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Travel Tech

Despite the ongoing struggles for control of Egypt, which have shattered the country’s once-prosperous tourism industry, the national carrier EgyptAir has remained remarkably consistent in its approach to social media.

Tourism to Egypt has been in jeopardy ever since Egypt’s Arab Spring kicked off in early 2011 with the ouster of long-time president Hosni Mubarak. Things seemed to be getting back on track as democratically elected Mohamed Morsi took office, but soon disintegrated into chaos when the army removed him and Egyptians took to the streets once again to protest.  August this year was a nadir for Egyptian tourism, as the army fought back against Morsi’s supporters and killed hundreds of them in the streets. As Cairo burned, tourists fled.

Cairo Chaos Affecting Tourism

The chaos in the capital affected even the popular Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh where many foreign tourists gather all year round. In August, thousands of them left the country as soon as violence started in Cairo. The conflict scared off many potential new tourists too, with arrivals at Egypt’s airports dropping by over 40% in a single week. Estimates have already shown Egypt to be losing $400 million in tourism revenues every month, even before the most recent violence began.

Any other national carrier might have just given up tweeting. After all, social media seems a rather petty issue in the face of such upheaval on the streets. But EgyptAir didn’t take this approach. Their social media team kept calm and carried on tweeting, and actively posting on their Facebook channel with customer-focused updates unrelated to the trouble in Cairo.

In a travel update posted on EgyptAir’s website on August 25, the airline announced that all international and domestic flights were operating as normal with zero planned cancellations.

EgyptAir Carries on Tweeting

According to information from SkiftSocial, EgyptAir has been tweeting on average 10.5 tweets a day for the past two weeks, a personal best for the carrier since it launched its social media channels.

Ninety-one, or 62%, of the 147 tweets sent over the past two weeks are replies or retweets. The account directs followers to airport hotels available for flyers arriving after curfew, sends them useful phone numbers, and directs complaints to the relevant department.

Over on its Facebook page, EgyptAir is similarly active, replying to 90% of customer posts within 3 hours. Updates offer autumn promotions, travel trivia and customer assistance.

Sensible Customer-Focused Approach

Quite sensibly, the carrier prefers to keep political issues off its social media, focusing instead on upping its game, retaining some level of user engagement and improving customer service for the reduced numbers of visitors coming to Cairo. One might expect chaos in-country to be reflected on social channels, but EgyptAir is doing an admirable job of keeping up appearances and is surely benefiting the bold travellers who still venture to Egypt at the moment.

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