Category Archives: Tourism

Interview with Medha Sampat, Country Head of South African Tourism

Medha Sampat has been the Country Head of South African Tourism in India for over a year. She shares with our readers why South Africa must be on your wishlist of must-visit destinations for sports holidays as well as for unique experiences.

How long have you been the Country Manager for South Africa Tourism and how has tourism to South Africa grown during your tenure?

In 2009, I was appointed as the Country Manager of South African Tourism for the India portfolio. India has always been an important market for South African Tourism. Initially we had aligned our promotional strategies to leverage events around fashion, food and wine to lure the Indian traveller. However, we soon identified Bollywood and sports as important drivers for tourism growth. With the support of the SAT team in India and South Africa, we defined our potential audience and reached out to them with targeted marketing tools in order to create awareness and excitement about the destination.

A smart combination of promotions, advertising and media-related activities, especially during the IPL tournament in South Africa, ensured that our audiences were sufficiently motivated, which further enhanced tourist arrivals to South Africa. With successful marketing and positioning strategies in India, we have seen a growth of 17.5%, with total tourist arrival of 61007 till December 2009. With the momentum now firmly in place, we are sure to carry through this growth curve till the end of the fiscal term.

What is the role of SA Tourism office and how do you go about creating awareness of South Africa amongst members of travel trade as well as potential travellers in general?

We at SA Tourism, play a pivotal role in opening new avenues to package South Africa in a unique format that can be used by tour operators to familiarize themselves on the destination. We have come a long way determining our priorities with regards to markets, based on size and growth potential. Our biggest strength when talking about South Africa to the Indian traveller is a thorough knowledge and understanding of their needs, requirements and travel patterns. We have been promoting our product by various activities with an aim to approach the right market and effectively convey the messages.

In India, leisure products travel through a complex network of intermediaries before reaching the end consumer. There are over 28000 tour operators and travel agencies distributed across India and they are an important group where awareness and education on the potential of the destination has to be impressed. Activities have to be conducted to reach out to the Indian travel-trade industry, provide impetus to existing operators and facilitate partnerships and synergies between Indian operators and their South African counterparts. Realizing this need, we set out to plan our activities for the year, and put in place goals to be achieved. Our calendar of events includes multi-city Roadshows, Incountry Famils, fam- trips, consumer promotions among many other exciting initiatives. Trade-based activities such as these help in expanding the operators’ base, increasing visibility and enhancing understanding of the destination.

What is the estimated growth you envisage out of India in 2010-11 as South Africa will be hosting two major sporting events later this year: the FIFA World Cup and the T20 Champions League?

South Africans’ passion for sport, its world class venues, top international events and well developed infrastructure combine to make the country a huge draw-card for sports fans. Sporting events like cricket and football help showcase our wonderful tourist attractions to billions of captive fans worldwide. They work to cement South Africa’s position as a premier sporting destination, apart from bringing in millions of dollars through the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors. Moreover, the indirect spin-offs from improved perceptions abroad could have an even greater, longer-lasting impact, not only on South Africa and its development but on the continent as a whole.

The contribution of sports tourism to the South African economy is estimated to be approximately ZAR 6 billion annually. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will result in anticipated injection of about ZAR 21.3 billion into the South African economy. We are confident of reaching our target arrivals of 65862 from India for 2010-11 and we hope that the mega sporting bonanza and the subsequent T20 Champions League alongwith similar such sporting events will encourage the Indian traveller to return time and again with family and friends to our beautiful Rainbow Nation.

How has Bollywood and sporting events helped enhance Brand South Africa amongst the Indian visitors?

Bollywood and sports, namely cricket and football have played a huge role in enhancing the visibility quotient that South Africa boasts of today in the Indian market. Sporting events like the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the IPL in 2009 and the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 have helped showcase the country’s scenic locales amidst the sporting action that gripped the world. Playing host to events of such great magnitude has also brought to light South Africa’s proficiency to host world class events.

Films, being such a mass culture in India help reach out to a wider audience and expand the target group – family, honeymoon and MICE segment. With Indian tourists being highly influenced by films and entertainment, South Africa has in its recent years attracted a lot of tourists with Bollywood movies. The country’s locales have benefited enormously from the use of its streets, landmarks and colorful locations.  In the recent past, we have seen some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters set and shot extensively in South Africa. Clearly, Bollywood and sports have resulted in unprecedented coverage and awareness for brand South Africa.

