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Tourism Daily News أهم أخبار السياحة و السفر
مصر تتطلع لزيادة التدفقات السياحية من إيطاليا.. ومصر للطيران توسع رحلاتها , وزيرة الثقافة تعلن اختيار سلطنة عمان ضيف شرف معرض القاهرة الدولي للكتاب, الاستثمار السياحي بالفيوم يراعي الأبعاد التراثية والتاريخية والبيئية, مصر تنفي تضرر مجموعة من التماثيل الأثرية بسقارة نتيجة عرضها على طاولة, الطريق الصحراوي الغربي يواصل حصد الأرواح .. مصرع برلمانية وإصابة 5 أشخاص.
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Egypt's tourism boom offers respite from foreign currency woes, Gaza war
Egyptian tourism revenues and the number of holidaymakers visiting reached record highs in 2023, bringing in much-needed hard currency to the economy, but experts say that this boom won’t be enough to help the country recover from its current financial malaise.
Revenues reached a record $15 billion, and inbound tourism reached 14.9 million last year, according to local reports, as the government took steps to ensure both the safety of tourists amid the war in neighboring Gaza and that the North African country rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The numbers were published by Daily News Egypt, citing Said El Batouty, professor of international macroeconomics and tourism economics at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and EU economic and travel official.
Batouty said that Egypt welcomed 14.9 million holidaymakers in 2023, surpassing the peak of 14.7 million in 2010.
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Egypt aims to double the number of tourists to reach 30 million by 2028, tourism minister says
Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Issa said. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Hundreds of tourists surround the Colossal head of the god Serapis, center, one of the most important gods in the Greek and Roman periods, at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Hundreds of tourists surround the statue of Djoser, at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Workers build a new fountain to replace the old one at the garden of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Egyptian museum officials hang the planner of the new fountain at the garden of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Hundreds of tourists watch and film antiquities at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. The country is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Hundreds of tourists watch and film antiquities at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Tourists surround the golden mask of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A Toursit watches king tutankhamun sarcophagus at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
The golden mask of King Tutankhamun is seen at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A Toursit watches antiquities at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A Toursit watches the seated statue of king Khasekhemwy, last king of the 2nd Dynasty of Egypt, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A worker shows a Lotus flower to be returned to the new planned fountain at the garden of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector has begun to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said during an interview with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt is seeking to double the number of visitors to the country in the next five years, its top tourism official told The Associated Press.
Egypt is aiming at reaching 30 million visitors by 2028, as its once-thriving tourism sector recovers from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the grinding war in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said Tuesday.
“We’re seeing unparalleled demand, unprecedented demand for travel into Egypt,” Issa said in an interview.
He said Egypt had received 10 million tourists in the first eight months of 2023, and was “well on track to achieve around 15 million this year, which is going to be a record year for the tourism industry.”
The sector is a major source of foreign currency for the cash-strapped North African country. Last year, tourism revenues surged to $10.7 billion, up from around $5 billion in 2021, according to the Egyptian central bank.
The government’s plan focuses on what he calls the “supply side,” which includes increasing the number of hotel rooms in the country and seats on flights to Egypt by more than 30% annually, as well as encouraging more private investment in the tourism sector.
Issa said they would add 25,000 hotel rooms to Egypt’s current capacity of about 210,000. Such an increase, he said, would help the government achieve its target of 18 million tourist visits in 2024.
“That will be the fastest growth in (hotel) rooms in Egypt over the past 20 years,” he said.
Egypt has made a years-long effort to revive its battered tourism industry. The sector was badly hit during and after the popular uprising in 2011 that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the ensuring unrest. The country received over 14 million tourists in 2010.
The coronavirus, followed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, dealt another blow, just as the sector was getting back on its feet.
In recent years, the government has touted its ancient history as a major selling point. It has publicized pharaonic discoveries, building and renovating museums and tourist sites across the country.
Issa spoke to the AP from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, a neoclassical structure built in the late 19th century and the first purpose-built museum in the Middle East and North Africa.
The museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cairo, drawing an average of 10,000 visitors a day, said museum director Ali Abdel-Halim. It holds tens of thousands of antiquities in its collection, some of which have never been exhibited.
In recent years, the government has embarked on renovating the museum, in cooperation with five major institutions in Europe, including the British Museum and the Louvre in Paris, Abdel-Halim said.
The four-phase project, which is partly financed by the European Union, includes a renovation of the entire building, which was designed by the famed French architect Marcel Dourgnon.
