Egypt discounts local flight tickets to encourage domestic tourism

Egypt discounts local flight tickets to encourage domestic tourism
Horse guides wait for tourists at the Giza pyramids plateau, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Giza, Egypt January 3, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 January 2021

Egypt discounts local flight tickets to encourage domestic tourism

Egypt discounts local flight tickets to encourage domestic tourism
  • Hotels in the subsidized locations will also offer discounted prices to encourage travel

CAIRO: The Egyptian government has announced that EgyptAir will discount all domestic airline tickets to tourist destinations to compensate for the downturn in tourism during the coronavirus pandemic.

Egyptian ministers said that the discounts — which come as part of the “Winter in Egypt” initiative — will be implemented from Jan. 15 to Nov. 28.

Hotels in the subsidized locations will also offer discounted prices to encourage travel.

The government said meetings were held involving the ministers of tourism, antiquities and aviation, in addition to representatives from the Egyptian Tourism Federation and Chamber of Tourism Establishments. 

The Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani previously announced that tourism revenues in the country had dropped 69 percent in the last year to about $4 billion compared to more than $13 billion in 2019.

Al-Anani said this was due to the suspension of air traffic and the border closures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 85 million people and killed 1.8 million.

The minister said the number of tourists in Egypt reached 3.5 million in 2020, compared to 13.1 million in 2019.

The Ministry of Aviation said that several coordination meetings were held between Al-Anani and Mohamed Manar, the minister of civil aviation, to set up mechanisms to stimulate domestic tourism and to discuss the promotion of the “Winter in Egypt” initiative.

The is hoping to connect tourist cities with various governorates by organizing trips from Cairo to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh, Taba, Hurghada and Marsa Alam, and from Alexandria to Luxor and Aswan, from Jan. 15 until the end of February.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities decided to grant a 50 percent discount on the prices of tickets for Egyptians in the archaeological areas and museums open for visits in the governorates of Qena, Luxor and Aswan, throughout January and February.


Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding
Updated 38 min 43 sec ago

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding
  • The Kingdom has proved to be a fruitful market for investment in startups

RIYADH: A Saudi financial technology company has raised $1.2 million in seed funding.

Hakbah’s success comes six months after the Riyadh-based startup received regulatory approval from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) to operate in the Kingdom.

The specific investors behind the financing have not been revealed.

Founded in late 2018 by Naif AbuSaida, Hakbah specializes in alternative saving and savings groups.

On its LinkedIn profile, the firm describes its mission “is to digitize financial habits by developing innovative savings products that help increase financial inclusion, support a non-cash society, and bridge the gender gap in savings.”

Hakbah graduated from the DIFC Fintech Accelerator Program 2019 in Dubai.

The Kingdom has proved to be a fruitful market for investment in startups. Saudi Arabia recorded a 35 percent year-on-year increase in the number of investment deals in the technology startup sector last year, according to a new industry report.

A study by data research platform Magnitt found that the Kingdom accounted for 18 percent of the 496 investment deals throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region last year.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt were the largest markets, accounting for 68 percent of total deals. However, while the Kingdom saw the number of investment deals increase by more than one-third, the UAE and Egypt witnessed volume decreases of 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

When it came to the monetary value of the deals, Saudi Arabia recorded a surge of 55 percent year-on-year to $152 million.

Nabeel Koshak, CEO at Saudi Venture Capital Co., said: “Saudi Arabia is witnessing an increase in the quality and quantity in the deal flow of startups. I am thrilled by the distinguished entrepreneurs who are creating fast growth and scalable startups.

“Despite the slowdown of (the coronavirus disease) COVID-19, Saudi Arabia saw a record increase in venture capital funding (55 percent) in 2020 compared with 2019.”

In its predictions for this year, Magnitt forecast that Saudi Arabia would overtake Egypt by total number of investments and capital deployed and become second only to the UAE in the rankings.