Sunday, January 4, 2015

News: The Top Tours, Africa and Middle East Stories of the 2014

Covering Africa and the Middle East, I get an odd view of the news. Mainstream news coverage is usually skewed negatively in the reporting on those areas. 

People who work in the travel industry in those regions are constantly battling against the negative perceptions created constantly by those negative news reports. The actual stories, from my view, only bear a vague resemblance to what I see in the news and what presumably the majority of Americans are exposed to.

Consequently my view, compared to the mainstream reporting may tend to appear as through it's coming through the looking glass. That's the view from the travel industry in those badly misunderstood and misrepresented areas.

The industry segment that I cover, wholesale tour operators and vacation packagers, is also widely misunderstood in the mainstream. Tour operators are constantly in a battle to explain to the public what it is they do. They are not just taking people around in buses and leading large, highly regimented groups through museums with umbrellas in hand. That's an image from the past. Today's tour operators are on the leading edge of the wave of experiential travel that is sweeping the industry. We will show the Egyptian part, If you want to read all the top stories for 2014 from my little corner of the world…… Click Here

After nearly four years of a badly depressed travel industry in Egypt, the pendulum finally started swinging back the other way in late 2014.

After the election of a new president in early summer and the gradual subsiding of political turmoil, Americans began to feel confident about returning to the country. The fear of travel to Egypt was another fear that had no solid, rational basis, or none that would stand up to scrutiny. But an industry that is central to Egyptian economic prosperity was devastated for years, creating untold suffering.

In February I went to Egypt, At that time the industry was practically nonexistent. When we attended the major tourist sites, we were often the only tourists there, and when we did see tourists, there were very few and they were mostly from Russia or Germany. Most of the rest of the world had abandoned Egypt. The Nile River cruise boats were parked with their deck chairs and tables all tied up, looking as if they had been immobile for a long time.

Now the traffic has started to flow again and the people of Egypt are happily seeing tourists returning. It’s gratifying to see.

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