Visa, Lonely Planet partner to support Egypt’s tourism

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CAIRO: Lonely Planet and Visa teamed up to create a travel microsite featuring expert information on destinations and the best way to access money abroad, according to a statement.

Travelers planning a trip can access information through one comprehensive resource, combining knowledge from Lonely Planet and Visa’s specialists.

Travelers can access the specially designed microsite at where they will find expert destination advice and information on how to access their cash in 12 destinations around the world: Australia, China, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the UAE and Ukraine.

The site is features an ATM locator, suggested trip itineraries and a calendar of events for each destination. Visitors to the site will also be able to ‘Ask the Expert’ questions regarding their trip and receive individual tailored responses from Lonely Planet.

Visa said this joint initiative is expected to help support Egypt’s tourism industry, which has lagged since the January 25 uprising. In 2010, around 12.7 million tourists visited Egypt, spending LE 57.9 billion, which constituted for over 11 percent of the country’s GDP last year. That figure has since dropped, however.

Finance Minister Hazem El-Beblawi told Reuters on Aug. 2 that the Egyptian government forecast revenues from tourism would total $10 billion in the financial year that started on July 1, compared with $11.6 billion in 2009/10.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in April fell 35.7 percent from a year earlier and the number of tourists in the first three months of 2010 plunged by 46 percent.

“At Visa, we’re continually seeking opportunities to provide our cardholders with value-added benefits beyond the convenience, security and global acceptance that they’ve come to rely on,” said Tarek Elhousseiny, Visa’s general manager for North and West Africa.

“By working together with Lonely Planet, Visa has launched yet another initiative to help support tourism in Egypt which will benefit all stakeholders: local merchants and banks, those in the tourism industry as well as Visa cardholders. We look forward to exploring new ways to support tourism in Egypt and provide Visa cardholders with great benefits along the way.”

A free desktop application features a countdown clock, local weather and currency information as well as regularly updated links to tailored promotions before departure. In addition, a series of 12 “Just Landed” destination guides are available to download from the site. The guides offer travelers essential arrival information from Lonely Planet on each of the specified destinations, including useful phrases and must see sights.

Ross Jackson, Head of Cross-Border Business for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa, said: “Our travel research indicated that seven out of 10 of travelers use the internet as their primary channel for planning their holidays. The challenge though, is finding up-to-date and reliable information. By teaming up with Lonely Planet, we are able to provide trusted, accurate and up to date information for travelers to plan their holiday,"


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