India's Most Influential Business and Economy Magazine - A Planman Media Initiative 
  Other Sections
  • Home
  •  Cover Story
  •  B&E This Fortnight
  •  B&E Indicators
  • B School
  • Finance
  • International Column
  • Overseas Talk
  • Policy
  • Politics
  • Scrutiny
  • Sector
  • Snapshot
  • Special Feature
  • Stratagem
  • Testimonial

Share |
Overseas Talk
“Egypt has undergone a sea change after the revolution”
Adel el Masry, Director of Egypt Tourism Authority, is upbeat on his country’s tourism prospects, which had taken a hit following the political uprising in the country. In an exclusive interaction with b&e’s Dipshikha Das, Masry talks about how Egypt’s tourism is back on its feet and what his country is doing to promote tourism
Issue Date - 22/12/2011
B&E: The political turmoil caused by the Arab Spring, the subsequent fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime and the current fragile state of affairs in Egypt have taken a heavy toll on tourism in the country. What are you doing to help it bounce back?
Adel Masry (AM): Tourism to Egypt is returning to stability after a long movement for political democracy. Egypt is receiving immense support from several nations who are helping improve the situation by lifting travel advisories against Egypt. The Egypt Tourism office in India is aggressively taking part in all important trade fairs and travel expos for giving maximum exposure to and showcasing the country’s tourism industry to the entire South-east Asia market.

B&E: In the Egypt tourism’s scheme of things, where does India fit in?
AM: Tourism is an important driver of our economy and the annual growth in this sector has risen to around 30%. Last year we received 16 million tourists, and earned around $11,000 million. Currently tourism contributes approximately 11.8% to Egypt’s GDP. In 2009, we had 87,000 Indian tourists and, in 2010, it stood at 1,14,000, up 36% against the previous year. We are expecting at least a 35% increase by the end of this year.

B&E: After the turmoil that your country has been through, how difficult do you think it would be to lure foreign tourists to Egypt?
AM: It’s true that we suffered a huge loss in terms of tourist flows from Asia and elsewhere in the wake of the people’s movement that Egypt faced. However, we have been taking steps to lure the Indian tourists back. We have doubled our tourism promotion budget in India from a half million dollars to $1million in the current year. We are aggressively targeting Indian tourists in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Jaipur. But it’s not just the big cities but also the tier II cities we are looking at now. We have adopted an experimental marketing approach by organising tours for our travel partners to witness the destination in the aftermath of the political unrest and see for themselves that Egypt is now once again as safe and secure for tourists as it has always been in the past. Also, we have increased the limit on baggage allowance for tourists travelling through Egypt Air as well as increased the frequency of our flights to five days in a week from Mumbai to Cairo and vice versa. Post the movement in Egypt, the “Tahrir Square in Cairo” has generated a lot of interest for people to see and visit the place since it was the epicentre of all activities during the movement. We had recently organised FAM trips for the Indian media to witness and see how Egypt has undergone a change after the democratic movement. Also, to raise our profile in India, we have participated at important tourism events like SATTE in Delhi, TTF & OTM in Mumbai, and the recently held PATA travel mart in Delhi.

B&E: What has been the loss in tourism revenues due to the unrest and what are you doing to get over the loss?
AM: Tourism was affected in the initial months due to the political turmoil but now the situation is in revival mode. Egypt suffered a loss of around $1.5 billion during the unrest. The key challenge is to restore the trust back among tourists and to get back to promoting Egypt in an altogether new and fresh way. The famous Nile cruise has been restarted due to popular demand from tour operators and tourists around the world. We have reintroduced the Long Nile Cruise on the demand of tour operators. It starts from Cairo to Aswan. We are confident that the losses will be made good as soon as our new strategies are likely to be implemented in the coming weeks.

B&E: What strategies are you going to adopt for the emerging markets? Which primary areas will you focus on?
AM: We see Asia and India in particular becoming a big source market for our leisure as well as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) tourism. That’s precisely the reason we have opened our office here and are allocating significant funds for marketing and promotional exercise in India. We are focusing on offering a variety of products catering to the different age groups. The new products will be categorised into MICE, honeymoon, golf, marine, adventure and wellness segments. We will promote religious and wellness tourism for the elder tourists while it will be cultural and adventure tourism for the middle aged and honeymoon tourism for the newly wed. Off late, Egypt has been attracting a good number of business tourists who choose the destination for their meetings, incentives, convention and corporate events. We foresee good traction from the Indian corporate segment in the coming year.

B&E: Egypt has long been known as a historical and leisure destination and your focus on “MICE” seems to be relatively new. What does Egypt have to offer as a MICE destination?
AM: Some of the destinations like Cairo, Luxor and Sharm El Sheikh are going to be the top spots for the corporate sector this year and are now being categorised and branded as MICE destinations. The infrastructure has been modernised with stunning facilities on offer – from the Cairo International Conference Centre to over 90 four-and-five-star hotels (many are global brands). Major improvements and extensions have been undertaken at the Cairo International Airport. Today, approximately 20% of the overall tourism demand for the country owes to the meetings market. Our research shows that more than 40% of outbound passengers from India are for MICE.

Dipshikha Das           

Share |

Leave your first comment


     Leave Comments to this story    
Email id:  
Busines & Economy is also associated with :
©Copyright 2008, Planman Media Pvt. Ltd. An Arindam Chaudhuri Initiative. With Intellectual Support from IIPM & Malay Chaudhuri.