Egypt visitor numbers from Arab countries are up 15 percent between January and June this year,
which trade sources attribute to successful marketing, the abundance of airline capacity and the traditional holiday period.Qatar recorded a huge 86.9 percent jump in visitors to Egypt, followed by Palestine (17.4 percent) and the UAE (11.9 percent), and their tourist nights rose 63.8 percent, 26.9 percent and 25.1 percent respectively.
Saudi Arabian visitors increased 8.9 percent to 42,245, cementing its position as the premier regional market and fourth biggest overall after Germany, the UK and Italy, while Bahrain arrivals increased 8.3 percent to 1,574 visitors. Lebanon and Libya also performed strongly, both recording double-digit growth.
“Cairo remains the busiest route from Dubai by volume and we are seeing more short breaks, thanks to the increasing number of flights in and out of the UAE,” said Munir Sherwani, Manager for Al Rais Holidays. “The Sharjah-Sharm El Sheikh flights on Air Arabia are going fully booked and interest in Alexandria is growing.”
The success of the ‘Nawart Masr’ (‘You Light Up Egypt!’) campaign, which placed Arab visitors at its heart, was one of the key factors in the visitor upturn. The campaign highlighted the cultural similarities involving Egypt and its neighbours in North Africa and the Middle East.
The campaign, which took to the airwaves last December, focuses on the unique attractions that Egypt has on offer for Arab visitors. Shopping, entertainment, leisurely resorts, luxury hotels, and family-oriented fun are all highlighted through a series of television and print advertising.
Reinforcing Egypt’s tourism message, popular Egyptian celebrities including Yusra, Omar Sherif, Hakim, Nour Al Sherif, Sherine and many more, have opted to lend their celebrity to the cause serving as tourism ambassadors for the country whose popular media extends well beyond its national boundaries.
Even non-Egyptian stars who have come to call Egypt home are on board, like the young, rising film star featured in the highly acclaimed Yacubian Building, Tunisian-born Hend Sabry, and Moroccan singer Samira Said.
The television advertisements featuring the stars, which aired prominently during the FIFA 2006 World Cup Finals, led to the warm and welcoming expression, “Nawart Masr”, becoming a household expression across the Middle East. Throughout the streets of Cairo and beyond, the recently coined catchphrase can be heard welcoming tourists in coffee shops, shopping malls, taxis and restaurants.
Other contributory factors to the visitor growth were the summer holiday period, abundance of airline capacity flying in and out of Egypt and increasingly varied tourism scene.
An Airlink International spokesman said: “Egypt is one of the most tourism-friendly destinations all year round, due to its diverse attractions and natural beauty. This explains the heavy travel demands and increase in flights from airlines globally, and particularly the UAE.”
A nine-country roadshow, that toured the region earlier this spring, further strengthened links between Egypt and its close neighbours.
Egypt is investing more in tourism-related projects to broaden its regional and international appeal and complement its abundant ancient history, pristine coastlines and cosmopolitan cities.