Egypt pumps in US$500k for MICE push

FOR the first time, Egypt’s government has allocated US$500,000 to the Ministry of Tourism’s MICE department to promote the sector for financial year 2012/2013.

Egyptian Tourism Office India director, Dr Adel El Masry, said the budget will be used to support the initiatives of overseas outbound agents to promote MICE in Egypt, such as the printing of catalogues and brochures.

MICE in Egypt is still in its infancy and countries showing good potential for growth are India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, said Dr Adel. There were also plans to organise familiarisation trips for key decision makers of federations and associations to showcase the country’s MICE capabilities.

According to Dr Adel, Travel Agents Association of India will be holding their five-day annual convention in Cairo in March 2013, and discussions were underway with Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents as well as National Association of Travel Agents Singapore to hold their conferences in Egypt.

New Delhi-based Gaurav Travels chief executive, Rajeev Sabharwal, said: “The promotional incentives given will certainly help to reduce our costs in promoting the destination. MICE bookings to Egypt have dropped by 50 per cent since the political turmoil. However, there are still corporate incentives travelling to Egypt, especially to Cairo and its surroundings. The Nile cruise is an attraction for incentives.

“Going well for the destination is the affordability of accommodation and airfares, as compared to Europe which has seen a larger increase. A five-star hotel in Cairo is about US$140-US$150. Egypt is viewed as a new MICE destination and attracts corporates who have already been to the Far East, Dubai and Switzerland,” he added.

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