Tourism – Daily News Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 28 Feb 2020 11:59:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Mamluks’ war with Ottomans: Rise of a civilisation, fall of another https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/27/mamluks-war-with-ottomans-rise-of-a-civilisation-fall-of-another/ Thu, 27 Feb 2020 13:30:52 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=723476 The complex used to have an office where the sultan would receive the public to hear their complaints.

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In the middle of Islamic Cairo’s main Street Al Mu’izz, one may find Sultan al-Ghuri’s mausoleum. Legends have it that the place was never used and the whereabouts of the Sultan’s body is still unknown. However, some say that his head is buried under the location.

Known as al Ghuriya, the monumental Islamic complex was built for those that were killed in battle or poisoned, away from home, and buried in an unmarked grave.

Al-Ghuri’s complex consists of a mausoleum for the sultan, a khanqah (Islamic University), a sabil for distributing water, and a kuttab which was an Islamic primary school.

The complex used to have an office where the sultan would receive the public to hear their complaints.

This office overlooks a grave yard where his wife, along with his odalisques, are buried.

Tuman Bay II, the last ruler of Egypt in the Mamluk Sultanate, is also believed to be buried in this place, after he was executed.

Last days of Mamluk’s Sultanate in Egypt

The last period in the Mamluks rule of Egypt witnessed conflicts and countless wars, while some were external, others were internal struggles for the throne with short-lived sultans.

During the Burji Mamluk, or Circassian Mamluk, political power often plays an important role for designating a new sultan. Burji translates into English as Tower, referring to them ruling from the Citadel of Cairo. Constant bickering may have contributed to ending the Sultanate and their defeat by the Ottoman Empire.

This dynasty was shaped by treason; sultans were murdered left and right by everyone around them. This was mainly due to how power was passed down in this era: whoever was able to kill the Sultan would immediately receive the title. So even the guards, servants, and even palace officials would attempt murder just to get the title. Because of this, people dub this time period the era of the one-night sultan.

The main reason behind so much treason during this time was due to how children were brought up. In the time of the Circassian Mamluks, children were brought up in the military. Unlike the Ancient Romans or Greeks that fought under one nation, Circassian Mamluks were treated more like mercenaries, and only had their loyalty located in gold and money.

Since it was any Mamluk’s game to become the next Sultan, even ordinary people started to greed for power. That’s where the Julaben sect comes in; they were a sect of slaves bought and sold as children. They had no loyalty to anyone and played a dangerous role in killing the sultans. The princes of the Julaben Mamluk ruled their own armies, meaning that they were able to control the Sultan.

Qansuh as Sultan of Egypt

Qansuh al-Ghawri was the second to last of the Mamluk Sultans to rule Egypt. He rose to power during one of the more difficult dynasties, the Burji or a Circassian Mamluk rulers. A revolt against Tuman Bay by the conspiring princes led to the appointment of Qansuh as sultan against his will.

Facing revolts, treasons, and Egypt’s empty treasury, Qansuh, as the wealthy prince he was, refused the sultan position, fearing to be deposed by execution like his predecessors. However, the princes forced him to take the position and promised never to betray him.

Knowing that the Mamluks were untrustworthy, Qansuh asked a fortune-teller who will rule Egypt after him. The fortune-teller said that the person who would rule Egypt after Qansuh, has a name that starts with an “S”, therefore Qansuh ordered to kill everyone whose name began with S. Unbeknownst to him, the coming Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was named Selim I.

To replenish the empty treasury, exorbitant demands were levied on every kind of property, almost reaching seven to ten months’ worth of income; even religious and charitable endowments were no exception. This was exacted with such severity, not only from Jews and Christians, but from every class, so to create outbreaks in the city.

Selim’s war with the Safavid Empire in Iran

The growing Shi’ite Safavids Empire headed by Shah Ismail, challenged the Ottoman Sunni Empire.  As a Shi’ite Muslim, Iran’s Shah Ismail I embarked on a war with the Sunni Ottoman Sultanate over the Caucasus and over religious differences.

However, Egypt’s relations with the Safavid dynasty in Persia raised a new ground of hostility with the Ottoman Sultanate. Selim realised that not only had Shah Ismail I become more threatening, but Egypt’s Qansuh was even more dangerous.

Deceiving Egypt, he used the fight with the Safavids as an excuse to enter Syria, which was under Mamlik’s rule.

Selim started the conquest of Egypt, and in order to reach Iran, he decided to use Syria as an entry point. With no enemies to the north, he could now safely make his advancement. In the spring of 1516 he gathered his forces and marched to the Savafid’s.

Mamluk treason and the fall of the Sultanate

During Selim’s march to the Safavids, the governor of Aleppo Hayir Bey assured Al-Ghuri that Selim would only pass through Syria to fight in Iran.

However, Al-Ghuri doubted the intentions of Selim so he marched to Syria in order to counter the Ottoman occupation.

Before starting the war, the Mamluks set up a war council and decided not to use cannons since Islam prohibited the use of fire when killing, which already made the Ottoman’s more advanced than the Mamluks.

The defeat was due to the betrayal of two Mamluk leaders, Hayir Bay and Janbirdi al-Ghazali who was the viceroy of Hama.

In the battle field, Hayir spread rumours of sultan Al-Ghuri’s death, ordering the army not to move forward. This lead to the Mamluk’s defeat by Selim I at the Battle of Marj Dabiq, north of Aleppo, on 24 August 1516, and to the death of Sultan Al-Ghuri.

Stories however vary to how Al-Ghuri met his end.

Some people say he was poisoned by his servant on the battle field, but others say that he had a heart attack and fell off his horse. However, both stories confirmed that his head was cut off and buried to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

On the other side the Ottoman’s claimed that he was beheaded by a Turk whom Sultan Selim would have put to death, but afterwards pardoned.

Tuman Bay, and resistance

Succeeding his uncle, Tuman Bay became the new Sultan to face the Ottomans. Due to the Ottoman’s advanced weapons , their military power was greater than the ability of the Mamluk army and the fighters who joined from Egypt. The Ottomans were quickly able to take over Cairo.

However, Egyptian resistance did not stop under Toman Bay. He quickly gathered the Mamluk army, and the Egyptian people attacking the occupation forces.

But the betrayal plays its role for the second time and Toman Bay was captured with the help of the Mamluks to be executed in April 1517.

He was executed at Bab Zuweila or Zuweila Gate, the only gate opened for the public. People passing by would for decades read the Quran for his soul.

The remains of a rope and the hook of the gallows by which Toman Bay was killed are kept inside  Zuweila Gate until this very day for visitors to see when entering the gate.

Inside the gates, visitors will also notice the presence of human teeth, wishes, and magic spells. All of these pendants were placed on the door of Zeweila as people believed that there is a magical entity called Al-Mutawakkil sitting above the door every Friday, to deliver people’s wishes to Heaven.

It was said that Toman Bay asked people not to scream or cry, at his execution, but to read Al-Fatihah three times to bless his soul.

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Rome: open museum city https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/25/rome-open-museum-city/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 03:17:33 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=723215 Rome has a special place in the heart and the memory of Egyptians as many famous films were shot in the amazing city, featuring a lot of its touristic attractions.

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A few days ago, my flight landed in Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome, where I started my trip. In the hotel, the receptionist advised me to take the metro to Termini station, central Rome, to have a walk. The beautiful architecture of the buildings and the cobble stone streets all leading to grandiose statues made it felt like I was in an open-air museum. I couldn’t help but feel like I was still in Egypt, as the Italians were so similar to the Egyptians.

Interestingly enough, the architectural style in Rome is similar to Egypt’s, seeing that ancient Egyptians influenced the architecture made by the Romans. Arches used thousands of years ago in tombs and utilitarian buildings gave way to a more mainstream usage in Rome with its popularity in state buildings. Even though it was borrowed by the Romans, they perfected with the usage of sturdier building material.

Rome has a special place in the heart and the memory of Egyptians as many famous films were shot in the amazing city, featuring a lot of its touristic attractions. In this article, I will highlight the most important tourist attractions in Rome, where to shop, and how to make the most of your trip. Here is a list of top Roman landmarks, and keep in mind that you can go to all these places on foot. I found that the saying “all roads lead to Rome” is even more relevant in the city.

Trevi Fountain

Whenever you tell someone that you’re going to Rome, the first thing he would tell you is to visit the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin into it to make a wish. The coin throwing will be familiar to the Egyptians as the comedy film Antar Shayel Seifo (Antar is carrying his Sword) starring Adel Emam had a famous scene at the fountain.

I went to the fountain and threw a coin into it wishing that my dream come true one day. Then I took the metro and stopped at Cavour station on line B. Turns out the fountain was very crowded as many foreigners and Italians were also throwing coins into the fountain.

I wondered about the story behind this tradition

. It all started in the 1954 film Three Coins in the Fountain. The theme of the film goes like this, if you throw one coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome. If you throw two coins, you will fall in love with an attractive Italian. If you throw three coins, you will marry the very same person.

In order for this to work, you should throw the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder.

It may seem like a joke to attract tourists, but hundreds of millions of visitors actually flock to this amazing landmark every year to throw a coin and make a wish. Rome’s city workers used to sweep the fountain’s floor every night to collect the day’s loot, as the fountain fills up so quickly with coins.

Rome collected $1.5m from the fountain in 2016, according to NBC News. The Italian government decided to send this money to Caritas, a Catholic non-profit organisation, that supports causes around the world related to health, disaster relief, poverty, and migration.

The Trevi Fountain is really one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome, and is considered the largest one in the city, having a width of 20 metres and a height of 26 metres. Even if you visit the fountain late night, you will find it lit and crowded.

