- Özgür Töre
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) delegation has concluded an official visit to Egypt to offer firm support for the government’s work to restart tourism.
As the United Nations released its landmark Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlining his Five Priorities for rebuilding the sector, UNWTO visited Egypt to help guide the implementation of these key recommendations. Led by the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, the delegation met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Khaled Al-Anani to learn of the steps taken to support tourism, including through the merging of the ministries of antiquities and tourism and the provision of grants and incentives to the sector. Mr. Pololikashvili also met with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly to learn more of work being undertaken to boost consumer confidence and guarantee the safety of both tourism workers and tourists.
Tourism adapting to the new reality
The high-level talks, which also featured an update on large-scale tourism projects currently underway, including the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, were complemented by visits to several of Egypt’s most popular tourist sites. This allowed the UNWTO delegation to see first-hand the enhanced safety and hygiene protocols put in place in response as the sector adjusts a new reality within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The safe restart of tourism is not only possible, it is essential. The United Nations has made clear the importance of tourism for everything from employment to equality, making it an integral part of sustainable development. Egypt, as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, has supported the sector with firm actions, including effective fiscal and economic policies. It is now ready to welcome tourists back to its many sites of interest, all the while putting people and their wellbeing first.”
Private sector and institutional partnerships
Alongside meeting with the Egyptian government, the UNWTO Secretary-General also met with the Egyptian Tourism Federation and the Federation of Tourist Chambers. Both outlined the measures being taken to adapt safety protocols in tourist accommodation and other key services to the new reality. Visits to the world-famous Pyramids, the National Museum for Egyptian Civilization, and to one of the country’s top marine tourism destinations likewise provided a broad overview of the joined-up approach to the safe and responsible restart of tourism.
The visit to Egypt came as UNWTO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) work together to provide help guide and accelerate the recovery of tourism in the country. Egypt is one of the first group of 13 countries that will benefit from expert technical support as the two organizations build on their existing partnership to support tourism as it recovers from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The joint initiative will see the tourism sectors of all 38 economies where the Bank invests benefit from expert technical support, allowing them to introduce new safety and hygiene protocols and so boost confidence and revive demand.