Get ready to start seeing tourism ads about Egypt in the coming months. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism just signed a three-year deal with New York-based PR firm, J. Walter Thompson Co. (JWT) for $68 million – it’s a great investment considering Egypt hopes to see about $9 billion income from tourism this year. With the help of JWT, there will be a strong PR push during November and December in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South American countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Chile.
One focus of the tourism campaigns will be to stress the difference between the North Sinai area, where Islamic extremists have been creating havoc, and the Suez Canal. But the South Sinai is a different matter entirely. That area is much more secure and offers some amazing tourism attractions in the cities of Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Dahab and El-Tor.
Historically Egypt has been among the most stable of Middle Eastern countries and boasts ancient temples, museums, the Pyramids of Giza, and other tourist attractions. Egypt is working to bring back that stable and secure image because they know without out it, there’s going to be much less tourism.
Alternatively, other Arab nations are taking a different approach to promote a positive view of their countries from the U.S. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came to the U.S. with more than $12 million to spend on public relations and lobbying efforts. UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait have all increased spending in DC drastically over the last three years.
The power-player firms these countries are hiring are listed in an article from the Huffington Post. Here’s their list: Akin Gump, The Camstoll Group, Edelman, Kemp Goldberg Partners, DLA Piper, Hill & Knowlton, Karv Communications, and the Glover Park Group.
The payroll does not end there, though. The bulk of Washington’s K Street power players are included, such as Friedlander Group, Hogan Lovells, Joe Trippi & Associates, Just Consulting, Levick Strategic Communications, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Qorvis, Sorini, Sanitas, Squire Patton Boggs, Lewis Baach, The Harbour Group, Potomac Square, Levant Suez, Portland PR, and Gallagher Group.
The lobbyists with the big ins are getting big money for representing these nations. Here’s what one insider requiring anonymity had to say, “The first roadblock would be the originating attorney or lobbyist. If you bring in $100K a month [on a] contract, you are going to be pretty defensive about any new matters that could even come close to pissing off a contract of that size.”
Middle East countries will continue to use PR & Lobbying firms extensively – whether for tourism or political interests.