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Rédigé par Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher le Mardi 9 Septembre 2014
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Egypt: the comeback of French tourists expected in fall 2014

The recovery already underway for other source markets

The Tourism Office of Egypt is expecting a recovery of the French market for Fall 2014. For some travel experts on the destination, the activity in the country is currently dead. But optimism is in the air for the end of 2014 and early 2015.

While travelers of the source markets are already back in Egypt, the recovery is still waiting to happen for the French market. - DR: Fotolia_© Hartmut Lerch
While travelers of the source markets are already back in Egypt, the recovery is still waiting to happen for the French market. - DR: Fotolia_© Hartmut Lerch
The tourist activity, on hold due to the recent political conflicts that have swept Egypt in the last few years, is starting up again.

The country is receiving more and more travelers. “I'm sensing a recovery. We will say more in the next edition of the IFTM Top Resa, but I am clearly seeing increased activity.”, confirms Nahed Rizk, Director of the Egyptian Tourism Office in Paris.

She observed the return of German and English tourists. But also an increase of visits to neighboring Arabic countries. These represent one fourth of the market for the destination, according to the TO’s director.

In Belgium too, Egypt is getting back on track.

In fact, Sharm-el-Sheik, is once again scheduled leaving from Brussels by Jetair starting October 19 2014 and Thomas Cook is planning to launch its trips for its Belgian clientele on October 28th, as explain our colleagues of

France disappears from the Top 10 of source markets

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However, in France, the situation is a lot more difficult for the destination. “The main problem, right now, is the French market. It is the only one that has not recovered yet,” according to Nahed Rizk.

France was the 5th country in the source markets for Egypt in 2010, a record year for the destination. Today, it doesn’t even stand in the Top 10.

Same observation from French producers experts on the country. “For now, there are no requests on Egypt,” insures Hervé Tribot La Spiere, CEO of Ikhar.

As for Voyageurs du Monde, Jean-François Rial, the CEO announces that “trips on the Nile are making a strong comeback.” But the trips won't take place "before this fall and winter."

The recovery of the French market in Egypt is then expected… but not for now.

“I think that French travelers will comeback in numbers at the start of Fall 2014, predicts Nahed Rizk. We have lots of meetings scheduled at the IFTM Top Resa this year.”

“A spike in interest” that has not materialized

Amongst some of the people that the TO Director will meet at the conference in late September 2014, may be Jalel Bouagga, Director of Sindbad Voyages.

He insists on “projects incentives towards Egypt, but no files have materialized yet.” While, usually, for this TO, everything is booked by late June 2014 for the November vacations, “this year there is nothing.”

However, he is not discouraged. “Egypt is a destination with a high potential. Not much is needed to relaunch it. A positive press article or a TO incitation and it could start up again,” he believes.

He adds being already in contact with various groups for 2015. They are looking for a classic tours in Egypt or cruises on the Nile.

The CEO of Sindbad Voyages is also seeing information requests for his tour “Egypt told to children.” Enough to certainly help him materialize the “newfound interest on the destination” that clients are currently expressing.

The chartering activity is implying, for itself, that French tour-operators are anticipating, for most of them, a return of requests for trips in Egypt.

Slight upturn of charter programs between France and Egypt

“Since the summer, the current goes in the direction of recovery”, explains Ans Westerhoven, President of AirMasters.

The company that specialized in the chartering of tourist flights towards Egypt notices a slight upturn on the French market. It is however behind other European markets on the destination.

“But we are seeing a rise of requests on the Red Sea (Hurghada and Marsa Alam) and on the Nile (Louxor)”, adds Ans Westerhoven.

AirMasters is in fact relaunching its flights towards Louxor. It is also the case of Egyptair that will link Paris-CDG and Louxor again by October 11th, 2014.

“We are also hoping to relaunch Taba next, in the Sinaï, where we are getting increasing requests. But, for that, we are waiting for the green light by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, concludes the president of AirMasters.

The Ministry of Foreign Affaire still formally advises against going to the peninsula, except in Charm-el-Cheikh and Taba. But it recommends tourists to “stay alert.”

The trigger for a true recovery of French trips in Egypt will certainly be done through a diplomatic appeasement.

Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher

Tags : egypt

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