International stars revive Egyptian tourism
By: Yasmine Hassan
Thu, Oct. 5, 2017
CAIRO – 5 October 2017: Renowned Hollywood star Forest Whitaker has recently crowned an official visit to Egypt, to attend el Gouna festival, by visiting the Egyptian museum and sharing his photos as he marveled at the iconic pyramids, to document such “inspiring moment,” as he tweeted.
For almost six years, we had missed that enthusiasm and excitement of hosting our favorite celebrities and seeing their photos around the pyramids, between monumental temple pillars in Luxor, or even lounging at our beautiful, sunny beaches.
Egypt’s iconic monuments and paramount history have placed it on the top of most - if not all - international figures’ bucket lists, from the year one; Agatha Christie (1930s), Patricia NIXON and U.S. President Richard Nixon (1974), Louis Armstrong (1961), Muhammed Ali (1964 and 1986), Amitabh Bachchan (1991), Princess Diana (1992), Shakira (2007), Barack Obama (2009), Salma Hayek (2009), Paris Hilton (2010), Van Diesel (2011), and many more.
Louis Armstrong visiting the Egyptian Pyramids
However, since the drawback that hit the tourism industry following the revolution, tourism revenues went down by over 70 percent and those A-list public figures seemed to have overcome their eagerness to visit our historical country. Although we saw Enrique Iglesias in 2014, Morgan Freeman and Yanni in 2015, it was not until earlier this year that Egypt seemed to have regained its popularity amongst famous international stars.
In February, Argentinean football legend Lionel Messi arrived in Egypt as part of Egypt’s "Tour 'n' Cure" campaign to combat Hepatitis C.
Messi’s visit to Egypt was met with great fanfare. During his first day, he explored the Great Pyramids of Giza and met a number of Egyptian children. He also attended a gala at the MENA House Hotel in the presence of several ministers.
While Messi’s visit was organized by an Egyptian campaign, less than a month later, photos of the pyramids were once again trending all over social media, as Hollywood star Will Smith arrived for a visit with his family and shared his now famous selfies. admiring the “beauty” and “magnificence” of Egyptian monuments.
Only then, talks of an “undeclared” government plan, to attract A-list international stars to help boost Egyptian tourism, began spreading.
“In support of the incoming tourism to Egypt and to promote its historical attractions, the star and American actor Will Smith visited the Giza Pyramids with his family,” Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities stated on its official Facebook page.
Whether there was indeed a plan or not at that time does not matter much; either ways, Egypt has since regained its regal position amongst international celebrities; their visits constituting a strong boost for the tourism sector.
Shortly after, Egypt’s Tourism Development Authority announced a remarkable hike in tourism rates; giving credit to its promotional campaigns in Europe.
Early in April, Manchester United football legend Ryan Giggs visited Egypt as part of an UEFA tour; promising to return for a longer trip. “My trip in Cairo is a short one, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. What a trip it has been," he said during a press conference at Al-Ahram Beverage event. He visited the Pyramids and the Egyptian museum and promised to come back with his family.
Chairman of Egypt’s Tourism Authority, Hesham El-Demeiry, commented on the visit, stating that it was an "opportunity to prove that Egypt is coming back stronger than before," according to Al-Ahram national Newspaper.
The Ministry of Tourism has been capitalising on these visits to promote tourism and showcase the safety and security of the country, relying on the testimony of renowned stars. Their social media accounts, which are followed by millions around the world, have quickly become a genuinely growing promotional campaign.