CAIRO: Apps have become increasingly popular in Egypt in recent years, creating new job opportunities and challenging traditional business and marketing channels.
For instance, Uber has around 90,000 monthly active drivers in the country, and Airbnb has grown massively.
Showaround, a platform that allows travelers to hire locals as personal tour guides, has attracted more than 6,300 locals.
“It’s a wave of change. It’s the fourth industrial revolution. Expect more and more apps to change how business is done,” Mohsen Aziz, 41, a software company owner in Cairo, told Arab News.
“Moreover, it opens up the space for new job opportunities and new products and services that were almost impossible to offer previously.”
Aziz said of Showaround: “Regardless of the local guides’ background, they still get recruited by global tourists. Subscribers’ profile picture, write up and service users’ reviews drive demand.”
On the app, men and women, primarily aged 21-35, post interesting pictures that include ancient sites, yoga positions and hiking.
Tour prices range from $3 to $15 per hour, but many locals offer their services for free to gain reviews.
“While I’m happy we’re driving better tourist services through such platforms, I’m concerned that these locals aren’t trained or have enough of a background to be ambassadors for our country to explain thousands of years of history,” said professional tour guide Rasha Hussein.
“Guides should get government licenses to practice. It doesn’t sound fair. We spent years studying and practicing to be eligible.”
Egypt aims to attract 12 million tourists in the fiscal year 2019-20, an 11 percent increase from 2018-19, according to government plans.
The Tourism Ministry recently announced partnerships with six international companies, including CNN and Expedia, to promote tourism through global platforms and modernize marketing mechanisms for Egyptian tourist destinations.
The government aims to increase the number of tourist nights spent in Egypt to 127 million, compared to 113 million in 2018-19.
Egypt’s tourism revenues reached $11.4 billion in 2018, an increase of around 50 percent ($7.6 billion) from 2017, according to figures from the Tourism Ministry.