Spotlight: Egypt witnesses quicker revival of tourism via hosting remarkable conferences, expos

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-15 00:51:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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by Marwa Yahya

CAIRO, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Egypt has hosted remarkable regional and international conferences and expositions over the past few months, which could accelerate the revival of the country's tourism sector, experts said.

Organization of conferences and exhibitions are important for advertising security and stability in Egypt as main pillars of luring more tourists, said Ilhamy al-Zayat, former chairman of the Tourism Chambers in Egypt.

"Egypt is the most qualified African country for hosting international conferences and expos for its strong infrastructure on the level of roads, exhibitions centers, hotels and different means of transport as well as security stability," al-Zayat told Xinhua.

Among the important conferences hosted by Egypt in 2018 was the latest Africa 2018 Forum, which concluded in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday with the participation of 10 African leaders and more than 3,000 African entrepreneurs.

In parallel, the African food expo Food Africa 2018 was held in Cairo from Dec. 8 to 10, which was attended by 300 Egyptian and foreign companies.

Egypt also launched its first international defense expo EDEX 2018 this month, drawing 376 military companies from 41 countries and more than 10,000 visitors.

In November, Sharm el-Sheikh also hosted two other large events, World Youth Forum with 5,000 participators from 160 countries and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Al-Zayat said these conferences could help increase revenues for Egypt through hotel and flight reservations and selling of souvenirs.

The conference tourists will spend 500 U.S. dollars per day compared to 100 dollars by the ordinary tourists, while the visitors from rich countries could even spend 5,000 dollars on a daily basis, he noted.

Moreover, some technical exhibitions, such as in the field of medicine, are often accompanied by showcasing products, which, in turn, will increase the chances of trade, the Egyptian expert said.

Al-Zayat called on Egypt's tourism ministry to establish a special authority for advertising conferences and expos and post the list of all these events on the ministry official page.

Egypt's tourism revenue jumped 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to about 4.8 billion dollars, according to the tourism ministry.

The Egyptian tourism has been gradually recovering from a downturn in 2011 triggered by a popular uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

In addition, the Egyptian pound was allowed to float in late 2016, a decision that almost halved the currency's value and made a trip to the Arab country a relatively cheap bet for foreign visitors.

The number of tourists travelling to Egypt in 2017 was 7.3 million compared to 14.7 million in 2010 before the uprising.

Waleed al-Batoty, representative of the International Union for Tour Guides in the Middle East and North Africa, said organizing international conferences sent a message that "Egypt is a safe country."

Egypt was a pioneer in organizing conferences before the 2011 uprising, and now it tries to regain its place, al-Batoty, also an advisor to a former Egyptian tourism minister, told Xinhua.

These events will promote tourism in Egypt because most visitors are also keen to know more about the country's history and culture, he explained.

The conference center in Sharm el-Sheikh and other expo halls in New Cairo are fully equipped to promote exhibition tourism in Egypt, al-Batoty noted.