What according to you is the minimum number of days one should spend to get a glimpse of South Africa, especially the first time traveller?

The average stay of an Indian tourist in South Africa is around 10 days, depending on the type of holiday experience that one is looking for, where one can choose amongst the major hot spots – Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. Wildlife safaris can be experienced across South Africa which is an experience by itself and a huge drawcard for Indian travellers.

Which are the Big 5 attractions that should be included for a visit to South Africa?

South Africa is a mesmerizing country with endless enchanting views but the big five attractions that should be included on a South African sojourn, should be:

The charismatic Table Mountain which is what the Western Cape Province is renowned for. Any person, who lays eyes on it is sure to fall for its powerful spell.

Second would be the Garden Route – Three of South Africa’s top hikes take place here – the Otter Trail, the Tsitsikama and Dolphin trails. It is a paradise for eco-lovers, bird watchers and solitude seekers.

Of course, who can forget the famous Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town which is a real thrill.

The Cradle of Humankind in the Gauteng province comprising a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossilized remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids tell a story of their own.

The fifth big attraction is the Kruger National Park with its abundant wildlife – hearing the roar of a lion out in the wild is a truly exhilarating experience!

What are the initiatives  taken by SA Tourism to educate the travel trade on Brand South Africa?

We have organized several activities in the past to expand our trade network here in India. Trade events like roadshows, incountry famils, the internationally renowned annual trade convention, Indaba amongst others have helped build strategic partnerships with our Indian trade partners. We have also introduced the Food Map along with our Adventure and Luxury Style Guides that have been effective blueprints for travel trade to understand South Africa’s offerings and help Indian travellers navigate better during their stay in South Africa. Our new training programme, “Learn South Africa”, will be implemented in 12 cities across India that will help travel industry representatives get a better understanding of South Africa as a destination and all its tourist attractions. The programme aims to help travel trade promote, plan and organise quality holidays to suit client requirements. This is a first for any tourism board, and we are proud to be setting the benchmarks for the industry.

There are several myths and apprehensions about South Africa – distance, safety, South Africa offers only wildlife. How do you plan to address these issues?

South Africa is as safe as any other destination in the world, provided you take some normal precautions like you would anywhere else as a tourist. Simply stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you and you will most likely enjoy a perfectly safe holiday. As for the rest of the misconceptions, whilst there is a continuous process of education that we undertake with the trade, who can deny that seeing is believing!

What according to you are the must-visit experiences to be included for visitors to South Africa on:

Honeymoon – South Africa is a Honeymooners haven and it would be incomplete with out paying a tribute to Cape Town and Cape Peninsula well known for world-class shopping, nightlife and some exquisite food and wine. One can enjoy a romantic candle light dinner at Robben Island, Table Mountain or the V & A Waterfront, an exceptionally romantic outing that will ensure you have a wonderful time with your spouse. Another interesting place to discover is Hermanus, where couples can traverse the magnificent Walker Bay that provides nature lovers with an extraordinary opportunity to explore the wonders of the Cape’s beautiful flora and fascinating coastal and marine life.

Adventure – Adventure activities in the Drakensberg region are sure to leave you gasping which include hiking trails, horse trails and safaris, fly fishing, white water rafting and rock climbing to mention but a few. Furthermore the Hot air ballooning in Mpumalanga and Bungy Jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge is sure to suffice your appetite for adventure. And there’s many more unique activities on offer for the adventure-seeker – the shark-cage diving offering fascinating encounters with the Great White Shark; the zip-line and the canopy tour to name just a few.

Family break – A shopping spree at The Gateway Mall (Durban), situated in Umhlanga, is reputed to be the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere. It has a wide variety of shops, a supermarket, over 30 restaurants and some unusual entertainment facilities. Fourways Mall shopping centre in Johannesburg is famous for fashion and also offers a number of elite jewellers with a choice of selected diamond and gold jewellery. If your family enjoys music, a visit to South Africa’s renowned musical show, Umoja will enthrall and captivate your heartbeats. Of course, the call of the wildlife during a game drive safari in the Kruger National Park is enjoyed by the young and old alike, and makes for a perfect family outing.

Special interests such as wine and golf – Combine your love of safari and your passion for golf at the savannah courses. And a glass of wine to celebrate a golf game will unquestionably be soothing to your soul. For which the Cape Winelands are the most scenic in the world with Pinotage and Hanepoort being made from specially cultivated grapes. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc (steen) and Chardonnay are the buzz at the moment in South Africa and there’s plenty of options to enjoy these gourmet luxuries.

