Visitors from European Union (EU) countries are usually looking for destinations close to home for holidays. With Egypt only a couple of hours from most EU cities, the short flight time aspect can propel the Egyptian tourism sector in 2020 and 2021, according to Mohamed Kaoud, President of the Egyptian Junior Business Association’s (EJB) Tourism and Aviation Committee.
He said that in tourism, there are challenges and opportunities, and that Egypt should continuously act to overcome those challenges whilst simultaneously seizing the opportunities.
Kaoud, who is also the CEO of Egyliere Travel, pointed out that China has about 800 million citizens resident in 22 provinces that are free of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), representing a valuable target market for Egypt.
He noted that, even if only 1% of the Chinese market travelled to Egypt, this would be good enough for the country’s tourism and hospitality industries.
“The UAE and Israel have established a partnership in the areas of major conferences and exhibitions, as well as broader trade development, with the signing of an agreement between the Dubai World Trade Centre and Israel Export Institute,” Kaoud said, “As part of the agreement, the two organisations will work jointly to facilitate the participation of Israeli exhibitors in large-scale exhibitions in the UAE by the end of the year.”
He added that the commercial potential of the joint UAE-Israel agreements is estimated at $500m per annum across several key sectors. The Egypt International Exhibition Center (EIEC) should explore mutual cooperation with the UAE and Israel in terms of the region’s international conferences and exhibitions agenda.
The organisers of the Dubai Expo 2020 are committed to convening the global community in a spirit of collaboration and innovation, according to Kaoud, in order to build a strong, sustainable future for everyone.
The first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region is now set to run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, having been delayed by coronavirus pandemic. It will bring together more than 190 countries to explore new ideas, form new connections, and collectively tackle some of the greatest global challenges of our time.
Kaoud said that Egypt’s participation will see the country present its 2030 national plan, with the Dubai Expo 2020 a great opportunity for Egypt to present its plans for sustainable development and growth across several industries.
He noted that Dubai has launched an international marketing campaign that aims to encourage an influx of curious travellers to the emirate. The “Live Your Story” campaign showcases the diversity of Dubai’s tourism sector, from its soaring skyscrapers and modern hotels to its cultural districts and traditional activities.
Unlike previous campaigns, “Live Your Story” focuses on personalised travel experiences, which have soared in popularity in the post-pandemic era. The campaign will be made available in 20 languages via multiple platforms and across key source markets that have reopened borders.
Kaoud said that Egypt will adopt similar approaches, and implement marketing strategies that cope with the current global perceptions and needs.
“In addition, the Egyptian government has extended a number of its policies and incentives devised to help, with the government waiving visa fees until 30 April next year for tourists visiting South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan,” he said, “For hotels and other tourism businesses, fees, electricity, water and gas bills will be put on hold until 31 December this year.”
He added, “Additionally, all debts owed by companies in the sector will be rescheduled, with no repayments due until 1 January 2021.”
Kaoud said that Egypt is exploring pathways out of the challenges presented by the global pandemic, and the chances for encouraging a sustainable recovery in the tourism sector, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus.
He said that the country is following the EU’s path, and is advancing safety measures as a second wave of the virus is expected to occur. He explained further that the Egyptian authorities and the country’s private sector are constantly monitoring the virus’ behaviour and the movement of people, in order to take adequate steps to control the spread.
Earlier this month, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly approved the commencement of in person meetings and exhibitions in Egypt, rather than keeping them confined to online methods.
The Ministries of Health, and Tourism and Antiquities, have also implemented a contingency plan to handle new virus threats. These measures have been actively in place at the EIEC and, most recently, at the El Gouna Film Festival.
Kaoud added that out of the 1.2 billion passengers who have travelled with airlines since the start of the pandemic, so far only 44 coronavirus infections have been registered in-flight, as per a recent International Air Transport Association report.