EgyptRamadan 2016

“Grand Hotel” series links drama to tourism marketing

During the month of fasting, Arabic channels traditionally show their top-of-the-line programs to profit from the record viewership numbers. Grand Hotel drama series features a number of young Egyptian actors including Amr Youssef, Amina Khalil, Dina El-Sherbiny, and Mohamed Mamdouh, among others.

For Ramadan 2016,  “Grand Hotel” series managed to steal the audience’s heart with actors incredibly amazing performance and the mesmerizing scenes of the iconic hotel. The main plot twist of “Grand Hotel” revolves around the hotel’s community of rich citizens, loyal servants, and exclusive guests as mysterious events unfold during the early 20th century.

The series was shot at the historical Sofitel Legend Old Cataract hotel in Aswan. The restored 1902 restaurant, modeled after Cairo’s Ibn Tulun mosque, looks like a film set for Death on the Nile. Art Deco meets Mamluk glamour in the chandeliered palace, its halls adorned with photographs of royals, artists, and other luminaries who’ve stayed here. The tower’s contemporary decor echoes ancient Egyptian motifs.

Sofitel-Legend-Old-Cataract-Aswan-photos-Exterior (1)
Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

In a research conducted in cooperation with Marketeers Research: Drama took the lead this year despite a slightly higher preference for comedy series; leading with Grand Hotel Series combining drama, suspense, and romance, while Nelly Karim shining second year in a row from addiction to psychological issues in Sokoot Hor Series.

Q1 2016: Egypt’s Tourism Earnings Fall by 66%

Tourism is one of the most important parts of Egypt’s economy. More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, dropping to 9.8 million in 2011. Egyptian tourism sector revenues declined from $7.3bn in 2014 to $6.1bn in 2015 since a Russian plane crashed in the Sinai last October.

Egypt netted just $500 million in tourism revenue in the first quarter of 2016, down from $1.5 billion a year earlier. Highlighting Egypt economy struggle to kickstart a key dollar-earning industry.

Egypt Tourist Arrivals - Source Central Bank of Egypt
Egypt Tourist Arrivals from 2012 to Q1 2016 – Source Central Bank of Egypt

According to the data released by the sub-accounts unit of the Ministry of Tourism in 2010, there are 3.8 million workers in the tourism sector, 900,000 of whom are employed within the hotels sector.

However, more than 60% of labour in that sector was forced to leave during a layoff period resulting from losses, according to the official.

Eye-opener: Turkish dramas increase tourist number

The spread of Turkish television over the last decade exemplifies Turkey’s desire to increase its influence abroad. Gökçe Özdemir, a professor at Yaşar University’s Tourism Management Department, said film and TV drama tourism was a new opportunity for Turkey and that the shooting of Hollywood films in the country had been instrumental in promoting the country. Turkey has also become a platform for high-budget Hollywood productions.

View of a billboard advertising Turkish soap opera "El Sultan" in Santiago, Chile, Dec. 14, 2014,
View of a billboard advertising Turkish soap opera “El Sultan” in Santiago, Chile, Dec. 14, 2014,

Özdemir said the recent success of the Turkish drama sector had been noted around the world. “We sell dramas that run thousands of hours to 100 countries. Especially the ones like ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ [The Magnificent Century] have positive effects on tourism demand from the Balkans and Arab countries.”

There has been a 15% increase in the number of tourists visiting from countries that watch Turkish dramas. For example, the eastern Black Sea was visited by nearly 35,000 Arab tourists two years ago; 170,000 Arabs came to the region in 2013.

horse sculpture used in Brad Pitt’s historical blockbuster “Troy” was brought to the northwestern province of Çanakkale, the number of tourists visiting the site increased by 73 percent.
horse sculpture used in Brad Pitt’s historical blockbuster “Troy” was brought to the northwestern province of Çanakkale, the number of tourists visiting the site increased by 73 percent.

The Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America today account for the highest number of Turkish drama exports. Turkish shows now air in more than 100 countries and the business could reach $100 billion in revenue by 2017.

How Aswan beauty recognized in Grand Hotel:

With Nile-facing balconies, Grand Hotel series was shot at the historical Sofitel Legend Old Cataract hotel in Aswan. An iconic hotel, built on a granite cliff facing Elephantine Island in 1899.

A three-year makeover by the Sofitel chain has reduced the number of rooms by half and increased the proportion of suites. The colonial-era palace has 76 rooms with gold and maroon interiors and sunset Nile views.

We wonder if Drama will be considered as Egypt’s tourism marketing new head-spear?

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