For decades, the museum in central Cairo was the main facility housing Egyptian heritage treasures. But in recent years, the the government transferred many artifacts — such as the prized royal mummies — to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and the Grand Egyptian Museum , a mega-project which has been under construction for well over a decade near the famed Giza Pyramids.
Issa said they were working to finish construction and complete the installation by the end of the year, and the museum would be ready for its opening ceremony “very soon.”
He said they are working to set a date for the ceremony when many world leaders can attend.
“It’s going to be a magnificent day for ... the entire humanity that is interested in history and culture and archaeology and heritage,” he said.
(OFFICIAL) Egypt keen for tourism recovery by year-end as visitor numbers rise
Reporting by Tarek Fahmy; Writing by Nadine Awadalla, Editing by William Maclean
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Germany will abstain from a vote on a European law that aims to require large companies to take action if they find their supply chains employ child labour or damage the environment, the Social Democrat labour minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
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Egyptology Is Having a Big Moment. But Will Tourists Come?
Tourism in Egypt has been buffeted by political instability and terrorism. But the pandemic has dealt the industry its biggest blow in years.
By Abdi Latif Dahir
CAIRO — On a cool morning last November, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister stood in a packed tent at the vast necropolis of Saqqara just outside Cairo to reveal the ancient site’s largest archaeological discovery of the year.
The giant trove included 100 wooden coffins — some containing mummies interred over 2,500 years ago — 40 statues, amulets, canopic jars and funerary masks. The minister, Khaled el-Enany, said the latest findings hinted at the great potential of the ancient site and showcased the dedication of the all-Egyptian team that unearthed the gilded artifacts.
But he also singled out another reason the archaeological discoveries were crucial: it was a boon for tourism, which had been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This unique site is still hiding a lot,” Mr. el-Enany said. “The more discoveries we make, the more interest there is in this site and in Egypt worldwide.”
Egyptology is having a big moment: Archaeologists announced this month that they had unearthed an ancient Pharaonic city near the southern city of Luxor that dated back more than 3,400 years.
The discovery came just days after 22 royal mummies were moved to a new museum in a lavish spectacle that was broadcast worldwide. In addition, the discovery of 59 beautifully preserved sarcophagi in Saqqara is now the subject of a recent Netflix documentary ; a bejeweled statue of the god Nefertum was found in Saqqara; the 4,700-year-old Djoser’s Step Pyramid was reopened last year after a 14-year, $6.6 million restoration; and progress is apace on the stunning Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open sometime this year.
But the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the industry, and what had been expected to be a bonanza season became a bleak winter.
Tourism is a crucial part of Egypt’s economy — international tourism revenues totaled $13 billion in 2019 — and the country has been eager to attract visitors back to its archaeological sites.
With travel restrictions, border closings and reduced capacity at hotels, international visitors to Egypt dropped by 69 percent in the first eight months of 2020 alone while revenues plunged by 67 percent in the same period, according to the World Tourism Organization, a United Nations agency.
Now more than ever, tourism in Egypt is facing “an unprecedented challenge,” Zurab Pololikashvili, the organization’s secretary general said in an email.
In recent years, Egypt’s tourism has been adversely affected by a string of misfortunes, starting with the political instability that followed the 2011 revolution and occasional bursts of terrorism, including attacks on tourists , bomb blasts that damaged prominent museums and a downed airliner that killed hundreds of Russian tourists in 2015.
But the sector was steadily recovering, with visitors attracted by both antiquities and the sun-and-sea offerings, growing to over 13 million in 2019 from 5.3 million in 2016. The coronavirus pandemic has reversed these gains, leaving hotels, resorts and cruises empty, popular sites without visitors and revenue, and thousands of tour guides and vendors with drastically reduced incomes or none at all.
“Tourism in Egypt just had one of its best years in 2019 and then came the pandemic which severely impacted it all,” Amr Karim, the general manager for Travco Travel, one of Egypt’s largest tour operators, said in a telephone interview. “Nobody knew what would happen, how we will handle it, how it will affect us. It’s strange.”
The pandemic, he said, disrupted how tour companies operated, how they priced their packages and how to work with hotels and abide by their new hygiene playbooks.
The pandemic also exposed the fragility of Egypt’s health care system , with doctors lamenting shortages in protective equipment and testing kits while patients died from lack of oxygen . With over 12,000 deaths, Egypt also recorded one of the highest fatality rates from the virus in the Arab world.
With a growing number of cases, health officials in Egypt have recently warned of a third wave of the virus. Authorities have also canceled large gatherings and festivals, and promised to fine those not complying with protective measures like mask-wearing, but many Egyptians do not abide by these rules.
