Message from Andy & Debbie McKnight for ETA Chairman

Dear Chairman.
My wife & I (both British Sub Aqua Club divers) have just returned home to Cyprus from Dahab where we enjoyed an eight day diving holiday with Desert Divers.  Before travelling to Dahab we had been quite concerned regarding the civil unrest that had made up most of the media reporting relating to Egypt in the weeks prior to our departure.  We need not have worried, as there was not a trace of tension in the air for the duration of our holiday.  We felt safer walking through the streets of Dahab at night than we would have done on many streets in London.

Blue hole entrance
We were met at Sharm El Sheikh airport by the shuttle bus from Blue Beach Club Hotel and transported to that hotel very efficiently despite the many police roadside checks en route.  Setting aside a mix-up with our room on arrival, we enjoyed the first of many restful nights at the hotel.  Our room mix-up was sorted out the very next morning with efficiency and courtesy and after a welcome breakfast, we went to along Desert Divers to deliver our dive kit and sort out the registration formalities with Tanis Newman, the proprietor.
The dive guides, Mahmoud (or Barracuda) and Khalid were helpful, efficient and accommodating.  Of the dive sites 95% were everything we had been expecting and more, with the one exception being Bannerfish Bay. My wife, a keen underwater photographer, was in her element and I got to see some very impressive walls, the next best things to wrecks for me.

As always, we found the Egyptian people to be most friendly and helpful, although the restaurant “hustlers” and shopkeepers along the seafront were somewhat too persistent at times, but it was always good-natured banter.  We sympathize with them for their predicament given that the resort in general was obviously suffering from a severe shortage of tourists and wish for them a return to normality as soon as possible.
Full marks to Egyptair, especially on our return trip to Cyprus.  We left our hotel in Dahab at 10:00 hrs. and opened our own front door in Larnaka just eight hours later, with all our luggage accounted for and without having to worry about retrieving and re-checking it in at Cairo.
Our thanks also go to the civil and tourist police for their re-assuring presence during our holiday, we did not feel that it was in any way intrusive at any time.
Would we go back?  You bet, in fact, the “return fixture” is already in the planning stages.
Andy (& Debbie) McKnight.Cyprus Sub Aqua Club.BSAC Branch 2496.

windsurfing in Dahab Jeep Safari 08__DI0066


A message From the Minister of tourism in Egypt

The official message of H.E. HISHAM ZAAZOU, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism. The Message is addressed to the tour operators (Egypt’s professional partners).
on the official YouTube Channel hisham Zaazou

Hisham Zaazuo the Minister of Tourism Resigned 1st July

Each of the Minister of Tourism, Environment,Communication and the Minister of State for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs resigned  formally to the Council of Ministers to submit it to the presidency.

In protest at the poor performance of the institution of the presidency and not dealing with the will of the people and not to pay attention to events that fill the areas of Egypt .

hisham Zaazou

Egyptian minister announces webcams at tourist sites

The Egyptian tourism minister told a conference in Milan Thursday evening that live webcams will be placed in the country’s major tourist destinations to show the world the true conditions of the country.Live-streamed surveillance of Luxor, Aswan, Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam will reveal to anyone connected to the Internet how tourists are spending their vacations in the land of the pharaohs.”Egypt is a safe country,” Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou repeated several hisham Zaazoutimes to a packed press conference Thursday evening at the BIT tourism trade fair in Milan. ”One can not reduce a country extending millions of square metres into a few hundred square meters,” he added, making reference to Tahrir or ”Martyr” Square in downtown Cairo.And although the Salafites are boycotting Valentine’s Day as a ”Western, ‘Christian’ tradition that goes against Sharia law” Zaazou sought to reassure the Italian market. ”Bikinis are welcome, and no restrictions exist of any type,” he guaranteed.”I am a technocrat and I do not belong to any political party. But I assure you that everyone in Egypt is very clear on the importance of the tourism industry, the only one able to function at the moment.” ”This government and the president himself are firmly convinced of the fact that the path to take is openness and development in the sector,” Zaazou said, adding that tourism employs four million people in Egypt. No administration ”can change this trend – I guarantee it,” said Zaazou.
Zaazou thanked Italian tourism operators who continued to support Egypt over the last two years.

