The tourism industry is vital to the Egyptian economy and dear to the hearts of proud Egyptians who love sharing what their country has to offer. We caught up with Mohamed Kaoud, CEO of Egyliere Travel to learn more about his journey and the state of tourism in our country.
CW: You have risen very quickly within a highly competitive industry, what has motivated you and propelled you forward?
MK: The hospitality industry has been my passion since high school and I always believed that I was going to make a difference in this industry one day. After graduating from the Faculty of Economics at Cairo University I joined major international hotel chains for management internship programs and gained practical knowledge and experience.
I continued investing in myself and joined EHL Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne for further degrees in management of hospitality operations. This was followed by strong work experience in London in luxury hotels, where I was nominated as one of the top hoteliers under 30 in the UK.
In 2010, I came back to Egypt to establish Egyliere Travel as a Leading Luxury Travel Management Company in Egypt. Since then we have seen an average growth of 35% year over year. Faith, passion, dedication and hard work together with a strong team have all paid off and Egyliere Travel is now a market leader in luxury travel.
Covid-19 has adversely impacted the local tourism-based economy, what measures have been instigated to help those impacted?
The Egypt Travel Agency Association ETAA in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism has developed an Emergency Fund to support Travel Agencies. The ETAA has approved partial salary compensation for all employees working in travel agencies, but still the qualification and application process is neither clear nor fair and the process is just not quick enough.
The Central Bank has also provided a 50 Billion support package via loans at a 5% interest rate. All government taxes have been postponed for 6 months. In an effort to boost inbound levels, charter flights to Egypt are subsidized, there is a discount on-ground operations at the airport, in addition to a discount on airplane fuel.
As tourism has gradually opened up, what steps are being taken to encourage people to travel again?
Airlines are implementing high standards in guaranteeing the health and safety of the passengers. The norms include social distancing, self-check in, luggage disinfection, passenger disinfection kit, pre-packed meals, social distancing on board, and last but not least, air filtration and/or ventilation.
Hotels and resorts are implementing high standards in health safety and security:
- Upgrading their housekeeping
- Cleaning and F&B SOPs
- Guest social distancing
- Joint venturing with medical institutions and medical insurance companies
- Obtaining cleanliness certificates
- Improving hotel ventilation
- Applying guest and employee temperature checks
- Distributing disinfectant and hand sanitizers around the hotels
- Upgrading restaurant policies and many other measures
What would you like to see happening soon?
- Faster adaptation to the new norms, policies and procedures that are agreed on globally by WTO, WHO or multinational groups together with technical and financial support to the entities to implement.
- Domestic and international marketing and promotion strategies with good diversification and incentive programs to stimulate the industry.
- Media training and efficient communication with the world.