FILE- Kamel Abu Ali, the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association’s chairman and head of Albatross Holding for Tourism FILE- Kamel Abu Ali, the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association’s chairman and head of Albatross Holding for Tourism

Inside the Tourism Industry

Fri, Apr. 13, 2018
CAIRO 13 April 2018: With a new minister in place and increased revenue and tourist figures in the past months, the tourism sector is preparing for an optimistic year ahead.
Kamel Abu Ali, the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association’s chairman and head of Albatross Holding for Tourism, talks about the ministry’s expectations for the tourism sector this year and how they are preparing for 2018.

How was your first meeting with the newly appointed tourism minister, Rania El-Mashat?

I’m optimistic about the new minister, we’re giving her all the support to succeed in her mission. El-Mashat is very active and productive—her economic background will help her provide promising ideas to revolutionize tourism.

Additionally, I believe that Egypt’s tourism recovery would also lead its economic recovery as the sector has a pivotal role in creating millions of job opportunities, providing foreign currency, and serving many related sectors like aviation and transportation.

In her first meeting with heads of tourism chambers, she listened to different points of view and then managed to create a state of mutual understanding among everyone, aiming to work together to cooperate for our main missions.

What are the main challenges the new minister has to work on?

Egypt is the perfect country for a mix of activities combining culture, adventure and relaxation. But the main challenges tourism faces are promoting Egypt’s tourism, improving the country’s image and conveying the true picture of events taking place in Egypt.

Also, the sector is in need of structural reform and communication. We need to find ways to collaborate with all the sector’s stakeholders to be able to successfully attract investors and target the problems mentioned above.

Russia will resume flights between Cairo and Moscow for the first time since 2015 starting this month: How this will impact the tourism sector in Egypt?

The tourism sector suffered badly following the Russian travel ban—but after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest visit to Egypt, Egypt’s tourism sector heaved a sigh of relief.

According to the Egyptian-Russian cooperation protocol maintaining civil aviation security, inked after a meeting between Civil Aviation Ministe13r Sherif Fathi and Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov in Moscow last December, the Russian air flights will resume first to Cairo, not Sharm el-Sheikh or Hurghada.

Russian tourists can easily pay visits to Sharm el-Sheikh and other resorts, but the real impact will occur when the charter flights come back with direct flights to Red Sea destinations. Then, we will notice real higher indicators in the numbers of Russian tourists.

As more travel restrictions to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt’s most popular tourist destination, and other Red Sea destinations are lifted, how is the tourism industry getting ready to receive the expected increase in numbers of tourists coming to Egypt?

During 2017, I think Egypt welcomed about 6 million tourists, and I believe the increase in 2018 will be about 40%. The tourism industry will do its best to offer competitive services and prices; also, promoting Egypt’s destinations for specific markets that already allow traveling to Egypt [is important], while exerting further efforts to lift the travel restrictions that still occur, for example, from the British market.

Additionally, we need to work with PR companies to put together marketing and promotional plans for tourist destinations in Egypt that highlight the diversity of its attractions. We could put in place an entertainment events calendar hosting a wide range of cultural, artistic and sports events that could attract more sustainable visitors during the whole year, not only related to beach or historical tourism.

Moreover, we need to raise citizens’ awareness in dealing with tourists, teaching them to become more welcoming and respecting.

And, finally, we need to increase investments in the tourism sector by building more and new venues to help the sector to recover.
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