Zaazou reported that despite Egypt’s political crisis, which hit the entire Egyptian tourism industry, there were 700,000 visitors from Italy in 2012. ”We expect to reach 1,000,000 Italian tourists” this year, added Zaazou.

But if many of the beach locations are more-or-less managing, archeological sites continue to suffer, he said. ”At Luxor and Aswan, operators are suffering a lot,” Zaazou confirmed.

Things may improve substantially thanks to a decision adopted by the Italian national tour operators’ association FIAVET to hold its annual conference this April in Luxor.

”To calm Italian tourists and travel agents, we are going to a safe country,” affirmed FIAVET President Fortunato Giovannoni.

Zaazou also asserted that, in addition to continued development of the Red Sea, the Mediterranean coast must also grow.

”Our intention is to increase domestic air transport to allow vacationers to more easily reach archeological pearls like Luxor from beach locations like Mars Alam. We’ll do so by opening flight connections,” Zaazou said.


Arab tourism in good shape

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Egypt has increased remarkably for the second year in a row.

This increase has been accompanied by a noticeable rise in the number of other Arab and foreign tourists visiting the country, despite the political turmoil the country has been going through for months. In a statement published recently in the Saudi-based daily newspaper Al-Watan, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou confirmed that the number of Arab and foreign tourists visiting Egypt has increased tangibly this year.

The number of Saudi tourists flowing into Egypt has reached about 1.27 million, up from 855,000 in 2011.

Zaazou added that the total number of Arab tourists to Egypt has risen by one-third to 2.4 million from 1.8 million in 2011.  He explained that the total number of tourists visiting Egypt this year has hit about 10.5 million, compared to 8.3 million the previous year.

Zaazou stressed that the Ministry of Tourism is working around the clock to reinvigorate and develop the tourism industry, coming up with a package of measures to restore the number of visitors to the level of the good old days.  He pointed out that, in the wake of the chaos and continuous disputes nationwide since November, occupancy rates at tourist outlets have slipped by about 25 per cent.

Zaazou said that the only solution for tourism to bounce back to its normal levels is for security and stability to return to the streets.

He added that more propaganda campaigns for Egyptian tourist destinations are also necessary, as well as attracting new investments and facilitating entry visas for tourists. The Minister of Tourism affirmed that visitors from more than ten countries can now obtain their visas on arrival in Egypt.

Around 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2012

Around 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt in the first 11 months of 2012, a 17 per cent increase on the same period last year, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said Wednesday evening. During a meeting with the Tourism Chamber of Commerce, Zaazou told industry professionals and reporters that tourism generated some $9.4 billion in 2012, a slight increase over the $9 billion seen in 2011.

Despite the increase, such figures are still well below the $12.5 billion the sector generated in 2010, the most successful year in its history.

Minister Zaazou blamed political unrest and violent clashes that followed President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional declaration of 22 November for the unimpressive performance of the industry.

“Occupancy rates have dropped by about 25 per cent due to the current state of affairs in Egypt,” Zaazou explained.

The month of December usually marks the beginning of the peak tourism season in Egypt. But early indicators are disappointing. The Associated Press reports that arrivals this month are down 40 per cent from November while industry officials complain of slow business.

“We are in the middle of the season and some hotels in certain areas are nearly empty,” Elhamy El-Zayat, head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said. that many establishments have cut their prices significantly to lure in tourists and that this is taking its toll on revenues. “In some places you can get a room for the night plus three meals for just $15. No wonder that many companies are just unable to pay their employees,” he said.

The tourism sector was dealt painful blows following the 2011 popular uprising that unseated former president Hosni Mubarak. The ensuing security vaccum drove tourists away and left the foreign currency earning industry at a near halt.

