With Egyptian tourism suffering for years due to political instability and safety concerns, the country has turned to group tours to attract a new set of tourists. The “Family Cultural Tour,” a new campaign, leads groups of Chinese parents and children on a journey through the country’s legendary historic sites and beyond to showcase the people and local environment. Such tours play into Chinese tourists’ growing demand for cultural activities over shopping trips.
Egypt’s target is one million Chinese tourists this year. Tourism accounted for 11 percent of Egypt’s GDP in 2017, and it is rebounding, expected to rise by 3.8 percent this year, according to a World Travel & Tourism Council 2018 report.
Tour organizer Zhang Peng (张鹏) recently led 40 parents and children on a family culture trip along the Nile River. The tour led visitors through Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and other historic destinations.
Zhang told Xinhua News Agency that luxury tours are being supplanted with rich cultural travel experiences. These tours allow parents and children to learn about a foreign country through its history. Rather than sending children abroad to learn about a country, this tour allows parents to spend more time with their children so they can share in the experience.
During the 10-day trip through Egypt, travelers are given tours of the country’s highlights, including the pyramids and Luxor Temple. While Xinhua made no mention of the cost of the tour, a nine-day luxury cultural tour for 10-14 people advertised on Ctrip costs over $3,700 (RMB 25,600) per person.
Shi Yuewen (石岳文), cultural counselor to Egypt, told Xinhua that communication and exchanges between young people are very important. Shi believes that tourism and study tours will help increase mutual understanding. He added that the embassy will continue to facilitate the development of cultural tourism for young people in both countries.
According to official statistics from the country’s Tourism Development Authority, Egypt welcomed 8.3 million tourists in 2017, and expects to attract a similar number this year.