Piazza di Spagna & Spanish Steps

A 10-minute walk from the fountain while eating ice cream, I found myself at the Spanish Steps. It’s a great place to just sit down and enjoy the weather and views of the city.

While I was sitting on the steps, I found that the police approached tourists and said that sitting is forbidden, but even if you stand on the steps you will enjoy the view.

The place has 135 steps positioned in a mix of curves, straight flights, vistas, and terraces. They connect the lower Piazza di Spagna, the upper Piazza Trinita dei Monti, and Trinità dei Monti Church. An Italian living next to the Spanish Steps told me that every July the square and the 135 steps are decorated to receive the Donne Sotto le Stelle fashion show.

Pantheon

I continued walking for about 25 minutes to find myself standing in front of a building where a lot of people were taking photos of it. There were also street artists holding shows in front of it.

I started asking around to know what the building is. I found it’s the Pantheon, a former Roman temple turned church. The building looks cylindrical with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky.

It is one of the best-preserved building from Ancient Rome. It has been in continuous use throughout its history and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been turned into a church dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs, but informally known as Santa Maria Rotonda.

When I entered the place, I found it contains the tombs of numerous Italian kings and a multitude of art works. Renaissance painter and architect Raphael is among those buried in the Pantheon.

Colosseum

One of the places that I heard about before arriving to Rome is the Colosseum, which is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, and certainly one of the most distinctive symbols of the Roman Empire. I advise everyone visiting Italy for the first time to go to the Colosseum, but you should book a ticket online to skip the long line.

I knew what the building looked like even before seeing it since the image of the Colosseum was printed on the five-cent coin, but I was also amazed by how huge it is.

The first thing that come to mind when entering this huge square was that it was used during the Roman Empire. The tour guide who accompanied me there said this was used as a fight ring for gladiators, mass competitions, and animal hunting. It’s is known among tourists around the world as one of the seven new wonders of the world in 2007.

The Colosseum is 186 metres long and takes an oval shape. While the building’s outer wall rises 57 metres and was made from marble and installed with iron clips, while the interior was designed with extreme precision that allows everyone to watch the performances and sports that take place in the middle of the square.

If you want to take a wide photo of the Colosseum from the outside, you can find a rock that you can stand on to take a photo similar to the Windows desktop picture. And if you want to take a high angle photo, you can go upstairs to the fourth or third floors.

When I was looking at the photos I’ve taken, I found that part of the wall looked torn down. When I asked about what happened, I found that it was the result of a violent earthquake back in the Middle Ages.

River Tiber

About a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum, I found myself walking on a bridge that looks over a river. It’s called the River Tiber. It’s the main river that runs through Rome. At each bridge, you will find stairs that lead down to the path to stand next to the water.

It is the third longest river in Italy, after the Adige and the Po rivers. The Tiber runs about 250 miles and varies between 7 and 20 feet deep.

It is a meandering river that surrounds the Italian capital’s most famous hills, in which dozens of bridges connect its banks in the most beautiful and romantic way.

The Tiber was crucial to Ancient Rome’s economy, as it was used for transporting goods across the city. Criminals, at the time, were punished by throwing them in the river.

Vatican City

After returning to the hotel, I asked about how to go to the Vatican City, they told me that I have to book my ticket in advance online. Through the online booking, you can choose the day and the time you want to visit the Vatican.

I took the metro for about 40 minutes from Laurentina, where I was staying, to Cipro station on line A, which is the nearest station to the Vatican City.

I was amazed by how beautiful everything is in this independent city, and how seamlessly beautiful my photos came out. This city is located in the heart of Rome, and ruled by the Pope (Bishop of Rome). It is the centre of authority over the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever your religion is, you will be excited to visit this amazing city, as the Pope lives there in the Apostolic palace surrounded by beautiful gardens.

I began with visiting the Vatican museums, taking a sound map from the information centre for €12. It was very helpful. Instead of a tour guide, you use the map and choose the number associated with the landmark and listen to the audio.

There are around 20 museums in the Vatican, but what was surprising for me was the Egyptian Museum there. I began with the Egyptian Museum and found some impressive Egyptian sculptures, besides the prized sarcophagi from the third century B.C. There are also some black basalt statues originating from the Villa Adriana, which are replicas of Egyptian models. I then went to the Pio-Clementino Museum, which contains the most important Greek works in the Vatican. I also went to the Ethnological Missionary Museum, which contains art works from papal missions from all over the world, with objects originating from Tibet, Indonesia, India, the Far East, Africa, and America.

I was amazed by the beauty of maps painted in fresco on the walls of the galleries, some depicting maps of various regions around Italy.

In the Historical Museum – Carriage Pavilion, I went back in time, finding myself among the coaches, saddles, cars, and even the Vatican City’s first locomotive.

I also enjoyed the collection of Christian antiquities including statues, sarcophagi, and archaeological ruins from the sixth century in the Pio-Christian Museum. I entered every museum and was amazed by how beautiful everything is.

I made it to Saint Peter’s Square, which is one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the world. It is located in Vatican City, at the feet of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Vatican is the smallest state in Europe with a total area of 0.44 square metres. The city’s population is approximately 1,000 people.

How to save money and enjoy your trip in Rome?

After finishing my trip, which I very much enjoyed, I found that it is a must to write some tips for other visitors who are going to visit Rome later on.

First of all, try as much as you can to book your flight tickets and hotel earlier to enjoy the cheapest airlines tickets and hotels.

Also, try to book your accommodation somewhere in the centre of Rome, preferably next to Termini square to avoid transportation fees, as you can move easily on foot. But if you are staying somewhere far from the centre, you’ll need to take public transportation or taxis.

The first thing to do when entering the airport is to buy Rome pass card from the information centre at the airport, which is a card for tourists that provides reduced price tickets to major tourist attractions in the city and provide unlimited use of all public transportations for two or three days, depending on the card you purchase. The two-day card costs €28 and the three-day card is €38.5.

The Italian cuisine is popular for its amazing pasta and pizzas, so of course you should try the pasta, and the pizza as well as the home made ice-creams, but try to eat in places that are not tourist restaurants. There are more than enough cheap pizzerias that sell by weight.

Of course, when visiting any country you will love to buy Souvenirs and gifts from the country, try not to buy from sellers in the squares of touristic attractions since they are more often than not more expensive than in the centre of the city.

As for shopping, Castel Romano mall will be the best option for buying fancy clothes at low prices. You can go there by bus from Termini in the centre of Rome for €10. If you take a taxi, it will cost you €35 from Laurentina to the mall.

For Italian made goods, your best bet is to go to small shops and boutiques in Termini and around the city.

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Rawda Island where Shajar al-Durr hides Egypt’s ruler body; unlucky prince build palace https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/21/rawda-island-where-shajar-al-durr-hides-egypts-ruler-body-unlucky-prince-build-palace/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 15:01:45 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=722712 The legend goes that after the death of her husband, Shajar al-Durr, the last female ruler of Egypt, hid her husband’s body in the Rawda Castle. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed, without leaving any sign of ever being there. The island was used again during the years of the Ottoman Empire, leaving Rawda with many archaeological sites to uncover.

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In the heart of Caro is an island that houses a fort used by the Mamluks in the seventh crusade against Egypt in 1248. Rawda Island was a safeguard and a stronghold for the Mamluks for many years.

The legend goes that after the death of her husband, Shajar al-Durr, the last female ruler of Egypt, hid her husband’s body in the Rawda Castle. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed, without leaving any sign of ever being there. The island was used again during the years of the Ottoman Empire, leaving Rawda with many archaeological sites to uncover.

Manasterly Palace

Manasterly Palace was built on the ruins of the Rawda Castle. As if the place was cursed, Manasterly Palace was also destroyed, except its tea hall only. The hall is incredibly large indicating how magnificent the palace was.

Rawda Castle was built by Sultan As-Salih Ayyub was the Ayyubid ruler of Egypt from 1240 to 1249.

To build the castle, Ayyub ordered to destroy all houses, palaces, and mosques that were on the island, in addition to displacing people from their homes.

With 60 towers and a shipment of weapons, war machines, and necessary grains, the castle was built on the island in defense from the Crusaders, who may trap the castle in their war against Egypt.

Ayyub lived on the island with the Mamluks, and this band of Mamluks were called the Bahriyya Mamluks (river Mamluks), in reference to the proximity of their original settlement to the Nile.

As Sultan Ayyub died during the 7th Crusade against Egypt between 1249 and 1250, in order to keep morale within the army, al-Durr and other military elites pretended that the sultan was still alive by sending military using his signature and hiding his body in a wooden coffin in the castle.

However, the news of the death of Ayyub reached the crusaders in Damietta, and with the arrival of reinforcements they decided to march to Cairo.

Shajar al-Durr defended the area what is now Mansoura city, trapping crusader forces inside the town. The crusader force was annihilated by Egyptian forces and civilians.

After defending Egypt, Shajar al-Durr married Aybak, passing the throne onto him after ruling Egypt for 80 days. Aybak ordered to destroy Rawda Castle to build a school on it, which was also destroyed later.

In the Ottoman era, the island was used again by Hassan Pasha Al-Manesterly, where he built his palace on the ruins of Rawda Castle. Al-Manesterly Pasha held various positions in Egypt, the most important of which were the minister of interior and governor of Cairo during the reign of Abbas Helmy I, the Ottoman Wāli (ruler) of Egypt and Sudan.

The palace used to have Salamlek and Haramlek parts, as it was customary for women to stay in a separate part of the palace from men. The Haramlek was for the women and the Salamlek was for the men, but the palace was completely destroyed and only the large tea hall remained.

