Egypt has one of the best three Travelstart offices amongst the countries in which the company has branches, according to Country Manager at Travelstart Egypt Ahmed Saad. He also said the Egyptian market is promising in light of the growth of modern technology users and means of communication.
The company’s office in Egypt was inaugurated in 2013, according to Saad. The office’s employees were able to increase the revenues from EGP 8m in 2013 to EGP 38m in 2014, while targeting sales of around EGP 70m in 2015. In order to expand, the company will also multiply the company’s marketing cost five-fold.
In Saad’s interview with Daily News Egypt, he said Travelstart Egypt is a technological company targeting to facilitate travel procedures.
The company’s headquarters is in Cape Town, South Africa and it has branches in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Egypt, Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. The company also plans to establish an office in Pakistan in the upcoming period.
Why did you think of entering the Egyptian market?
Egypt is a large market for any company to work in, as the population exceeds 80 million, of which the majority is youths. There is an increasing growth in internet use and modern technology means.
Travelstart exists in a number of African countries and it was necessary to enter the Egyptian market. We provide travellers with services to facilitate travel procedures through modern technology means.
Even though the company is new compared to other offices worldwide, Egypt’s office comes amongst the best three company offices, which reflects the significance of the Egyptian market.
We achieved sales of EGP 8m during the year the company’s launch in Egypt in 2013 and we reached EGP 38m in 2014. We are hoping to achieve EGP 70m by the end of 2015.
Does your company bring tourists to Egypt?
No, we are working on providing services that facilitate travel procedures for travellers abroad or we organise domestic trips to tourist destinations in Egypt.
The company’s other branches might organise travelling procedures to those who wish to visit Egypt but in the office here, we organise travel procedures for those who want to spend holidays, study, or do business abroad.
Online travelling rates in Egypt are significant, reaching almost 25%, while there are expectations that they will reach 31% next year.
What are the destinations that are mostly searched by Egyptians to travel abroad?
Over the past two years, we noticed that around 60% of the destinations searched by Egyptians are to the Arabian Gulf region, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait then Turkey comes close after.
Over the past two years, the company’s revenues achieved growth; what about next year?
Over the next year, we have plans to increase our marketing operations for the company services by doubling the marketing expenses five-fold.
Recently, marketing costs reached approximately EGP 3m since expanding in a large market such as Egypt requires an increase in marketing.
At the same time, we are working on developing the office’s employees; we currently have 13 employees, all Egyptian, compared to only 3 in 2013.
The company is also working on linking its services with some banks. Currently, the company is linked with Fawry Company for e-payment.
Travelstart is preparing to sign an agreement with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to provide travel on instalments service, with a period from six to 11 months. This agreement will be executed by the beginning of 2016.
The company is working with major tour operators in Egypt, such as Excel, Travco, and Manhattan.
The office’s investments will be targeted to develop applications that are convenient to all its clients, guaranteeing expansion in the Egyptian market.
Travelstart is close to ending its third year in Egypt. Despite the company’s acquisition of 95% of the online travelling organisation market, the company’s share in modern or traditional travel in Egypt records around 1.5%. In August, Travelstart established a website in Arabic in order to expand in the Egyptian market.
Communication is significant since we need to know what the client’s needs are all the time and to work on meeting them.
How many travellers use your company and how many visitors do you have to your website on a daily basis?
In 2014, we reached 25,000 travellers through Travelstart and we are expecting 41,000 by the end of 2015 and 80,000 in 2016.
Travelstart’s website in Egypt is frequented by around 6,000 to 8,000 individuals on a daily basis. Egypt is a large market in need of modern technology means to be used in different aspects of life.
About 40 million Egyptians are using the internet every day, which is a large number, reflecting a significant purchasing power.
What is the rate of transactions using credit cards?
In 2013, the rate of transactions using credit cards to benefit from travel services was 15%, although currently this rate reached 58% of the company’s total transactions, a great development in the Egyptian transaction market.
How do you evaluate the Egyptian tourism products’ marketing abroad?
Egypt has a large number of touristic resources, including archaeological attractions, beaches alongside the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, and natural reserves. We need to study the markets where we promote for tourism products, as the needs and demands change from one place to another.
We have to deal with marketing through modern means such as social media, which is significant to eliminate the idea of traditional booking.