Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism has officially launched the #ThisIsEgypt campaign at a press conference at the newly reopened Nile Ritz Carlton in downtown Cairo.
A video released in conjunction with the event has since gone viral in Egypt. The video, which shows different areas of Egypt that tourists can visit, was produced by global marketing and advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT) and is part of a $US 66 million contract that Egypt signed with the firm.
At the end of the video, a narrator, speaking in Arabic, calls on viewers to use the hashtag #ThisIsEgypt.
“Everywhere in our country there’s a story waiting for you. Go, experience it, and photograph it using the hashtag #thisisegypt and let the world know it as you see it,” says the narrator in the video. Throughout the video, different people taking photographs and videos with their iPhones were shown.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou launched the hashtag campaign and the video in renewed efforts to bring back tourists to Egypt.
With a large #thisisegypt poster behind him, the Minister urged Egyptians and visitors to share their photographs and videos of Egypt using the hashtag. The Minister reportedly said he is hoping 50 million posts use the hashtag by 2016.
As the video spread on social media, the hashtag failed to remain trending in Egypt after for more than a couple of hours. However, social media users praised the Ministry and JWT for the #ThisIsEgypt video.
On Twitter, user Angus Blair said that the advertisement “captures the beautiful spirit of the country now, not the past”.
Hafsa Halawa, another Twitter user, called the video “rather excellent”. Meanwhile, ScoopEmpire, an English-language tabloid website in Egypt, said the video is “the definitive Egypt travel video for our generation”.
Egyptian Streets asked a number of people for their reactions to the video and the $US 66 million contract between the government and JWT.
“I thought it was a good video until the end,” said 20-year-old Tessa Fodder. “But, do Egyptians need to be reminded what their country is like in order to hashtag to encourage tourism?”
Another viewer said that the video was not really representative of Egypt.
“The first thing that came to mind is that this is not Egypt,” said Salma Hamed. “What do you expect them to include in an advertisement about tourism though? Slums and homeless people?”
“It would have been much better if they were more inclusive to the rest of the society, but it would still never be a real representation of the country as it is a tourism advertisement.
“On the other hand, I would say the quality of this advertisement is much better than previous ones Egypt used to make.”
Nada Ismail said that the advertisement does not lie about Egypt but at the same time isn’t wholly accurate.
“They didn’t lie about Egypt. They’re not getting pictures from other countries and saying ‘This is Egypt’,” says Nada. “But at the same time, they did not show the entire truth and that makes sense putting into consideration the agenda of the video.”
What remains clear, however, is that whether ‘#ThisIsEgypt’ or not, Egypt’s tourism and the four million workers employed in the industry could use a boost.