The tea palace has a ballroom, a guest reception hall, and a large balcony with a clear view of the Nile. The palace was the first headquarters of the Arab League between 1945 and 1947.

Manesterly Palace also houses the Umm Kolthoum Museum, dedicated to the famed Egyptian singer, and the Nilometer from 861 AD.

The Nilometer

The Nilometer once used to measure the level of the Nile’s water in order to determine taxes during the Abbasid period.

Being an agricultural country, Egyptians depend on the Nile for irrigation, and with the Nilometer determining the water level, the ruler can estimate the harvest amount and taxes.

The Nilometer has three openings on three levels from which water may enter, marking the water’s level. If the water entered from the first opening only, this indicates drought.

When the water enters from the second level, it indicates that the water is on the medium level, while water entering from the third and highest level indicates that it is a period of prosperity, with many crops.

Al Manial Palace

The island also houses Al Manial Palace built by Prince Mohamed Ali known as the unlucky prince in the early 20th century. It’s considered an artistic masterpiece,

influenced by European, Moroccan, Persian, Ottoman, and Islamic styles.

As an heir for the throne, the unlucky prince was nominated three times to reign, but every time another heir came.

His bad luck followed him even when he bought a car. He was the first man to have a car accident in Egypt. At the crash site, it was found that the car’s lantern was broken, spawning the Egyptian proverb “El-manhos manhos w lw ala’o alaa raso fanos,” (the unlucky person will remain unlucky even if you hang a lantern on his head), meaning that people can’t escape their luck.

Hopping that he would one day rule Egypt, he built the golden throne hall inside his extremely lavish palace in Al-Manial. However, he never ruled Egypt and with the abolishment of the constitutional monarchy and establishment of the Egyptian republic in 1952, he lost his chance to rule forever.

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EasyJet to operate new direct flight between UK, Sharm El-Sheikh in Mid-Year https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/19/easyjet-to-operate-new-direct-flight-between-uk-sharm-el-sheikh-in-mid-year/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:24:35 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=722497 UK would work on Joint projects with Egypt to restore Egyptian archaeological sites

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British ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams said that EasyJet will operate direct flights between the UK and Sharm El-Sheikh by the middle of the year.

His remarks came during a meeting with Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani, where they discussed cooperation in the field of tourism between Egypt and the UK for the coming period, especially in light of the UK`s decision to lift its travel ban on Sharm El Sheikh airport.

In October 2019, the British authorities agreed to resume flights to Sharm El-Sheikh after a four-year suspension.

The UK’s decision to suspend flights to Sharm El-Sheikh was a result of the October 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner which had just taken-off from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, killing all 224 passengers on board.

Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport received on Sunday evening its first few flights from the UK operated by British TUI AG since suspending flights in November 2015.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed that the UK would work in joint projects with Egypt to restore Egyptian archaeological sites.

The minister assured the ministry was keen on attracting more British tourists to Egypt, pointing out that Egypt is moving forward with operating new direct airlines from Gatwick Airport in London to Sharm El Sheikh airport with only one flight a week.

In addition, Egypt is looking forward to operating flights between Luxor and Sharm El-Sheikh, which will present new tourist programmes in Egypt that combine both cultural and beach tourism.

In response, the British ambassador stressed the importance of Egypt as a destination for British tourists, pointing out that in addition to current airlines operating between the UK and Egypt, EasyJet will operate another airline by middle of the year.

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Egyptair resumes internal flights between Sharm El-Shiekh, Luxor airports after years of suspension https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/18/egyptair-resumes-internal-flights-between-sharm-el-shiekh-luxor-airports-after-years-of-suspension/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:20:52 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=722471 The flight is scheduled to take off every Thursday on an A220-300 luxurious cabin

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Egyptair is to resume internal flights between Sharm EL-Shiekh and Luxor airports starting from 20 February, according to a statement by the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism.

The ministry stated on Tuesday that the decision comes under the government’s policy of linking beach tourism from the Red Sea to cultural tourism areas in Upper Egypt. The flights resumption comes under the cooperation of the Ministries of Aviation, Antiquities, and Tourism.

The flights are planned to take place once a week. The ministry stated that it will offer the passengers of the first flight a free ticket to Nefertari’s tomb in the West Bank of Luxor, which usually costs EGP 1400.

Chairperson and CEO of Egyptair Holding Ahmed Adel told local media portals that the flight rate might increase to more than planned due to high demand, stating that the flight is scheduled until the end of May.

The flight is scheduled to take off every Thursday on an A220-300 luxurious cabin.

Bassem Abdelkarim, Ministry of Civil Aviation’s spokesperson, said that the ministry is currently planning to start flights between Luxor and Hurghada airports in the near future.

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Traveling to Egypt in 2020? Here’s brand new places to visit https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/08/traveling-to-egypt-in-2020-heres-brand-new-places-to-visit/ Sat, 08 Feb 2020 13:44:25 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=721502 Ancient temples, haunted palace, museums, pyramids open for the first time

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Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities opened recently several newly restored touristic destinations, including pyramids, mosques, and temples, with plans to open more archaeological sites in the first and second quarters of the year.

Egypt opened nine new places in 2019, unfolding ancient secrets and giving visitors exciting stories to tell. More nine places are set to start operation after restoration in 2020.

In this article, Daily News Egypt takes its readers in a short journey to look into these places.

Opet Temple (opened 19 April)

The ancient temple is linked to an Egyptian myth. It said that the god Amun dies as Osiris, only to be reborn through the mother-goddess Opet. In a close parallel, Khonsu, the child of Amun-Ra was seen as the newly reborn sun god.

Opet temple’s proximity and connection to the Khonsu temple support the theory that they are linked to each other.

Originally the temple was built by Pharaoh Nectanebo I (380 – 362 BCE). He was the founder of the last native and 30th Dynasty of Egypt.

The temple is located southwest the Precinct of Amun-Ra at Karnak, Luxor. Although the Opet was modified by Ptolemy III and Ptolemy VIII, the exterior decoration was accomplished under the later Roman emperor Augustus Caesar.

Fatima Shaqra Mosque (opened 2 May)

The Mosque of al-Mar’a (Mosque of Women) or Fatima Shaqra Mosque is believed to be built by the daughter of a Mamluk prince in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar district, Cairo.

The only remaining Mamluk-inspired parts of the mosque are the portal and the mihrab, while the rest of the mosque was modified by the Ottoman rulers, including the minaret.

In another story, Fatima was a Russian slave in the Ottoman era. After she had got her freedom, she built the mosque. The mosque has two graves, one of them belongs to Fatima.

Khund Aslabay Mosque (opened 28 June)

Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaytbay Mosque or Khund Aslabay was built in the Mamluk era in 1476 by Khund Asalbay, the wife of the Mamluk Sultan Qaytbay. The mosque is located in the city of Fayoum.

The mosque has distinctive monuments such as the reciter’s bench and the door of the minbar. The mosque was opened after restoration which started in 2013.

El Lahun Pyramid (opened 28 June)

Senurest II Pyramid or Lahun Pyramid is located 22 Km away from Fayoum governorate. It’s made of mud brick, and was constructed for Pharaoh Senusret II in the 12th Dynasty. It’s on a 12 meter-high hill on the outskirts of Lahoun city. The pyramid was discovered in 1889, but it didn’t open for visitors until last year.

Unlike the rest of Egyptian pyramids that have their entrances on the north side, the Lahun Pyramid’s entrance is a vertical shaft under a princess’ tomb located about a dozen yards off to the east of the southern edifice. This setup is meant to prevent grave robbers.

Bent Pyramid (opened 13 July)

The Bent Pyramid, also known as King Sneferu’s Curved Pyramid, was built in the era of the Old Kingdom by Pharaoh Sneferu 2600 BCE.

Presenting the transitional style between step-sided and smooth-sided pyramids, it was the second pyramid built by Sneferu. The pyramid is located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur, south Cairo.

The Ela (ka) Ideological Pyramid (opened 13 July)

The pyramid is believed to have been used for placing Canopic jars which were used to store and preserve the Pharaoh’s viscera during the mummification process for the afterlife.

Ancient Egyptians believed that a person’s soul had many parts, and that all people and the parts of their souls were sculpted from clay by the ram-headed god named Khnum. One of these parts was called the ka. The ka supposedly lived in the body until death. Therefore, it was necessary to preserve the body, so that the ka could stay and they could live again.

Naguib Mahfouz Museum (opened 14 July)

The museum is located in the Muhammad Bek Abul-Dahab Complex which was built in 1774 under the Ottoman rule.

Consisting of two floors, the museum’s second floor includes a suite of certificates obtained by late writer and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. It also includes all his works in their old and new prints, along with his personal belongings.

Tanta Museum (opened 31 August)

After 19 years of closure, the four-floor museum was finally reopened. The first floor hosts a large collection of Pharaonic artefacts and the second floor displays some antiquities dating back to the Greco Roman period. The third floor was designated for Coptic and Islamic antiquities, and the fourth has a large library and a conference hall.

Prince Youssef Kamal Palace in Nagaa Hammadi (opened 29 September)

Prince Youssef Kamal, one of Mohammed Ali Royal Family, helped in establishing the Cairo University and was the founder of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Egypt. Kamal also built three palaces in Cairo, Alexandria, and Nagaa Hammadi.

Nagaa Hammadi’s palace was established in 1908, under the supervision of architect Antonio Lashiak, one of the most famous architects who came to Egypt in the 19th century.

The palace overlooks the Nile and has a double marble staircase leading to a front porch. The north-western façade is punctuated by a series of marble balconies.