What according to you are the top 3 favourite teams for the 2010 FIFA World Cup?

There is a spirit of FIFA that is unmatched anywhere in the world. While Brazil, Italy and France are the hot favourites, all eyes are on the home team, Bafana Bafana this FIFA season to keep the trophy back home. All the countries have come together to showcase their best teams on a common platform. As the vuvuzelas (see photo below) herald the kick-off, we invite the world to bring on the games!

Which are the major sporting events and Bollywood shoots lined up for the future after the FIFA World Cup?

On cricket action, the T20 Champions League is scheduled to take place in South Africa in September this year. Also, the Indian team will tour South Africa in October-November to add to the cricket buzz. As for other sporting events, there is plenty more that keeps happening such as the ATP South African Open which see participating from the top stars of Indian tennis. On Bollywood, it would be difficult to pin down which movies are being shot there during the course of the year. But there is plenty of star-candy at any time in South Africa!

Indians are becoming more discerning as travellers. Which are some of the luxury and exclusive tourism products that one can experience only in South Africa?

Deep in the rugged bushveld, in the heart of an ancient volcano, lies the world’s most unique resort, the internationally acclaimed Sun City. The resort has a unique heartbeat and an African rhythm of its own and is unlike any other resort destination in the world. This is pure fantasy where your every desire is met. Apart from this if one wants to submit his mind and body for a complete revitalization process, then luxury spas in South Africa are rejuvenating havens to unwind. Karkloof Spa in Masunduzi, Lapologa in Pretoria and Mangwanani Private African Day Spa in Gauteng are just a few of the luxury doorways to experience eternal bliss. Many of our game lodges in the heart of the Kruger National Park like the Singita Game Reserve, the Earth Lodge at Sabi Sabi offer luxury unlimited. And these, are but a few that I mention!

Kruger National Park has become synonymous with the legendary Game Drives. What is it that makes a Game Drive in Kruger National Park so special and unique?

In a Kruger National Park safari you will be in awe with the plenty of Big Five sightings. At Kruger, one can experience South Africa’s wilderness in a self-drive safari, or relax and take in the sights on a guided wildlife tour, explore the bush on foot, stay in an exquisite tented camp or spend the night at a luxury lodge. A safari in Kruger National Park not only provides guests with the opportunity to encounter the wild but also allows for cultural interaction. The professional guides help you to identify the animals that grope in the dark and ensure that you will not miss the best game sightings. South Africa’s safari game lodges offer an unbeatable combination of game drives, walks with skilled trackers, and exclusive accommodation in pristine natural surroundings.

Which is your preferred destination in South Africa and what are the emerging places to visit for the Indian traveller?

As a travel destination, South Africa is uniquely placed because it offers something for everyone.

Depending on the type of holiday experience that one wants, one can go to the place of one’s choice in South Africa. If one wishes to experience a serene beach holiday, KwaZulu-Natal is the place to be, because of its favorable climate. Cape Town and Garden Route beckons the Indian traveller to get a glimpse of the scenic beauty. To experience wildlife and get lost in the ‘Land of Bushes’, one can visit the Limpopo Province or Mpumalanga and stay in one of the game reserves to experience the breathtaking safari. If night clubbing and culture is on one’s itinerary, then there is no better place than Johannesburg.

While Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are among the top favourites in the globetrotter’s wish-list, other places in the Northwest province and Eastern Cape are also being explored.

What is your opinion of Namaste South Africa ( – a dedicated online platform for the Indian traveller to South Africa?

It is an interesting website, packed with lots of information and exciting visuals.

Lastly, your message to readers:

For all those sports enthusiasts, who want to experience an unforgettable adventure in the wild and not lose an opportunity of a lifetime, get ready with your backpacks and head to South Africa – a country where “It’s Possible!”

Interview with N. Sevgi Boz, Culture and Tourism Counsellor of Turkey

N. SEVGI BOZ State Culture and Tourism Counsellor of Turkey shares with us her views on Turkey promotion in India.

How long have you been the Culture and Tourism Counsellor in India and how has tourism to Turkey grown during this period?

