REBOUND

Egypt tips Kenya on tourism recovery

Among the incentives Egypt is using include providing customers with the feel of safety in terms of health

In Summary

• Kenya donated Sh10 million, through the Tourism Promotion Fund, to the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at Kenyatta University.

• Tourism CS Najib Balala said the amount would enhance the resilience of the tourism industry in Africa, to a desirable tourism destination.

Chairman of Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority Ahmed Youssef addresses the Africa Tourism Recovery Summit in Nairobi on July 16, 2021
Chairman of Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority Ahmed Youssef addresses the Africa Tourism Recovery Summit in Nairobi on July 16, 2021
Image: HAND OUT

Egypt is banking on intensified social media and digital marketing and vaccination to recover from Covid-19 hit on tourism.

Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority  chairman Ahmed Youssef said visitor numbers have risen to 45 per cent of the pre-Covid numbers.

"When it comes to market promotion, we are really using social media and digital platforms and the message here is not only marketing the destinations, we are also communicating what we are doing to fight the pandemic,” he said on Friday on the sidelines of the Africa Tourism Recovery Summit in Nairobi.

The meeting co-hosted by Kenya and Saudi Arabia sought to examine ways of future collaboration, knowledge sharing and closer partnerships to revitalise the continent’s tourism sector.

During the meeting, Kenya donated Sh10 million, through the Tourism Promotion Fund, to the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at Kenyatta University.

Tourism CS Najib Balala said the amount would enhance the resilience of the tourism industry in Africa, to a desirable tourism destination.

Kenya also signed an MoU with Saudi Arabia, on partnership, collaboration and cooperation in tourism development and promotion between the two destinations.

In April this year, Balala said the ministry was formulating as strategy to drive the post-Covid-19 tourism recovery.

He noted vaccination is a major step towards the resumption of activities in the tourism sector. 

Youssef said Egypt received 13 million plus tourists in 2019 and had projected a 25 per cent increase in January and February 2020 before Covid-19 outbreak.  Africa's first Covid-19 case was recorded in Egypt on February 14.

"After opening the country in July 2020, we used to get about 10 per cent of what we were receiving before Covid-19. In June 2021, we reached 45 per cent of what we were getting before Covid-19. This means we are recovering,” he said.

Youssef said Egypt is also working on manufacturing vaccines to boost economic recovery.

"This is a key action and we are looking forward to having three kinds of vaccination," he said.

He said currently the country has the Chinese Sinovac and will have the Russian Sputnik V by January while negotiations are underway  with western pharmaceutical companies to manufacture in Egypt.

"The objective is to rapidly vaccinate our population and to be a hub for African colleagues and Middle East,” Youssef said.

He said they are discussing with Kenya on how to promote tourism between the two countries, especially with direct flights through Egypt Air.

The tourism boss noted that given they recovered almost 45 per cent on average in a year, they hope to fully recover by the end of 2022, at worst early 2023.

This, will however depend the vaccination success starting with those in the tourism and aviation sectors and what will happen globally in terms of governments opening up their countries and allowing.  

Currently, incentives in place include providing customers with the feel of safety in terms of health, supporting the sector through the Central Bank of Egypt and other financial assistance, lifting visa charges for a while and reducing cost for airport services and fuel for airlines.

Tourism contribution to Egypt’s economy is equal to industry and agriculture. Almost 12 per cent.