Egypt enjoys various fields of tourism attraction; the most important are archaeological or cultural tourism, where the landmarks of ancient civilisations are visible to the naked eye, said Hedi Ben Aissa, cluster General Manager at MeetingPoint Hotels (MPH) Egypt.
Daily News Egypt sat down with Ben Aissa to learn more about the company’s plan to revive and stimulate Egyptian tourism in the Red Sea region.
What are the company’s programmes to stimulate and promote Egyptian tourism in general and increase your hotels’ guests?
MPH Egypt is promoting Egyptian tourism through many steps, including participating in touristic exhibitions showing the unique product and services we provide. Additionally, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are being vigilant about letting foreigners know that Egypt is safe and that all required precautions are taken and nearly 100% of tourism and hospitality employees are vaccinated.
When designing and tailoring our products and services in MPH, we make sure to put the Egyptian flavour in all that we do in Egypt through many activities and services as the very famous Egyptian Bedouin dinner, oriental nights, food street festivals, oriental restaurants, etc.
Nowadays, social media does the talking for everyone and that is why MPH promotes itself and takes very good care of its accounts on different social media platforms with an exceptional team focusing on showing the world the beauty of Egypt and our unique product and services in MPH Egypt.
What is the percentage of occupancy at MPH during Christmas compared to other seasons?
The hospitality and tourism industry is currently facing tough times due to the pandemic, however, with the support of our sales, marketing, and revenue teams, we managed to reach 90% occupancy in LABRANDA Hotels & Resorts in Makadi Bay.
How many hotels does the company own and how many of them are operational? Also, how many rooms do you have available?
Meeting Point International is part of the FTI Group that was founded in September 2015, MPHs is an international hospitality company with a portfolio of four brands comprising more than 50 properties in eight countries and three continents.
In Egypt, we own and manage LABRANDA Royal Makadi, a five-star hotel with 505 rooms; LABRANDA Club Makadi, a four-star hotel with 339 rooms; and Lemon and Soul hotel, which has 189 rooms.
Do you plan to include more services or concerts to attract tourists in other seasons?
Of course, we are always reviewing and tailoring our strategies according to our guests’ needs and expectations, and we always love to surprise them with new experiences and events.
What are nationalities you are targeting?
The sky is the limit when it comes to this, I’m targeting guests from all over the world and welcoming them to our hotels.
What is your pricing plan compared to Sharm El-Sheikh and other similar destinations?
Makadi Bay is a standout destination with its own pricing strategy that is different from other areas around the Red Sea.
We are working on offering the best quality with fair prices, and that’s one of our strongest points because guests always get more than what they paid for, which surprises them and increases their loyalty to our brands
Do you plan to cooperate with other travel or tourism agencies to facilitate tourism?
FTI, our mother company, hosts all kinds of services, starting from booking, flights, plans, and excursions, but we are always open for collaborations depending on the business needs.
What are the special activities that set your hotels apart from others?
The services we provide our guests are so personalised with love and care. Also, we are the hotel with the most a la cart outlets in Makadi Bay.
We have our famous LABRANDA Promenade with 8 international restaurants (Sushi, Teppanyaki, Greek, Cuban, Egyptian, American, Italian, and Asian), in addition to a seafood restaurant by the sea. There’s also the Wine House, an oriental restaurant called Tagine, and two beach clubs.
We also have significant events like The Food Street Festival, Bedouin nights, Gala dinners, and many more.
Please explain how COVID-19 affects your business and strategies.
Our strategies now are focusing on how we can ensure the safety of our guests and make sure to deliver the best service while doing so.
We are always vigilant about following all COVID-19 related regulations, government decisions, and inspections by dedicating a committee to the matter.
With the vaccination process in the country and all over the world, do you think that tourism in Egypt will improve or do we still need some time?
The majority of Egyptian hospitality employees have now been vaccinated, and all hotels are ensuring that their new employees are vaccinated as well, which will have a great impact on boosting Egypt share of the tourism market.
Additionally, the regular and periodical checks from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Ministry of Health and Population along with private institutions such as CRISTAL and TUV Nord are ensuring the consistency of the safety criteria Egypt set.
In general, what sets Egypt apart from any other tourism destination?
Egypt enjoys various fields of tourism attraction; the most important are archaeological or cultural tourism, which are the oldest types of tourism in Egypt, where the landmarks of ancient civilisations are visible to the naked eye.
Despite the multiple types of tourism, Egypt’s cultural tourism remains a unique and non-competitive component of tourism, as the country possesses one-third of the world’s known artefacts.
Egypt also has one of the best weather patterns in the world, with perfect sunny weather that shines over beautiful beaches and exceptional underwater views.
Besides cultural and archaeological tourism, other types have come into existence and addressed broader segments of tourists across the world, including recreational tourism, beach tourism, religious tourism, therapeutic tourism, eco-tourism, sports tourism, safari tourism, desert tourism, yacht tourism, and maritime tourism, festival tourism, and conference or exhibition tourism.
There’s also diving, which brings in a lot of tourists from around the world, as Hurghada is one of the largest diving centres in the world due to its unique environment and diversified nature.