Line them all up—wars, weather, politics, global financial stresses and internal cultural and socio-economic strife—nothing, absolutely nothing, changes the eternal tourism appeal of Egypt.
This ancient citadel of mystery and magical history is a marvel repository of ancient queens and pharaohs and their stupefying feats of architecture and science.
Even with today’s challenges of global recession, regional revolution and a corresponding drop of tourism from North America, Egypt is clamoring its way back, supported by a loyal group of tour operators and river cruise companies determined to stick it out, and buoyed by their confidence in the destination’s never-ending tourism appeal, not to mention the promise of a growing number of savvy travelers putting their unnecessary fears aside and eager to take advantage of the great pricing and fewer crowds.
Despite all the wariness on the part of North American travelers concerned about the civil strife that followed the successful revolution, the numbers are coming back, says Mohammed Hagazy, director of North America, Egypt Tourism Authority, citing more than 150,000 North American visitors in 2011, all enjoying the best that Egypt has to offer at unheard of pricing. And while today’s tourism numbers fall far short of the 17 million global visitors in 2010, once travelers become aware that their fears are totally ungrounded—hopefully with the urging and consumer education on the part of savvy travel agents—those numbers, Hagazy says confidently, will return.
Agents should be aware and should make their clients aware that the Egyptian Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhry Abd El-Nour, reminded North American travelers in October that not one foreign visitor has been injured either during the revolution nor since and that Egypt is now probably one of the world’s safest destinations with a beefed-up force of tourism police at virtually every attraction in the country and high-level security at all of the hotels.
Even the US Tour Operators Association’s recent survey of its members revealed that more than half anticipate increasing itineraries in 2012 to destinations recovering from events this past year that negatively impacted tourism. Egypt was named most frequently as the country operators plan to increase tours to, followed closely by Greece, Japan and New Zealand. Nearly one-third of respondents have already seen an increase in bookings to those destinations for 2012.
Dave Herbert, founder and CEO of Great Safaris, in fact, is so confident travelers will enjoy their Egyptian experience this year, his company is offering an unheard of guarantee that states, “If you experience concerns about your personal security and well-being while on a Great Safaris tour itinerary and wish to cancel the remainder of your Egyptian itinerary to return home, we will fully refund the costs of your trip to Egypt that were purchased through Great Safaris.”
Herbert points out that, “This guarantee reflects my confidence that Egypt remains one of the most fascinating, secure and exotic destinations for American travelers. A journey to Egypt will not only satisfy clients’ expectations, but will create warm and wonderful memories to share with family and friends for many years to come”
Great Safari’s Egypt “Security and Satisfaction Guarantee” applies to its 9-day Land of the Pharaohs Classic Level itinerary, which includes tours of Cairo, the Great Pyramids, and a 5-day Nile river cruise, as well as its 15-day Great Egyptian Discovery Classic Level package, a fully escorted tour with a full-time private Egyptologist leading guests on land tours of Egyptian archaeological sites and a Nile cruise.
But that’s not all, Great Safaris is also offering an aggressive incentive program to travel agents where with just four bookings of The Land of the Pharaohs Classic Level itinerary, you earn a free Land of the Pharaohs land package; book seven clients for a free land and air package, and 12 bookings will get you a land and air package for two. Plus, Great Safaris offers 15 percent commission on the land rate.
Its 12-day program, The Gift of the Nile, features a 7-day cruise down the Nile aboard the Mirage cruise ship from Luxor to Aswan. Each day includes Egyptologist-guided stops at world-famous sites like the Karnak Temples, the Valley of the Kings, the tomb of King Tutankamen, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and many more. Great Safaris’ guarantee is in effect for this Egyptian itinerary, too, all for just $2,999 for two. A Two for One Airfare of $2,359 for two from Washington, D.C. or New York to Cairo is also available.