I have been in India since the beginning of 2008. We started a new office and I had started first as the Counsellor of Culture and Tourism. India is a big market and one of the largest emerging markets for Turkey recently. India is a very special country and Turkey has a very warm and friendly relationship with India based on our diverse cultural connections. The Turkish Government realizes the importance of having a base in India and decided to open a new Culture and Tourism Office. Our office is part of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and one of the 40 offices across the globe and a part of Turkish Embassy in Delhi.

We are primarily here because of the importance of the growing Indian market and we thought that we needed to create awareness in the minds of Indian people about Turkey as a destination. We see that many Indians do not know much about Turkey beyond Istanbul which is quite a famous destination. Most Indians do not have enough information about what Turkey has to offer beyond Istanbul. We want to promote Turkey as a holiday destination. We have a holiday destination campaign which we are marketing extensively in India. We are participating in expos, travel and trade fairs and trying to reach the travel agents and the end consumers as well.  We are also organizing Familiarization trips as well as training workshops.

Where in India do you actively promote Turkey?

Initially, we conducted a workshop covering five important cities of India: Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. There were almost 16 travel companies that came from Turkey to participate in this workshop followed by another 14 companies and we had 10 travel companies participating in the TTF/OTM this year.

We want people to catch up with the most important holiday period during April and May. It is the Tulip season as well. For the last two years we are constantly encouraging Indian writers and media persons to write about Turkey. We are inviting them to Turkey so they can have a personal and firsthand experience. We have allocated funds to arrange trips of Indian travel writers. As a Turkish national, I know Turkey well but if people hear firsthand experiences from an Indian traveller then the whole perspective changes. Maybe our experiences vary from the Indians, so if they see, hear and read something from Indian writers then they can relate to it better.

One of the best ways to promote a destination is via cinema. Are you encouraging Indian movies to be shot on location in Turkey?

From the beginning we have been encouraging films to be shot in Turkey as we know Bollywood is the largest film producing industry in the world. Bollywood movies have an audience spread across the world. Not only Indians but many other foreign nationals also take keen interest in watching Bollywood films. We know the importance of Bollywood. We are very eager to support Indian film makers to come and shoot in Turkey. We are also looking forward to having an Indian celebrity as our brand ambassador that should follow in a span of time.

What are the special activities to be held in Istanbul as it has been selected to be a European Capital of Culture for 2010?

Istanbul is the gateway city of Turkey and one of the most famous destinations. It has also been declared to be a European Capital of Culture for 2010 by the European Union. Throughout the year there will be many festivals and art exhibitions. For example, the Tulip is the symbol of Istanbul and the Minister of Istanbul has decided to decorate Istanbul with tulips. It is the only city in the entire world that is based in two continents, Asia and Europe. Napoleon once said “That if ever the World has to have one single Capital then it has to be Istanbul.” It is also called the melting pot of 3 continents.

How many visitors are travelling to Turkey each year from India?

In 2009, we did not reach the expected number of Indian visitors because of the economic crisis. We received approximately 55000 visitors from India last year.  In 2007, it was 45000. That means an increase of 10000 people in 2 years. These numbers are good but not enough. Big numbers are expected in 2010 and we are promoting Turkey exclusively and aggressively to the Indian market and tapping the great potential of Indian travellers. We see everything settled for the travel industry between India and Turkey this year.

Overall, how many tourists visit Turkey from all over the world?

Turkey receives more than 27 million visitors from across the globe every year. There are nearly 5 million people traveling from Germany followed by Russia with nearly 3 million. Then we have a large number of people traveling from England, Netherland and France.  The entire European market is very important for us.

Now that there are direct and daily flights to Turkey from Delhi and Mumbai and with the new Consulate General opened in Mumbai, do you see forthcoming remarkable growth?

We are definitely going to see a remarkable growth this year. All participants in travel expos and travel fairs have given us very positive feedback as they are expecting a lot more people to visit Turkey this year. All those who have participated in these events are very hopeful and I look forward to a successful year ahead for the Turkish tour operators, our Indian partners and us at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We are expecting the number of Indian visitors to reach 100000. All I can say is that Turkey is ready.

For a first time traveller, what is the recommended minimum number of days to get a good glimpse of Turkey?

We are promoting Turkey as a traditional, historical, and cultural destination which also emphasizes adventure, sport activities, hospitality, shopping opportunities, golf, leisure and family activities and honeymoon options.

To even begin experiencing Turkey in its fullest, you would require a minimum of a month. Unfortunately, that is not possible for every traveller.

