Translated into English, it means “a peaceful revolution inspires the world”.
Egypt painted Hall 23a with messages coined from the revolution that forced strongman Hosni Mubarak out of office after 30 years.
A country that was in turmoil last month had overnight turned the pages telling the world that the peaceful revolution it underwent is also possible anywhere.
On January 25, Egyptians, using social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, congregated at the Tahrir Square in central Cairo demanding that Mubarak leave the bastion of power he had enjoyed since 1981.
On February 11, Mubarak stepped down ushering in a new era for the North African state.
At ITB, Egypt boasted about online revolution saying “Die online revolution—made in Egypt.”
The Egyptian revolution took its cue from Tunisia where an uprising orchestrated by the youths forced the seemingly invincible President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country he had ruled as a personal fiefdom since 1987.
“Welcome to the country of peaceful revolution”, read one message. “January 25 2011. A new era in hospitality,” another said.
Tahrir Square was carried in another campaign message as “eine platz rockt die welt”, the place that rocked the world, in the English translation.
Egypt’s PR strategist Katja Zimmer says the revolution messages were incorporated to beef up its marketing strategy whose signature is “where it all begins” which now contains multiple meanings.
“It just came like, people we have to go to ITB in two weeks and we have to come up with a new campaign referring to the incidents (revolution),” she said.
“We are facing a unique situation of peaceful and pro-democratic revolution so what we did during the last few weeks is compose a little slogan adapting the “where it all begins” campaign to show that Egypt is now the country where everything begins.”
She said they chose some slogans “which express that the peaceful uprising, the energy that is now in the air in Egypt, the great hospitality, the new era that Egypt leads its people into and we chose corresponding messages such as peaceful uprisings everywhere or the online revolution made in Egypt.”
Zimmer’s firm, Powerbroker Public Relations acts as advisors to the Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt sprucing the North African country’s post-revolution image.
Unlike Zimbabwe which urges tourists to come and visit major tourist attractions, Egypt has adopted a different approach.
Their images come in the form of holiday-makers who are nostalgic about their experiences.
Tourists of different segments are shown remembering their experiences in the form of a catch phrases such as “speechless I stood before this wonder”; “the Pharaoh spoke to me” and “as if Cairo is a stereo that is always on” among others.
Next year, Egypt will be ITB partner country and Zimmer says “we had to step up our game a lot this year and we will do even better next year”.
Shaken by the events of the past month, Egypt is picking its pieces and has accepted the use of social media as new communication technologies and promises to increase its use for communication.
Lacklustre representation of Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE appears not to have taken ITB seriously as only a handful of companies were represented at this year’s fair.
African Sun Limited, Rainbow Tourism Group, Kanondo Safari, Air Zimbabwe and national Parks were the only companies at the fair.
The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry as well as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) completed the cast of exhibitors from Zimbabwe.
German tour operator, Daktari exhibited on the Zimbabwean stand.
Givemore Chidzidzi, the ZTA chief operating officer said the authority is concerned about the number of exhibitors from Zimbabwe but cannot do anything as companies look at the pros and cons of participating at different fairs.
“We created a platform and people have to make business decisions whether to go to ITB or not. People need to realise that ITB is the place to be in tourism and it is where the biggest market is,” he said.
Chidzidzi said at the beginning of every year, ZTA gives operators a calendar of events and they are supposed to indicate the ones they want to participate in.