The building consists of two floors and a basement. One of the unique things in the palace is a wooden elevator made by the prince for his mother who was suffering from cardiac diseases.

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue (opened 10 January 2020)

The newly renovated 14th-century synagogue was opened on 10 January. Also known as the Nabi Daniel Synagogue in Alexandria, the place is the largest of the two synagogues remaining in the city, with a capacity of about 700 worshipers.

With green and violet stained-glass windows and towering marble columns, the synagogue was rebuilt in its current form in 1850 under Muhammad Ali rule. The original building was badly damaged by the French invasion of Egypt in 1798.

Hurghada Museum (opening date to be confirmed)

Modern in style, the museum is truly a world-class establishment. It presents the aesthetic and luxury side of Egyptian civilization throughout the ages. The museum will display manifestations of sports activities, such as fishing and hunting, as well as music and dance events.

Baron Empain Palace (to open in February)

The historic Indian-inspired mansion was built by Belgian millionaire engineer Edouard Louis Joseph in Heliopolis, Cairo.

Inspired by Angkor Wat, the Hindu temple complex of Orissa in Cambodia, the Baron Empain Palace was designed by French architect Alexandre Marcel in 1928 and decorated by Georges-Louis Claude.

The palace for many years was known as a haunted house, with several terrifying ghost stories circulated about it.

The palace’s tower used to move towards the sun, but people said it stopped moving the same day the Baron died.

It’s expected to be reopened for visitors after restoration this month, according to a source in the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism.

Royal Chariots Museum (opening date to be confirmed)

It was originally a stable for race horses in Al-Jazira Club. The museum would display carts used in the time of Egyptian kingdom from 1863 under Khedive Ismail to 1952 under King Farouk.

After the 1952 Revolution, the place was closed, but it will reopen this year as a museum displaying the royal carts used in Egypt, in addition to old models of the chariots used in Pharaonic era.

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Travco Group to raise prices, increase average occupancy in 2020 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/05/travco-group-to-raise-prices-increase-average-occupancy-in-2020/ Wed, 05 Feb 2020 21:58:13 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=721272 The group's capacity increased to 13,400 rooms this year: source

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Travco Group will increase the prices of hotel rooms occupancy  by 15% this year, as inbound tourism increased at the end of 2019, a senior official, who preferred not to be identified, said.

The official added that Travco aims to bring the average occupancy of its hotels to 85% within the current year, compared to its average occupancy of 73% during previous year.

Travco owns Jaz Hotels Group, which manages and owns 54 hotels.

The company will construct four hotels during the first and second quarters, with a capacity of 1,400 rooms in different areas of Egypt, bringing the company’s total capacity to 13,400 rooms disbursed between 58 hotels.

“Two hotels will be opened in Safaga, one in Hurghada, and one in Marsa Alam with a total capacity of 1,400 rooms,” he said.

He noted that the company funded the four hotels with 40% self-financing and 60% bank financing.

The hotel operating capacity in Egypt is about 205,000 rooms all throughout Egypt, and the majority of them are located in the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates.

He noted that the company will focus on traditional markets of tourism exports like Britain and Italy, as well as more recent markets coming from eastern and southern Asia -which has seen significant growth within the past two years.

This past cycle, tourism to Egypt increased to 13.6 million tourists, compared to 11.3 million in the year prior. This has been greatly supported by growing inflows of German, Arab Gulf, and eastern European tourists.

The Central Bank of Egypt has stated that tourism revenues for Egypt increased to $12.57bn during the last fiscal year, experiencing a growth of 28%.

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Egypt targets 30 million tourist arrivals annually: min. https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/03/egypt-targets-30-million-tourist-arrivals-annually-min/ Sun, 02 Feb 2020 22:03:39 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720992 Ministry of Aviation cuts prices of domestic flights, says Al-Anani

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Egypt seeks to stimulate tourist arrival rates to reach 30 million annually, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani said in a TV statement on Saturday.

Tourism represents a large part of the national income, and millions of Egyptians work in the sector, he added.

Al-Anani announced he appointed a vice-president for the Egyptian Tourism Authority, a consultant to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for tourism promotion, a head of the central department for international tourism, and a head of the central department of internal tourism.

He stressed that his decisions aimed at promoting tourism in Egypt.

In the recent cabinet reshuffle in 2019, the government decided to merge the ministries of tourism and antiquities under Al-Anani. It is the first time in 55 years to have these two ministries combined.

Commenting on the merging, Al-Anani said that it was not a new thing, adding: “We do not reinvent something new. Tourism and antiquities were under one ministry in the period from 1964 to 1966.”

He mentioned that many countries across the world have similar ministries.

The Minister pointed out that the tourism movement in Egypt is mainly cultural and beach tourism, so the state decided to return to the old ministry portfolio.

Al-Anani said that the Ministry of Aviation will launch for first time air flights between Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, and Luxor airports.

The Ministry of Aviation also cut the prices of domestic flights, stressing that flight prices were in need to be reviewed.

Moreover, a decision had been issued to support the defaulters in tourism, with reducing benefits, increasing repayment periods, and dropping some arrears.

Al-Anani confirmed that a decision was taken to postpone the administrative detention of the defaulters in the tourism sector.

Tourism is a national issue that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the Prime Minister follow every two weeks, he said, explaining that new hotels will be built in the North Coast, where the private sector will participate in building these hotels, mainly targeting Arab tourists.

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Al-Mashat highlights Discovery’s 1st promotional video for GEM https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/02/al-mashat-highlights-discoverys-1st-promotional-video-for-gem/ Sun, 02 Feb 2020 11:31:51 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720897 Khaled Al-Anany said that the opening ceremony of GEM planned by end of 2020

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Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat published Discovery’s first promotional video for the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on her social media accounts on Saturday.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8B7AsgHzk6/?igshid=nto1leciid7y

Discovery is one of the world’s leading content networks with more than 7 billion monthly video views across 220 countries while this video is the first segment created for GEM campaign, Al-Mashat who previously served as Minister of Tourism from January 2018 to December 2019, said.

This campaign is part of the Egypt Tourism: The Holistic Marketing Ecosystem communications plan launched in September 2019; which includes broadcast pieces on Egyptian cultural heritage and leisure destinations, adapted specifically for travelers across the US, Europe, Japan, China & India, Al-Mashat added.

The Ministry of International Cooperation has played a monumental role in mobilizing Official development Assistance (ODA) loans in 2008 and 2018 from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); allocated to the museum and exhibition construction, information and communication infrastructure and consulting services, Al-Mashat mentioned.

We look forward to opening this historical destination’s door to everyone around the world this year,” Al-Mashat said.

For his part, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled Al-Anany said on 30 January 2020 that the opening ceremony of GEM planned by end of 2020, will be a legendary one, asserting that many state presidents and kings will attend.

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Egypt’s tourism revenues to jump $29.7bn in the next five years, with CAGR of 13%: ATM https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/29/egypts-tourism-revenues-to-jump-29-7bn-in-the-next-five-years-with-cagr-of-13-atm/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:00:55 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720546 GCC tourists average spending in 2020 to witness hike of 11%, reaching $2.36bn, Saudi Arabia will drive this growth

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Egypt’s total tourism revenues in 2019 recorded about $16.4 bn, and is expected to jump to $29.7bn over the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%, according to Danielle Curtis’s, exhibition director of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Middle East, comment on the latest ATM report.

She said that Egypt is considered a major tourism market for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC), explaining that Egypt received 1.84 million visitors in 2019.

Curtis added that the number of the visitors coming to Egypt from the GCC, is expected to witness a remarkable growth, expecting the total number of visitors coming to Egypt from the GCC to reach 2.64 million by 2024.

According to the ATM report, Egypt will witness a noticeable increase in the volume of average GCC tourist spending in 2020, forecasting it to reach $2.36bn, an increase of 11% compared to 2019. It expected that the tourists coming from Saudi Arabia will drive this growth.

The ATM said that the number of trips coming from Saudi Arabia reached 1,410 trips in 2019. The report also forecasted the number of visitors coming from Saudi Arabia to reach 1.8 million by 2024, with a CAGR of 5%, according to Colliers International, official research partner for ATM.

The ATM said that Germany is the number one tourist exporter for Egypt, with a total of 2.48 million visitors in 2019, a hike of 46% compared to 2018, and with a total average spending of $1.22bn.

“Egypt is expected to receive about 2.9 million German visitors by 2024, with an average spending of about $ 2.18 bn,” according to the report.

While Ukraine comes in second place after Germany, in which the number of Ukraine tourists who visited Egypt in 2019 reached 1.49 million, an increase of 50% compared to 2018, the report attributed this increase to the availability of direct flights between Ukraine and Egypt who have resumed after a hiatus of nearly two years.

“At the level of geographical regions, the European continent is the largest source of tourists to Egypt with 6.2 million tourists in 2018, and this number is expected to rise to 9.1 million in 2022,” the report said.

The report showed that GCC countries record one of the highest growth rates in terms of number of visors coming to Egypt. 

Curtis said that during the past 12 months, Egypt’s tourism industry has witnessed a remarkable growth, evidencing that the number of visitors increased by 57.5%, reaching 17.8 million visitors in 2019, up from only 11.3 million in 2018.

She added that this increase is driven by a decrease in the Egyptian pound exchange rate and the government’s incentives for chartered airlines operating for international flights.

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Saudi Arabia to truly cement itself as international hospitality destination: Colliers https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/28/saudi-arabia-to-truly-cement-itself-as-international-hospitality-destination-colliers/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 14:36:27 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720443 Saudi hospitality market is progressing, experiencing demographic shift

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The Saudi hospitality market is currently experiencing a demographic shift, which has had an influence on general consumer preferences in the market. The influx of international arrivals since the introduction of the Saudi tourist e-visas are also projected to have a long-term impact on general consumer preferences within the market.

