Discover Egypt will still be in business “long after the coronavirus has come and gone” the operator’s boss has said in a message to reassure agent partners.
Philip Breckner said despite “nothing challenging us to the extent of this current pandemic”, the business “remains a strong [and] financially stable company”.
In an email to agents, Breckner outlined how the operator and its partners in Egypt had been dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
He described the closing of Egypt’s borders on 16 March – with just two days of notice – as “like a ton of bricks”.
“At the time, we had 72 customers in Egypt, some who had literally travelled out that day or a few days before. With due haste and the invaluable assistance of Egypt Air, we succeeded, at our expense, in repatriating everyone within 48 hours.
“Not only did this fulfil a legal obligation but also a moral one and keeping in line with our code of conduct as tour operator members of Abta and Aito,” he said.
“Having dealt with repatriating holidaymakers from Egypt to the UK, our attention turned to those due to travel in the immediate future. At the outset, we decided that where needed, due to FCO travel advice and destination or airline schedule restrictions, we would cancel holidays, asking customers due to travel if they would like to transfer, at the same price, to an alternative holiday in 2020 or 2021, or if not, offering a full cash refund.”
Breckner described how partners in Luxor had overseen the deep cleaning and sanitising of its cruise vessels “all of which thankfully were without infection”.
“Many of our local staff and guides are at home without work, however they continue to receive all or part salary and are anxiously waiting for the return of tourism,” he added.
In his message, Breckner also encouraged agents to access virtual tours of Egypt’s archaeological sites and antiquities through an online project run by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with Harvard University.
The tours are being added to Discover Egypt’s social media channels.
“Until the real encounter takes place with such fascinating sites, we hope that this virtual visit will provide you with the inspiration to plan your next visit to Egypt," he said.
“Perhaps not top of your priorities list right now, but we do have all of our holidays and cruises for 2021 on sale – so give us a call if you would like to discuss a future trip or even if you would just like to chat about one of our destinations.
“I am sure that when this is all behind us you will look to travel again and hope that you will also appreciate the efforts we are making to be here when you do," Breckner added.