Tourism revenues fell by 60% in the first five months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2010, which means that revenues are still lower than usual.
Pushed by declined revenues, the head of the tourism committee at the Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce (EBCC), Magdy Hanin, told Daily News Egypt in an interview that the contract with JWT—which is in charge of promoting Egyptian tourism—should be terminated, as the current situation is becoming costly with no return.
How do you see the losses of the sector during the current period, and what are the solutions for the recovery of the sector?
The sector is still affected by the absence of British and Russian tourists to Egyptian tourism destinations, most important of which is Sharm El-Sheikh.
Russia continues to suspend its flights to Egypt, while Britain does not operate flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. This came after the fall of a Metrojet airliner in Sinai in October in 2015.
The government, represented by the Egypt Tourism Authority, is demanding the cancellation of its contract with the public relations firm JWT, which is in charge of promoting Egyptian tourism.
Why are you asking to cancel the contract with JWT?
The company has no target or business plan. The European market has changed its features. The company is not moving to other alternative markets, including the Far East and eastern Europe. It also failed to form an external strong Egyptian tourist lobby.
The alternative markets are the solutions to the recovery of the sector by putting the Far East markets, especially promising ones, including China and India, at the top of investor and government priorities, as well as implementing comprehensive programmes that are in line with these types of tourists and that meet all their requirements.
The programmes that attract these countries are not limited to cultural or beach tourism, but must include heritage sites because of the tendency of Chinese and Indian tourists to visit these places.
The selection of JWT was successful at first, because it made the best offers in the government tender. Yet, the completion of the contract leads to losses to the state, due to the change in the external situation.
The results of promotions in the European market were not successful, but actually the opposite. In addition, the Arab market cannot measure the success of the publicity company, as moving for that market was only because it could be an alternative for the European market.
How do you see the growth in Arab tourism during the past year?
Arab tourism supports Egypt in the coming period, because of the cultural similarity among all Arab countries, as well as the common interests of these countries, which forced them to support Egypt.
It is necessary to intensify the publicity in the Arab markets, especially the Gulf countries and the Arab Maghreb, and facilitate the procedures of granting visas, in order to attract the largest number of tourists during this period. Arab tourists spend three times more than foreigner tourists at least, as foreigners usually commit to a specific programme.
How do you see the phenomenon of burning prices between hotels in the current period?
The prices of hotels in Egypt are very low. We in the committee hold periodic meetings with tourism officials in government institutions, but the promises from the government that the committee receives are not fulfilled.
Egyptian diplomacy is responsible for determining the fate of tourism by improving Egypt’s image in foreign meetings.
Companies and owners of enterprises must develop and maintain facilities in order to qualify for hosting the most profitable types of tourism, since the current period does not require investors to vacate existing facilities.
Raising prices requires that all tourist and hotel facilities start immediately to maintain their facilities to develop their tourist product, so that they can start raising prices to suit the potential of the Egyptian tourist destination. This will contribute to increasing the national income of the country, as these establishments will pay taxes and fees on time.