<![CDATA[rss-Travel]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Travel]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[New 2019 plan to develop, train tour guides]]>
The program includes around 90 courses, two courses per week. The courses will cover all tourist activities given by experts and specialists

Among the trainers are Soha Bahgat, an adviser for the Tourism Minister; Parliamentarian Amr Sedki, chairman of the Tourism and Travel Council; and Hossam El Shaer, chairman of ETAA.

The opening ceremony of the training program started with speeches by El Shaer and Ali Al-Manstri, chairman of the Chamber of Tourism Companies, followed by a lecture about Ministry of Tourism’s plan to develop the tourism experience in Egypt, which was delivered by Bahgat. Another lecture was also delivered about the legal legislation of tourism companies by Sedki, followed by a third lecture about developing strategies and upgrading tourism companies by Professor Yasser Sheta.

The new program aims to produce 15 thousand trainees this year; especially after the Administrative Council of ETAA has increased training budget from L.E 2 million to L.E 10 million.

The Tourism Ministry gives a great priority to training tourist guides to be qualified enough and increase the service efficiency provided to tourists. The training program will not be limited for tourist guides only but it will expand to tourism companies and all sectors related to the field of tourism.]]>
2/16/2019 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Tourism Ministry mulls boosting cooperation with China's Sichuan]]>
On the behalf of Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat, Bahgat stressed the importance of the Chinese market as one of the promising tourist markets for Egypt, pointing out that 2018 witnessed flocking of many Chinese tourists to Egypt.

During the meeting, she noted that promoting for opening the Grand Egyptian Museum under the rubric "GEM2020" is a major axis of the Egyptian tourism promotion campaign.

Bahgat pointed to the cooperation with China in the fields of training and improving the efficiency of the human factor, especially what is related to Chinese cuisine due to the Egyptians' turnout to it.

Lin, for his part, said that China is looking forward to fostering tourism, academic, and cultural cooperation citing the Chinese tourists' passion for the ancient Egyptian civilization.

He offered training programs for the Egyptian chiefs to train for preparing the Chinese food.

Lin invited Mashat to attend the international travel expo, set to be held in Sichuan in September, saying the Egyptian companies' participation will have a great impact on the Chinese tourists flocking to Egypt.

Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Ahmed Youssef said that the fair will be a great opportunity for getting acquainted with the Chinese tourism companies and the needs of the Chinese tourists as well as promoting for the cultural tourism in Egypt.

The meeting touched on developing tourism between Egypt and China in light of operating the first direct flights between Cairo and Sichuan.]]>
2/15/2019 4:27:27 PM
<![CDATA[In photos: Aswan's sailing boats clear your mind]]>
A falouka (sailboat) is an important means of transportation in Aswan and is different from being on a big ship as it gives one an intense enjoyment of the Nile and its charm.

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Mohammed Shanbo, 19, a sailboat driver in Aswan, told Egypt Today that serenity is the main characteristic of sailboats, adding that German tourists love Nile cruises the most.

Shanbo revealed that tourists like adventures, saying “they do not fear the wind, unlike the Egyptian customer.”

Ahmed al-lybe, 25, a sailboat driver, also said that the season starts from November to March and then stops at the beginning of the summer, so they only rely on the money they get during the season.

In the past few years, Aswan has suffered from the absence of Japanese, Indian and French tourists due to political reasons, but in 2018 tourism has returned thanks to the government's efforts, a source told Egypt Today.

The source added that 2018 witnessed a huge number of tourists in Aswan’s streets; in addition to the increase in the number of Nile tours. He said that the price of one Nile tour has reached $50 up from $30.

Luxor and Aswan are probably the two most popular and important touristic destinations in Egypt. However, to arrive in Luxor, tourists had to first land in Cairo International Airport and then take another internal flight to Luxor. Egypt needed a faster, direct route to Luxor so that tourists are encouraged to come.

These direct routes will solve the problems tourists face when planning their visits which will, in turn, improve tourism in Egypt.

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2/13/2019 11:34:37 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's tourism recovering, eyeing more Chinese visitors: minister]]>
"We had a leap in tourism in 2017 and a large boom in 2018, when Egypt was visited by renowned foreign figures," the minister said in an interview with the Chinese news agency Xinhua in Minya province, south of the capital Cairo.

Tourism brought Egypt about 13 billion US dollars in revenues in 2010 alone, when some 14.7 million tourists visited the country.

After that, the tourism sector has been suffering recession in Egypt over the past few years due to political turmoil and relevant security challenges that resulted from the ouster of two heads of state in 2011 and 2013.

It further deteriorated after a plane crash in Sinai killing over 200 people, mostly Russians, in October 2015, and another tragic crash of an EgyptAir flight killing all 66 people on board, including 15 French nationals, in May 2016.

"Tourism in Egypt started to recover and overcome the consequences of the Russian plane crash, and many countries started to resume its suspended flights to Egyptian airports," Mashat said.

