For the past five years, destination management company (DMC) High End Journeys has been specializing in small-group and customized trips in Egypt. And as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, Egypt is poised to see tremendous growth. Ramez Salama, co-founder of High End Journeys, was born and raised in the country and has years of professional guiding experience.
Here, he discusses travel to this bucket-list destination.
Why did you start High End Journeys? What experience do you have with travel in Egypt?
My business partner, Ahmed Aziz, and I have been working in the luxury travel market for the past 20 years as tour directors. Five years ago, we realized that most tours were mass-produced, copy-and-paste enterprises and were not authentic to the destination. We always felt Egypt has so much to offer, so we started our DMC to provide unique experiences to tour operators, travel advisors and travelers. We felt there was a place for us to bring fresh ideas to a destination that has been stagnant for a while.
What makes a trip with High End Journeys unique?
Our main goals are connecting people and offering off-the-beaten-path adventures to immerse travelers in our 7,000-year-old culture. Traveling is not just seeing the archeological sites; we take guests away from the bubble and indulge them in the culture. We like to say that we don’t offer tours, we offer memories and experiences.
Most tourists visit Egypt and go back home wowed by the sites they have seen. When our travelers go home, they feel connected to the people and culture, as well as impressed by the experiences they have gone through.
What is one of your personal favorite experiences for visitors in Egypt?
We always try to tailor our itineraries to the interests of our guests. We do not bring America to Egypt — we adapt the Egyptian culture to American tastes. But I think experiences that feature insider access are best, and I have two great examples of this: an exclusive, night-time visit to the Valley of the Kings when it is only open for our guests, and going to an active archeological dig to see new discoveries that have not been announced to the public yet.
Why should travelers consider a visit to Egypt now?
I believe every American must travel to Egypt at least once in her/his lifetime. This is a great time as the pandemic is [easing], but sites are still not crowded.
I believe every American must travel to Egypt at least once in her/his lifetime.
Who are the best customers for a High End Journeys trip?
Our best customers are those travelers who are seeking transformational moments. A tourist comes and sees, but a traveler comes to learn and experience. So, our right fit are those people who seek authentic cultural activities while enjoying luxury accommodations.
High End Journeys