Phoenix is one of the major German tour companies working in Egypt and one of the three main company when it comes to Nile cruising. When tourism industry was better, Phoenix was operating up to 14 cruise boats on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan adding 55 thousand tourists to the market. (Nile Cruise, packages with Cairo visits and Nile cruise combined, round-trips and beach holidays in the destinations on the Red Sea)
Mr. Kirchhoff started talking by saying “Egypt has a perfect environment for touristic business including the friendly staff, sunshine, history and value for money. There are the Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Nile and so much to offer.”
– How do you feel about the situation now in Luxor?
* As I lived here for almost 21 years so I know the people and I feel for them. I wake up each morning with the thought that it is a disaster.
– How did it come to this, in your opinion?
* The media is playing the biggest role as in only shows a small part of the cake.
So the big part is played by the media. It is understandable about Cairo but I never heard anything a word about tourism is away from that and still going on.
There would be photos shown in media with too little comments explaining these, while I believe the more photos, the more intelligent comments by journalists are needed.
In the German media, they were saying for weeks that “Power Struggle in Egypt” was still shaking the country while it was in fact over. In order to underline this they showed images of MB angry supporters and made people think that big fighting is very near again and again.
– How do the tour operators react to the negative travel advice of the German ministry of foreign affairs and this situation?
Companies like ETI, Schauinsland and FTI continued to bring German tourists to the Red Sea but the majority of tour operators did not.
– I would like to know your views on other issues in the industry like ministry of Tourism paying for the empty seats on the charter flights?
It is a strong gesture to show how much they support tourism but from my knowledge it doesn’t help so much as the money goes to the airline. When the airline has sold 40 % or more of the planes seats they pay a fixed amount for each seat up to 85 % of seat occupancy.
*It is a big burden as it costs the government so much money. Subsidies fuel cost for each Nile cruise trip costs approximately 50 to 60 thousand Egyptian Pounds.
I think it would make sense if the tourists pay for the actual cost of the trip.
Egypt offers a very special product such as the Nile cruise so there is no need to be subsidized and in the long term it would help to receive a little more upscale tourism.