Egyptian Tourism Counsellor, Regional Director India...
Q. How important is the MICE business for your country and what percentage of total business you comprise from the MICE?
Sure the MICE business is one of the important resources of the tourist flow to any country. Often, a MICE trip doesn’t end with the return of the group, but rather it generates waves of other business opportunities either by choosing the same destination for further events or through the event attendees who become later potential tourists for other purposes and fans for the destination in their communities. The case is true for Egypt. We started our promotion in the market by focusing mainly on the MICE and that has led the tourist traffic to Egypt for leisure. My estimation of the MICE business to Egypt is that it should be about 10 - 15% of the total Indian footfalls to Egypt.
Q. why one needs to go to your country for MICE business instead of others, what are the facilities your country provide to them?
Well, let’s sum up what an Indian corporate needs for its annual conference to be a distinguished one; easy access, affordable prices, quality ground handling, modern infrastructure, and a rich tourist experience for the participants so that they come back with full mental, physical and soul recharge for another successful year, right? Simply, Egypt has that all. A distance of about only 6 hours, a variety of direct and indirect connections from different Indian cities, affordable air ticket prices, visa upon arrival for groups, moderate weather all-year around, top-notch DMCs, embedded MICE facilities in the majority of the Egyptian hotels, creative ideas and untraditional venues (a world heritage tourist site, a pure serene desert, a colourful sea shore, a roof of a sky-scrapper in Cairo,a historical palace or fortress, a floating restaurant by the Nile, or even a deck of a Nile cruise), and sure the availability of the Indian authentic cuisine.What can give a richer travel experience rather than a country with seven thousand years of civilization and with a magnificent nature?
Q. How is the response from Indian MICE segment? Are there any challenges which you’re facing in the current scenario?
Actually, the MICE business as a part of the whole travel business has been affected by the turmoil period after the 2011 revolution. After the great achievements fulfilled on the political, economic, and security axes over the last year, the indicators from the whole Indian market including the MICE sector are now amazing. In May 2015 only we received almost 12 thousand tourists from India raising the total footfalls to Egypt from Jan – May 2015 to more than 36 thousand tourist. The number in itself is not meeting our ambitions but the interesting fact is that this figure is 40% higher than the same accumulative period of 2014. We believe if the increment is keeping so, we may reach about 80 to 90 thousand Indian Tourists by the end of this year.
Q. Tell us the round fig. of MICE 2014 in your country from Indian MICE segment? Also share your expectations for 2015 and the marketing strategies with which you’re coming?
The estimations of MICE business to Egypt is about 6 to 9 thousand tourists in 2014, I believe it will increase to more than 15 thousand tourists this year. We are planning to promote more the MICE sector during the fiscal year 2015 – 2016 by increasing our investment in MICE publicity, FAM trips, Road Shows and direct mails. Worldwide, we are planning to launch a comprehensive new advertising campaign by next winter and I believe the MICE component will have a good share of it.
Q. Describe the MICE status of your country only in 1 sentence?
Actually one sentence cannot express the variety that Egypt can offer to its guests but if have to do so let me say the Egypt is the best value for money for MICE business especially from India.
Q. MICE Asia Pacific has become the second most famous event, what makes it so?
Well, as a new comer to the market, I haven’t had the chance yet to attend that exhibition, but I read some good reviews about it. I assume the good choice of the venue in Singapore which is considered to be one of the most influential business centres in south Asia along with the good choice of the dates as well as the proficiency in managing the exhibition could be important factors of success for any exhibition.
Q. The emphasis is more on content in MICE market, could you elaborate?
Actually the maximum emphasis should keep always on content whether in MICE or in other products. The tourism in general is a sensitive business where the details make big difference. A nicer welcome drink or a better wi-fi connection could be a reason of selecting a particular hotel. But yes you are absolutely right, the MICE is even more sensitive. In MICE business the price is not everything, but rather the quality of the service and the value for money (which becomes here ROI) is the most important factor of the equation, and as I said, in the case of Egypt we offer the highest value for money of a MICE trip.
Q. The use of events technology is the maximum in MICE Asia Pacific. Comment on it?
I have to visit the exhibition first and once I do, I will definitely share my review about it with you.