Egypt takes desperate steps to revive tourism

Published on : Friday, July 17, 2020

A wonder of the world, the pyramids at Giza have wowed millions of international tourists. But they were deserted as the coronavirus pandemic laid waste to Egypt’s tourism industry and millions of people’s livelihoods.

Although this ancient site reopened on 1 July – with new compulsory temperature checks and social distancing at the entrance – only a few locals come by. A pigeon perched on the face of the regal, reclining Sphinx, is its solitary guest.

The Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany is on a mission to bring back business and help revive the economy. He said that it was a massive disaster like the whole world. The Egypt Tourism has lost around $1bn per month and they are estimating that they will still lose a lot of money during the coming weeks and months. The tourism accounts for more than 12% of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the minister.

In recent days, Mr Anany has made media appearances showcasing new hygiene and safety rules as museums reopened and some foreign flights resumed to the provinces of South Sinai, Red Sea and Matrouh. He says there are virtually no cases of Covid-19 in these coastal areas, making them safest.

For the time being, the tourists will see the beaches, the sun, the desert, water activities – it’s the open air and the sea. Later on, they will open the Nile Valley, with Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan.

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