Egypt's Back on Radar of Malaysian Outbound Agents

Several outbound agents are keen to put Egypt back on the travel radar for Malaysians by leveraging cheaper ground prices and promoting the destination more aggressively at the upcoming MATTA Fair in Kuala Lumpur next month.

Egypt's unrest and political instability in 2014 had caused some outbound agents in Malaysia to stop selling the country. The Malaysian government had earlier issued a travel advisory as well, urging Malaysian to defer or reschedule their non-essential travel there.

Desmond Lee, group managing director of Apple Vacations & Conventions, said: “We started to promote the destination again in October 2016. Last year, we had three series groups. But as of Chinese New Year until April this year, we will have five departures in total.

“In general, ground arrangements are around 20 to 30 per cent less throughout the country as compared to 2013 rates. For US$100, we can now get a five-star hotel in Cairo and Aswan; in the past, US$100 could only fetch a four-star property,” said Lee, anticipating the special package rates to drive demand for Egypt at the MATTA Fair.

Another outbound player, Cooper Huang, CEO of Malaysian Harmony Tours & Travel, will be selling a nine-day, seven-night package covering Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor at the upcoming fair, for series departures from April 2017 until March 2018.

Said Huang: “Middle Eastern carriers are offering competitive fares, and ground rates are also competitive. This is enticing many first timers who have never been to Egypt before. The main draw in Egypt is still the pyramids.”

The Matta Fair 2017 will be held from March 17-19 at the PWTC Kuala Lumpur.