This is a question I received more than once when I told people I’d been invited to speak in Cairo.
The IOETI (International Organization of the e-Tourism Industry) 4th Annual E-Tourism & E-Marketing Conference was held December 18 & 19, 2011, and it was certainly an honor to be asked to present at this event with such short notice, but thankfully my schedule allowed for the weeklong visit.
The presentation I gave was entitled “Better Photography for Enhancing Your Online Presence,” and in it I discussed the importance of using quality photography to brand and market in a number of industries that the attendees, mostly from across the Middle East, represented.
According to the IOETI organizers these industries included:
- Corporate, Regional and Property-level Hoteliers
- Provincials, Regional and Municipal Tourism Marketing Organizations
- Convention and Trade Show Venues
- Transportation Companies, including Airlines
- Online Travel Marketers and Enablers
- Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising Companies
- Tourism Sales and Marketing Professionals
- Tourism Industry Suppliers
- Travel Bloggers
- Travel writers
- Social Media Specialists
- PR Specialists
That’s a wide range of attendees, but I’m confident that my presentation was beneficial to each industry in some way, and the response was all good.
So, back to the question: Is it safe to travel to Egypt?
Well, I certainly think so, as I had the most incredible experience and enjoyed each and every minute of my stay. At one point, Memphis Tours, our host tour company, took myself and 7 other presenters on a day trip to Alexandria, an iconic city stuck in time and positioned on the Nile delta, in the northern part of Egypt on the clear blue Mediterranean Sea.
I’d fallen in love with the people of Alexandria just over a year ago when I led a photo tour with twelve participants to various parts of this amazing country, which also included a Nile River cruise from Aswan to Luxor, so I was anxious to return.
Please don’t get me wrong, everything is not perfect in Egypt. Over the past year there has been horrific violence in parts of the country, from beatings to actual killings, but these are concentrated in very small parts of the country, and only in select cities, and it’s my understanding that no tourists have been injured or killed at any time over this period. Normal precautions and common sense should always be in the forefront of any traveler’s mind. However, just as the Occupy Wall Street movement didn’t discourage the vast majority of travelers to visit the many other parts of New York City, and the United States in general, these hot spots shouldn’t keep interested travelers from enjoying a country rich in history and home to some of the most welcoming and friendly people I’ve encountered in my many years of traveling the globe.
FOR FURTHER READING AND ADDITIONAL PHOTOS
For more in-depth information on my experience complete with additional photos from Alexandria, please see this article I recently posted on the Travel Photographers Network, a website devoted to like-minded travelers where I’m beginning to be a regular contributor.
Disclosure: I was in Egypt to speak at the 4th Annual IOETI Conference in Cairo. The trip was paid for by the conference organizers, but all opinions here are entirely my own.
Ralph Velasco is an Orange County-based photography instructor, international photo tour guide
and author who frequently speaks on the topic of travel photography.
He’s an award-winning blogger and creator of the My Shot Lists for Travel app for iPhone.