According to Colliers International’s report “Transformation – Redefining Real Estate in KSA – Part 2”, international arrivals across Saudi Arabia have seen an increase a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of approximately 9% between 2013 and 2015.

The report highlighted that the visa reforms have had a positive impact on the proportion of international hospitality demand to local hospitality demand, however, local tourism demand is still expected to remain a key driver of demand for hotels in the future.

The increasing international demand does, however, have an influence on overall consumer preferences in Saudi Arabia, which can have an impact in hospitality offerings and supply.

The report noted that the largest international source market for Saudi Arabia in 2019 was Middle East and Africa with 7.5 million tourists followed by Asia Pacific with 6.5 million.

Asia Pacific is expected to experience the highest growth between 2019 and 2024.

Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysian tourists account for the largest proportion of inbound arrivals from Asia-specific countries at present. These markets visit Saudi Arabia for religious purposes.

“The Saudi hospitality market is progressing through three distinct phases, first is the establishment phase, followed by the diversification phase, and the third phase is the locally established phase. Theses phases can help describe the state of the hospitality market and its supply within the Kingdom,” the report read. “Saudi Arabia’s hospitality supply is currently on the diversification phase; however, the market is showing clear indications of its transitioning to the locally established phase.”

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), led by international brands that opened in 2008, established themselves in the market, followed by the lower positioned Holiday Inn, which operated 11 properties by 2011.

Other operators followed a similar strategy, opening higher positioned properties to establish their brand credentials in the market, followed by other brands in their portfolio.

Between 2000 and 2020, luxury and upscale branded hotels accounted for 55% of the branded supply in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, operators start to experience increasing levels of competition causing a change in market dynamics and a diversification of brands.

Moreover, operators introduce a greater variety of brands in the hopes of achieving a unique selling point, giving them an advantage over the competition.

The Saudi market is currently on the diversification phase. During this phase, Saudi Arabia experienced a wider array of brands entering the hospitality market with almost double the number of brands available in 2019 compared to 2010. Hence, the scope of attracting consumers narrows. Differentiation through brand offerings alone is no longer an effective competitive strategy. To have a competitive edge in a growing hotel market should offer a greater variety in term of hotel product offerings.

Colliers believes that operators in the kingdom have identified they should better cater to both local and international guests. Along with this, there has been a noticeable growth in demand for lifestyle hotels in the Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the locally established phase is that local brands also evolve and grow, becoming more competitive in the market versus international operators, diversifying in hospitality offerings and attracting a larger market share to their hotels.

This phase is considered to be the most developed phase in a hospitality market’s development. During this phase, local investors and operators would have already built their experience and portfolios. This allows these local operators to become more of a competitive presence in the market, especially in direct competition to international operators.

Local operators begin to diversify their product offering by evolving old brands and introducing new ones.

Experience led hotels are driven by the growing experience economy which has been fueled by millennials seeking real life experiences. While, the term “experience economy” has been around for some time, it re-emerged again recently, with the heightened use and cultural impact of social media.

In light of these new market developments, Colliers International identified three key elements of experience led hotels which developers in Saudi Arabia should consider when designing future hotels.

As the increasing competitive pressures associated with Saudi Arabia enter the diversification phase, the demand for unique experiences increases. The progressively younger Saudi demographic are looking for experience led hotel offerings, where personalised service is a key contributor to their overall experience.

The Saudi demographic is getting increasingly younger, there is a big opportunity for Saudi Arabia to take the lead on adapting their current hospitality standards to the changing consumer preferences in the market. Operators can do this by implementing new technologies to help offer greater personalised services to their guests.

Colliers estimates that there will be an increase in investment level amongst existing and forthcoming hospitality properties to implement artificial intelligence and internet of things technology to ensure better provision of personalised services.

“Findings by Gartner has also highlighted that in 2018, 50% of companies had redirected their investments towards customer experience innovation,” the report said.

Saudi hospitality properties can also use voice-controlled customer services, which is enabled by internet of things technology. Providing voice enabled devices can allow guests to tailor their experience in the property. This technology is already being adopted by operators such as Marriott International and Hilton.

Accordingly, most hotels have a social aspect to them at their very core, which plays a key role in the strength of their relationships with guests and the local community. We are in a time when hotels are seen as a social platform which not only connects itself to the surrounding environment, but also with the community.

Moreover, Colliers identified three key enablers of hotels as community hubs, namely coworking spaces or shared spaces, community engagement, and free-based membership.

The report disclosed that the rise of digital nomads and increasing business travel led hotels to incorporate coworking spaces as part of their service offering.

Colliers considers that the industry saw an increase in business travel among millennials, many of whom view business travel as a perk rather than an inconvenience.

The report mentioned that there were more than 3 million co-workers globally in 2019, expecting that this number will be doubled by 2022. Hotel brands are taking note of this trend and are incorporating shared working spaces to capitalise on this growing market.

In line with Vision 2030, Colliers expects to see an increase in coworking spaces as Saudi Arabia pushes for more freelancers and entrepreneurs in the kingdom. The younger demographic will play a big factor in the development of coworking spaces in hotel public places such as the lobby and meeting rooms.

While hotels in Saudi Arabia can look forward to an increase in international arrivals over the next few years, hoteliers should also look towards local residents as a source of supplementary revenue. This supplemental revenue can be achieved through leveraging hotel assets and services through free-based membership. Free-based memberships are a great way for hotel properties to reduce dependency on occupancy and average daily rate (ADR) for revenue generation.

Colliers believes that for Saudi Arabia to truly cement itself as an international hospitality destination, its hospitality market should exhibit traits unique to the country.

Over and above, the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia is now reaching out to a new regional and international audience. During the first month of introducing tourist e-visas to 49 different nationalities, Saudi Arabia had processed approximatively 77,000 e-visas. With a goal of attracting 1.5 million tourists by 2020, hotels should take into consideration that international tourist demand for hospitality products are expected to increase.

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Egypt attempts to add Wadi Al-Natroun monasteries on UNESCO World Heritage List https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/27/egypt-attempts-to-add-wadi-al-natroun-monasteries-on-unesco-world-heritage-list/ Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:27:46 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720256 Stressing the importance of these monasteries, El-Enany will meet with Raymond Bonden, the former ambassador of Malta and an expert on world heritage sites to discuss the technical plan adding the site on the UNESCO list.

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Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany is trying to put the four monasteries of Wadi Al-Natroun on the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage List, by preparing a submission file to register, with a February 2020 deadline for submission to the World Heritage Committee.

Stressing the importance of these monasteries, El-Enany will meet with Raymond Bonden, the former ambassador of Malta and an expert on world heritage sites to discuss the technical plan adding the site on the UNESCO list.

The four monasteries which are located in Beheira Governorate are distinguished as being some of the oldest monasteries in the Middle East, and North Africa, and are among the 25 stops on the Trail of the Holy Family in Egypt.

Recently, many specialists and experts visited the monasteries, meeting with monks, officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and the Beheira Governorate, while the government forms an archaeological committee by the antiquities minister, for preparing a file on the monasteries to be presented to UNESCO.

To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be a landmark that is  geographically and historically identifiable and has special cultural or physical significance. By adding the monasteries to the UNESCO World Heritage list, the site will be legally protected by international treaties.

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GEM at the forefront of Egyptian tourism promotion in 2020 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/25/gem-at-the-forefront-of-egyptian-tourism-promotion-in-2020/ Sat, 25 Jan 2020 06:00:01 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720066 2020 to witness special records for tourism in 2020

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The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is Egypt’s tourism icon of promotion in 2020, head of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, Ahmed Youssef told Daily News Egypt in an interview.

It’s is the largest tourism project due to open in 2020, which not only Egypt, but the whole world awaits.

GEM will host the complete collection of Tutankhamen’s belongings for the first time in history since they were discovered. The mega museum is considered one of Egypt’s most instrumental players in having tourism back to normal and reviving the country’s main source of income.

The museum is scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2020, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani announced.

”Egyptian Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and Ministry of Tourism discuss facilitating one-day trip to the GEM starting through the Sphinx Airport from other tourist destinations,” Youssef said.

He assured that when the GEM is inaugurated, the Sphinx Airport will be also fully operative, thus a lot of internal one-day trips are expected.

As for his aspirations for the tourism industry in 2020, Youssef said he felt optimistic, believing that the year will witness special numbers for tourism in Egypt in terms of the number of visitors and revenues.

Over the last two years, the tourism sector recovered, which was reflected in the hotel occupancy rates, and the sector’s revenues.

The tourism industry in Egypt saw ups and downs since the 2011 revolution. The sector in Egypt suffered a devastating blow then, especially after the Russian airliner crash over Sinai in October 2015.

Following the incident, Russia imposed a travel ban on Egypt, while the UK suspended all flights to Sharm El-Sheikh due to previous concerns over the Sharm Airport’s security measures.

In January 2018, the Russian government gave permission for resuming flights to Egypt after a two-year hiatus. Russian flights returned to Cairo in April. The UK also lifted its travel ban on Sharm El-Sheikh last October.

Since then, the sector began to revive, regaining its position. Egypt’s revenues from tourism increased by 28.2% in the fiscal year (FY) 2018/19 recording $12.570bn, compared to $9.804bn in FY 2017/18, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.

“Lifting the UK’s travel ban on Sharm El-Sheikh was considered an international recognition of Egypt’s safety,” Youssef said, adding that Sharm El-Sheikh’s tourism would be booming in 2020, in comparison to previous years.

