Head of EJB’s tourism and aviation committee Mohamed Kaoud
Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Egypt is witnessing a substantial number of tourist arrivals, as approximately 300,000 tourists have visited the country since July at a rate of 6,000 tourists a day until the end of August, according to the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB).
Egypt resumed international travel on 1 July after a four-months suspension due to the pandemic.
Egypt has witnessed a 26 percent rise in searches regarding domestic tourism during the 2020 summers and a 53 percent rise for searches related to domestic flights, according to EJB.
EJB also asserted the importance of the tourism sector for the Egyptian economy, which constitutes 11.9 percent of the country’s income.
Talking to Ahram Online, head of EJB’s tourism and aviation committee Mohamed Kaoud said that Egypt’s travel industry is in dire need of an urgent and tailored support package to enable its survival amid the ongoing crisis.
He added that working in collaboration with Egypt’s partner organisations creates a combined voice which the government can consider and act upon.
“We are strategically thinking of saving the future of the travel industry and achieving sustainable tourism and hospitality growth that will save jobs and businesses, and add further opportunities for recruitment that goes with the Egypt 2030 vision”, said Kaoud.
Kaoud told Ahram Online that Egypt's infection rate is quite low, its hygiene standards are being constantly improved; and its health infrastructure is getting better and better every day with the newly developed roads, clinics and hospitals, adding that, as a result, the country has an opportunity to increase tourism arrivals.
He also expounded that The World Travel & Tourism Council and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) have introduced new applications that can help governments and the private sector observe the changes in the tourism industry and act according to their benefits.
Kaoud said that over 150 million travel and tourism jobs have been lost globally since the onset of COVID-19 outbreak, which is a serious situation that requires solutions to address the challenges faced by businesses, of which many are small and medium-sized enterprises with limited resources.
In this regard, Kaoud told Ahram Online that the government, in collaboration with the private sector, should synergize with neighbouring and leading countries in the region for organising combined travel packages and marketing campaigns to further strengthen relationships and provide sustainable growth for each party.
Kaoud noted in this regard Saudi Arabia's plan, which aims to open 38 tourist sites in seven tourist destinations by 2022, and to provide 260,000 jobs during the next three years.
Saudi Arabia is working on a number of major projects to achieve its tourism goals, and raise the level of quality of infrastructure and services, including NEOM, the Red Sea, Qiddiya, and Al-Diriyah Gate, which were inaugurated recently.
“Foreign direct investments, partnerships, and combined packages would benefit both destinations and flourish their economies”, he added.
He stressed that a successful tourism sector will only be built by the private sector, which adopts the concepts of supply, demand, and competitiveness.