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Egypt to launch campaign to attract Arab Gulf tourists

Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Dec 2015
Sharm el-Sheikh
An aerial view of part of the coast the Red Sea with hotels and resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, is pictured and seen through the window of an airplane, Egypt (Reuters)
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Egypt is expanding on Monday a campaign targeting citizens from Arab Gulf countries under the name of "This is Egypt" (#ThisIsEgypt), in an attempt to revive the country's ailing tourism industry.

"This is Egypt" will kick off in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah, with Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou currently visiting the oil-rich monarchy to launch the campaign that will also target the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait.

Earlier this month, another campaign was launched on social media using the same hashtag as Egypt's Ministry of Tourism called on people to snap photos from all over the country and show the world a firsthand account of the “real” Egypt.

Sami Mahmoud, chairman of Egypt's tourism authority said the new month-long campaign hopes to attract Arab tourists for Christmas breaks and mid-year vacations.

"Arabs are more understanding of what happened with the Russian plane incident. We are counting on close ties between these countries and Egypt," Mahmoud told Aswat Masriya.

The tourism sector is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency. The industry took a hit following the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. 

After the Russian airline disaster in late October, which saw all 224 passengers and crew members killed, several countries suspended flights to Sharm El-Sheikh and the country altogether due to security concerns. Russia, among other countries, concluded that the plane was brought down by a bomb.

Mahmoud pointed out that the campaign, which will depend heavily on social media, would also include a promotional video that targets audiences from the Gulf.

The video will be screened on satellite channels in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait. It will also be displayed on screens in major business centres, Mahmoud said.

Zazou explained that the campaign focuses on these three Gulf countries in particular as they are the Arab countries which contribute the most to Egypt's tourism industry.

In 2014, the annual report of tourism statistics showed that Saudi Arabia contributes to 21.6 percent of tourism in the country. The country also ranks sixth highest in the amount of citizens that visit Egypt.

Foreign currency reserves in Egypt are approaching a critical level, standing at $16.41 billion at the end of October, most of which is made up of Gulf deposits.

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