The Ministry of Tourism always aims to diversify its revenue streams, and increase the sector’s resilience by attracting new markets.

“The markets which Egypt needs to focus on include China, Japan, the US, in addition to Latin America and East Europe,” Youssef said.

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A year of major tourist openings ahead: Al-Anani https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/25/a-year-of-major-tourist-openings-ahead-al-anani/ Sat, 25 Jan 2020 05:30:58 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720065 Egypt targets operating internal flights to link Nile Valley with Red Sea before ITB Berlin, says minister

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“I’m optimistic about both the tourism and antiquities sectors in 2020,” Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani told Daily News Egypt, expecting a boom in tourism, culture, and antiquities this year.

Major tourist openings are expected this year, topped by the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), which is scheduled to be inaugurated in the last quarter of 2020.

“We are also anticipating the opening of Baron Empain Palace, Hurghada Museum, Sharm El-Sheikh Museum, Kafr El-Sheikh Museum, Royal Vehicle Museum, and the partial inauguration of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat,” the minister continued.

It was announced before that the inauguration of Baron Empain Palace, Kafr El-Sheikh Museum, and National Museum of Egyptian Civilization to take place in the first half of 2020.

As for Sharm El-Sheikh Museum, the minister revealed it will open on 25 April, marking the Sinai Liberation Day.

The construction works in Sharm El-Sheikh Museum resumed in September 2018, after a pause of eight years due to a finance shortage at the time.

The Ministry implements the project in cooperation with the National Service Projects Organization.

Moreover, Al-Anani said Hurghada Museum’s construction was completed, however, there were some preparations that have yet to be completed for the inauguration.

Al-Anani said it was the first museum to be built in partnership with the private sector, noting that its success will open the door for more cooperation between the public and private sectors in this field.

On a different note, he said tourists in Egypt used to choose between enjoying cultural tourism in Luxor and Aswan, or recreational tourism in the Red sea, but this about to change.

“Egypt will have cultural tourism in the Red Sea and recreational tourism in the Nile Valley,” he added.

“We prepared a new tourism programme, called “Come to Egypt,” which will include both tourism types. We will link the Red Sea with the Nile Valley through internal flights, so tourists can enjoy both,” the minister announced.

He added that the Minister of Civil Aviation welcomed the idea, and they were studying it.

“We target to activate these internal flights and launch the programme before the ITB Berlin, in order to market and promote it in the exhibition,” the minister noted.

The ITB Berlin is the world’s largest tourism trade fair. The companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies. The ITB Berlin takes place annually in March at the Messe Berlin.

Al-Anani highlighted the importance of showcasing Egypt’s experience in merging the ministries of tourism and antiquities, and the country’s success in linking beaches with cultural tourism.

Regarding the merger of the two ministries, Al- Anani said it would positively affect unifying Egypt’s various types of tourism.

DNE asked Al-Anani if tourism revenue and the number of visitors in 2020 would exceed the numbers of 2010, the peak year for Egyptian tourism. He said that with the stability, security, safety, and the infrastructure’s improvement including tourism services, airlines, and archaeological sites services, he expected Egypt`s tourism sector to achieve very high numbers.

In terms of the promotional and marketing campaigns, the minister stated that before the merger, the ministry of tourism had exerted great efforts in promotional works, which he would continue and build on.

Moreover, Al-Anani declared that Egypt would participate in more than 50 exhibitions in the coming period, starting with FITUR exhibition in Spain, followed by the Belgrade International Fair of Tourism, in which Egypt would be the guest of honour, as well as the ITB Berlin in March.

On a different note, the minister said that 22 mummies and 17 royal coffins will be transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.

He added that 22 Pharaonic style gilded chariots were manufactured abroad to transport the mummies from the Egyptian Museum.

He emphasised that the mummies will be transferred after the completion of the development of Tahrir Square, which is neighbouring the Egyptian Museum and Ain Sira Lake, which is close to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.

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Government to use smart technologies to promote tourism https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/19/government-to-use-smart-technologies-to-promote-tourism/ Sun, 19 Jan 2020 18:04:07 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=719634 Both discussed improving communications infrastructure at hotels and tourist resorts to ensure best services to visitors.

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Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Anany met with Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat on Sunday to discuss using smart technologies to promote Egyptian tourism at international forums and exhibitions, and to improve internet services at tourism facilities.

Both discussed improving communications infrastructure at hotels and tourist resorts to ensure best services to visitors.

The meeting also dealt with developing the Tourism Ministry’s website after its merger with the Antiquities Ministry to be more attractive and showcase more archaeological and coastal sites.

Anany stated that the use of modern technology would change entirely the tourism promotion campaigns of Egypt at international exhibitions, which would push the tourism movement.

For his part, Talaat said his ministry is working to transfer Egypt into a digital community through a new strategy that includes increasing internet speed across the country. Digital transformation of Egypt is a main axis of economic and social development.

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Deadline for floating hotels to adjust situation extended to 31 March https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/19/deadline-for-floating-hotels-to-adjust-situation-extended-to-31-march/ Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:15:41 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=719623 A Sunday press statement said the suspended hotels must notify the Ministry in case they want to reopen, stressing that these measures come in line with the Ministry’s policy on supporting tourism investors and raising the competitiveness of the sector.

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Ministry of tourism and Antiquities announced extending the deadline for suspended floating hotels to adjust their situations for additional three months, due on 31 March, Abdel Fattah Al-Assi, head of the hotels supervision sector in the Ministry said. The deadline before extension was 31 December 2019.

A Sunday press statement said the suspended hotels must notify the Ministry in case they want to reopen, stressing that these measures come in line with the Ministry’s policy on supporting tourism investors and raising the competitiveness of the sector.

According to the Egyptian Hotel Association (EHA), there were 130 floating hotels operating in Luxor and Aswan until last October, currently operating at full capacity and witnessing high occupancy rates. Investors predict Luxor and Aswan to lead the growth of Egypt tourism in 2020.

Egypt’s tourism sector, especially cultural tourism, declined over the years, but then started to recover again since the announcement of establishing the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be inaugurated in the last quarter of 2020. This has restored the world’s confidence Egypt’s cultural tourism, bringing back tourists to Luxor and Aswan as well.

Treasurer of the Cultural Tourism Association Ehab Abdel Aal earlier told Daily News Egypt that hotel occupancy rates in Luxor and Aswan increased to 95% in winter.

He stated that the winter season started in October at witnessed unprecedented activity since 2011.

The EHA announced earlier that it had taken some measures to address the flood season in winter that usually affects floating hotels.

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40% hike in Italian tourists in Egypt in 2019 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/19/40-hike-in-italian-tourists-in-egypt-in-2019/ Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:21:18 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=719551 Egypt must continue diversifying tourism markets in 2020, says El-Damery

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Tourism in Egypt has increased during 2019, reaching 13 million visitors, including a stark 40% increase in Italian tourists, reports Italian newspaper Travelquotidiano.

The newspaper said that Emad Fathy, the Head of International Tourism at the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority, said efforts were still ongoing to achieve the Egyptian Tourism Authority’s goal to increase the number of Italian tourists coming to Egypt.

He mentioned that Egypt will also be participating in the Bit Travel exhibition this year to promote itself as a “multi-tourist destination,” also in anticipation of the Grand Egyptian Museum inauguration scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Bit Travel Exhibition is scheduled to be held 9 to 11 February in Milano.

“We focus on those places that can meet and satisfy all goals and needs of the tourists, varying between coastal tourism in Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Marsa Matrouh and  Alamein, to classic destinations such as Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, and Alexandria, in addition to the path of the Holy Family trip,” he said.

The Italian market was ranked sixth in terms of countries that send tourists to Egypt, in which 1m Italian tourists visited Egypt in 2010, which is considered the peak year for tourism, according to the State Information Service’s report in 2018.

“Before 2014, Egypt was dependent on only four source markets including British, German, Russian, and Italian markets, which were representing more than 75% of the annual tourism revenues in Egypt,” the retired president of the Tourism Promotion Board Authority, Hesham El Damery, told Daily News Egypt.

El-Damery said that since 2015, Egypt began to attract non-traditional markets, including people from Ukraine, and Poland.

Notably, Egypt’s tourism sector suffered a big hit in 2011 after the revolution before taking another blow in 2015, when a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai, leaving no survivors. Subsequently, Russia imposed a travel ban on Egypt, while the UK suspended all flights to Sharm El-Sheikh amid concerns over the airport’s security measures, banning travel to Sinai. The Russian government resumed Russian flights to Cairo in April 2018, while the British government resumed its flights to Sharm El-Sheik in October 2019.

In those years, Egypt depended heavily on the Russian and British markets, experiencing a dramatic drop in revenue when they suspended flights. However, tourism recovered slowly but surely over the years after exploring other source markets in East Europe, and Asia.

El Damery said that these new markets include Serbia, and Bulgaria, in addition to South Korea, China, India, and Malaysia, assuring that Egypt has to continue diversifying source markets in 2020, in order to absorb any shocks in the tourism sector.

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BBC names Egypt as best tourism destination for 2020 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/15/bbc-names-egypt-as-best-tourism-destination-for-2020/ Wed, 15 Jan 2020 10:11:24 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=719236 The mega museum is considered one of Egypt’s most instrumental players in luring tourism back and reviving the country’s main source of income. It will host the complete collection of Tutankhamen’s belongings for the first time in history since they’re discovery.

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BBC Travel chose Egypt as the best place to visit this year, especially with the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

In its report, entitled “Why 2020 is the year to visit Cairo,” the BBC stated that tourism to Cairo has dwindled since the 2011 Revolution, but locals see the new GEM as a chance to reintroduce the world to Egypt’s bustling capital.

