The Tourism Activation Authority has sent a letter to the Chamber of Tourism Companies and Agencies to invite their members to take part in the ITB Berlin exhibition in Germany which takes place in March of every year. The exhibition is an indicator of inbound tourism in Egypt during the winter season, according to an official in the chamber.
The ITB Berlin exhibition is considered one of the largest international tourism events, as deals signed during the event in 2016 reached a value of €67bn ($73bn). The number of visitors to the sessions during five days reached 175,000 and exhibitor companies reached 10,186 from 189 countries around the world.
Mohanad Flefel, former head of the Committee of Tourism Transportation at the Chamber of Tourism Companies and Agencies, said that his participation this year will be confined to a visit.
He pointed out that companies will seek to attend the exhibition as a desire to get introduced to what is new in the field, as well as hold meetings with owners of companies in foreign markets.
He explained that a large number of companies will take part in the exhibition for this purpose, as there are no indicators that tourism will be returning during this period.
He said that the German market is the largest market sending inbound tourism to Egypt in general, despite that the government has not worked on this market well enough.
The value of the Egyptian pound has greatly declined as a result of its flotation in November, which led to an increase in the value of other currencies against the pound.
Kamel Abo Ali, head of Albatross Holding for Tourism, announced that his company is willing to take part in the exhibition this year, calling on the government to choose the optimum location for the Egyptian suite.
He stressed that visitors will be introduced to a number of programmes; however, these programmes are not completed yet.
He explained that the tourism crisis now needs activation in all possible ways, most prominently taking part in different exhibitions, and launching promotional campaigns for Egypt in all countries of the world.
Mody El Shaer, head of Bright Sky Travel, said that his company will take part in the exhibition through showcasing its products at the ITB exhibition.
He pointed out that his company has formed a group of employees who will determine the programmes to be displayed. The group is expected to be done with the work over the few upcoming days.
He stressed that the exhibition helps bring tourism from all countries of the world. It also helps communicate with a large number of tour organisers and other companies.
Ahmed Balbaa, head of Balbaa Group for Hotels, said that the Berlin exhibition is considered one of the main opportunities for companies to communicate with their counterparts around the world, as the exhibition is considered one of the largest international tourism events that all companies are keen to participate in.
He explained that the participation fees were not changed by the management organising the events; however, the pound’s flotation has caused an increase of the fees borne by Egyptian companies, which may prevent a large number of companies from participating as exhibitors. Companies will only take part as visitors and a smaller number of employees than the amount they used to send before, due to the increase of the travel costs.
He went on to explain that companies do not contract during the exhibition; however, they get introduced to each other and meet later to sign different deals.
He pointed out that travel companies and agencies, in addition to airlines and hotels, take part in the exhibition; however, they have not decided whether to participate or to only be visitors.