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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat sits down for her first televised interview

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir’s visit yesterday drummed up some chatter among the talking heads last night but the highlight of the evening was Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat’s first television appearance as minister on Hona Al Asema.

The minister delved into her plans for the sector, which begin with the structural reform of all government bodies under the Tourism Ministry’s jurisdiction. Al Mashat noted that the Tourism Promotion Authority is of particular importance since it is responsible for international campaigns (watch, runtime: 4:15). On a slightly more pessimistic note, the minister said she was slightly crestfallen by Egypt’s lackluster representation at the ITB Berlin tourism expo (watch, runtime: 2:29).

Speaking of promotional campaigns, the ministry will issue a tender for a fresh round of tourism promotion once its contract with advertising agency JWT expires in August. The new agreement will be tweaked slightly to mirror developments in the market and Egypt’s overall strategy. Meanwhile, her ministry plans to improve tourism infrastructure and standards, and hopes to apply the industry standards on hotels across the country. Some hotels are continuing to face financial difficulties and the ministry is looking into debt restructuring and repayment options through the CBE or foreign lenders (watch, runtime: 28:06). In any case, the need to revamp internal infrastructure should not get in the way of tourism promotion, she said (watch, runtime: 3:10).

Egypt is continuing to keep an eye on attracting tourism from new markets in Eastern Europe and Asia, in addition to encouraging a greater influx of Arab visitors (watch, runtime: 1:10). By diversifying its sources of tourism, the country will be less prone to crises inflicted by a single country, such as is the case with Russian tourism (watch, runtime: 3:15). Al Mashat had nothing new to report by way of the resumption of charter flights to Sharm El Sheikh.

Al Mashat also answered all of Lamees’ questions about her previous stints at the CBE and IMF, as well as the lead-up to being selected for the ministerial job (watch, runtime: 3:02).

You can catch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 28:06).

The timing of Sudan’s Al Bashir’s visit could not be more opportune and is evidence of warming ties, House African Affairs Committee member Hatem Bashat told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 6:13). Kol Youm’s Amr Adib also commended the visit, which he said is the fruit of concerted efforts from both countries to thaw relations after recent tensions (watch, runtime: 4:32). Meanwhile, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr had nothing of substance to add but couldn’t let the moment pass him by without describing Bashir’s meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as “historic” (watch, runtime: 12:41).

Wherefore art thou, workers’ rights groups? Kafr El Sheikh is apparently moving to deduct a full day’s pay from workers’ salaries each month to donate to the Tahya Misr fund, Governor Al Sayed Nasr told a bewildered Lamees Al Hadidi. The workers “can opt out” of the move and “are not required” to commit if they don’t want to but the idea is to give back to the fund for financing projects in the governorate, General Nasr said. Lamees still wasn’t buying it and pointed out that each individual should make an independent and voluntary decision to donate, rather than be made to feel obligated to do so (watch, runtime: 8:20).

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