The mega museum is considered one of Egypt’s most instrumental players in luring tourism back and reviving the country’s main source of income. It will host the complete collection of Tutankhamen’s belongings for the first time in history since they’re discovery.

The opening was planned to take place in 2018, then it was postponed until reaching the last quarter of 2020.

Lauren K Clark, an American writer who has been living in Egypt since 2010, told BBC that Cairo has “an energetic pulse.” She attributes the city’s energy to its varied cultures, social classes, and natural environment, explaining that each part of the city has its own vibe and culture where these facets shine.

“And the fascinating thing is that Cairo has managed to sustain all these different entities. This is the magic and wonder of the city,” she added.

During the report the BBC, talked about the New Administrative Capital, praising the government’s efforts in establishing it, stating that “the new government has embarked on an ambitious plan to rebuild the capital 45km east of Cairo in an area currently called the New Administrative Capital. The plan includes creating a “smart city” with cashless transportation payments and abundant parks and greenery covering an eventual 700 square km, but funding shortages have caused numerous delays in progress.”

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Environment Minister attracts tourists to visit Saint Catherine mountains https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/13/environment-minister-attracts-tourists-to-visit-saint-catherine-mountains/ Mon, 13 Jan 2020 18:56:39 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=719104 The ministry said in a separate statement that 2,500 trees were planted in Damietta, as part of a state campaign to plant trees across the country.

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Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad called on tourists and citizens to go and enjoy the South Sinai’s Saint Catherine mountains which are covered with snow this time of year.

Fouad said the ministry is upgrading the area’s infrastructure to maintain its natural beauty, and economically capitalise on the mountains’ entertainment, the ministry’s Monday statement.

The ministry said in a separate statement that 2,500 trees were planted in Damietta, as part of a state campaign to plant trees across the country.

About 1,000 trees were planted in Damietta University, 500 trees at Al-Azhar University in Damietta, 500 trees in Kafr El-Ghab village, and 500 trees in Belbeis.

The ministry targets to raise the awareness of the importance of trees and green spaces in protecting the environment.

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Egypt aims to increase British tourist movement after lifting travel ban on Sharm El-Sheikh https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/06/egypt-aims-to-increase-british-tourist-movement-after-lifting-travel-ban-on-sharm-el-sheikh/ Mon, 06 Jan 2020 11:14:17 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=718398 Government studies operating internal flights from Luxor to Sharm El Sheikh and from Luxor to Hurghada

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The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Mohamed Anany and the Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar discussed ways to increase British tourism movement in Sharm El-Sheikh, after the British government has lifted its travel ban on the resort city.

The British government has lifted travel restrictions to Sharm El-Sheikh in October 2019. The ban has been imposed since 2015 following a Russian plane crash.

The two ministers met with the South Sinai governor on Sunday to discuss ways of cooperation, aiming to increase tourist movement to Egypt and to improve the level of services provided in the tourism sector.

Both officials also discussed linking the Nile valley to the Red Sea by operating internal flights from Luxor to Sharm El-Sheikh and from Luxor to Hurghada, aiming to stimulate domestic tourism and also to facilitate the internal movement for tourists.

During the meeting, they also talked about the introduction of a new integrated type of tourism programmes that combines cultural, beach, and recreational tourism.


The two ministers agreed to cooperate and coordinate continuously, harnessing all efforts to promote tourism and boost the tourist movement through launching initiatives and incentive programmes for tour operators and tour agents.

Mohamed Manar stressed that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and its subsidiaries are keen to develop the services provided to travelers through Egyptian airports.


The Minister of Aviation pointed out that tourism and aviation are two sides of the same coin, as they are considered one of the most important sources of Egyptian national income.

He stressed the need to set a common agenda during the coming period and to cooperate with all the concerned partners, uniting all efforts to ensure having a distinctive tourism product.


Manar pointed out that the political leadership pays great attention to resolve all problems and obstacles facing investors in the aviation, tourism and antiquities sectors.

He assured that the political leadership works on  on resolving problems quickly through periodic meetings and cooperation between the concerned ministries  and investors, in order to increase the tourist movement and provide various and integrated tourism programmes that satisfy all tourists in Egypt.

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Tourism Minister to discuss sector’s challenges with Sharm El-Sheikh investors  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/31/tourism-minister-to-discuss-sectors-challenges-with-sharm-el-sheikh-investors/ Tue, 31 Dec 2019 17:51:18 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=718005 Anany met Red Sea governorate's tourism investors earlier this week

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Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Anany will meet tourism investors in Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss their problems and possible solutions.
Anany has agreed with the Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda to hold a meeting next Saturday with investors and representatives of the tourism sector in the governorate to identify obstacles that impede their work, according to the ministry’s press statement.
It will be the second meeting of a kind by Anany after he had met with the Red Sea governorate’s tourism investors earlier this week.
During that meeting, Anany stressed that the political leadership is keen to revive the Egyptian tourism sector.

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Winter season increase hotel occupancy in Luxor, Aswan to 95%: Abdel Aal https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/31/winter-season-increase-hotel-occupancy-in-luxor-aswan-to-95-abdel-aal/ Tue, 31 Dec 2019 17:10:14 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=717989 The tourism sector in Egypt suffered a downturn since the 2011 Revolution, and the sector in Egypt suffered a devastating blow, especially when a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai in late October 2015 and all its passengers were killed.

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Hotel occupancy rates in Luxor and Aswan increased to 95% this winter season,  an unprecedented rate since 2011, Treasurer of the Cultural Tourism Association Ehab Abdel Aal told Daily News Egypt.

He stated that the winter season started early in Egypt since October at an unprecedented rate since 2011.

The tourism sector in Egypt suffered a downturn since the 2011 Revolution, and the sector in Egypt suffered a devastating blow, especially when a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai in late October 2015 and all its passengers were killed.

Abdel Aal pointed out that the collapse of the British Tourist Company, Thomas Cook, impacted the rates of reservations in hotels in Upper Egypt, where it declined by more than 20%, but it was still the highest, compared to the previous years and it returned to the high rates during Christmas and new year bookings.

In late September, Thomas Cook officially announced its collapse after failing to secure its necessary funding, leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded abroad. The company’s debt globally amounts to £1.7 bn.

Meanwhile, the volume of debts of Thomas Cook  for the Egyptian tourism sector does not exceed  €14 m, of which  €7m is for Blue Sky Travel Group, Chairperson of Thomas Cook’s agent in Egypt Blue Sky Travel Agency and owner of the Sunrise Inn, and Chairperson of Egyptian Travel Agents Association (ETTA), Hossam El-Shaer told Daily News Egypt earlier.

On a positive side, Abdel Aal stated that Christmas and New Year bookings are much better than previous years, reaching 90%, an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year, due to the cultural tourism only, especially in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan.”

Abdel Aal revealed that the volume of tourist spending coming for the purpose of cultural tourism exceeds three times that for beach and recreation.

He called on the state to pay attention to archaeological and cultural destinations, especially as they distinguish Egypt from the rest of the world.

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Tourism pundits believe new task force will resolve the sector’s problems https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/30/tourism-pundits-believe-new-task-force-will-resolve-the-sectors-problems/ Mon, 30 Dec 2019 09:00:06 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=717867 The task force will include the ministries of antiquities and tourism, culture, aviation, interior, and finance, as well as the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism.

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Egypt’s Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly approved forming a tourism task force, similar to the existing ministerial economic committee, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Anany announced on Saturday.

The task force will include the ministries of antiquities and tourism, culture, aviation, interior, and finance, as well as the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism.

Commenting on this decision, Chairperson of the Egyptian Hotel Association in Red Sea, Alaa Akel, told Daily News Egypt that this decision will help in coordinating between the different ministries to solve the sector’s problems.

Agreeing with Akel, Treasurer of Cultural Tourism Association, Ehab Abdel Aal, stated that the main reason behind establishing the new tourism task Force is to coordinate between the different ministries.

He further explained that each ministry takes a decision that might cause a conflict of interest with another ministry, so having this new task force is a must for coordination.

Abdel Aal gave example that in the hotels system the interior ministry conduct decision, meanwhile the irrigation ministry conducted another decisions, and the marine sector in ministry of transportation conduct other decisions, in addition to the decisions of the Ministry of Tourism itself.

“If the group member meet every three months, they will present the problems, discussing and reaching solutions for these problems, which will benefit the whole sector at the end,” Abdel Aal assured.

  

  

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Maltese cruise ship arrives Alexandria Wednesday carrying 1,028 tourists https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/25/maltese-cruise-ship-arrives-alexandria-wednesday-carrying-1028-tourists/ Wed, 25 Dec 2019 18:42:46 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=717446 The Maltese cruise ship Celestyel Crystal, which is coming from Greece, is the fourth cruise ship to come to the port in the last 10 years.

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A Maltese cruise ship arrived on Wednesday to Alexandria Port, coming from Greece, carrying 1,028 tourists of different nationalities, in addition to the crew that consists of 400 people.

The Maltese cruise ship Celestyel Crystal, which is coming from Greece, is the fourth cruise ship to come to the port in the last 10 years.

Late October, Alexandria Port witnessed the arrival of the first cruise ship coming from Greece, after an interruption for 10 years.

The cruise ship was coming from the Port of Limassol, carrying 520 tourists of different nationalities including 100 individuals as an official delegation headed by Mayor of the Cypriot town Paphos.

Commenting on the revitalisation, Al-Rayan Tarek Shaheen, chairperson of Alexandria Port Authority, stressed that the port will provide all facilities to help return marine tourism to the pre-2011 levels.

