CAIRO: The Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority and Italy’s AS Roma have reached an initial agreement to launch an advertising campaign revolving around the club’s Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah to promote Egypt’s troubled tourism sector, Al Ahram reported Wednesday.
Under the slogan ”Egypt, the official tourist destination of the Roma AS team,” the campaign will kick off in September 2016, in preparation for the start of tourism’s high season, running from October through April every year. It also coincides with the start of the local leagues in Europe.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou stressed the importance of “using non-traditional promotion techniques and making the most possible use of the sweeping popularity of Egyptian celebrities abroad to improve Egypt’s image and boost the industry which has been hit badly since the crash of the Russian airliner in October,” according to Al Ahram.
Following the crash, the number of Italian tourists visiting Egypt has sharply plunged mainly because of risks related to traveling to Egypt after reports said that a bomb may have downed the Russian plane.
Furthermore, the murder of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni earlier this year has caused a drop in the number of Italian holidaymakers to Egypt.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Italy was the third largest market for tourism in Egypt in 2014 after Russia and Germany.
The campaign features ads to be broadcast at the team’s radio station and an online contest among AS Roma fans, according to Zaazou, the winners will meet with Salah in personal and will be granted free tours to Egypt’s popular destinations of Sharm al Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor and Aswan.
According to Zaazou, the campaign will also involve ads on Sky Calcio satellite channel which will exclusively broadcast fixtures of the Italian Premiers League (Italy Serie A) and the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia.)
Tourism is Egypt’s second most important source of hard currency after the Suez Canal. It provides direct and indirect employment to up to 12.6 percent of the country’s workforce.
Revenues from tourism represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product.