Following a turbulent end to last year which saw overseas visitor numbers to Egypt fall by 40% in the first four months of 2016, compared with 2 years ago, a 6-point plan aimed at attracting international visitors back to the country was officially announced by newly appointed Minister for Tourism in Egypt, His Excellency Yehia Rashed.
Annual visitor numbers to the country peaked at 14 million in 2010 however political unrest beginning in 2011 and followed by a series of international incidents has seen tourism numbers impacted to the point that they have not surpassed 10 million since.
The ambitious scheme, which focuses on six main areas of improvement, includes the upgrading of tourist facilities, an increase in sustainable accommodation and transport and an emphasis on working with Egypt’s international tourism partners including the country’s national carrier, Egypt Air, to develop new destinations.
Critical to catering for the expected increase in international visitors to Egypt is offering transparent and convenient payment options. Irish based Financial Technology Company, Fexco, partners with three of the top tier acquiring banks in Egypt to provide their Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) solution. Pioneered by Fexco, DCC allows international cardholders to make payments in their home currency enabling them to better determine value on a transaction in a currency they are familiar with.
This type of added value for the international visitor is especially important in a recovering market where merchants need to rebuild the confidence of their customers.
In addition to the 6-point tourism plan, the Egyptian government is looking to capitalise on the gap left by absent European and American tourist groups. In January 2016, the government announced that it would grant Chinese tourist groups’ visas on arrival as a way to boost visitor numbers. Fexco supports this initiative by having Chinese Yen as one of the offered cardholder currencies for DCC, allowing its local Egyptian partners, AAIB, Banque Misr and CIB, to benefit from the expected influx of Chinese visitors.
Furthermore, the Central Bank through multiple initiatives is working hard to stabilise the Egyptian Pound. One such initiative involves clamping down on the black market for USD pricing where merchants are setting their own independent, unregulated exchange rates. This practice has contributed to the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound. Fexco’s DCC service supports this Central Bank initiative by allowing foreign cardholders view the price of goods and services in their home currency before making a payment thus mitigating the risk of an unregulated exchange rate.
This year Fexco celebrates three years of successful business partnerships in Egypt as the sole provider of DCC at Point of Sale. Fexco continues to invest heavily in the development of our DCC product including funding, training and mentoring dedicated support teams on the ground.
We do this with a strong belief in the recovery of the Egyptian tourism economy and with this in mind are expanding Fexco’s DCC service to new channels such as e-commerce, ATM & mPOS.