Travelers are required to have a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arriving in Egypt, and hotels are mandated to operate at half capacity.
The crisis affected not just big companies like Travco but also smaller ones that had started betting big on the growing tourism industry.
Passainte Assem established Why Not Egypt , a boutique travel agency, in 2017 by interviewing prospective travelers and customizing itineraries for them. But after the pandemic began, most of her clients, who are from Australia, Canada and the United States, canceled their plans, she said, pushing her to suspend the business for now.
The experience left her feeling that “tourism is not stable at all,” she said. “It cannot be the only source of income. I have to have a side hustle.”
She now works as a manager of a company trying to revive and preserve traditional Egyptian handicrafts.
With shrinking bookings, the government has stepped in to cushion the blow to the tourism sector. Authorities introduced a raft of measures including allowing certain tourism-dependent businesses like hotels and resorts to delay the payment of utility bills, rescheduling debt repayments and providing financial aid to tourism workers.
The government has also sought to attract travelers by reducing the cost of tourist visas and entrance fees to archaeological sites, and has created programs aimed at increasing domestic tourism to make up for the lack of foreign tourists. A winter promotion, for instance, offered Egyptians discounts on domestic plane travel, hotels and museum admissions .
But Ahmed Samir, chief executive of the tour company Egypt Tours Portal , said the direct cash support for tourism workers was minimal. With reduced bookings, he was able to keep his employees in his marketing and social media departments on the payroll but at half salary.
“As a kind of sympathy to my employees, we tried to balance,” he said. But still, he added, “most of my friends’ companies closed completely.”
The slowdown in tourist arrivals has left areas usually swamped by tourists quiet.
At the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo, Mahrous Abu Seif, a tour guide, sat waiting for clients one morning. A few small tour groups, including from Russia and China, were going through metal detector scans to go into the museum. But he hoped that more clients would come.
“What can I tell you? We sit here and wait and wait,” he said, throwing his hands in the air and adjusting his sunglasses. “We don’t know what the future holds.”
On the other side of town, at the historic El Fishawy coffee house, a few locals gurgled their water pipes and drank mint tea or Turkish coffee while melodious Quran recitation ascended from a nearby speaker. Located in the centuries-old Khan el Khalili market, the cafe, along with souvenir and jewelry shops, was hit badly by the pandemic.
“I used to bring people here and it would be packed, but look at it now,” Mohamed Said Rehan, a guide with a local company, said of the cafe. “The pandemic is a big problem.”
Mr. Rehan said that he knows many colleagues and friends who had to stay home for months without income or who left the industry altogether. But he still clings to a thread of hope that tourism will pick up soon.
And some tourists have indeed started coming back.
In February, Marcus Zimmermann, a 43-year-old architect from Germany, was visiting Egypt for the first time, stopping first in Cairo and planning trips to the southern city of Luxor, home to the iconic Valley of the Kings. Mr. Zimmermann had hoped to come to Egypt last year with his mother, who dreamed of being an archaeologist, for her 70th birthday. But they had to cancel their plans because of the pandemic.
This year, he decided to come alone but promised to “plan the trip again” with her once she’s vaccinated.
Even though it will be tough attaining the prepandemic figures quickly, people like Mr. Karim who work in the industry hope tourists will start coming back by year’s end.
With all the new discoveries, renovations and the planned opening of new sites and museums, tourists will gradually flock back to Egypt, he said.
“People will start to move. People will start to travel,” he said. “I am optimistic.”
Nada Rashwan and Asmaa Al Zohairy contributed reporting.
Abdi Latif Dahir is the East Africa correspondent. He joined The Times in 2019 after covering East Africa for Quartz for three years. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya. More about Abdi Latif Dahir
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Tourism sector on way to meeting 2023 goals despite war on gaza, tourism minister.
Tue, 07 Nov 2023 - 12:09 GMT
London, UK – November 7, 2023: Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa told Reuters that Egypt is on its way to meeting its 2023 tourism goals, including attracting 15 million tourists by the end of the year which is expected to earn more than $13 billion.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the World Travel Market fair in London, Issa explained that the ministry recorded tourist arrivals of 1.3 million from 80 countries in October, an 8 percent increase year-on-year, highlighting its significance amid the escalating war on the Gaza Strip.
"So far the impact is on the customers who have bought the regional products because the tourism sector in Israel has actually practically shut down, so this is where we're seeing the most significant impact,” the tourism minister explained.
