A Brisbane couple whose Walk Like an Egyptian holiday video went viral in Egypt is delighted they could give the country’s struggling tourist industry a shot in the arm.
Zoe Russell and Brad Moore visited Egypt in early 2016 as part of a year-long world trip.
They fell in love with the country. While they were there they even got engaged. They also decided to chronicle their trip by piecing together a video clip of the two of them lip synching The Bangles’ 1980s mega-hit as they went about their holiday.
What was intended to be a fun video for friends and family to watch now has over 450,000 views on Facebook, after the Egyptian tourism industry latched onto it. It has even appeared on the country’s most popular morning television show.
“It’s really, really strange. I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt saying, ‘I’m big in Egypt’. Just kidding,” Ms Russel told the ABC.
“It’s a lot of fun. We got contacted by a random last week saying, ‘your video has gone viral’. I just thought it was spam.
“But then our tour leader contacted me on Facebook, because he’s actually in the video, saying ‘oh my God, you’ve made me famous in Egypt!'”
Egypt’s tourism industry desperate for any help it can get
Local tourism operator and activist Noor Nour told the ABC it may not be down to serendipity that the video went viral.
He explained the Egyptian Government has taken to doctoring tourist videos to fit in with its message of an open an inviting country — though Ms Russell and Mr Moore’s clip was entirely their own work.
Brad Moore and Zoe Russell made the video for a bit of fun, not expecting anyone to see it apart from friends and family. (Facebook: Ticking Off the Bucket List)
The presenters of ON Sabah, the highest-rating breakfast show in Egypt, gushed about the clip before showing it in full.
“The people in the film are walking like the Egyptian people, with their head high and proud,” said host Asmaa Youssef.
“Seriously, everyone should share this video, this video is just brilliant, so everybody please share it!”
While Mr Nour said it is a sad state of affairs for the tourism industry, he did not go so far as to call the use of the video propaganda.
“The Egyptian tourism industry had been affected by the political and security conditions and climates in the last five to six years because of a perceived threat to tourists,” Mr Nour said.
“It has been quite common for a number of different media outlets to highlight non-Egyptian attempts of supporting the Egyptian tourism industry, reflecting the declining state of Egypt’s tourism
“I personally have tasted the bitter pain of this decline of tourism, I understand why this type of practice has become common.
“The video itself, I don’t feel like it has been politicised too much. It’s become a cute video that’s just got more attention than it initially deserved.
The clip’s appearance on morning television had the presenters gushing. (Facebook: Ticking Off the Bucket List)
“Everyday Egyptians would be glad to see that foreigners are still coming to Egypt and still enjoying themselves to the extent that they are posting videos of themselves having fun.”
Ms Russell was not concerned with who might be appropriating her holiday video if it gives a hand to those who rely on tourism for their livelihoods.
“No, it’s not a problem at all if it helps their country in any way, shape or form,” she said.
“I’m a big traveller, I’m a big promotor of people broadening their horizons and their minds by travelling.
“So if this is just one way that gets one extra person to go and visit their beautiful country, then I’m happy with that.”