{Replica} When tourism marketing meets reality: “Egypt is more than Tahrir Square”

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Disclosure & Image Rights: The airport Magdeburg-Cochstedt is one of our flight sponsors. The airline Germania Airlines is one of our sponsors for air travel. The country of Egypt, represented by the Ministry of Tourism, has sponsored 2011 various services for a trip to Egypt in December: visa fees for Egypt, an inland flight from Hurghada to Cairo, transfer costs, entrance fees for various sights and accommodation as well as a flight from Egypt to Germany. Rights ,,, Picture Location: Giza, Day Ad Dewal, Embabah, Al-Jiza, Egypt.

In Egypt, the last leg of the parliamentary elections has just begun, predicting a victory for the Islamists. Among other things, these could ban bikinis and alcohol - with negative consequences for tourism, the country's most important economic sector. But how do tourism marketers deal with politically unstable situations? Incidentally, this is not the only problem in Egypt - and that raises the question of whether a worry-free holiday overhaul is still up-to-date.

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Giza, 20.12. 2011, in the desert

Below the lights of the Cairo metropolitan area, above the Cheop pyramid picturesquely illuminated. A place like that from tourism advertising, but inside in the specially constructed marquee there are serious questions: The Egyptian Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour and Amr El Ezabi, Chef The Egyptian Tourism Authority gave a press conference.

Theme: The Tourism Economy in Egypt. On the podium also representatives of the German economy: Jürgen Büchy, President of the German Travel Association (DRV) and Dr. Christian Göke, head of Messe Berlin, where Egypt will be 2012 partner country of the International Tourism Exchange (ITB). The contract was signed here in Giza. {Replica} When tourism marketing meets reality:

Tourism - the most important economic factor in Egypt

Tourism is the most important economic factor in Egypt: one of six Egyptians works in the industry, 14,2 million guests from all over the world visited Egypt last year 2010, 1,33 millions of which were Germans. But the revolution a year ago has brought about a loss of tourism.

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A statistics provided to me by the Consul General of the Arab Republic of Egypt shows: Depending on the month, overnight stays for Egypt have declined between 33 and 45 percent. No wonder, then, that you ask yourself how to recover these important revenues again.

Open handling with a difficult situation

The statements at the press conference were surprisingly open, in view of the difficult situation. But everything else would have been unbelievable because of the recent events. The Egyptian Tourism Minister hopes for the reason of the prospective electors:

"Muslim brothers and Salafists cannot do without tourism," he said at the press conference (in the video above). Deputy Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou had become a little more detailed two days earlier at a conference in El Gouna on the Red Sea, which revealed details of talks with the Islamists:

“Egypt is more than Tahrir Square”

But more than the threatened election victory of the Islamists make the current affairs of the Tahrirplatz worried the tourists responsible, who always determine the news situation over Egypt. These are not exactly intended to make visitors want to spend a worry-free vacation in the country. The now sealed partnership with the ITB has already been agreed in pre-revolutionary times and could now turn out to be a blessing for the country.

Egypt has probably had a guardian angel, the minister says, alluding to the media attention that Egypt could gain as a travel destination. For, according to the unanimous original sound, Egypt is far more than Tahrirplatz, the situation in the country much calmer than the events from there want to make believe, as Tourism Minister Nour reaffirmed clearly:

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For this an update of the 10.01.2012: In South Sinai Province, tourists were briefly appointed. Propelled Egyptians protested against electoral manipulation. After an administrative court had decided that the elections would be refounded, the tourists got free again. Apparently, everything went smoothly.

German economy is optimistic

And also the German economy demonstrates optimism: The Germania airline flies since 20.11.2011 once a week from the former military airport Magdeburg-Cochstedt to Hurghada. Her marketing director Ralph Ullmann said at the press conference in El Gouna: “Egypt is going through an interesting phase. We find that exciting and want to stand by the project. However, we know the economic risk and hope that we can relax a little after the elections. ” {Replica} When tourism marketing meets reality:

“We get on with the circumstances”

And DRV boss Büchy (in the Vido to the left of the Tourism Minister) said at the press conference in Giza: “We cannot ignore the TV pictures from Tahrirplatz. They contradict the wish of German tourists that the most beautiful weeks of the year should not be negatively affected. ” Overall, Büchy hopes for a peaceful transition in Egypt and is, as far as the outcome of the elections, left: “German tourism goes all over the world, including countries like North Korea. Political situations may change, but we are adapting. There will always be cooperations and relationships, we will adapt to the existing conditions and will and will also arrange in Egypt if necessary. ”

Reflect your own image

A situation full of contrasts that invites reflection - on the views of politics and business, but also on our own understanding of media consumption, travel and democracy.

Thus one can regard the attitude of the economy, to arrange itself with the conditions, in view of the pictures as cynical. Or think that Egypt is supposed to provide for stable democratic conditions.

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“Tourism is important for democracy”

At the same time, however, tourism, as the most important economic force, is also crucial for the success of the democratic process - months ago Egypt's Minister of Tourism Nour, by the way, even Christ, in the interview with ZEIT ONLINE pointed.

There he said: "In the beginning it was mainly economic reasons that drove many people onto the streets." And indeed can So far, you have been able to go on vacation at the Red Sea, hundreds of kilometers from Tahrirplatz, in a nice, quiet and relaxed way. Nevertheless, the Tahrirplatz, at least in our journalist group, somehow always present.

The engagement with the target country must start much earlier

That makes me reflect on our media consumption. In many countries you travel to, the political situation is far from optimal, and Egypt is no exception. This is usually ignored. For example, the release of a prominent blogger and activist in Egypt recently caused relatively little publicity. But when pictures of dead people slosh into the living room, the general panic is suddenly great. The pictures simply depict, as some might wish, can not - the events continue to happen.

No, the discussion of the subject has to start far in advance. And the desire for a worry-free vacation is understandable, not least to him, the German tourism owes to being back on the up. But is this still contemporary in a time when many popular holiday countries are politically rather restless? Or is not a meaningful discussion with the people in the target country useful?

The future of tourism?

In fact, futurologists have already identified a new type of tourist: someone who is not concerned with “just getting away”, but who sees travel as an individual experience, as an adventurous exploration of the world, as a fulfillment of the desire for change and departure. Now one may argue that revolution sight seeing is perhaps a little too much adventure.

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In Israel, on the other hand, the activist Aziz Abu Sarah already makes an impression how this could work: with his agency Mejdi he offers "dual narrative tours", which are jointly contested by Israeli and Palestinian leaders and which lead tourists, for example, to a Palestinian refugee camp. Who knows, maybe this is what tourism will look like in the future?

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  1. Carina Waltermann

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  2. Pingback: When tourism marketing meets reality - Part 2: bikini or burka? Impressions from Egypt | Berufebilder by Simone Janson

  3. Liane Wolffgang

    When tourism marketing meets Realpolitik: "Egypt is more than Tahrir Square": In Egypt, just ...

  4. Simone Janson

    #Blogpost When tourism marketing meets realpolitik: "Egypt is more than the Tahrirplatz"

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