In an attempt to pump up dwindling flow of foreign tourists to Egypt, authorities here are attempting to rope in more Indian celebrities to woo travellers from India.
Tourism, which is one of the centrepieces of the Egyptian economy, suffered a severe blow due to many violent attacks by militants since the January 2011 revolution that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak.
In 2013, former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster intensified the attacks, leading to a decrease in footfalls of foreign tourists.
The latest success of megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s visit to the country for the India by The Nile Festival has prompted the Egyptian Tourism to include more Indian celebrities in their effort to help them highlight the fact that Egypt is strongly back in the market.
"Indian tourists are one of our most important, promising markets. We believe there are lots to do in the Indian market over the coming few months to increase the number of tourists to Egypt. Some of them are directed to the consumers such as the India By The Nile Festival in Egypt attended by the great star Mr Amitabh Bachchan," Ismail A Hamid, Egyptian Tourism Counsellor, told PTI.
Hamid said that the percentage of Indians visiting Egypt has improved in the last few months, which is the result of the positive news coming from Egypt at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference.
"Over the last few months we notice wonderful indicators of increasing. December 2014 has witnessed an increase of about 27 per cent compared to December 2013 while February 2015 has witnessed 24.1 per cent compared to February 2014," said Hamid, who is based in Mumbai.
"After the revolution of Egypt, the number of tourists had dropped from 14.7 million tourists in 2010 to 9.8 million tourists in 2011. The indicators of the last few months show good increases so that by the end of 2015 we are expecting to regain our position in the market in terms of figures again."
The tourism officials are also taking steps to increase the awareness of the different segments of Indian people to the beauty of Egypt, not only the Pyramids of Giza but also Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.
Sheriff Hassan Mohamed, a guide with Lady Egypt Tours, said Indians have a lot in common with Egyptians in terms of ancient history and culture.
"Lack of tourists for the last five or six years have made us realise that we were going in the wrong direction and we were not advertising well. We are in the right way by introducing India which is a great country.
"Egypt would be more appreciated by people from countries like India since it has a rich past and ancient history like us," Sheriff said.