The sector was projected to stage a strong comeback in 2012 following the coming to power of an elected president in summer and the political stability this was supposed to ensure.

“We had expected a rebound to normalcy by the end of this year, but we are still stuck at 2011 levels,” Mohamed Essam, an operator at Tiran Tours in Cairo, told Ahram Online.

Tourism accounted for 10 per cent of Egypt’s economic activity during the final years of the Mubarak era. The industry employs some four million people, more than 10 per cent of Egypt’s total workforce.

The drop in tourist activity coincides with rough economic conditions Egypt is increasingly facing. Last Monday, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgraded Egypt’s credit rating to junk level, casting strong doubts on the ability of the state to meet its obligations. On Tuesday, it downgraded three major Egyptian banks, citing their heavy exposure to government debt.

These troubles reflect a lack of trust in the Egyptian economy, especially after a $4.8 billion loan deal was indefinitely postponed due to the political unrest in the country over the new constitution.

In the past few weeks, the Egyptian pound lost 1.5 per cent of its value to the dollar, reaching the level of LE6.19 to the dollar. A black market has been reported to have reappeared.

“Tourism is one of the main nerves of the Egyptian economy; it saves the country from possible crises. We just need stability,” Zaazou added.


Egypt hosts Japanese children

In the frame of Egyptian Ministry of Tourism endeavors to increase the tourism flow from the Japanese market, the Ministry of tourism hosted 15 children who had suffered from the earthquake on December 2010, in an eight days trip to Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan ( from 26 December 2012 to 2nd January 2013 ) .

The trip will include visiting the Pyramids, Salah El Din Citadel, and a nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan, in addition to celebrating the New Year at Steinberger Nile Palace hotel.


We’ll be back on the tourism track: Egypt

Click me Egypt’s Tourism Minister, Hisham Zaazou says the country’s tourism industry will be back in full force soon, despite recent difficulties.

Following last year’s political disruptions, the home of the Great Pyramids has struggled to regain travellers’ confidence, however, Mr Zaazou expects it all to turnaround, The Egyptian Gazette reported. He explained efforts made the Ministry as of late to reinvigorate the sector will soon payoff.

“It is time to work hard and to go forwards, not backwards,” the Minister said.Speaking at the a musical and archaeological celebration in the house of Lord Howard Carter earlier this month, Mr Zaazou reiterated that Egypt is still safe and secure for travellers from across the globe.

Last month, Egypt officially reopened the second largest of the Giza Pyramids after three years of renovations.

Hurghada Tenth World Cup of French Billiards from 2nd to 8th of December

Click Me

Under the auspices of The Ministry of Tourism and under the  Supervision of the International Federation of Billiards , The Egyptian Federation of Billiards, and The European Union for billiards, Hurghada World Cup of french  Billiards is taking place from 2nd till 8th December 2012 at Sunrise Garden Beach Hotel in Hurghada.  This Tournament is hosting 128 players from 22 different   countries   ( Germany, Belgium Netherlands, France, Austria, Spain, Japan,Turkey,Italy,Egypt ,Mexico, Colombia, Portugal, Greece, Peru ,Czech , Vietnam          …etc


Arrival of FTI Berlin Steamship

FTI  Tour operator has launched its first steamship ( FTI Berlin ) from The Red Sea on 25 November 2012 .

The steamship was greeted by H.E Mr. Hisham Zaazou – Minister of Tourism, The Governor of Luxor and H.E Ambassador Nasser Hamdy , Chairman of The Egyptian Tourism Authority .

The capacity of the steamship is 206 cabinets, carrying on board 390 German tourists.

The passengers have arrived first from Germany to different airports ( Sharm el Sheikh , Hurghada, Marsa Alam) , then they have moved by the steamship from sharm el sheikh Port , to Safaga port ,then Aqaba port,El Ein el Sokhna port and finally sharm el Sheikh port.

The duration of the cruise is 7 days.

FTI Berlin will operate 21 cruises from November 2012 till March 2013.