Issa pointed out that less than 10 percent of Egypt’s total bookings were impacted since the start of the war. The Egyptian government launched new incentives to support tourism in the Southern Sinai region aimed at reducing the impact on its tourism industry.
The tourism minister explained that Egypt was offering an extra $500 of incentives per flight landing in Sharm el-Sheikh, and is working closely with wholesalers, retailers and airliners to keep them committed to Egypt.
The industry witnessed a significant growth of German tourists, accounting for 10 percent of 2023’s bookings. Not traditionally a large market for Egypt’s tourism industry, Chinese tourists strengthened tourism numbers by 7 percent year-on-year by the end of October, according to the tourism minister.
A key source of foreign currency in Egypt, the government aims to double the number of tourists over the next five years to reach 30 million tourists by 2028.
On Monday, S&P Global warned of the significant impact of the war on countries Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, due to their proximity to the Gaza Strip and Israel, adding that other Middle Eastern countries are unlikely to be affected. Similarly, the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director shared the same sentiment during a panel in Riyadh in October.
S&P’s report included several scenarios for the countries, forecasting a decline in Egypt’s tourism revenues ranging from 10 to 30 percent, which could lead to a loss of 4-11 percent of the country’s FX reserves.
“That said, we expect multi- and bi-lateral donors will continue to support Egypt and Jordan since instability in these countries could spill over to the rest of the region,” wrote S&P.
In a dataset released earlier this week, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) recently revealed that Egypt’s international reserves saw a slight bump in October, hitting $35.1 billion compared to September’s recorded $34.97 billion.
For FY2022/2023, tourism revenues hiked by 26.8 percent year-on-year as the number of inbound tourists increased by 35.6 percent to about 13.9 million tourists, according to a separate report by the CBE.
In a previous interview with regional media, the tourism minister revealed that there are plans to add 25,000 new hotel rooms by mid-2024.
Issa also shared that the long-awaited opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum is slated for mid-2024.
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of tourism and antiquities.
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Public outrage is on the rise in Egypt over plans for a new tourist attraction in the heart of the capital, Cairo, amid a government-led construction drive that opponents say threatens the city’s cultural heritage.
Last month, Cairo’s Governor Khaled Abdel Aal launched the Cairo Eye project – a 120-metre high Ferris wheel to be completed by 2022 along the River Nile in Zamalek, an upscale district on Gezira Island in the heart of the capital.
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Spanning 20,000 square metres (215,000 square feet), the Cairo Eye promises visitors a panoramic view of the ancient city from what will be Africa’s largest observation wheel, according to the governor.
In line with Egypt’s Vision 2030 for sustainable development, the project will feature ancillary services including restaurants, cafes and a parking area. It also plans a 6km (3-mile) public walkway along the Nile.
Despite the government’s flashy promises, the project’s launch has triggered a public outcry among residents, parliamentarians and even former ministers.
Mounir Abdelnour, who served as a former minister of tourism and investment, described the plan as “catastrophic” and questioned its efficiency, and asked whether it had taken citizens’ concerns about the environment and area’s heritage into account.
“What right does Cairo’s governor have to use this historic, green space and to grant it to a private company?” he asked on Twitter, referring to reports the Ferris wheel would be built in Zamalek’s historic Masalla Gardens.
Zamalek residents have raised concerns over the project’s potential impact on the already-crowded district and its infrastructure.
Gezira Island is where the Opera House and the iconic Cairo Tower can be seen, surrounded by historic palaces and the Gezira Sporting Club.
“The island is already on the verge of collapse because of the metro being built despite our opposition,” said Zamalek resident Shady Taha, referring to tunnels being drilled to make way for Cairo’s third metro line.
“The government is always looking for shiny new projects that might bring tourists, but it ignores that a project like this can destroy the island’s infrastructure and worsen the traffic,” said Taha, whose name was changed to protect against official reprisals.
“If the project was based on proper research and transparency, it might have been slightly acceptable, but it wasn’t,” he explained, adding the government “constantly” makes plans without consulting residents.
Cairo’s governor told Egyptian media during the launch on January 21 that Zamalek was carefully chosen as a strategic location for the project.
He said the 500-million Egyptian pound ($3.17m) investment would boost tourism by attracting 2.5 million visitors a year, as officials hope to revive Egypt’s tourism industry, hit hard by unrest since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 and the coronavirus pandemic.
