Tourism experts expect the disappearance of traditional companies in less than five years, even though the booking rates to and from Egypt via the internet remain below 20%.
Traditional tourism companies will cease to exist within five years, chairperson of the E-Tourism Chamber Mostafa Sultan said.
He warned all companies against neglecting development and modernisation in the methods they use to reach clients, saying this would be the reason why they go extinct. He highlighted a decline in the business of traditional companies by up to 80%.
“Even small and medium tourism companies will vanish within five years,” he added. “Only alliances would have a chance of surviving.”
Sultan said that there are no accurate statistics currently available on the proportion of online booking from the total size of bookings. Yet, he explained that the global proportion ranges between 40-60% according to the technological development and culture of the country.
Hotel and airline reservations are the biggest activities for online booking companies as an alternative to traditional tourism companies, noting that many online bookers use the service amid growing volumes of internet use and the rising number of suppliers.
In general, he said that the spread of modern technology has eliminated a number of functions, which existed before in the tourism and air transport sectors.
The proportion of online booking in Egypt is still limited, at under 20%, despite the spread of smartphones, marketing manager at Expedia for online booking Maged Mina Habashy said.
Yet, he explained that supply is still limited and does not match the global demand.
Online reservation companies cannot replace tourism companies entirely, not currently nor in the future, Habashy said, because tourism companies offer integrated services to customers unlike companies that provide only booking services for hotels and airlines.
He explained that tour operators offer trips, visits, and transfers—services that cannot be offered through online booking.
Online booking is barely available at tourism companies and is now provided by reservation companies, deputy chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation Karim Mohsen said.
Recreational and tourism programmes cannot be replaced by online booking in Egypt, as trips and programmes often require security permits and escorts for tourists, he said.
He noted that tourism companies must, however, pay attention to modern tourism and cope with new technology to increase their client base and save time and costs.
“Online visibility helps companies reach all client segments and enables companies to receive payment in advance,” he added.