The Ministry of Tourism has formed a crisis committee to follow up with the main markets exporting tourists to Egypt, according to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou.
In a statement to Daily News Egypt, Zaazou said the committee has sought the advice of different sectors in the ministry, most prominent of which is the General Authority for Tourism Activation. The committee has established communication channels with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collaborate with the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism, as well as tourism promotion companies with which the ministry has recently contracted.
The Ministry of Tourism recently contracted with JWT to promote Egyptian tourism products for three years, at a cost of $68m.
Zaazou said communication routes and meetings with major international tourism companies, especially in Europe, will be intensified. The companies will be invited to visit Egypt and tourist areas in South Sinai and the Red Sea, with Zaazou adding that the ministry met with South American companies last week.
He added that they are working towards making the upcoming period the starting point for Egypt’s tourism recovering throughout 2016, compared to the current year.
Ministry of Tourism sources said the ministry is aiming to prevent the tourism income from dropping further, saying that it is a life or death situation. Egypt’s total tourism income over the 12 months amounted to $7.3bn, compared to the $5.9bn in the previous year.
The sources added that tourism income in the first seven months of 2015 approached $4bn, which they described as low. They added that efforts should be made to lift income from tourism to over $8bn by the end of the year.
The war on terrorism has, however, become a source of concern for the Ministry of Tourism, which has had to work harder to allay fears from abroad. The sources added that “[many] foreign companies ask about the security and political situations, under a false picture of what is happening in Egypt and its war against terrorism”.
Elhamy El-Zayat, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said the federation is communicating with the Ministry of Tourism on a daily basis regarding reactions in the major tourist-exporting markets.
“Until now, the way the crisis was handled [has been] successful and Zaazou has the ability to…communicate with the foreign companies abroad, which reduces the negative effects of the latest accident [of the Mexican tourists’ deaths],” El-Zayat said.
He does not expect the accident to have a major impact on tourist arrivals to Egypt, especially as groups coming to Egypt tend to visit the Red Sea or South Sinai, which are safe areas. The Ministry of Tourism promotes these areas in accordance with a separate marketing policy.