Cairo Eye, Africa's tallest observation wheel will open in Egypt in 2022. It will be 120 meters high. pic.twitter.com/tWh0DuvRrY — Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) February 5, 2021
According to Alia Abdou, a Zamalek resident and founder of Zamalek Community, a Facebook page she set up for the island’s community, most of her followers oppose the project.
“It’s mainly for environmental reasons [that they oppose it]. Many residents think the project will cause pollution, traffic jams, and overcrowding.
“They also feel that a modern project like this shouldn’t be located in a historic district such as Zamalek,” said Abdou.
‘Protected and maintained’
Earlier this month, the head of the Egyptian parliament’s tourism committee, Nora Ali, called on the minister of tourism, Khaled al-Anani, to consider moving the Cairo Eye to the new administrative capital – a multibillion-dollar mega-city being established east of the metropolis. Her calls echoed those of parliamentarian Shaima Halawa, who filed a formal request.
Likewise, Egypt’s former foreign minister Amr Moussa opposed the project, saying in a Facebook post that a “historic green area” such as Zamalek “should be protected and maintained.”
Responding to criticism during a February 4 parliament session, al-Anani said the ministry of tourism “has nothing to do with the project” as it does not fall within its remit.
“I attended the launch because I was invited by the state,” Egyptian media quoted al-Anani as saying. “If the project is presented to the ministry, I will not authorise it.”
According to WJ Dorman, who is affiliated with the University of Edinburgh and an expert on Egypt’s urban politics, the Cairo Eye is an example of a “spectacular initiative intended to create the impression of vibrancy or dynamism in the built environment and, in so doing, distract attention from shortcomings of governance and everyday urban life”.
In a 2019 report, the World Bank said 60 percent of Egyptians were “either poor or vulnerable”, up from a national poverty rate close to 30 percent in 2015. More than 40 percent of the country’s population lives in urban areas.
Alarm in Heliopolis, too
Opposition to the Cairo Eye project comes amid a wider discussion on a government-led road-building drive that some say may erase Cairo’s heritage.
Reports this month about an alleged plan to construct an overpass in Heliopolis, an eastern suburb of Cairo, passing over a century-old cathedral – known as the Basilica – alarmed many residents.
The Heliopolis Heritage Initiative Facebook page, which first reported efforts to build the bridge in December last year, said its members were told at a meeting with the engineering committee last week the project was being re-examined to present alternatives.
Fearing the project might ruin the historic landmark, many have since signed a petition against the construction of the flyover, while others have lobbied officials to support their calls.
For Heliopolis residents, the reported plans are alarming. Over the past few years, green spaces and parks across the suburb have been paved over to make way for new roads and flyovers.
To ridicule the reported project, digitally altered images showing new flyovers straddling the minarets of the Cairo Citadel and others piercing the Giza Pyramids circulated on social media last week.
Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in 2013, Egypt has built many expansive new bridges and roads to help ease traffic congestion and connect the sprawling Cairo metropolis to the new administrative capital.
In August last year, Egypt’s Minister of Transport Kamel al-Wazir said 130 billion Egyptian pounds ($8.3bn) had been allocated to building 1,000 bridges and tunnels by 2024, according to the Economist. He said 600 were already completed.
Plans for a new highway through Cairo’s City of the Dead – an ancient burial site listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a heritage site – threatens to uproot historic graveyards, while another in Giza poses a grave risk to the Pyramids, according to opponents of the plan.
People have also lambasted the government’s road-building drive for lacking proper planning.
A flyover built in Giza last year runs so close to adjacent apartment buildings that residents can reach out to touch it from their balconies. The Ministry of Housing said the buildings were built without proper licensing and had demolition orders issued against them.
مصر 2030 pic.twitter.com/naIunh3eC3 — Magdy Kamel (@magdymohamed_) February 5, 2021
Still, for some, el-Sisi’s construction drive has brought a positive change.
“I’m not sure why people are so upset about the new bridges,” said Ahmed Reda, a 33-year-old business owner in Cairo.
“All they’ve done is cut down travel time and reduce traffic jams, especially in east Cairo. The roads are better and quicker,” said Reda.
But to Dorman, the urban politics analyst, whether it is the Cairo Eye or road-building, such “national projects” are not about governance.
They are a means of “asserting state sovereignty over social space”, reinvigorating its power, and providing it with a “sense of mission and purpose”, in a theatrical rather than actual sense, said Dorman.
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AI set to revolutionise Travel & Tourism, says latest WTTC report
Travel & Tourism businesses urged to embrace AI.
MADRID, SPAIN – Major new reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council ( WTTC ) and Microsoft highlight the transformative power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for Travel & Tourism, marking a commitment to a digital future with unparalleled customer experiences.
