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Sunday, 16 December 2018

Al Mashat unveils Egypt’s Tourism Reform Program at AmCham luncheon

Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat unveiled Egypt’s Tourism Reform Program (E-TRP), her ministry’s long-term strategy aimed at reforming the tourism sector, at an AmCham luncheon on Thursday. The five-pillar strategy focuses on institutional and legislative reforms, ramping up tourism promotion campaigns, developing tourism infrastructure, and rebranding Egyptian tourism to come in line with global trends.

Administrative reforms and capacity building: Al Mashat plans to lay the groundwork for the strategy by introducing far-reaching administrative reforms such as overhauling her ministry’s internal structure to increase its efficiency and focusing on hiring high-quality staff to fill managerial positions. The minister also stressed the importance of attracting more women and young people to the industry — and on the need to building up the skills of tourism workers through vocational training.

Legislative reforms: E-TRP sees changes to the legal framework governing tourism, which has remained unchanged for nearly five decades. The minister did not delve into the specifics of the legal amendments she plans to introduce, but she did note that the overwhelming majority of the industry’s labor force is unofficial and unregistered, suggesting that her ministry will be looking to introduce measures to bring the sector’s employees into the formal economy through a mix of incentives and new requirements. Industry will play a role in drafting the new legislation, she said, to ensure the measures are well-rounded.

Al Mashat confirmed that the strategy will see the ministry launching a private equity fund to upgrade Egypt’s hotels and resorts and help restructure those that are struggling financially. The fund will be at the heart of the infrastructure development element of the strategy, which will also focus on bringing hotel health and food safety and overall quality up to international standards across the domestic industry.

Re-branding Egypt and ramping up tourism promotion: The ministry intends to rebrand Egypt as a “responsible” choice for tourists that boasts green tourism destinations and empowers women economically. This rebranding will be promoted globally through campaigns, travel expos, and a full-court-press on social and other media. The ministry will also host a summit geared exclusively toward influencers during the first half of 2019 to give tourism promotion a shot in the arm. The marketing strategy will also shift towards focusing on specific destinations within Egypt, in accordance with the seasons. Campaigns will focus on tapping new source markets, particularly in Asia and Eastern Europe, as well as doubling down on well-established markets such as the Gulf. The ministry had selected in September a consortium made up of Egyptian Media Group subsidiary Synergy, and Middle East Communications Network to run Egypt’s tourism promotion campaign abroad, replacing JWT.

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