Egypt is special as it is a hybrid educational, where advisors are invited to bring their clients. Our focus is on showcasing the overland route between Luxor and Aswan and thousands of years of history. However, it goes further than that. Egypt is on the precipice of an era of discovery, with new artifacts found by local archaeologists almost daily (with the brand name archaeologists doing the PR rounds, though that is a different discussion).
It seems, almost every day I am reading about a new burial chamber, tomb, or pyramid that is being discovered. I have to tell you, it is exciting, and it reminds me of my first visit as a teenager, eating the local food in Cairo that was all familiar since it was similar to the food I ate visiting my grandmother and the rest of my mother’s family in Sudan.
There is something else at play, however. Egypt has not had an easy road to prominence, and tourism has been a central driver. Like most countries in Africa and Latin America post-pandemic, Egypt is facing a debt crisis and currency shortage that can only be cured by GDP growth, most of which is fueled by tourism. The country has risen up from the revolution in 2010 through a lost decade to the very front, where it belongs. This is the beginning of civilization and the history that powered or facilitated the emergence of almost every major empire that came after. The similarities to the Romans, Greeks, and even the pre-Incan Peruvians are undeniable.
This is what makes this visit to Egypt so special. We have initiatives in the pipeline that will open a new window into the history of ancient Egypt, bringing our travelers not just along for the journey but rather putting them in the driver’s seat.
The Countdown Clock
I’m sure you heard the phrase, the glass is half full or half empty, right? Well, have you heard, the glass is half as far or half as close? It seems every time we near the festive period, this is the phrase we actually say, without even knowing it. I may have been one of the inventors of this as a common procrastinator myself. Maybe that’s why I am always wondering if we are looking at this the wrong way. Maybe it’s not about how much water is in the glass, maybe it’s about how attainable the glass is.
Ok enough with the analogies, I know. Every year around this time, roughly 30 days before the beginning of the festive travel period, the extreme procrastinators wake up and start planning their holiday travels. While space is pretty much exhausted, there are pockets of space, however, that is where my analogy comes in. It may be 30 days before this festive period; it is also 395 days before festive 2024, and that is the number we should pay attention to. It means those who waited until the last minute for this year are actually early for next year right? Well, I’m telling that to myself..
Our team is taking reservations for festive 2024 and helping guests find the space that wasn’t available this year. That space is going fast too, so let’s start talking about that glass again.
Dreams do come true at the WTTC Global Summit
2023 has really been a milestone year for me personally. On November 3, in Kigali, Rwanda, during the global summit. I had the honor of speaking on a panel on emerging markets on the main stage with some prestigious company, and it was everything I hoped it would be. The World Travel Tourism Council, I will never forget being appointed and becoming a regional member, serving alongside some of the brightest minds in our industry.
15 years of striving and reaching for this appointment, taking advantage of every opportunity that presented itself to make this dream come true. I got to share ideas that inspired and listen to ideas that provoked thought where, the day before, the presidents of two African nations were giving their address on that very same stage; I was humbled by the opportunity to address tourism ministers from around the African continent and their delegation. It was a dream fulfilled.
On stage, I felt like I was speaking to the visionaries, the dreamers, and those who may feel marginalized to believe in themselves and remember that if you have the will to work harder than you ever thought you could or want something bad enough, your dreams are never too big.
Thank you to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the executive board, the vice chair, my fellow members, and mentors who guided me along the way, allowing me to breathe life into my dream.
Click below and Let us share this moment with you.
A Thousand Years Before Inca
Part III of our Peru Dispatch is very special to me. The dynamic in Peru is one that is quite unique, with one region completely reliant on tourism and other parts of the country barely connected to tourism. Open up any media piece or marketing campaign on Peru, and what do you most often see? Machu Picchu or Rainbow Mountain, right? Well, that is what makes Part III so special. This is an area of Peru that is relatively unknown, and few see it. Yet, it is where pre-Inca history is concentrated. Here, you go back in time and see enough evidence to make you question the accuracy of what you knew about history.
My first visit to Chachapoyas was really by accident when I was visiting Peru with my family years ago. An incident on the train to Machu Picchu prevented us from seeing the Incan Marvel that year, yet we were able to get up to Chachapoyas… and wow, I still remember how amazed I was. It was a few months after that visit that I found myself in Chicago in the Mummy Room at the Field Museum. What I saw shocked me – mummies from ancient Rome and the mummies of Peru, now mostly stored in an amazing museum in Leymabamba. The similarities were too hard to ignore, so I started a detailed conversation with the historian involved in the exhibit, who told me that he believes that the Romans and Peruvians of Chachapoyas were interconnected back then as there was overlap in the time both empires existed. I couldn’t shake the words and woke up the next day fully embracing that perhaps geography didn’t keep these empires back.
Well, this time, returning to the north was actually more magical as we met with experts who provided an in-depth lecture on the mummies in the Leymabamba museum and how they were discovered. Seeing the timeline combined with the recently re-opened ruins of Kuelap, combined with the fifth-highest free-standing waterfall in the world, made for what is still one of my favorite parts of Peru. They complement the hidden gems one finds up here; however, these properties and those who run them… their lives are so much harder. They don’t have three flights a day coming here but just three a week, which sometimes makes connecting this part of Peru with the Sacred Valley a real challenge. Rumor has it that a delegation is working on changing this, which is great.
That is why this dispatch is so important. It’s not just a video and a report. It is an open letter to the tourist board and the tourism ministry to engage.
Follow in the steps of South Africa, Colombia, and other active, thriving destinations. Treat the remote parts of the country just as importantly as the known parts, diversify your message, and most importantly, Engage.