Egypt upbeat on 2014 tourism outlook

EGYPT’S new constitution and forthcoming elections will improve political stability and support a recovery in the country’s travel trade, said tourism minister Hisham Zazou, who is also developing a range of incentives to win business back.

“All source markets have softened or removed their travel advisories,” Zazou told TTG Asia e-Daily. “However, we still have a lot of work to do about (the) perception (of safety in Egypt).”

Signs that the industry once again considers Egypt a safe travel destination include the launch of ITB Africa at Sharm el-Sheikh, which will be announced in March, he added.

Euromic, an international association of DMCs, also held its annual general meeting in Cairo this week. “(Euromic is) here in solidarity with Egypt to show people that the country is safe and open for business,” said Rajeev Kholi, managing director of Creative Travel.

However, some DMCs said the industry, especially sensitive markets such as the US, will want to see a period of stability before sending corporate groups back to the country.

Travellers have shied away from Egypt since political instability and violent clashes broke out in February 2011.

Egypt welcomed 14.7 million international arrivals in 2010, falling to 11.5 million in 2012 and 9.5 million last year, according to the minister.

“Arrivals have doubled since October,” he said. “I believe we will be in the neighbourhood of 12 million (arrivals) by the end of the year.”

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