CAIRO — Egypt is taking steps to attract football fans during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which Qatar will host in November and December.
In collaboration with airlines, the Egyptian General Authority for Tourism Activation has launched an initiative to encourage football fans to spend part of their 2022 World Cup vacation in the Egyptian cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.
As part of the initiative, the Egyptian Chamber of Hotel Establishments announced in early October the launch of direct flights from Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh to Doha, Qatar’s capital.
The chamber also urged hotel managers who want to participate in the initiative to offer at least a 10% discount to World Cup fans with a Haya card — which provides an entry permit to Qatar as well as stadium access — or to set up an incentive program to attract tourists.
Experts and observers believe that the World Cup in Qatar is a golden opportunity for Egypt to promote tourism and entice fans to visit its cities from November 20 to December 18.
According to Ahmed Amer, an archaeological researcher at Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, “Egypt can leverage the World Cup in Qatar with attractive offers by tourism companies targeting football fans.” This can be accomplished through hotel fee reductions in the cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, which serve as ideal transit destinations for fans, as well as lower airline ticket prices.”
Amer proposed implementing programs to attract tourists before they travel to Qatar in order to persuade them to stay in Egypt as their primary destination during the tournament period. “Fans would be offered transportation from Egypt to Qatar to watch the matches they want and then return to Egypt,” he explained.
In an early October press statement, Kamel Abu-Ali, head of the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association, emphasized the importance of Egypt tapping into World Cup events to promote Egyptian tourist destinations through an initiative that includes charter flights between Doha and Egyptian resorts in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.
“Fans from all over the world must be encouraged to stay in Egyptian resorts and travel to Doha via charter flights to watch the matches and then return to their stay in Egypt,” Abu-Ali added.
During a meeting with representatives of tourism and aviation companies in the Arab market on September 20, Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ghada Shalaby stated that the World Cup will attract a large number of fans from countries that do not have direct flights to Qatar, such as those in Latin America. She emphasized this as a chance to entice these fans to visit Egypt during the tournament.
At the same meeting, Amr el-Kady, CEO of the Egyptian General Authority for Tourism Activation, stated that a promotional campaign with airlines and tour operators will be implemented during World Cup matches, targeting the Arab market as well.
In a similar vein, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, and Oman announced facilities for Haya card holders to visit during the World Cup.