Egypt revamping its image for better tourism
Vinod Anand | 06 Jun 2012

The Egypt Tourism Authority is looking ahead to gain the confidence of people about their safety and well-being in Egypt, especially after the political turmoil in 2011. Adel El Masry, Director, Egypt Tourism Authority, speaks to 'Bureaucracy Today' about the strategies of the ETA so as to draw a large number of tourists from India and how the Indian authorities are aiding them in this mission.

This is your first project in India. What is your strategy to propagate the USP of Egyptian tourism?The USP of Egypt is that it has everything a tourist would want, right from a throbbing nightlife and shopping centers to quiet felucca rides, beautiful scenery along the Nile, relaxing spas and magnificent pyramids of the pharaohs.Our strategy is based on the following aspects:

1) For our tour operators? Organizing training sessions for the sales and marketing staff of tour operators so that they have sufficient knowledge to sell Egypt as a tourist destination.? Increasing our budget for joint campaigns to help them sell Egypt as a destination for MICE, honeymooners amongst others.? Arranging FAM trips for our tour operators and making them experience the country?s new destinations.? Sponsoring/organizing/having partnership with them for the upcoming events.

2) For the media? We plan to increase the budget for our India campaign and cover more cities as India is a very important market for us.? We focus on arranging media FAM trips, invite journalists to Egypt and make them experience the country for the MICE segment amongst others.

3) For airline company: Coordinating events through Egypt Air as it is our national carrier.The tourism office is putting in its marketing effort to penetrate other cities besides the metropolitan cities. It has doubled its marketing budget too.

An experimental marketing approach will be aggressively adopted where tours will be organized for our travel partners to witness the destination in the aftermath of political unrest and see for themselves that the destination is as safe and secure for tourists as it has always been in the past. We are also launching a new campaign called 'We're Egypt'; it is straight from the hearts of Egyptian people inviting Indian tourists to visit and experience the new Egypt.The Egyptian Tourism Office will continue to promote honeymoon, MICE and sports like golf, heritage and culture segments in the Indian market through joint promotions with travel agents and participation in trade events on national and international platforms.

How much business and revenue did you receive from Indian tourists last year and how much upsurge are you aiming for the year 2012? There has been a noticeable increase in the number of tourists pouring into Egypt where rates increased by 32% during the first quarter of 2?d12 as compared to first quarter of 2011. The number of tourists reached 25,00,301 between January and March as opposed to 18, 94,044 tourists during the same period last year Figures show that the number of tourists in March2012 reached 9,26,784 while in February 7,53,451 tourists visited Egypt and 8,20,066 did so in January 2012. How are the Indian authorities helping you in making your endeavour a success? We have a wonderful relationship between the ETA and the Ministry of Tourism in India.

Our plan is to affect our protocol of 2007. Our relationships with Indian associations like the TAAI and the TAFI are positive and we plan to organize Familiarization Trips through them.How did the recent political turmoil in Egypt affect the tourist influx from India?The beginning of activities of January 25, 2011 has caused some decline which is normal. At that time people did not know what could happen. But now the situation is back to normal and traffic is now increasing. After the forthcoming elections in June, the situation will be clearer and Egypt will be back in place. Apart from the famous Pyramids, what other destinations and places in Egypt you are planning to promote in India?We are promoting various new destinations such as Sharm-el-Sheikh, Aswan, Luxor, Abu Simbal, El Gouna, Hurghada, Safaga, Soma Bay, Tab and Marsa Alam.