Egypt Independent

Post-revolution travel offers to boost tourism



An unprecedented drop in tourism during and following the weeks of the 25 January uprising is forcing Egyptian travel agencies to offer discounted travel packages to Egypt’s major holiday destinations.

During the first couple of days of protests, Egypt’s economy reportedly lost an estimated US$1 billion as over a million tourists fled the country.

In an attempt to revive internal tourism, great travel deals are now on offer for vacations at the most luxurious hotels at highly attractive prices.  

“This is the only way to rescue the tourism sector from a complete collapse and prevent the crisis of redundancies from escalating,” says Nesma, a tour operator.

The tourism company Nesma works for is adopting a marketing strategy that has started to prove successful.

“We have sent text messages and emails to all our customers to attract them to come and spend a holiday with their families or friends,” she says. According to Nesma, advertisements in newspapers are also encouraging Egyptians to make reservations for the next months.

“This year I won’t go to Europe. Cheap packages for Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada give a great opportunity to contribute to the tourism sector, so I decided to spend my vacations there instead,” says Sameh, a 28-year-old engineer. “Egypt is passing through a critical phase now, so we have to stand by our country until it regains its footing.”

Though Sameh has traveled abroad many times, he feels that Red Sea resorts are among the most beautiful places in the world. “This is why foreigners come from around the world to see it, and it’s time for us to appreciate its beauty too during these difficult times.”

Tourism, one of Egypt’s most important sources of revenue, generates around US$13 billion annually.

Although her work has been seriously affected by the toppling of the regime, Hoda, a tour guide, says she is optimistic that tourism will bloom again very soon: “The reason behind the revolution was internal political problems that have no relation to tourism.”

Nevertheless, many countries have warned their nationals against visiting Cairo, due to the unstable situation. Hotel occupancy rates have plunged to less than ten percent across the nation.

Hoda joined an initiative on Monday last week calling on tourists to return to Egypt. Two thousand tour guides launched the “Come back to Egypt” campaign at the Giza Pyramids, with the aim of conveying the message internationally that Egypt is now safe to visit. 

The tour guides chanted, “The people want the return of tourism,” and carried banners bearing the same demand written in different languages.

“Until conditions go back to normal, I believe reasonable offers for Egyptians will help tourism to take its first step toward recovery,” says Hoda.

Here are some of those offers to enjoy during the upcoming period:
 

*Luxor
Hotel: Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel (4 stars)
Stay: 4 days/ 3 nights
Rate: Three nights' stay for LE590 per person in a double room
Valid from 16 February till 26 April 2011

*Aswan:
Hotel: Movenpick resort (5 stars)
Stay: 4 days/ 3 nights
Rate: Three nights' stay for LE640 per person in a double room 
Valid from February till the end of March 2011

*Sharm el-Sheikh
Hotel: AA Grand Oasis Resort (4 stars)
Stay: 4 days/ 3 nights
Rate: Three nights' stay for LE590 per person in a double room
Valid from February till the end of March 2011

*Hurghada:
Hotel: Marriott Red Sea Resort (5 stars)
Stay: 4 days/ 3 nights
Rate: Three nights' stay for LE665 per person in a double room  
Valid from 14 February till the end of March.

*Ain Sokhna
Hotel: Horizon al-Wadi
Stay: 3 days/ 2 nights
Rate: Two nights' stay for LE375 per person in a double room
Valid from 17 February till 20 April
 

All packages are for Egyptians and foreign residents only.

For more offers or information, please call Thomas Cook on 26962139/40 – 24164000