Hakim helps Egypt swap pyramid selling for a new song

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Egyptian folk singer Hakim performs to a packed house in London. (AN photo)
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Egyptian fans watch folk singer Hakim perform to a packed house in London. (AN photo)
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Egyptian folk singer Hakim performs to a packed house in London. (AN photo)
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Egyptian folk singer Hakim was the first person from an Arabic speaking country to perform at a Nobel Peace Prize event. (AN photo)
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The renowned Egyptian singer Hakim will perform at Olympia Theater in Paris on September 23, to be the third Egyptian singer to sing on that prominent theatre. (AN photo)
Updated 23 September 2017
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Hakim helps Egypt swap pyramid selling for a new song

LONDON: Egyptian tourism chiefs have recruited folk singer Hakim to help promote the country’s battered holiday appeal across Europe.
With performances lined up in Paris, Marseilles and Barcelona following sell-out shows in Madrid and Lyon, the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority hopes the singer will help to raise the country’s profile.
Egypt may be best known for its ancient wonders, but the country now wants to appeal to Europe’s culture vultures as well as sun-seekers.
“Hakim still attracts a lot of younger Egyptians. He represents this dynamic, modern side to Egyptian culture,” said Amr El-Ezabi, director of the Egyptian Tourist Office for the UK and the Nordic countries.
“Egypt is very famous as a historic destination – it’s one of the strongest brands in this respect. What we need to build upon is the contemporary culture aspect of the brand as vivid, modern and attractive.
“We don’t only have the temples of the pharaoh; we were also the first country in the Middle East to have a Philharmonic orchestra and a ballet house. We have also been the biggest producers of cinema in the region since the beginning of the 20th century.
“These are things we need to remind people of,” he said.
The effect is cumulative, he continued, citing the impact of film industries like Hollywood and Bollywood on tourism in the US and India over time.
“We need to create more awareness among people here of our output in terms of music and the arts, and revive the image of Egypt as a cultural destination.”

Egypt’s tourism market has weathered a series of setbacks following several terror attacks in recent years, and authorities are keen to tap into new source markets.
A $22 million annual campaign budget has been allocated to promote Egypt across 26 different markets, including Latin America and southern Europe.
Prior to 2011, the UK and Italy, along with Russia, were Egypt’s biggest tourism markets, while today Germany, Saudi Arabia and Jordan top the list.
While 1.5 million Britons visited Egypt in 2010, the tally had dwindled to 231,000 last year.
Still, the country remains a popular choice according to Hollie Youlden, head of marketing at London-based travel company On the Go Tours.
“The UK remains one of our main territories for Egypt. The Brits love dry heat and the weather there is perfect in the winter.”
Last month, Egypt was the company’s top-selling destination, she said, and numbers have been healthy throughout the year. “We’ve been running tours to Egypt for 20 years now, and the only time we saw a decline was during the Arab Spring.
“Over the last few years, passenger numbers have been rising steadily and Egypt has become one of our best-selling destinations again, competing with the likes of Iceland and Vietnam.”
Tour operator Kuoni also reported rising interest in Egypt. “We have started to see an increase in inquiries for Egypt in our stores across the UK, and bookings for next year are up, particularly for Nile Cruises.
“Egypt has such strong appeal with its bucket-list monuments, and from the UK it can be reached in less than six hours,” a spokesperson for the company told Arab News.

Data released on Thursday by STR showed that occupancy levels in Egyptian hotels have seen a 12.9 percent increase in demand, with double-digit growth for all but one month of 2017.
Tourism revenues rose by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, according to figures reported by Reuters, with 4.3 million tourists visiting the country during this period, marking a 54 percent increase on a year earlier — largely due to an increase in visitors from Germany and Ukraine.
Europeans made up 75 percent of these visitors.


Paris official seeks to outlaw Airbnb rentals in city center

Updated 06 September 2018
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Paris official seeks to outlaw Airbnb rentals in city center

  • With some 60,000 apartments on offer in the city, Paris is the biggest market for Airbnb
  • The administration of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has already taken action against Airbnb and others

PARIS: The Paris city council member in charge of housing said Thursday that he would propose outlawing home rentals via Airbnb and other websites in the city center, accusing the service of forcing residents out of the French capital.
Ian Brossat said that he would also seek to prohibit the purchase of secondary residences in Paris, saying such measures were necessary to keep the city from becoming an “open-air museum.”
“One residence out of every four no longer houses Parisians,” said Brossat, who is expected to head the Communist party list for European Parliament elections next year.
With some 60,000 apartments on offer in the city, Paris is the biggest market for Airbnb, which like other home-sharing platforms has come under increasing pressure from cities which claim it drives up rents for locals.
“Do we want Paris to be a city which the middle classes can afford, or do we want it to be a playground for Saudi or American billionaires?” he said.
Brossat has had Airbnb and its rivals in his sights for years, and recently published a book assailing the US giant titled “Airbnb, or the Uberised City.”
He wants to forbid any short-term tourist rentals of entire apartments in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Arrondissements of Paris, home to some of the world’s most popular sites including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Louvre museum.
“If we don’t do anything, there won’t be any more locals: Like on the Ile Saint-Louis, we’ll end up with a drop in the number of residents and food shops turned into clothing or souvenir stores,” he said, referring to the Seine island in the shadow of the Notre-Dame cathedral.
“We’ll be living in an open-air museum,” he added.
Brossat hopes the measures will be included in a law aimed at overhauling France’s real estate laws to be debated this fall.
The administration of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has already taken action against Airbnb and others, requiring homeowners to register with the city and limiting the number of rentals to 120 nights a year.
Last month the city said the total amount of fines levied against home rental platforms rose to €1.38 million ($1.60 million) from January to August 15, compared with €1.3 million for 2017 as a whole.
Its crackdown echoes those in other hot tourist destinations including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin.
Last month Airbnb sued the city of New York after it passed a law forcing home-sharing platforms to disclose data about their hosts, calling it a campaign “funded by the city’s powerful hotel lobby.”