On December 3, the fashion industry stood in awe of Dior’s 75th-anniversary celebration, which saw the unveiling of the brand’s pre-fall collection for men, set against the backdrop of one of the seven wonders of the world: the Pyramids of Giza.
With around 800 guests, including international press and celebrities, the fashion show was the first one to be held at the iconic site. Social media was set ablaze with stunning imagery of models sauntering across a catwalk teeming with history.
“The buzz surrounding this, and especially that it’s Dior, will have an impact. Dior is one of the biggest fashion brands and the fact that —along with Stefano Ricci —they chose Egypt for their destination is a testament to the country’s capabilities and beauty,” Former and First Vice Minister of Tourism Adla Ragab told Business Monthly. She adds that the impact of these events “is like a snowball effect where people will start talking about everywhere. It’s free publicity with all the influencers and bloggers.”
However, this wasn’t the first event to be held at the Giza Pyramids, nor was it the first event in Egypt to merge the past with the present, creating a flawless show catching the unwavering attention of netizens.
In October, Italian fashion giant, Stefano Ricci chose to celebrate its 50th anniversary at Luxor’s Temple of Hatshepsut. The event saw over 1000 guests, including international public figures, and celebrities.
A year earlier, and in a grand ceremonial parade, Egyptian authorities moved 22 ancient royal mummies in specially designed capsules across the capital from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, in central Cairo, to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.
“The participation of the Egyptian state and the Ministry of Tourism represented by the Tourism Promotion Authority, and all state agencies in this huge event, indicates the ability of the Egyptian state to work in full coordination at a high level to establish an international event with distinction,” CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority, Ahmed Youssef, told Waya Media.
Soon thereafter, Dior set its eye on the Pyramids. However, the brand’s creative director, Kim Jones, had his sights on Egypt since 2019, according to a report by Vogue business.
“In economics, this is referred to as the demonstration effect,” Laila Khawaga, former board member of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and professor of economics at Cairo University told Business Monthly. The demonstration effect stipulates that the success of one event results in its imitation by other entities. Eventually, it becomes a trend.
The success of the Dior event, and those before it, has echoed around the world. While the results might not yet be fully tangible, this will continue to push other brands and organizers to see Egypt as a potential destination to present their capsules, host their concerts, and on an individual level, visit the country.
While the gradual effect of these events is still unfolding, Egypt’s tourism has started to pick up after airports were shut and travel restrictions were in place considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the North-African country saw an increase in tourists in the first half of 2022, with an influx of 4.9 million visitors compared to 2.6 million last year. Tourism is one of Egypt’s leading economic sectors and a foreign currency source, accounting for almost 12% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Safety and security are the main concerns for tourists when it comes to traveling, as per a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2012.
The Royal Mummy Parade, as one example, has played a vital role in changing the perception of Egypt toward tourists. “It changes the image of Egypt because (tourists) see that there’s an excellent organization, great entertainment, and flawless execution,” Khawaga said. She noted that this is forecast to attract more tourists.
The perception of Egypt has started shifting and continues to do so with the recent shows being held around heritage sites, and across the country. It is at once a celebration of heritage and a move toward the future.
Egypt was ranked among one of the top destinations for travelers in 2022, according to TripAdvisor.
“Tourism isn’t a tap that you turn on with water immediately cascading. With tourism, you need to fill the pipe with the knowledge that the water will eventually reach the tap,” Ragab elaborated.
“(The return) might not be immediate, but it has already started,” she concluded.