Head of the tourism and aviation committee at the EJB Mohamed Kaoud
Given that global tourism is one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt should tap into available opportunities to rejuvenate the industry as one of the key sources of national income, the Egyptian Junior Businessmen Association (EJB) said in a statement on Monday.
Head of the tourism and aviation committee at the EJB Mohamed Kaoud said Egypt is following in the footsteps of the European Union (EU) and advancing safety measures as the second wave of the virus is expected to loom.
In addition, the private sector and the authorities are constantly monitoring the behaviour of the virus and people's movement to adopt the adequate steps to control the spread of the coronavirus, he said.
Kaoud told Ahram Online that Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has approved the commencement of meetings and exhibitions earlier this month, while the health and tourism ministries have implemented a contingency plan to handle new virus threats, including measures that have been already applied in Egypt’s International Exhibition Centre and El Gouna Film Festival.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, out of 1.2 billion passengers who travelled with airlines, only 44 coronavirus infection cases have been registered," according to the International Air Transport Association.
"We should continuously act to overcome the challenges while tapping into the available opportunities,” said Kaoud.
He stressed that Egypt should take part in the upcoming virtual international tourism exhibitions that play a critical role in the recovery of tourism in Egypt.
He added that the Egypt Tourism Promotion Authority board should facilitate participation in these events for all the key players in the tourism industry in Egypt to boost tourism and revive the economy, through focusing on new discoveries, enriching specialised content and new business niches as well as promoting the 2021 tourism agenda.
One of the main vitrtual events that Egypt should take part in is the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, scheduled from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. The event will bring together more than 190 countries to explore new ideas, form new connections and collectively tackle some of the greatest global challenges, according to Kaoud.
“Such events are crucial for Egypt to promote and review its 2030 national plan for the sake of boosting its sustainable development agenda and growth across several industries,” said Kaoud.
He noted that China has about 800 million people in 22 provinces that have been free from coronavirus infections and Egypt needs to try to attract this market, one percent of this number being good enough for Egypt’s tourism and hospitality industries.
The Egyptian government has extended a number of its policies and incentives to push the sector forward, including waiving visa fees until 30 April 2021 for tourists visiting South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan, suspending fees, electricity, water and gas bills for hotels and other tourism businesses until 31 December 2020, in addition to rescheduling all debts owed by companies in the sector, with no repayment dues, until 1 January 2021, said Kaoud.