Egypt launches initiative to lure Saudis back to Sharm El-Sheikh

A diver navigates near coral reefs at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt November 12, 2015. (Reuters)

In an attempt to revive the tourism traffic to the country which witnessed a downturn following the recent downing of a Russian passenger plane over north Sinai, the Egyptian Ministry of Transport, in partnership with the national carrier Egypt Air, has launched campaign dubbed “1 million tourists to Sharm El-Sheikh”.

Announcing the initiative at a press conference at the Egyptian Consulate in Jeddah on Wednesday, the country’s consul general, Adel al-Alfi, reassured Saudi tourists that Sharm El-Sheikh “is safe and secure”.

“Saudi Arabia and Egypt enjoy a great relationship and we always feel as one people and we offer Sharm El-Sheikh with a great form, where stability and progress prevail now,” he said. “We are committed to make the resort city safe and fun-filled for the Saudi tourist.”

He noted that security has been reinforced on all streets, beaches and the roads leading to the city with additional personnel.
Alfi said Egypt is aiming to attract 1 million tourists, especially Saudi tourists, this season. “Arab visitors are expected to play a significant role in the revival of tourism to Sharm El-Sheikh. Arab tourists spend at a high rate and are friendly toward Egypt,” he said.

The average Arab tourist spends approximately $100 a night, whereas the average spending by Europeans is less than $70.

Bandar Al-Fuhaid, president of the Arab Tourism Organization, stressed the importance of tourism development for the Arab states and encouraged Arab tourists to support Sharm El-Sheikh at this time of crisis.

“Sharm El-Sheikh is a beautiful place and it has also been known as a safe haven for tourists,” he said.

Al-Fuhaid praised the Egyptian communities who welcome tourists to Sinai amid evacuations of thousands of European holidaymakers.

Despite the unstable situation in many parts of the Arab world, Al-Fuhaid said he was optimistic that the Arab tourism would rebound, considering tourism was a relatively crisis-resilient sector.

He said Arab tourists spent more than $78 billion on foreign vacations and Arab countries only get 40 percent out of that amount.

“We are committed to continue our efforts to revive tourism in Arab countries. Therefore, Arab countries should do more to attract Arab tourists and keep them within our globe.”

Ahmed Shahin, general manager of Egypt Air stated that the initiative includes low-price packages for Egyptians, including air tickets and accommodation in four and five star hotels.

“We are committed to make it easy for Saudi travelers wanting to come to Sharm El-Sheikh,” he said.

Statistics show a 53 percent increase in the number of Saudi tourists visiting the city during first seven months of 2015 compared to the same period last year. In July 2015, the number of Saudi tourists who visited Egypt increased by 95.5 percent compared to July 2014.

Saudi Arabia has been ranked fourth in terms of the number of tourists and fifth in terms of nights spent in Egypt during the first seven months of 2015.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Nov. 15, 2015

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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