TRAVEL AND HOTEL NEWS
Improved transportation on the way
TOURISM Minister Hisham Zazou and Transportation Minister Rashad Al-Meteini discussed ways of improving railway traffic for tourists. The "Pharaonic Train", a luxury and speedy service proposed by Indian companies, was among the topics the two men reviewed. Other projects include improving river docking facilities from Cairo to Aswan, upgrading the Sakkara-Memphis road, re-operating the seaport of Taba, and modernising the Hurghada-Marsa Alam road.
Tax cuts for the tourism industry
THE CRISIS Committee of the Federation of the Chambers of Tourism (FCT) has prepared a package of measures designed to boost tourism, says FCT chief Elhami Al-Zayyat.
The package, which FCT officials discussed with the tourism minister during a recent meeting, involve measures to improve security in historical and tourist destination, keep pedlars out of tourist destinations, prevent all forms of harassment of tourists, and improve heritage sites.
The FCT called for more police traffic to be deployed on major roads, stiff fines for drivers ignoring traffic regulations, and a ban on animal-drawn carriages using tourist roads, especially the road to Sakkara.
The FCT demanded that debts for the industry be rescheduled and that taxes be slashed. Safari tourism need to be encouraged, Bedouins should get better housing and training, and the Taba-Nuweiba area must be transformed into a Free zone, FCT officials told the minister.
Cooperation with Ireland
TOURISM Minister Hisham Zazou met Irish Ambassador Isolde Moylan to review aspects of cooperation. The two officials discussed the increase of air flights between the two countries. Zazou told Moylan that Egypt intends to host more tourism events to revive tourism in the country. International Development Ireland is currently training Egyptian tourism workers, as part of the ongoing cooperation between the two countries. The number of Irish tourists to Egypt in the first half of 2012 was 140,000, an increase of eight per cent compared to the previous year.
Show of force
EGYPT's stuntman Mohamed Shamshoun is going for another world record. He promises to pull an 84-tonne plane with his teeth in an event in Marsa Alam Airport on 10 October. The stunt, which is expected to attract world media, is designed to promote tourism in Marsa Alam.
The Pharaohs Rally
EGYPT will organise the 30th Pharaohs Rally 1-6 October, with participants from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. More than 160 cars and 70 motorcycles are to take part in the race, which will be covered by Sky TV, Euro Sport, and other televisions channels. Two helicopters will offer logistical and medical support to the event, which will be covered by 140 journalists from all over the world.
THE TOURISM Development Agency, TDA, which provides information to companies interested in investing in tourism in Egypt, now has its own website. Data on various tourism sites, including areas such as Dahshour, will be posted on www.tda.gov.eg,www.tda.gov.eg,which is linked to other websites run by the Ministry of Tourism.
According to Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou, the TDA is in the process of digitalising the dossiers of various tourism investment companies. The army programming centre is helping the TDA digitalise other aspects of its operation for faster and easier communication with the public.
Tourism in Port Said
PORT Said is looking into ways of reviving its tourism following the recent downturn. Already there are signs of increased domestic tourism to Port Said, with visitors in the first half of 2012 totalling 41,000, compared with 38,000 in the same period of 2011. Officials are examining the prospects of setting up a yacht docking facility, creating wave barriers along the shore, and using the Suez Canal for recreational trips.
Tourism Research Magazine
THE MINISTRY of Tourism has published a special edition of the Tourism Research magazine, edited by Abdallah Ragab and Mahfouz Ali. The special edition discusses ways of branding destinations, improving tourism services, protecting biodiversity, marketing, youth tourism and demographic changes.
International Youth Week in Egypt
HILTON Hotels & Resorts joined forces recently with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to mark International Youth Week, celebrating the contributions, achievements and talents of today's youth. The hotel chain organised several activities designed to build strong relations between local youth and their communities across Egypt.
Activities included Hilton Cairo World Trade Centre participating in Ain Shams University's Job Fair, where more than 100 young people were introduced to the company and learned more about a wide range of full- and part-time job opportunities. Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort launched a partnership with Resala Charity Organisation to provide youth with vocational training programmes, such as Resala's programme responsible for providing shelter and stability for youth called Ad Al-Haya (Children Capable of Living).
Staff at Hilton Taba Resort Nelson Village celebrated with guests by organising fun competitions between young guests throughout the week, including volleyball and talent shows. Ramses Hilton hosted several events, including a Family Day party at the Children's Cancer Hospital 57357 in Cairo. Throughout the year, hotel management and staff members support children with creative activities and fundraisers as well as sponsorship. A job shadowing programme trains undergraduates in the hotel's food and beverage department.
At Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, staff members participated in a day full of activities at the Coptic Orphanage House, including card and dart games as well as job shadowing with renowned executive chef Shankar demonstrating how to make desserts, which were later enjoyed by the children.
Hilton Hurghada Resort hosted a variety of events and programmes for 38 orphans or children of single parents between the ages of 7-16 years, where children enjoyed various sports and culinary activities. Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort joined forces with local youth partners from Red Sea Rangers-Red Sea Protectorates to mark the annual Marsa Alam Environmental Day. The event included environmental games for children and youth, and the hotel also offered an internship for one undergraduate at Cairo University to train in the Front Desk department.
Giving back to society
AS PART of Ramses Hilton's continuous efforts in supporting the community, the hotel's general manager, Haitham Nassar, along with the Blue Energy Committee, created a positive initiative to re-decorate Tahrir Square whereby the entire group spent half a day in the square planting more than 100 trees.
Ritz-Carlton's true craftsmen
A NEW video series reveals behind-the-scenes action at Ritz-Carlton hotels, spotlighting the staff who toil behind the scenes (and in front) to give guests a memorable stay, titled The Art of The Craft. "There is a significant amount of dedicated craftsmanship and care that goes into making memories for the discerning world traveller," stated Herve Humler, the company's president and chief operations officer.
In the digital video series, the camera's focus is on a particular staff member representing a specific profession within the organisation. The first four of 10 videos follow a sommelier in California wine country, a culinary master, a housekeeper at the highest hotel in the world, and a shoe-shine valet in Istanbul.
"With the rapid evolution of the digital space, we have the opportunity to provide a peak behind the scenes to see what goes into a Ritz-Carlton experience, by using the sophisticated format of digital video," according to Chris Gabaldon, the hotel's chief sales and marketing officer. "It allows us to tell our story elegantly and with relevant content."
One year ago, the hotel chain launched a new communications approach through Let Us Stay With You that used artwork, messaging and digital experience platforms so guests leave with a long-lasting impression of their stay. The brand platform delivers its message relying on guests' power of memory, by creating serendipitous moments that recall the facilities, experiences and services provided by the staff. In the same vain, The Art of The Craft showcases how those memories are made at The Ritz-Carlton.
The films can be viewed on the hotel's website or on YouTube.