Hmmm beware the headline here. Before reading my opinion please check out the full article in the Financial Times Tourists Return to Egypt as Prices Fall & Security Improves If the link does not open you will find the article by copying the headline into google search engine.
Let me deal with the “improved security” bit first – There is no “improved security” for tourists in Egypt, BECAUSE the security in Egypt has been consistently top grade for the last 20 years or more, significantly better than in the US or EU, contrary to foreign media coverage.
To the foreigner booking through a travel agent the prices may appear to be falling. This is only due to two things
- The Egyptian operators competing with each other in the first instance and
- trying to entice foreign operators to make contracts in the second instance.
This leaves the Egyptian operators with little or no profit margin. The result of this is two-fold and in the long run not good for Egyptian Tourism.
Firstly the Egyptian operators, guides and in some cases accommodation providers contracting themselves to these holiday packages will only provide the basics to the unsuspecting tourist.
For the Egyptian travel agent the costs and profits will have to be made in the hidden extras and optionals they offer. The problem is that the described “optionals” can even include the entry tickets to sites. Example: !a tour to the Giza Plateau is included” – read the small print – entry to the Great Pyramid is not included etc.
Of course the other profit making venture is the compulsory toilet or tea stop at a “workshop”, “factory” or “museum” (inverted commas because basically these are just shops) which cuts in greatly to the actual tour time. I cannot fault the guides nor the workers on the ground for having to revert to this policy. They are in an impossible situation. I blame the owners and the deal makers who apparently do not realise the value of what they hold – the value of Egypt and what it contains for the world.
In the long run this will mean that the Egyptian holiday reputation will once again revert to the old one of hassle and disappointment for the unsuspecting tourists.
On the other hand that is good for me because one of my biggest selling points is that my prices are upfront and my clients know what they are going to pay.
Prices of tour packages to Egypt should be going up because all the government subsidies will have been almost completely removed from all basics such as electricity, gas, basic foodstuffs etc etc. by the end of this year. Added to that, the devaluation of the pound should have resulted in a doubling of the price for everyone else trading anything in Egypt and they have – except the tourist industry.
The tourist industry has to use all those basics and are now paying double the price they were two years ago. The pound lost half it’s value so to have a sustainable industry all prices in the tourism industry should be double or triple what they were two years ago. So the story of falling prices, though true, makes no logical sense at all for businesses to survive. Once you drop your prices it is extremely difficult to raise them. The end result for accommodation providers has to be a fall in working conditions for their staff, a fall in standards of their premises due to lack of money for maintenance and refurbishment – a sad situation for a beautiful country.
I, however, (but then I am a foreigner in Egypt), do realise the value of good holiday that includes relaxation, comfort, no hassle, no surprises (shocks), peace of mind as well as the obvious sightseeing so my prices are steadily going up in line with those of the Egyptian Economy – and good luck with the “cheap packages” and “falling prices”.
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