Istanbul is the gateway city and no trip can be started without a visit to Istanbul. We recommend Indian travellers a minimum of 3 days in Istanbul and then they can combine the Western part of Turkey. We strongly recommend exploring beyond Istanbul beginning with Cappadocia and the Aegean coast and the Mediterranean Coast. We have noticed however that Indian travellers are not as attracted to seaside holidays as Europeans. That trend is slowly changing and Turkey’s coasts are certainly worth a visit. Thus Istanbul and Cappadocia would be a good combination or Istanbul, Cappadocia and Antalya or Istanbul, Aegean Coast and Antalya. A minimum of 10 days is a must so that you can see the major attractions in the Western part of Turkey.

After having spent two years in India, what is your opinion of India as a tourism destination?

India is a fantastic and vibrant country. Before coming here, it was my dream to visit India as a tourist. Fortunately, now I am appointed as its Culture and Tourism Counsellor for Turkey.

Since the beginning I have been trying to explore as much of India as possible.  So far, we have been able to visit Delhi, Shimla, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai and of course Agra which is the Mecca for tourists, and needless to say Mumbai.

As a family, I would like to visit Kerala for its backwaters, Jammu and Kashmir to experience the breathtaking landscapes, South India to visit the temples and national parks, and also go up north to Haridwar and Mussoorie. India has lots of attractions to offer and if time permits we will try to discover more before going back to Turkey.

What is your opinion on Namaste Turkey as a concept to promote Turkish tourism to Indian travellers?

Namaste Turkey ( is a warm and welcoming concept. It is very informative and useful for the Indian traveller to Turkey. The platform establishes good relations between India and Turkey and I appreciate the efforts of Namaste Turkey in promoting tourism exchange between our two countries.  I wish the team of Namaste Turkey the very best.

Lastly, what is your message to Indian travellers visiting Turkey this year?

I would like to invite all Indians to Turkey. This year is especially significant as Istanbul has been chosen to be a European Capital of Culture. However there is much more to Turkey than Istanbul so I would also recommend visiting places beyond Istanbul such as Kusadasi, Antalya and Cappadocia. I believe that Turkey will never let its guests down.

Interview with Adel El Masry, Director of Egyptian Tourism Authority in Mumbai

From honeymoons to family resorts to shopping opportunities, Mr. Masry shares with us why Egypt is the ideal destination for the Indian traveller.

As the new Director of the Egyptian Tourism Authority in Mumbai, what are your plans for the Indian market in 2010?

My plan for the Indian market is to encourage free access between tour operators, media and the airlines. We have a total coverage strategy to develop more connections and cooperation between them.

As the tourism director I would like to establish Egypt as a destination for honeymooners as well as a new destination for golf, diving, wellness, spa, desert-trekking and many other special interest areas. I realize culture is the primary interest but I would like to promote Egypt in other ways too. In fact, Egypt recently won an award for being the most exotic destination. I am pleased that Egypt is recognized for its vast variety of activities.

Of course, I would also like to thank my predecessor and colleague, Magdi Selim, for his efforts and achievements in promoting Egypt in India and we look forward to continuing this momentum.

How many Indians visit Egypt annually and what is the estimated number of visitors in the forthcoming year?

Approximately 85000 Indians travel to Egypt annually. The numbers have certainly been increasing with each passing year and we are aiming for an increase of 20 percent in the forthcoming year with over 100000 visitor arrivals from India. The historical ties between the two countries and the cultural synergy are driving tourist arrivals from India. The outbound flow from India to Egypt has doubled over the last three years because of several reasons. Most importantly, Egypt caters to the Indian taste in terms of culture, religion, entertainment and shopping experiences. Even during the recent economic decline, tourism from India continued to grow. We find this very encouraging and India is one of our highest priorities.

Before coming to India, you were in France as Director of the Egyptian Tourism Authority. What has been your experience of both countries?

My experience in France was very good. France is certainly different from India. Europeans have a different culture and concept of travel so we had to employ a different strategy. I shall try to adopt similar overall strategies but would also like to add a few more things as far as India is concerned. Indians are very warm-hearted people who are just beginning to realize the wealth of global tourism opportunities available so a unique approach has been designed for them. When I arrived in India, I felt like I was at home. My first impression was that I came from Egypt to find another Egypt. The hospitality and warm-heartedness of India is very similar to Egypt.

Which are the primary areas that you plan to focus on in the Indian market?

