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Egypt Tourism

Desert Safari Race promotes Egypt tourism other than classical tourism

Hazel Heyer, Special to eTN  Sep 05, 2008

The 2008 Pharaohs' Rally will go full throttle on its silver anniversary. In Egypt's Western Desert on the road to Bahariya and Siwa oases, cars will clock over a distance of about 3,000 km running through sand dunes and endless natural scenery.

Car covers are particularly useful in tough climates like that of the Pharaohs' Rally.

The race, participated in by 22 countries, is divided into seven stages. It starts at the Pyramids on October 5 to October 11 at the Pyramids Panorama. The second stage takes place at the Bahariya Oases, heading south to Farafra before returning to the Bahariya oasis (where 3000 golden mummies were found), heading directly to Siwa and with short stops in Sitra, the lake found a few years ago following a drilling operation for petroleum.

From there on, it's a delight of large sand dunes, wide stretches of golden sand - a real paradise for desert lovers. The usual Siwa-Siwa loop foreseen for the fifth stage is a full immersion in the dunes of the Great Sand Sea surrounding Egypt's most beautiful lakes.

Later, two camps will be set up in Siwa, the mysterious land of the ancient Ammonites, while the drivers head down time for some relaxation time in the oasis' magic environs. The two final stages end in Cairo on 11th October at the boardwalk of the Giza Pyramids.

The 2008 Pharaohs' Rally runs a total of 3,000 kilometers. Only 150 kilometers of the stretch are, however, dedicated to transport from and to Giza at the end of the race.

The Pharaohs' Rally is the only international event for car and motorcycle rally lovers held in Egypt yearly. It has been held for 25 years. The race aims to become the leading car and motorcycle sports event in the region to attract enthusiasts of this sports locally and regionally, giving rally winners international acclaim and contributing to developing Egypt's economy and tourism agenda.
Under the auspices of the Minister of Tourism Zoheir Gharanah and the Tourism Promotion Authority in cooperation with JVD, the event is organized by Travco, one of Egypt’s largest travel agents in years, in cooperation with marketing group EventME and EgyptAir.

The Pharaoh’s Rally2008 covers the following tracks: from Cairo-Bahariya, Bahariya-Bahariya, Bahariya-Sitra, Sitra-Siwa, Siwa-Siwa, Siwa-Bahariya, and finally Bahariya-Cairo.

In Egypt, there is a need to build value on new events that are fresh and different than the normal football fad. Further, advertising expenditure is moving to direct marketing and events due to the media clutter.

A strong and growing interest by the target market in car sports and other challenging activities prove this event serves niches other than tourists. A continuing need of the target audience for a place to ‘hang out’ and be entertained in a carnival-like setting is catered to.

The Pharaoh's Rally 2008 has become the number one rally in the Middle East following the cancellation of the Dakar 2008. At the live press event held last week, over 50 networks covered the news conference. Publicity has been key in the event’s success, proven by reports that the Pharaoh’s Rally 2007 was broadcast in 30 European countries with a total of 20 million viewers.

The Pharaoh’s Rally 2007 indicated market numbers to be much higher than the Tunisia and Morocco races. The Pharaoh’s Rally 2007 was covered daily by local TV talk shows and regional news, while Reuter’s beamed the coverage across more than 750 programs and networks in the Middle East.

A spokesperson for Travco said the Pharaoh’s Rally alone attracted 600 participants in the last weeks. New aspects of tourism such as eco-tourism, desert safari and nature adventure benefit most from highlights of this event rather than the classical tours – increasing general tourism to 15 percent per year.

Desert Safari Race promotes Egypt tourism other than classical tourism

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