Egypt optimistic on tourism growth
By William Faria
Almasalla Arab Travel Portal News – DUBAI – Egypt will gradually regain its previous high levels following the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, the country s Minister for Tourism Hisham Zaazou disclosed in Dubai on Sunday.
Address a well attended press conference Minister Zaazou revealed that the elections will serve as a turning point in increasing political stability, as well as enhancing the levels of safety and security over the next few months.
The Minister is in Dubai along with a delegation to attend the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which opens on Monday. Zaazou also emphasised the significance of ATM to Egypt’s tourism sector, adding that the regional event plays a crucial role of promoting tourism in the Arab world.
The minister also stated that Arabs make up more than 20 per cent of tourists that visit the country’s destinations – particularly Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.
The minister also unveiled a number of exclusive offers that will be available in May 2014 for tourists from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait including a set of direct flights launched from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh. Tourists from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will also be offered exclusive package rates that will include air tickets and a three night stay in Sharm El Sheikh’s and Hurghada’s most luxurious hotels and resorts, starting from USD400.
These offers are part of the larger ‘Wahashtouna’ campaign launched by the Ministry to promote tourism from Arab and Gulf nations. These exclusive offers are a result of the close collaboration between the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority, as well as with the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism Establishments, Egypt Air and a number of hotels operating in Egypt.
During the press conference, Zaazou also announced the launch of the first ‘Egypt Air’ and ‘Egypt Air Express’ flights from Jeddah Airport to Hurghada, who will be operating two flights per week starting May 20th. Meanwhile, ‘Air Cairo’ flights from Kuwait to Hurghada will kick-off from May 21st and will also be operating two flights per week. Direct flights are also set to be launched soon from Riyadh to Hurghada.
These flights are an addition to the existing 12 to Sharm El Sheikh from Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait operating across four days a week. As a result of these developments, the Ministry is bringing the number of direct flights being offered from Arab countries to Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh to 18 per week.
The Ministry of Tourism is currently negotiating with a number of UAE-based airlines to launch direct flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and Aswan this year. Currently Egypt Air and Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) offer direct flights from Jeddah and Riyadh to Sharm El Sheikh.
"The challenges facing the Egyptian tourism industry are unique but at the same time it is important to maintain a true picture of the situation in Egypt. Tourist destinations continue to be safe and secure and are still attracting thousands of tourists from around the world on a daily basis. We want to make it known that Egypt is a strategic, safe tourism destination for Arab and foreign visitors alike," added Minister Zaazou.
The outspoken minister further added that "Despite the obstacles faced by the Egyptian tourism sector in recent years, Egypt still offers the most popular tourist destinations on a global level. Egyptian citizens and the Egyptian government are both committed to the security of our guests and remaining hospitable and welcoming to tourists. Egypt has received more than 32 million tourists in the past three years, 20 per cent of which were Arab tourists.
This confirms the massive attraction that Egypt remains to be in the Arab world."
"These exclusive travel packages offered to our Arab neighbours reflect our efforts to boost the tourism sector in Egypt. I would like to take this opportunity to express how much we value Arab tourists – Egypt misses you! – and we will continue to provide exclusive offers to allow them to experience what Egypt has to offer."
"I call upon Arab investors to invest in Egypt, particularly in the tourism sector, as we are currently providing them with easy and transparent procedures.
In fact, Arab investments represent 9 per cent of the amount of foreign investments in Egypt. Arab investments in the tourism sector amounted to 2.180 billion Egyptian pounds, which reflects the importance of supporting this active sector," he concluded.