File Photo: Egyptian Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed in April 7, 2016 (Reuters)
Egypt's General Authority for Tourism Development and Italian tourism federation Fiavet announced a strategic partnership on Friday that will see a six-month promotional campaign involving a thousand Italian tourism companies, according to a tourirsm ministry statement.
The partnership with the Federazione Italiana Associazioni Imprese Viaggi e Turismo was announced during a reception at the international tourism expo TTG Incontri in Rimini, where an Egyptian delegation is being led by Tourism Minsiter Yehia Rashed
The promotional campaign will start in November.
In his speech, Rashed stressed the importance of Italian tourism to Egypt, and he referred to the Holy Family’s journey within Egypt, and the government's efforts to put that route on the world’s touristic map.
The Egyptian government has been promoting the sites reputed to have been visited by Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus when they sought refuge in Egypt during Herod’s persecution as sites for international religious tourism.
Last week Rashed visited the Vatican to promote the route, and Pope Francis blessed an icon of the Holy Family in Egypt that he presented to him.
As part of the campaign, a contest will be organised to choose the best showcase that present Egypt as a touristic destination, using the pyramid shape.
The best ten companies will win introductory trips to Egypt.
The Egyptian tourism ministry is also offering Italian companies and journalists trips to Egypt via a lottery.
The trips to Sharm El-Sheikh, Marsa Alam, and Luxor are provided by EgyptAir and CairoAir, who are offering six flight tickets, while accommodation will be provided by tour companies Tui Itali, Eden Viaggigroup, Francorosso, Dominametamondo, and Balkan Express, said Emad Fathy, a tourism consultant at Egypt’s embassy in Italy.
In April 2016, the Italian tourism association decided to halt all its travel activities in Egypt until the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose body was found in Cairo in February of that year bearing signs of extreme torture, was solved.
Italy is among the top sources of European tourists to Egypt, with over 400,000 Italian visitors in 2013.