TORONTO — Major travel companies including Goway and The Travel Corporation are showing their support for Egypt as the Egyptian Tourist Authority renews its call on the Canadian government to lift its travel advisory to the country.
The Travel Corporation recently announced that it will resume operations into Egypt for the 2014/2015 season, with Contiki and Busabout recommencing trips in September 2014 and Trafalgar and Insight Vacations heading back in January 2015. Uniworld is expecting to return in September 2015, and African Travel Inc. and Lion World Travel will re-enter the country soon as well.
Meanwhile Goway has reaffirmed its commitment to Egypt, calling it “a safe and stable destination for most of 2014 … the trick for many Globetrotters will be getting there before the word gets out and crowds return.”
Mostafa Sallam, director for Canada for the ETA, said Canada is a promising market and noted that despite Egypt’s political difficulties over the past couple of years, the country succeeded in keeping market share. “Canadians are more keen to visit Egypt than they are concerned about the political situation,” he said. A new president was democratically elected this past May and that “gives a sense that everything is running and stable and ready to receive tourists.”
In 2010 some 96,000 Canadians visited Egypt, but the situation changed in 2011 and the number of Canadian arrivals dropped 47% to 51,000, where they’ve hovered ever since.
Europeans are visiting Egypt in droves – 70% of the country’s inbound tourism is from Europe – but North America is still languishing. The Canadian government has maintained its travel advisory against Egypt, warning against all non-essential travel, with the exception of the Red Sea coastal resort areas and along the upper Nile, where visitors should exercise caution, according to the travel.gc.ca website. “We’re expecting that the Canadian government will see that this has been a transition time from dictatorship to democracy,” said Sallam. “It could happen anywhere.”
Canada’s May 2013 figures to Egypt were up 7.8%, he added. “We’re running the right way. But we need the travel advisory removed.”
Brett Tollman, CEO of The Travel Corporation, said his company has been monitoring the destination closely, and after extensive consultation with its teams on the ground – and in speaking with its travel partners in each market – TTC is confirming a return to Egypt later this year.
“At The Travel Corporation, our customers are at the heart of everything we do. Guest safety is the utmost priority and so we will maintain constant dialogue with colleagues in the region ahead of our planned re-commencement dates,” he said.
“We are seeing pent-up demand for the destination and are delighted to be able to elevate our support for this truly remarkable part of the world. Travel and tourism have historically represented approximately 30% of Egypt’s GDP, making it critically important that we as an industry show our support at this time for this great country and its proud peoples’ economic recovery.”