 25 locations, we have picked eight locations and will be promoting it as part of the holy family package.

Medical tourism is another focus area as Egypt became famous for treatment of nearly 80% of Hepatitis C patients worldwide. The medication is affordable as it is locally manufactured. The other areas of focus would be desert safaris and water sports.

Market Focus

The ministry will be launching a new summer campaign for the Arab market highlighting the varied attractions of Egypt. With a renewed focus, the ministry will look at focusing on its stronger markets mainly Germany, Italy, UK and Russia, which forms the chunk of tourists. These countries are very important for us. However, we would like to introduce our product to Eastern European countries such as Czech Republic or Poland. We would also like to target the Indians living in the GC as they are a substantial number.

With all the factors well in place, we would like to reach our target which is about seven to nine billion tourist per year. From the Middle East market, the expectation is an increase of 20-25% over 2016.