Published on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Egypt shifts focus to Hurghada for UK market

Egypt is shifting its focus to Hurghada as the main Red Sea resort for British tourists after failing to  persuade the UK Government to reinstate flights to Sharm El Sheikh.

Hurghada is the main subject of a new campaign announced by the Egyptian State Tourist Authority (ETA) today.

The UK was among countries that suspended flights to Sharm El Sheikh in October 2015 following the crash of a Russian Metrojet aircraft shortly after take-off from the resort's airport.

The main European markets have since resumed air services to Sharm, but the UK has not.

UK and Ireland director Amr El Ezabi described the UK's refusal to reinstate Sharm El Sheikh flights as 'a very political decision'.

He said: "Speaking about Sharm won't change anything. We can do nothing about the decision.

"Our campaign is now focused on Hurghada as the main destination in the Red Sea. This is something we should have done since the first moment [following the suspension of flights].

"Until now we have not been able to put in the effort that we used to do with Sharm."

He added: "Luxor, Cairo and the Nile will feature heavily as part of the brand focus, but 80% of the campaign will address Hurghada.

"Hurghada offers everything that a sun and sea destination can offer including what Sharm is offering and in some cases even more.

"The campaign will create awareness about Hurghada and its different bays in an area that spreads 400km from El Gouna to Marsa Alam."

He said the region offers a variety of options including Soma Bay for the higher end, El Gouna for three- to five-star hotels, Makadi Bay for younger travellers, and Hurghada for those who want a city experience.

"I'm totally sure that this area offers everything that the British holiday is looking for and ths is what has been fed back to us from UK tour operators," he said.

The focus on Hurghada signifies a change in a approach by the ETA. In January, after Russia reinstated flights to Egypt, Mr El Ezabi, said he hoped the move would 'encourage flights back to Sharm El Sheikh from the UK so that travellers can return to the destination'.

Thomas Cook added Marsa Alam (pictured) to its winter 2017/18 programme as an alternative to Sharm El Sheikh.

A smaller part of the new campaign will focus on what Mr El Ezabi called 'the traditional Egypt that we almost forgot about - Luxor and Aswan'.

"The big tour operators are not currently back there and there's only one flight to Luxor with EgyptAir from Heathrow. But there is demand.

"I know this because the EgyptAir flight is quite full. Now's the time to increase capacity."





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