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Promoting tourism in Berlin
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 07 - 03 - 2019

Novel strategies to promote tourism and increase the number of visitors to Egypt were the focus of efforts by the Egyptian delegation spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism at the ITB Berlin World Travel Fair held from 6 to 10 March in the German capital.
Special attention was paid to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), the logo of which was printed on the fair's entrance tickets.
Slated to open in 2020, the GEM is expected to rejuvenate cultural tourism in the country, said Rania Al-Mashat, the minister of tourism, who had a busy schedule at the fair convening with travel agencies and witnessing the signing of a protocol to promote Egyptian tourism.
She also met with TUI Group CEO Friedrich Joussen, who said that there were opportunities for his company to coordinate with travel agents in the Chinese market to arrange itineraries attracting Chinese tourists to Egypt.
TUI is increasing its investments in Egypt, and it will open three new hotels in Hurghada in the near future. Joussen also discussed the possibility of increasing TUI's investments in Marsa Alam and the resumption of TUI flights to Luxor. He added that more German tourists were flying to Egypt, a premium travel destination favoured by German holidaymakers.
Hilton Hotels President Christopher Nassetta said that the chain paid special attention to Egypt and was intent on opening new hotels once it found new opportunities in different tourist cities.
Al-Mashat said that 10 per cent of hotel rooms in Egypt, including a Hilton hotel, had been awarded a “Green Star” environmental certificate.
The Ministry of Tourism wanted to increase the skills of workers in the sector and update the system of hotel classification in cooperation with the World Tourism Organisation to keep up with international standards, Al-Mashat said.
At the travel show, she explained Egypt's vision of sustainable tourism, including green tourism, environmental tourism, and the use of clean energy technologies to raise the competitive edge of the hotels sector towards the achievement of the goals of sustainable development.
She cited the example of a Cairo hotel that had installed the first solar-powered photovoltaic station on its rooftop.
A partnership agreement was signed at ITB Berlin between the Ministry of Tourism and Beautiful Destinations, a media company, to promote Egypt as a tourist destination worldwide and present the country in a more modern fashion. The company will work on more than 40 promotional and marketing content materials for the country's tourist destinations.
The partnership would help to modernise Egypt's travel promotions, part of the reforms to develop the sector, Al-Mashat said. Traditional marketing methods had become less effective, she said, and social media and digital marketing were more effective at reaching more foreign tourists, especially younger ones.
Beautiful Destinations will also work on promoting areas holidaymakers are not familiar with using advanced and unorthodox marketing methods under the partnership agreement.
Jeremy Jauncey, founder and CEO of the company, said that with shifts in tourists' interests, Beautiful Destinations had gained experience in creating destination trademarks in areas of the US, Abu Dhabi, the Philippines and Jamaica.
The company works with a number of airlines and international hotel chains to market its promotional strategies and is highly active online with more than 20 million followers from 180 countries on different media platforms, he added.
The pictures and videos Jauncey had posted of places he had visited during his stay in Egypt in January had received extensive engagement on social-media platforms, he said.
Norbert Fiebif, president of the German travel association Reiswirtschaft (DRV), a leading lobby group, said more German holidaymakers were travelling to Egypt, with interest increasing in Nile cruises.
Al-Mashat said it was vital to look at Egypt's competitive advantages over its counterparts when looking at taxes imposed on tourists heading to these destinations.
Much of Egypt's international promotion campaign revolves around the GEM, which is located near the Sphinx Airport, encouraging one-day trips to nearby destinations. The airport would give travel agencies the opportunity to diversify their itineraries and add cultural tourism to the mix of other kinds of tourism for which Egypt is famous, the minister explained.
In an interview with the TV channel Eurosport, Al-Mashat said Egypt would host the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in June. She said that the fact that Egypt had been selected to host this major sports event was a vote of confidence in its ability to host and organise such events.
Events of this sort would increase the flow of tourists into Egypt and promote its destinations, she said.
Al-Mashat said that the ministry's marketing campaign during the sports event would include promotional material during and after the competition. Football pitches on which the competition would be held would double as promotional platforms for Egypt, she said.
The first sports hotel in the Middle East opened in Hurghada a few months ago, and Al-Mashat said the ministry was interested in supporting further international sports events in Egypt, such as the El Gouna International Squash Open, to showcase the country's vast touristic potential.
She mentioned her participation in a marathon at the Giza Pyramids in February, together with 4,000 other runners including 500 foreign athletes who had flown in from 75 countries to take part in an event combining cultural and sports tourism.
Egypt's suite at ITB Berlin was spacious and well-organised, said Hisham Idriss, a member of the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism Companies.
Some 100 exhibitors, 35 travel companies, 60 hotels, and five cruisers took part in the travel show that saw the organisation of entertainment segments for attendees for the first time and a buffet offering authentic Egyptian dishes.

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