We plan to develop Egypt as an ideal destination for honeymooners. For example, the Nile Cruise would be a very romantic experience. Honeymooners and families can also visit the Red Sea – especially destinations such as Sharm el-Sheikh. There are many more places which are very beautiful such as the popular resort town of Hurghada or one of the numerous Oases. We want to develop Egypt as a beautiful destination in the minds of people.

Which are some of the new holiday options in Egypt that you would recommend besides cultural activities and Cairo?

Although culture and history may be the primary attractions as far as Egypt is concerned, a place like Marsa Alam – the desert oasis – is a beautiful place to spend some time. It offers a wonderful and relaxing experience. For first time travellers, it is a great option in addition to the cultural and historical activities. There is also the option of visiting Luxor after a Nile cruise. Alexandria, the Pearl of the Mediterranean Sea, is another good option. Mersa Matruh is one of the main Egyptian tourist centres and serves as a getaway resort for Europeans and Cairenes to flee the capital in the sweltering summer months. It is a virgin destination and hence we plan to promote it extensively. On the Red Sea, we also have Nuweiba which has a great potential for tourists.

The Oasis is a beautiful place and a relatively new destination. Many archaeologists know these areas well. Oases include Bahariya, El Dakhla, Farafra, El Kharga and Siwa. Egypt has splendid white deserts for people who like to trek and are looking for adventure. We have many spa and wellness destinations for people wanting to treat various ailments such as rheumatism and psoriasis. In fact, Egypt is very well known for rich medicines and alternative therapies.

As many Indians like to combine two or more countries when travelling, you can also visit neighbouring destinations like Turkey, Jordan or Dubai when visiting Egypt because of the close proximity. Egypt is an ideal gateway point to Asia, Africa and even Europe.

What are the shopping opportunities in Egypt?

Egypt is a wonderland of shopping opportunities. There are famous bazaars such as Khan el-Khalili in Cairo but there are also many extraordinary stores and marketplaces scattered throughout the country. Cairo presents a huge variety of everything from antiques to fine clothing and jewellry.  Spices, utensils and Coptic cloth items are also a rage. Some products such as alabaster are worth buying in Luxor. The bazaars of Luxor are renowned for perfumes, bed sheets, wall hangings, embroidered cushion covers, carpets and other exquisite items. Aswan is the best place to buy gold jewellry and spices. To buy handcrafted works of Egyptian artisans, the Souk al Fustat in Cairo is the place to visit. Alexandria is well known for leather, papyrus painting and many artifacts. The shopping opportunities that Egypt has to offer are limitless.

What is the concept behind the new brand campaign of the Egyptian Tourism Authority?

The new brand campaign, logo and slogan signify that Egypt is not only the origin of a great civilization that helped in shaping universal culture but, as a tourist destination, it is the source of new experiences, rich personal inspiration and has outstanding stories to tell.

Egypt is the world’s “source” – or in Arabic, Um al Dunia. Many of the world’s civilizations have taken something from Egypt, and Egypt continues to inspire them today. The new slogan – Egypt, where it all begins – captures this essence of the country. “Egypt”, the logo, needs no introduction and explanation. It is the most well known word around the world, and a brand in itself. It aptly symbolizes the country in all its depth. The campaign brings alive the rarity and exotica, the mystique and the modern of this fabled land that offers the widest diversification of tourism all in one place – from the cultural and historical tourism of its world famous monuments, to marine tourism of its delightful deep seas, lagoons and oases; from water sports  and adventures of snorkeling, windsurfing and diving, to medical and therapeutic relaxation at spas and its natural springs; from desert tourism of its white and gold sands, to sports tourism with golfing, from MICE and business tourism with bustling nightlife, to wedding and honeymoon tourism with a cruise on its longest river Nile.

How many days should a first-time traveller spend in Egypt and why should Egypt be a preferred destination for 2010?

Egypt is a vast country and there is much to see and experience. There is a mixture of everything from deserts to beaches to pilgrimage sites to modern cities like Cairo. There is so much that Egypt has to offer the Indian traveller that the first visit has to be a minimum of 10 nights.

We are developing Egypt as a tourist destination and it is rapidly changing everyday so every visit will be full of new experiences. I would advise those who plan to visit Egypt in 2010 to visit as many times as possible in the year. We would be more than glad to offer our hospitality to the warm-hearted Indians. I believe India is in the heart of Egyptian people and Egypt is in the heart of Indians.