Talking about the rates before 2011, Shaheen mentioned that 98 ships used to come to Alexandria Port every year, carrying 200,000 tourists with different nationalities.

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French tourist arrivals in Egypt to reach 700,000 by year-end: ambassador https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/18/french-tourist-arrivals-in-egypt-to-reach-700000-by-year-end-ambassador/ Wed, 18 Dec 2019 21:45:03 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716921 French tourist inflows witnessed a significant drop between 2011 and 2014 due to the political unrest in Egypt, recording its lowest level in 2014

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French tourist arrivals in Egypt to reach about 700,000 by the end of the year, compared to 500,000 tourists in 2018, French ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet told Daily News Egypt on Wednesday.

He added that the peak year of French tourists in Egypt was in 2010, witnessing one million French arrivals.

However, French tourist inflows witnessed a significant drop between 2011 and 2014 due to the political unrest in Egypt, recording its lowest level in 2014 of only 100,000 tourists.

“Since then, French tourist arrivals in Egypt witnessed a gradual increase, reaching 500,000 tourists in 2018, and now we expect for Egypt to witness between 600,000 and 700,000 French tourists by the end of the year,” he mentioned.

He said that Egypt now meets all the conditions necessary for receiving more tourists, mentioning that there is a high demand from French travel companies to operate trips to and from Egypt.

On a different note, the ambassador mentioned that the trade exchange between Egypt and France reached 2bn, while the total French investments in Egypt reached5bn.

The ambassador noted that he promotes investing in Egypt, focusing on the sectors of energy, health, infrastructure, and smart cities.

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Egyptian hotel markets continue to experience strong levels of performance https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/16/egyptian-hotel-markets-continue-to-experience-strong-levels-of-performance/ Mon, 16 Dec 2019 18:12:31 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716697 Occupancy rate in in Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Alexandria recorded 80%, 60%, 67%, 82%, respectively.

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Egyptian markets such as Cairo, Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, and Alexandria continue to experience strong performance in the Mena Hotel Forecast’s publication.

These markets showed an average revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of 14% during the first 10 months (10M) of 2019, compared to the same period last year. The occupancy recorded 80%, 60%, 67%, 82%, in Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Alexandria respectively.

The forecast reported that the Egyptian markets will continue to be strong in RevPAR and Occupancy. The major Egyptian markets are forecasted to see an average RevPAR growth of 22% in 2019 compared to last year.

Beirut hotel markets will continue to see strong growth in performance with double digit growth in RevPAR in the first 10M of 2019, recording 13%. This growth in performance levels can be attributed by the growing number of European tourists underpinned by French tourists in the top of the list, followed by the Germans and the British. While average RevPAR in Dubai witnessed a decline by 9.5%. 

They noted that the lifting of travel warnings from Saudi Arabia is also expected to have a positive impact as the market is forecasted to see a RevPAR growth of 13% in full year 2019.

Saudi Arabia markets will continue to benefit from tourist via visa changes and other initiatives. Although new supply might put a downward pressure on rates, the recent initiatives are also expected to have a positive impact on occupancy levels.

For the Manama hotel market in Bahrain, it has seen a positive performance trend, achieving a RevPAR growth of 8%. This performance can be attributed by the increase in the numbers of visitors by approximately 3%. The continuous investments in tourism infrastructure is expected to increase the country’s visibility on the global map. This market is expected to see a RevPAR growth of 7% in full year 2019.

UAE markets are expected to achieve relatively stable performance in 2020, with the three months of EXPO 2020 falling in the fourth quarter.

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CBE increases value of its tourism support initiative to EGP 50bn https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/16/cbe-increases-value-of-its-tourism-support-initiative-to-egp-50bn/ Mon, 16 Dec 2019 06:30:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716626 Bank to exempt pre-2011 defaulters in tourism sector from marginal interests on their loans

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced increasing the value of its initiative to finance the renovation and development of hotels and tourism facilities from EGP 5bn to EGP 50bn, in addition to extending it for another year, to end on 31 December 2020.

“About 20 floating and fixed hotels in Luxor, Aswan, South Sinai, and the Red Sea have benefited from the CBE’s initiative, taking loans to renovate their facilities. The Egyptian Hotel Association (EHA) is assisting its members to prepare the papers required to apply for the initiative’s soft loans,” Chairperson of the EHA Maged Fawzy told Daily News Egypt.

The CBE also announced the exemption of the pre-2011 tourism sector’s defaulters from marginal interest on their loans, as well as exempting all the customers of the bank’s 2017 initiative for troubled tourism companies, including those inf Nuweiba, Taba, and St. Catherine, from the marginal interest and 50% of their debts.

The initiative was conducted under the instructions of Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, after holding a meeting on Saturday with the governor of the CBE, representatives of the private sector, and Ahmed Al-Wasif, head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum in Egypt.

Commenting on the initiative, Chairperson of the EHA in the Red Sea, Alaa Akel, stated that this initiative will provide soft loans to hotels and tourism facilities to finance their development and renovation.

Akel mentioned that some hotels were affected negatively since some countries imposed travel bans on Sharm El-Sheikh, stating that these hotels will need to improve their efficiency and to develop, thus the President gave instructions in order to help these hotels to renovate, with the aim of being ready for the tourism recovery.

He noted that around 40 hotels are closed in Hurghada and Marsa Allam.

The UK has imposed a travel ban on Sharm El-Sheikh, following the Russian plane crash over Sinai in 2015, in which all its passengers were killed. However, the British government resumed flights to the resort city late October.

Akel revealed that after the decision of the British government to resume flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, a gradual return to high rates of tourism will be witnessed, expecting to witness a full recovery within two or three seasons. 

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Hilton to add 8 hotels to its management portfolio in Egypt, reaching 24 hotels by 2024 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/14/hilton-to-add-8-hotels-to-its-management-portfolio-in-egypt-reaching-24-hotels-by-2024/ Sat, 14 Dec 2019 06:00:11 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716438 Hilton group manages nearly 6,000 hotels worldwide under 17 brands.

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Hilton will add eight new hotels to its management portfolio to reach 24 hotels in Egypt by 2024, up from only 16 hotels now.

On the side-lines of Hilton’s celebration of 100 years since its establishment, Hilton Vice President of operations for Egypt and North Africa Mohab Ghali said the  average occupancy rate for the group`s hotels ranges between 70% and 75%, expecting the same ratio by next year.

Hilton group manages nearly 6,000 hotels worldwide under 17 brands.

Egypt’s tourism sector revenues achieved an unprecedented increase of 28.2% during the last Fiscal Year (FY) 2018/19, recording $12.570bn, compared to only $9.804bn, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

Notably, the tourism sector is considered very important in the Egyptian economy, which represents more than 15% of Egypt’s gross domestic product, and contributes to the creation of jobs and positively affects the lives of local communities.

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30 tourism developers to build 10k hotel rooms in New Alamein https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/11/30-tourism-developers-to-build-10k-hotel-rooms-in-new-alamein/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 19:25:23 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716366 He added that the Ministry of Housing represented in the New Urban Communities Authority has spent EGP 25bn in housing and infrastructure projects in the city, of which roughly EGP 8bn for providing public facilities.

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New Alamein city is set to be an international tourism city that is planned to include approximately 10,000 hotel rooms, said Deputy Minister of Housing for National Projects, Khaled Abbas.

Abbas told Daily News Egypt that about 30 tourism developers will be assigned to develop the planned hotel rooms.

He added that the Ministry of Housing represented in the New Urban Communities Authority has spent EGP 25bn in housing and infrastructure projects in the city, of which roughly EGP 8bn for providing public facilities.

He revealed that the ministry has contacted Disney to open a branch of the international entertainment complex in New Alamein, however, the American company said it’s working on another project in Dubai and does not intend to have a new project in the region for the current period.

Commenting on allegations that private real estate developers do not have access to lands in New Alamein, Abbas said that lands are available for all developers under the new allocation mechanism, dubbed “Market Oriented”, however, most developers want lands overlooking the sea.

He elaborated that the total area of New Alamein is 50,000 feddan, and only 8,000 feddan overlook the sea, of which 30% will be allocated for building roads and the corniche. Therefore, the net area may be 3,000-5,000 feddan.

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Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada airports fastest growing in Africa: Routesonline https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/10/sharm-el-sheikh-hurghada-airports-fastest-growing-in-africa-routesonline/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 10:00:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=716161 It said Sharm El Sheikh airport is the fastest growing major airport in Africa by capacity.

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Routesonline’s new study said that Sharm El Sheikh International Airport and Hurghada Airport are of the fastest growing in Africa, local media reported.

It said Sharm El Sheikh airport is the fastest growing major airport in Africa by capacity.

The study indicated that Sharm El Sheikh airport’s capacity has increased by 28.9% in 2019, providing 1.49m available departure seats rather than 1.16m departure seats in 2018. While Hurghada airport came  third on the top ten list, recording a growth rate of 11.9% this year, as its capacity growth has increased, reaching more than double the number of seats in 2016.

Sharm El Sheikh airport tops the list, showing that it has recovered greatly after the crash of the Russian Metrojet flight 9268 in Sinai four years ago. After taking-off from Sharm El-Sheikh airport the flight  was destroyed, likely by a bomb on board, and left no survivors from the 224 passengers and crew.

Although the incident lead to a drop in tourism starting 2015, Egypt was able to recover, tightening security procedures in Egyptian airports, which encouraged the British government to lift its four-year ban on air travel to the Red Sea governorates in October 2019.   

Routesonline is responsible for organising and operating world-renowned airline and airport networking events through its annual World Route development forum. They are held in key markets throughout the year in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

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