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Egyptian optimism at ITB Berlin
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 24 - 03 - 2010

MEANWHILE, elaborating his assessment of the performance of Egypt's tourism last year, Minister Zoheir Garranah told a press conference he jointly held with the Egyptian Ambassador in Berlin Dr Ramzi Ezz Eddin that 12.3 million tourists, of which Germans represented 9.5 per cent, visited Egypt until December of last year.
Minister Garranah estimated the number of tourist nights in the corresponding period at 126.5 million, a decline of 2.1 per cent. “Revenues were 10.76 billion, reporting a decline of 2.1 per cent,” he told the press conference, which was attended by Tamer Marzouk.
The minister disclosed that Russia led the countries from which the most tourists came to Egypt in 2009. According to his figures, the number of Russian tourists in Egypt last year increased to 2.35 million. Russia was followed by the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, followed by France, Poland, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the US and Ukraine respectively, according to the minister.
Minister Garranah told the press conference proudly that hotel rooms in Egypt increased in 2009 to 214,533, including those in floating hotels.
“Moreover, there are more than 197,659 rooms under construction and 2306 floating hotel rooms also under construction,” Minister Garranah added.
He confirmed to the large number of journalists attending the conference that the ministry was giving priority to improving the quality of services offered to the nation's visitors and tourists. “We are also mainly interested in strategies seeking to diversify
Egypt's tourist packages and offers,” he declared. “In the meantime, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism has intensified efforts to expand and upgrade the construction of the basic infrastructure to
stimulate the national tourism industry,” he emphasised, noting that these efforts were being accomplished in collaboration with different ministries and agencies in Egypt.
In his statement, Minister Garranah highlighted the growing popularity of diving tourism in Egypt. He said that ambitious suggestions had been approved to develop and upgrade different diving centres in
Egypt to satisfy international safety standards.
He also asserted that qualified and experienced trainers were deployed in these diving centres to encourage a greater number of tourists to come forward.
In his explanation of the relationship between expansion in basic infrastructure and the prosperous tourism industry, the Egyptian minister noted that airports in Egypt, including Hurghada Airport, had successfully undergone a high-profile development and upgrading schemes. “Suffice it to say that Cairo Airport has been a landmark in the international aviation industry, especially after the opening of its Terminal 3,” the minister asserted.
Meanwhile, Amr Elezabi, the Chairman of the Egyptian Tourist Authority praised the philosophy behind the Egyptian image promoting campaign, which was unveiled during London's last travel fair. Elezabi confirmed that the campaign had increased
the number of Egypt enthusiasts in different countries
of the world. He explained that the logo of the new campaign “Egypt is the Beginning”, which was brilliantly emblazoned with the name of Egypt, had attracted the attention of a large number of visitors in different world markets. The name of Egypt, inscribed by an Arab calligrapher, is a beautiful blend of English and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
ETA's chairman also disclosed that they were preparing to unveil promotional campaigns in connection with new products launched by Egypt's tourism, such as health and desert tourism.
In addition, Tamer Marzouk, the Egyptian Tourism Office Director in Berlin, acknowledged the highlevel co-operation offered by the Egyptian Embassy in Germany to encourage an increased number of German tourists to book their flights to Egypt.
He also expressed his appreciation of enthusiasm displayed by German tour operators in this respect. Marzouk also confirmed that Egypt Online, which had been launched in different foreign languages including German, had attracted the attention of more
German than people other nationalities. A documentary film illustrating Egypt's new image-promoting campaign in Europe was screened during the 90-minute press conference. The hall was packed with more than 200 German media officials and journalists.
Ayten Fouad, Director of Promotional Campaigns in the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA), said that they had launched the first stage of the new promotional campaign, which was first unveiled during the travel fair in London in November of last year.
In a statement to the Mail's Aviation & Tourism page, Ayten, who also advises ETA's chairman, added that the new stage was suggested to communicate with tourists of different ages in the European market. “About 17 advertisements will promote new
tourist packages and offers, such as golf tourism, health tourism and Nile cruises,” ETA's official said.
“We are focusing on the age of the customer, not on the specifics of the market,” she observed.
Ayten also explained that the documentary film was directed in the style of feature films. “For example, the film starts with the calligrapher inscribing the name of Egypt ,” she said. “Throughout the calligrapher's rendering, Egypt's tourist sites and places of interest are beautifully unfolded, and the film ends when the calligrapher concludes the task and the name of Egypt dominates the screen.” The musical score, Ayten continued, was inspired by the heritage of Egyptian music. “But there is a mix between traditional Egyptian music and modern music,” she noted.
According to ETA's official, a new film is being produced to highlight the making of the promotional film and interesting events and situations witnessed by the crew.
In her press statement, ETA's Director of Campaigns disclosed that her department had published brochures and press releases highlighting tourist destinations revealed for the first time during the ITB Berlin, including in Alexandria, the North Coast, Luxor and the Egyptian deserts. In addition to English, the new brochures have also been published in German.
Egypt wins 2nd prize in online contest
Egypt won the 2nd prize in an international contest for the best online site, which was held on the sidelines of the ITB Berlin this year. ETA's chairman, Amr Elezabi, who received the prize, told the the Mail's Aviation & Tourism page that the competition was strong. “But we were determined to take part after realising how big was the number of visitors from different world countries,” Elezabi noted. He also emphasised that they appreciate comments and suggestions raised by visitors. “We are keen to examine these comments and suggestions to seize the first prize in this online contest next year,” he confirmed.
Minister Garranah receives Pakistani minister of tourismMinister Zoheir Garranah received his Pakistani counterpart and his accompanying delegation in the Egyptian pavilion at ITB Berlin. The minister remarked to his guest on the wealth of cultural heritage Pakistan enjoys.
He also denounced the global threat of terrorism. Condemning what he identified as exaggerated and vicious media coverage of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Minister Garranah emphasised that Egypt was enthusiastic to share its media expertise in this respect.

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