Egypt’s Tourism Authorities Visit Georgia to Endorse its Vacation Industry

The Ambassador of Egypt in Georgia and Armenia, accompanied by tourism officials, came to Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi this week with the aim of endorsing Egypt as a holiday destination.

For a long time, due to its oriental culture, ancient archeological sites, Red Sea resorts, proximity and affordable prices, Egypt was one of the most popular holiday destinations for Georgians. However, its tourism industry was badly hit following the downing of a Russian jet last year with 224 people on board, the on-going Islamist insurgency and a string of bomb attacks in the region.

Ahmed Shokri, Head of the Planning Department of Egypt`s Tourism Office has claimed that one of the reasons for this week’s conference is to showcase that Egypt is no longer a dangerous place for tourists.

Regarding safety, Mohamed Ayoub, Chairman of the Egyptian Hotel Association told GEORGIA TODAY that since 2010 Egypt can claim that not one tourist has been injured.

“We have increased security measures and any trouble we do have occurs far from typical tourist destinations. Everyone can feel safe in Egypt,” Ayoub insisted.

Egypt’s Ambassador in the South Caucasus, Tarek Maati, and dozens of tourism officials, held a day-long conference in Tbilisi on Wednesday to discuss what Egypt can offer Georgian holidaymakers to encourage them to visit the country, just a 3-hour flight from Georgia.

Together with the official delegation, representatives of 10 leading Egyptian tour operators were among those who participated.

“We are here not only to boost our relationship with Georgia in the tourism sector, but to foster friendship between our two countries,” Maati said.

“It is the first time we have held such an event in Georgia. We have travelled to Azerbaijan and after Georgia we are heading to Kazakhstan. Soon, we will start a tourist campaign here in Georgia, which includes negotiations with local travel agencies to offer them special packages, and an increase in direct flights,” Mohamed Ayoub said.

From this summer season low fare Egyptian airline AirCairo, which carries out one weekly direct flight from Tbilisi to Egypt’s two Red Sea resort cities Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada, will increase flights to five per week, twice for Sharm el-Sheikh and three times for Hurghada. The average price for the flight will be approximately USD 350.

Head of Egyptian Tourist Authority Prague Office, Mohamed Desouky, emphasized that the peak for Georgian tourists looking for leisure in Egypt was in 2014, when it reached 17,000 Georgian visitors, compared to the following year (2014) when it dropped to 7,000.

Egypt’s tourist business has fallen significantly since 2011, when the country was immersed in anti-government protests. Up until then, Egyptian resorts were hosting up to 15 million tourists per year, as opposed to 2014, when only 9.9 million tourists visited Egypt.

However, for Georgians it still the most suitable and affordable country, shown by the fact that this month alone, 5,000 Georgian holidaymakers have visited the country.

Tamar Svanidze

20 May 2016 11:42