Hotel reservations for the next summer season will increase by 15%, while reservations for the next winter season will increase by 20%, according to Minister of Tourism Khaled Rami.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Rami anticipated an increase in the flow of tourists to Egypt from 10 million last year to 12 million tourists by the end of 2015.
How do you view the tourist flow to Egypt this year?
The flow of tourists to Egypt this year is really good, and there is a 15% growth in reservations for next summer, while reservations for the winter season will increase by 20%. In the upcoming period, we expect to witness an increase in the flow, especially from new markets of east as well as south Asia, India, China, or Japan.
Does the Tourism Activation Authority have any role in increasing the flow? And are there restructuring operations in the coming period?
The Tourism Activation Authority had a big role in the flow of tourists to Egypt over a very difficult four years; there weren’t any marketing campaigns or contracts with any advertising companies. We put out a bid in order to sign a contract with one of the international companies; we are hoping to make a contract with this company before next August. If we manage to achieve this, Egyptian tourist products will be marketed especially in the European market, which represents 72% of the inbound tourism inflows to Egypt on an annual basis.
Some offices in Europe and Turkey were suspended, what does this mean?
Suspended is the right word to describe what happened to these offices. On the other hand, we will focus on the activists of the other offices in order to include some countries. Moreover, the manager of each office will not stay more than a couple of years in his position, which will increase the opportunities for youth to take over leadership positions in the offices of the Tourism Activation Authority (TAA) abroad.
Will the Ministry of Tourism work on changing the rules for charter flights during the next period?
I want to state very important information – charter flights played an important role during the crisis. The ministry will investigate the issue of boosting charter flights, keeping in mind that they will be halted at the end of next October.
Will the charter flights rules be cancelled in all zones?
I don’t expect this. Governorates like Luxor, Aswan and Taba still witness tourism flow. Although the flow is not high, it is developing. 25% of the touristic advertisement campaign will be dedicated to tourism in Luxor and Aswan. This step will raise the touristic flow for what is known as classic tourism.
Why don’t you sign contracts with one company in each market?
Marketing for tourism products in Egypt is going through massive evaluation procedures in the current period, and I have demanded that external offices be evaluated, which are 11 offices.
How about Russian tourism in light of the continuous European sanctions on Russia until next December?
Russian tourism declined in the first few months of the year by 20%, because of the lower rouble exchange rate. And, in general, in the first quarter of the year, tourism increased by 3% compared to the same period of last year. We will work on a strong presence in the Russian market despite the obstacles the rouble is currently facing against the dollar.
What about the barter system which was announced with regard to dealing with the rouble and the Egyptian pound for the Russian and Egyptian companies?
This issue must be discussed with complete honesty, because barter cannot happen between the two states using the local currency. Flights, for example, are paid for in dollars, as well as airport fees. Egypt is in need of the dollar. This is why we cannot use the barter system. This topic shouldn’t have been brought up in the first place.
What do you think of the tourism investment and its rates in the next period?
The Tourism Development Authority is in charge of the tourism investment, and it is the economic arm of the ministry. The ministry proposed five projects during the Economic Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh and four companies competed to do the projects. The ministry will only approve projects if they add a new tourist product.