Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat has launched a new alliance between the ministry and a number of Egyptian and international media and marketing companies to promote tourism in Egypt worldwide, after a previous contract with J. Walter Thompson (JWT) marketing company ended.
The companies include the Egyptian advertising and film production firm Synergy, and multinational IPG/MCN, which operates in more than 100 countries around the world.
“The three-year contract with JWT, assigned to promote Egypt touristically abroad, ended in mid-September, and so we needed to think what our next step was,” the minister said at a press conference in Cairo on Monday.
Some of the company’s campaigns were successful, she said, “but it is time to change and to modernise our campaigns,” she said, adding that the ministry needed a mechanism that enables it to become flexible in marketing.
She also said that the ministry had to act fast and to choose a new company, but with more flexible conditions.
“Synergy and IPG signed an agreement a month ago and that made it easy for the tourism ministry,” she said, adding that the ministry chose them to fill the gap left by JWT quickly.
The minister said that it was the vision of the tourism ministry to have an Egyptian partner that could generate partnerships with international marketing, PR, advertising and crisis management companies, which would enable the ministry to exist in more countries flexibly.
“The aim of the alliance is to support Egypt and to promote everything Egyptian all over the world and give us a competitive advantage in the Egyptian tourism product,” Hassan Kamel, the CEO of Synergy, said at the press conference.
“We have been working over the past two months to translate the vision of the Ministry of Tourism into strategies and plans to promote tourism in Egypt abroad,” Sahar El-Zoghby, the CEO of IPG/MCN Egypt, explained.
El-Zoghby also spoke about the history of IPG/MCN as well subsidiaries working under its umbrella internationally and their roles, saying they had promoted tourism in 20 countries, among them Spain, Greece, Mexico and Thailand.
According to El-Zoghby, IPG/MCN’s subsidiary FP7 Egypt and Craft Company will be responsible for the digital content and social media campaigns targeting youth, while Universal Media and Initiative will be responsible for media planning, including digital and online media.
She added that IPG/MCN’s subsidiaries Momentum and Jack Morton would be responsible for organising exhibitions and events to promote tourism in Egypt, while Weber Shandwick would be responsible for public relations and crisis management.
Al-Mashat stated the true launch of the new Egyptian campaign would be at the upcoming World Travel Market 2018 in London in November.
“The Egyptian partition is different than anything before; it will be a surprise,” she said, adding that the partition will be “digitalised.”
The minister also said that the campaign aims to change the perception not of Egypt only but also of Egyptians and their traits, so that they are perceived as they actually are: progressive, productive, passionate and peaceful.
According to the minister, the big event Egypt is waiting for is the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza in 2020.
“It is Egypt's gift to the world for real,” she said.
“We need to understand that the issue in the tourism industry is not only about receiving a huge number of tourists or revenues, but it is about creating the proper infrastructure in tourism, whether people or hotels or markets, that are based on scientific principles to make the tourism sector stronger,” she said.
The minister added that Egypt has a very special “touristic product” but there should be lots of efforts made to see that it is used properly.
Budget for new alliance, fate of tourism offices
Al-Mashat also said that the ministry was re-evaluating the role of the eight Egyptian tourism board offices located abroad, in light of the new partnership.
She said that the agreement with Synergy and IPC/MCN was did not have a set timeframe, adding that this gives the ministry more flexiblity.
Although Al-Mashat did not reveal the budget for the new alliance, she said that a one-year budget was agreed by the cabinet last week.
“The cabinet has already put a ceiling on the budget,” she added.
During the press conference, the minister said that the meeting of the Egyptian Tourism Federation would be held on 31 October.
She also added that in the upcoming period the tourism ministry would focus on a structural reform programme targeting the whole tourism sector.
“This programme will be launched in October too,” Al-Mashat said, adding that there will be another press conference then to discuss the programme.
Officials from the ministry attended the event along with MP Amr Sedki, the new head of the tourism and aviation committee in the House of Representatives.