CAIRO: Egypt’s national airline is to increase its weekly flights from Tokyo to Cairo to cope with a rise in demand from Japanese tourists.
The decision by carrier EgyptAir to operate three flights a week between the two capital cities starting in December this year, follows Egyptian Tourism Chamber forecasts predicting the number of Japanese visitors to Egypt likely to reach around 200,000 annually.
The Egyptian embassy in Tokyo hailed the decision and held a special event on Sept. 24 to celebrate the move. The reception was attended by Egypt’s Ambassador to Japan Ayman Kamel, representatives of major Japanese tourism companies interested in the Egyptian market, officials from the Japanese Union for Tourism Agents, chairman of the Japanese Board for Foreign Tourism and media representatives.
The event also helped to promote EgyptAir as well as various tourist destinations in the northeast African country.
Kamel said the extra flights came in response to increased numbers of Japanese tourists heading for Egypt last year, especially after the Japanese government amended travel alerts to Egypt. The amendments were officially announced by the Japanese foreign minister who was a guest of honor at a reception on Egypt’s National Day held at the Egyptian embassy in July 2018.
The envoy stressed that the Japanese government’s decision followed huge growth in Egypt’s tourism services sector. It also marked the culmination of efforts to reassure Japanese travelers over the economic and security stability of Egypt.
The Egyptian ambassador highlighted the major projects of cultural cooperation between the two countries, including the Grand Egyptian Museum due to be inaugurated in October 2020, and pointed out tourist destinations in Egypt covering entertainment, beaches, and religion, as well as the conference and exhibition trade.
Increasing the number of flights would also help boost bilateral trade and investment, he added.
Atef Abdel-Latif, chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Association Mosaferoon or Travelers, said the decision would have a positive financial impact on Egypt as Japanese tourists were big spenders at archeological sites in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan.
He added that in return, EgyptAir should increase flights to Japanese cities, draft a strong marketing plan, offer travel packages to Japanese tourists visiting or wanting to visit Egypt, have trained employees ready to deal with Japanese tourists, and offer Egyptian souvenirs and handmade crafts and products including leather, wood and cotton in free shops in Egyptian airports since Japanese tourists were always keen to buy Egyptian products.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism focused on attracting Japanese tourists who often stayed for long periods in the country and had a passion for ancient Egyptian civilization.
Hisham El-Demeiry, head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, told Arab News that the organization was currently studying Egypt’s tourism promotion campaign in the Japanese market, in addition to looking at activities with trip operators in Japan.
The official added that the authority was also hoping to invite Japanese media and tour organizers to Egypt to get a closer look at the country’s various tourist attractions.
The authority was working with the ministry to streamline decision-making on tourism policy in Egypt, El-Demeiry said, with input from the aviation industry.