The State of Travel in the Mideast
Give a little background on your agency : where are you located, what is your specialty, etc.
MA'AT PRODUCTIONS IS A BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP IN HOBART, TASMANIA. WE SPECIALIZE IN TOURS TO EGYPT THAT WE CALL: Walk Like An Egyptian.
WE ARE A HUSBAND AND WIFE TEAM - MIKE IS A PHD. EGYPTOLOGIST AND PATRICIA IS STUDYING ISLAMIC ART AND ARCHITECTURE, AND HAS A MA IN COUNSELING.
IN EGYPT WE HAVE A SERIES OF LOCAL AGENTS WHO LOOK AFTER OUR TRAVEL NEEDS ETC.
It is often said that Egypt operates
To Walk Like An Egyptian means not panicking too much about timetables, taking things easy, enjoying every experience, meeting the real people of Egypt and learning about Egypt, ancient and modern. Most organized tours are formal, strictly time-tabled and don't give you the chance to follow your own interests. We aim to 'go with the flow' of the local people, the mother Nile and your interests! As your tour leaders we aren't there to 'push' you from site to site or store to store - you are in control and free to accept our advice, come with us, or 'do your own thing'. Mike's extensive knowledge of the local people and ancient sites, combined with Patricia's skills in making people feel comfortable, catering for individual needs and her knowledge of Islamic art and architecture promise you the trip of a lifetime to Egypt past and present!"
OUR 'NICHE MARKET' IS TO PROVIDE OUR CLIENTS WITH THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS WHEN IT COMES TO 'MIXING' A PACKAGE TOUR WITH THEIR ABILITY TO DO WHAT THEY WANT, WHEN, WHILE IN EGYPT. THIS IS EXPLAINED BELOW:
"Most tour operators set a single, 'up-front' fee that is collected prior to the tour leaving home. While this can be convenient for some travelers, others find that this can be an issue as they are then 'locked' into an itinerary and have no real control over what they do or see. For example if you have already paid in advance for an hotel and find that you don't like it, there is not that much you can do about it then and there. If you don't feel like a meal but have already paid for it in advance, or if you want something extra-special to eat, it is usually impossible to get a refund - same if you wish to opt out of an activity or 'do you own thing' for a while. Ma'at Productions has a different approach that we feel offers you all the advantages of an organized tour (such as group discounts and someone else having the responsibility of arranging transport needs) and at the same time allows you to make decisions about your holiday and how you wish to spend it 'on the ground'. So, for example, if you don't wish to come with the group for a particular activity, let us know 24 hours in advance and you pay nothing for it (we ask for notice as negotiating prices for buses etc. is often based on a 'per head' cost and deposits are sometimes required). Ma'at Productions books budget/middle range hotels in Egypt, but if you wish to upgrade to a five star, that is no problem as you are responsible for paying your own bill at checkout time. We recommend local restaurants and can give you an idea of the type of food served and its price, but if you want a five star banquet, want to skip a meal, or would just like some time on your own, that's fine as you are responsible for paying your bill at the end of the meal. This 'pay as you go' system means that you are in control of what you see and do...".
Where are your people traveling to and why? (i.e. are people going to Egypt for tourism, or the UAE for shopping/business ).
EGYPT - TOURISM - ANCIENT SITES, BUT ALSO ISLAMIC SITES AND 'REAL' RURAL VILLAGES.
Have you noticed any trends in travel
to the Middle East from your area?
WE JUST LOVE ASWAN, EGYPT!
Should you focus on one country? Or is a package/travel tour a better option?
WE CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON EGYPT BUT OUR CLIENTS ARE FREE TO VISIT OTHER COUNTRIES BEFORE OR AFTER. WE HAVE PLANS IN THE FUTURE TO INCLUDE THE GREEK ISLAND AND/OR ROME, BUT HAVE NOT DONE SO AS YET. WE FIND OUR 26 DAYS IN EGYPT (ONLY) GIVES US TIME TO SEE MORE, TRAVEL AT A RELAXED PACE, GIVE SOME 'FREE DAYS' AND ALLOWS OUR CLIENTS TO REALLY GET TO KNOW THE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE, AS WELL AS SEND QUALITY TIME AT MANY TOURIST SIGHTS. SEVERAL OF OUR CLIENTS HAVE 'SINGAPORE STOPOVERS' TO/FROM AUSTRALIA-CAIRO.
How is traveling on land through countries?
WE EMPLOY BUSES AND MINIBUSES, FELUCCAS (LOCAL SAIL BOATS). ROADS ARE GENERALLY OK, BUT TRAVEL AT NIGHT IN PRIVATE CARS/TAXIS OUTSIDE TOWNS IS NOT RECOMMENDED DUE TO ROAD ISSUES AND THE FACT THAT MOST DRIVERS DRIVE WITHOUT HEADLIGHTS. CAMELS ETC CROSSING THE ROADS AT NIGHT - AND SPEED - LEAD TO PROBLEMS! STREET TRAFFIC IS AN ISSUE WHEN ON FOOT GIVEN IT IS CHAOTIC COMPARED TO WHAT WE ARE USE TO IN AUSTRALIA.
What are the best times of years to visit the Middle East? Why?
JAN - APRIL - AFTER THE COMMON HOLIDAYS AND NOT TOO HOT!
Dr Mike Jenkins & Ms Patricia Kempa
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