Rebuilding Tourism in Egypt… Again

Ain Sokhna, Egypt

Egypt experienced a difficult five years, and perhaps no industry feels this more than tourism. The country’s tourism last enjoyed great success in 2010 when visits reached a record 14.1 million. Then in 2011, the industry took a severe hit due to the uprising against Egypt’s dictator. Since then, they have struggled to regain their former glory, but one hit after the next has made this almost impossible.

After showing signs of recovery in 2012, 2013 saw more civil unrest and the rise of a new dictatorship. By 2014, the industry managed to recover yet again, but this was swiftly followed by a 2015 explosion of a Russian aircraft in the country’s airfield. That year, Egyptian forces also killed eight tourists by accident and sank the rate of visits again.

This worsened in 2016, as just last week, an EgyptAir flight crashed into the Mediterranean. All 66 people onboard died. To date, authorities have not found the main body of the plane and are not sure what caused the plane to crash.

Positive PR in the News

Positive PR is the obvious answer to Egypt’s problems. Reluctance to visit the country stems from terrorist activity and its political instability. The country can combat negative headlines with positive ones about its recovery, rather than what it’s recovering from. So, when people research the country online, positive headlines come to the surface. This, in turn, affects travel decisions and ticket purchases.

Egypt could also diffuse the crisis by pointing out that nowhere is safe from terrorism and it could happen anywhere – New York, Paris, Brussels, or Luxor. This public awareness of terrorism as a random act of violence could help make Egypt look like less of a target and more attractive as a travel destination.

Reaching Out to Bloggers

Another way Egypt could generate positive publicity is by reaching out to influential bloggers in the travel and adventure category. The country could offer travel packages or sponsored vacations, in exchange for positive exposure through rave reviews, great pictures, and encouraging readerships to visit.

Film Set

Bloggers aren’t the only influential people in the entertainment industry who could draw a crowd. Egypt could market itself as a primary location for movies looking for cheap locations to film. Game of Thrones, for instance, films around the world, and includes at least one desert location. If the country reaches out to filmmakers, it could be a lucrative addition to the tourism sector.

Hosting Major Events

The United Nations World Tourism Organization chose Egypt as the location for two of its major meetings for 2016. They did this as a show of confidence in the country’s safety. Hosting this, and other big events, like an opera performance of “Aida”, could create good publicity while reassuring potential visitors they have little to worry about.

Crises – especially the kind involving terrorism – can cause serious damage to associated brands. This is the current case with Egypt. However, if managed correctly, Egypt could bounce back from this crisis quickly becoming a top tourist destination again.

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