The Ministry of Tourism is looking into a contract with a private airline to fly from Guangzhou, China to Luxor and Aswan directly to increase hotel occupancy in the region in the upcoming period.
According to an official at the Ministry of Tourism, who preferred to remain anonymous, negotiations with the airline are nearly complete and the results will be announced within days. The official noted that security authorities have decided to allow entry to Chinese tourists upon arrival as opposed to obtaining a visa from the embassy in China.
“The Chinese market is a new market for Egyptian tourism and falls within the emerging markets that Egypt seeks to enter,” the official said. The ministry is targeting 100,000 to 200,000 Chinese tourists in 2016.
Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Samy Mahmoud said the Chinese market has “large potential” in the future.
He believes that increasing the numbers of Chinese tourists relies on flights between the two countries, whether through charter airlines or EgyptAir flights.
According to head of the Egyptian Federation of Tourism Chambers Elhamy El-Zayat, the Chinese market has grown bigger as a result of increased wages in China and the incentives some Chinese companies grant their employees in addition to conference tourism.
“Those companies may find Luxor and Aswan attractive for the cities’ cultural heritage that appeal to South and East Asia tourists, especially Chinese,” El-Zayat said.
Daily News Egypt has obtained a classified report issued by the Egypt Travel Agents Association and circulated by member companies regarding Chinese tourism.
The report stated that Chinese tourists would be allowed entry visas from the port of arrival since it may be difficult for them to travel to where the Egyptian embassy is located in China.
The Ministry of Tourism has decided to grant those visas only to those arriving in tours and carrying a cut-off amount of money, which is yet to be determined. The report explicitly excluded tourists from what it called “lower backgrounds”.
The official said the ministry would implement this plan before the end of the first quarter (Q1) of 2016 and will focus on the Chinese, Indian, and Japanese markets. He explained that flights from these markets would be subsidised to $70 per seat.
The ministry aims to bring about 500,000 tourists from these three markets by the end of 2016, according to the official. “The number is not big but it depends on flights from those countries,” he said.
The Egyptian Tourism Federation hosted its Indian counterpart several times over the past two years in Luxor and Aswan to sign a cooperation protocol between the two federations and increase Indian tourism to Egypt.