By Abdel Razek Al-Shuwekhi
The cooperation protocol the Ministry of Tourism signed Sunday with financial services provider Visa aims to use internet marketing to promote Egypt as a tourist destination abroad, according to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou.
Egypt’s marketing should not be limited to traditional programmes, as the ministry will use a combination of traditional and modern marketing, he added.
According to Zaazou, the ministry targets to receive 2% to 4% of reservations through internet bookings.
Despite “the signing of the protocol being delayed for two years, it comes as a step in the right direction,” the minister said.
Tarek Al-Husseini, Visa’s regional manager for North and West Africa, said: “Eight million people visited Egypt on the company’s website during the first week of its launch, and we hope to get this number to 100 million.”
The number of internet bookings for Egypt does not exceed 2,000, a very small number compared to other countries, Al-Husseini added.
The minister noted that Egypt needs comprehensive internet marketing in coordination with various airlines and hotels to facilitate the process of visiting the country.
On the issue of bringing tourists to Egypt from the European market, Zaazou said: “South Sinai has occupancy rates exceeding 55% despite the existence of travel warnings to the Sinai Peninsula.”
EU countries issued travel warnings for Sinai after a tourist bus was attacked near the Taba border in mid-February.
“Incoming tourism to Egypt, especially to the Red Sea, is promising. Average occupancy exceeds 70%,” the minister added. “We hope that European countries lift their travel warnings to South Sinai, especially since there is sufficient security in tourist areas.”