The first in a series of AI reports, announced during the global tourism body’s event at FITUR and in collaboration with WTTC’s Industry Partner, Microsoft, is poised to redefine Travel & Tourism standards and call on the sector for greater integration of such technologies.
As the global leader in Travel & Tourism, WTTC is committed to driving innovation and supporting the sector to embrace AI and other cutting-edge technologies. To promote sustainability and excellent customer experiences, WTTC acknowledges the crucial importance of AI in revolutionising the sector.
Throughout the traveller’s journey, WTTC believes AI can play a pivotal role in delivering a tailored and enhanced experience now and in the future.
This technology can empower personalised recommendations and marketing strategies by analysing traveller data, optimising pricing strategies through real-time adjustments, and offering instant responses and fine-tuned interactions via sophisticated AI powered chatbots.
The report also highlights AI’s capabilities extend to predicting future demand patterns, efficiently allocating resources, and providing valuable insights for governments and Travel & Tourism stakeholders.
This contribution can be pivotal in promoting sustainability with efficient resource management by monitoring and minimising environmental impacts, ensuring a more responsible and sustainable sector.
Julia Simpson , WTTC President & CEO, said: “As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Travel & Tourism, AI emerges as a catalyst for positive change. The transformative capabilities highlighted in this report demonstrate that AI is not just a technological advancement, it is a strategic tool that can personalise the customer experience, drive sustainable improvements, and create real time pricing models.”
Julie Shainock , Microsoft Managing Director Travel, Transport & Logistics, said: “Using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Models across the travel sector allows greater productivity for companies and drive a more personalised consumer experience. For travellers, the ability to drive more inspiration and personalized offers at booking to providing tools to consumers to proactively assist them while in destination to anticipate their needs with relevant information to improve their journey. For travel companies, GenAI is there to increase productivity, automate the predictable, and allow our human centric approach to the high value moments in travel to shine more.”
Despite the increasing examples of AI applications in Travel & Tourism, the report reveals the sector lags other consumer-facing industries in AI adoption. AI’s surge across various sector’s last year is now a relevant force, and the Travel & Tourism sector must act now to leverage its impact.
Challenges that must be overcome by Travel & Tourism businesses include a shortage of AI-skilled workers, limited AI infrastructure, and the absence of a formal ‘AI strategy’ in many business plans.
Travel & Tourism businesses are urged to embrace AI as a strategic priority, investing heavily in talent to foster collaboration between humans and AI.
Amidst concerns about AI’s impact on jobs, the report addresses the potential for job creation, recognising that although AI will be disruptive, it will in turn generate new opportunities.
In the quest for sustainable AI practices within the Travel & Tourism sector, responsible data management emerges as a crucial strategy.
Implementing measures such as data minimisation, efficient storage, and responsible data disposal, becomes pivotal for organisations seeking to minimise their carbon emissions when using new digital technologies, and reduce their AI environmental footprint significantly.
The report explores AI applications in society and business, emphasising the need for safe and responsible AI system design in Travel & Tourism, signifying a milestone in the sector’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, and showcasing AI’s potential to shape a bright future for Travel & Tourism.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief . She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.
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Cotton Club Andermatt appoints luxury travel PR agency, Storrington Collective
Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority announces the 8th edition of Bahrain Food Festival 2024
Samana unveils highest valued AED 1.4 billion eco-friendly “Barari Twin Towers” project in Majan Dubai
easyJet takes to the skies with Iris: Next generation air traffic communication service
Joivy grows UK team to support expansion plans
Widespread privacy concerns: Airline apps are spying on your device
Swan Hellenic unveils breathtaking 2025 cruises worldwide
Finnair to cancel approximately 550 flights due to political strike in Finland on 1–2 February
FITUR 2024 wraps up its 44th edition with outstanding attendance figures, surpassing 250,000 participants, and strengthens its global influence
Jazeera Terminal 5 introduces new multi-million KD upgrades
Focus Travel Partnership announces agreement with agent platform MyOverview
Hotel Indigo Dundee to undergo £1million refurbishment including the launch of a brand-new bar
ICAN event: Over 500 new air service agreements signed
Traffic from Munich Airport to Asia surpasses pre-pandemic level
Japan National Tourism Organization collaborates with GCC influencers to expand outreach in the Middle East
limehome increases pace of expansion in Austria and grows from 13 to 23 locations
New SiteMinder report shows need for US hotels to maintain leadership in revenue management as customer profiles change
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