Egypt, Turkey plan to join forces in tourism

Egypt, Turkey plan to join forces in tourism

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Egypt, Turkey plan to join forces in tourism

Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian tourism resort by the Red Sea. The Turkish Airlines has started direct flights to the city. Courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism

Egypt and Turkey are planning broad collaboration to attract a higher share of the global tourism market, starting with increased flights between the two countries.

Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier, has added Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada airports to its large network of destinations, Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou said late on Oct. 8 at a press meeting announcing Turkish Airlines’ direct flights to the world-famous tourism resort cities by the Red Sea.

The Turkish flag carrier launched its first direct flight to Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday and will begin direct flights to Hurghada Oct. 17 in the first steps of wider cooperation between the two countries in tourism.

“We are going to organize a workshop between the Egyptian Tourism Foundation and chambers and TURSAB [the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies] on Dec. 10 in Egypt to do more business in the future. We are discussing with Turkish Airlines more frequent flights between Cairo and Alexandria in the coming weeks,” Zazou said.

“We are discussing even more optimistic and ambitious plans between us in terms of serving international destinations, and also business for Turkey and Egypt from long-haul destinations like South America, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, even America. Where our national air carrier may not be currently flying, we are going to have joint marketing activities on long-haul destinations, because specialists and experts know that tourists who come from these long-haul destinations do not come to this part of the world to visit one country alone, but they look forward to visiting more than one country. This is an opportunity to have road shows. With the cooperation of Turkish Airlines, we hold Egyptian-Turkish nights and promotional activities,” he said.

Minimal visa requirements

Touching on incentives Egypt has for the Turkish tourism sector, he said, “We have incentives for charter operations into Egypt, co-marketing and co-advertising activities.”

Egypt also has eased visa requirements for Turkish citizens, Ambassador Abderahman Salaheldin said at the event, adding that the two countries were just short of lifting visas.

The largest of the “Arab Spring countries,” Egypt is in a push to revive its crucial tourism sector, which lost steam last year when it turned a new page in its history after the overthrow of the regime led by former President Hosni Mubarak.

The country’s tourism revenues dropped to $9 billion last year from $14 billion from the year before, and now targets $25 billion by 2017, Zazou said.