WTM 2013: Egypt vows to help trade after 'catastrophic' summer

WTM 2013: Egypt vows to help trade after 'catastrophic' summer

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Egypt has promised to offer "a helping hand" to the trade in the battle to win back British visitors after the "catastrophic situation" over the summer.

Speaking at World Travel Market, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou, said: "I have been having meetings with big tour operators like Thomas Cook and Tui, and we have budget for core marketing, support for airlines, both low-cost and charter, into the country, window advertising and direct advertising on television channels.

"We are extending a helping hand to get the demand back as fast as we can. We received one million tourists last year in 2012 from Britain, so we must be doing something right."

Despite dramatic drops in international visitor numbers following violence over the summer - down by 45% in July compared with the same month in 2012, and continuing to drop over subsequent months - Zaazou remains optimistic that this year's UK visitor numbers will reach the 1 million mark.

That would put 2013 on a par with 2011's 1.03 million British tourists, and 1.01 million in 2012, though still far behind the 1.46 million who visited in 2010 before political unrest broke out. This year's figures, up to the end of September, currently stand at 760,000.

He added: "I am sure we are going to succeed in getting our figures back to what they were. It will take some time, but we will get there."

The minister also repeated calls for the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office to lift its restrictions on travel to cities along the Nile, particularly Luxor and Aswan.

He said: "I thank Germany, because it was the first country to lift those travel advisories to Luxor and to Aswan. While I thank Britain for continuing to send people to the Red Sea and the Sinai, I ask the Foreign Office to review its stand regarding Luxor."

The Ministry of Tourism also revealed new multimedia campaigns designed to restore confidence in the destination, including live stream video from tourists currently holidaying in Egypt, and a new mobile app to showcase the variety of activities available in each area.

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