Tourism Ministry to offer cheap travel deals to boost tourism
Tourists at Giza pyramids - YOUM7 (Archive)
By RANDA EL-BANNA

CAIRO: The Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority, in coordination with EgyptAir, may launch an initiative with tour operators nationwide to create multi-destination travel packages to African countries—including Egypt—at reasonable rates, Deputy Tourism Minister for Marketing Affairs Sameh Saad told The Cairo Post Monday.

Negotiations between the government and the airline are ongoing to offer packages to Egypt or other Nile Basin countries for “reasonable prices,” Saad said, adding that Egyptian tourism packages would also be promoted to travelers with the aim of boosting the Egyptian economy and restoring the hard-hit tourism industry.

Said said the initiative also had a political angle.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Ahmed Shoukry said that the ministry will enhance mutual relations with Nile Basin countries in order to boost tourism.

Shoukry also said that the Tourism Ministry hopes to target South African travelers who he said are the Africans most likely to travel to other African destinations.

Egyptian Tourism Federation Chairman Elhamy ElZayat asserted the importance of increasing flights between Egypt and African countries and added that current flights are “insufficient.”

The tourism federation will coordinate with EgyptAir to increase the number of flights linking Egypt and other African Countries, he told Mubasher.

Despite ongoing campaigns to assure foreigners that the country is a safe destination, the tourism sector has been facing a real crisis through a constant decline since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. This has exacerbated financial and organizational problems.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped a significant 27 percent in February, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The losses in the sector are estimated at $6.8 billion during the past three years and tourism revenue fell to $5.9 billion in 2013, down 41 percent from 2012.

Egypt depends on tourism for around 20 percent of its hard currency. The sector’s total investments are valued at $9.8 billion, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

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