When most people think about travelling to Egypt, the first place they think about is Cairo. However, thanks to the unrest that has been seen in Cairo and due to demonstrations, tourists have been avoiding Egypt altogether. As a result, the country has seen a huge decline in tourism. This is something that the current Minister of Tourism for Egypt, Hisham Zaazou, hopes to change by launching a new travel campaign. This new plan steers would-be tourists away from Cairo and to other places in the country.
To attract tourists to Egypt, the Minister of Tourism is hoping to remind people that there are other things to see in Egypt without visiting Cairo. Two main points of interest that he is trying to advertise are the Red Sea beaches and historical sites. The only thing that you will not see in this new advertising campaign is anything related to Cairo.
So why has Egypt given up on trying to convince people that Cairo is safe? This is mostly because it is not working. Tourists are terrified to travel to there. Last September, Egypt only saw 300,000 overseas visitors. This is a staggering 90 percent fall from the figures that were seen one year earlier. Most travellers admitted that they are not travelling to Egypt because of all of the demonstrations and political turmoil with which the city is dealing.
Zaazou believes that if tourists can be convinced that they do not have to visit Cairo to have a good time, then they will start travelling to Egypt again. He explained his vision by saying that the events in Cairo are being perceived by people around the world as the kinds of things that are happening all over the country. This is not the case at all. For the time being, the country is going to try to approach this problem by not promoting Cairo travel at all. Instead, they invite tourists to travel to other areas around Egypt. This includes to the Red Sea, Aswan and Luxor.
The tourism minister also said say that there is over 1 million square kilometres of country beyond Cairo. This area can appeal to people all over the world. The problems that people are worried about are considered Egyptian-on-Egyptian in nature. These problems are completely focused in Cairo. International travellers are not being targeted.
It will be interesting to see if this new plan brings people back to Egypt. Cairo has been in an uproar ever since the Arab Spring started in early 2011. This is when Hosni Mubarak was overthrown. Despite the fact that the man who dominated Egyptian politics for the last 30 years is now gone, the problems that Egypt was facing before he was overthrown continue.
The thing that has visitors spooked is the fact that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all travel to Cairo. Since this is a popular retreat for many Brits, it has tourists assuming that all of Egypt is unsafe to visit. After all, recent protests in Cairo have seen fatalities.