Moscow has already resumed direct flights to Cairo airport in April 2018 while flights to other Egyptian cities, including the popular Red Sea resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, will be resumed "soon," according to Russian President Vladimir Putin following talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Russia's Sochi in October 2018.

"Many other countries increased their flights to Egyptian airports such as Serbia, which has 11 new flights to Hurghada," the minister emphasized.

On the other hand, Chinese Sichuan Airlines launched a direct flight to Cairo airport for the first time in late October 2018.

Egypt also opened in late January its new Sphinx International Airport, about 12 km away from the Great Pyramids of Giza, linking tourist destinations northern and southern the country via domestic flights.

"In the tourism ministry, we have launched a flight promotion program in early November 2018, which urged some cities abroad to open new airlines with Egyptian airports," the minister explained.

Mashat said that her ministry holds regular discussions with tourist companies and travel agents to find out new means of attracting more tourists to the monument-rich most populous Arab country.

The tourism ministry keeps an eye on the archeological discoveries announced by the antiquities ministry to add new destinations to Egypt's tourism map.

Last week, Mashat attended the announcement of the discovery of more than 40 mummies in ancient tombs in Minya.

"Cultural tourism is very important and unique in Egypt," Mashat said.

"Inviting foreign diplomats and media channels to such discoveries is meant to introduce and promote new attractions in Egypt to the world, such as Minya province that was not very well-known despite its attractive sites," she said.

"We have a 'destination branding' as part of our promotion program, introducing a variety of tourist destinations in Egypt to foreign visitors in cooperation with the ministry of antiquities," Mashat added.

The minister said that the upcoming opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020, which will be the biggest in the world to display the artifacts of one civilization, is a key part of the tourism ministry's promotion plan.

"I would like firstly to wish all Chinese people a happy Chinese New Year, and it was the first time in Egypt to light up Cairo's Saladin Citadel in red in celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year," the minister said.

She continued that the tourism ministry eyes more Chinese tourists to visit Egypt in the near future in the light of the fast growing relations between the two countries.

"We attach importance to Chinese tourists and Egypt has a comprehensive strategic partnership with China," Mashat said, noting that China was among the first countries visited by Sisi after he came to office.

Mashat stressed the fruitful cooperation between her ministry and the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo in various areas including training and learning from the Chinese expertise.

Among the joint activities is that a group of Chinese chefs will visit Egypt next month to teach their Egyptian counterparts how to cook Chinese dishes, according to the minister.

She noted that the Chinese people have their own means of social media and her ministry will address through their own channels "to make sure the message will reach every Chinese citizen in different regions."

"We have many other projects of cooperation with the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo including the promotion of Egyptian tourist destinations in Chinese language," the minister told Xinhua.]]>
2/11/2019 11:36:52 AM
<![CDATA[NASA to send humans to the moon once again - 'but this time we'll stay']]>
NASA is planning to take the "next giant leap in deep space exploration" as it looks to send astronauts to the moon who are able to stay there.

The space agency's administrator, Jim Bridenstine, called for American firms to help develop human lunar landers - "reusable systems for astronauts to land on the moon" - as he said scientists had been given a mandate by President Donald Trump and Congress to return to the moon for the first time since 1972.]]>
2/10/2019 11:23:47 AM
<![CDATA[In pics: Egypt hosts first traveling environmental exhibition ]]>
Set for two days, the exhibition is organized by the Social Services Cooperative Society in cooperation with the NGO Unit in the Ministry of Environment and several civil society organizations.

“The exhibition aims at introducing the objectives of the International agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, in particular the vision of Egypt 2030 and how to achieve it as well as how to address the problems of climate change” said head of the Sustainable Development Unit, Samah Saleh.

Saleh confirmed that the exhibition also preparing of new generations able of facing environmental problems and finding practical solutions in addition to train Egyptian youth to manage environmental projects and using of natural resources. It aims to disseminate innovative methods of dealing with waste.

Products displayed at the exhibition show the use of hydroponics and soilless farming using koaponic, as well as models for applications of surface cultivation, the reuse of solid waste, models for organic fertilizer, recycling products and other applied environmental models that facilitate the access of information.

The exhibition also includes the establishment of an initiative to educate the child environmentally and stimulate the protection of the environment, and the establishment of seminars for the identification of various environmental activities.

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2/9/2019 2:30:24 PM
<![CDATA[The giant Chinese companies shaping the world's industries]]>
The merger by Alstom and Siemens was vetoed by the EU on Thursday, but concerns about the overwhelming power of vast, often state-backed Chinese companies is not limited to the rail industry.

Here are some of areas in which Chinese companies control a large piece of the global market.

- Rail -

China's state-backed CRRC is the world's largest train manufacturer, with locomotives and wagons ordered across the globe from Boston to Philadelphia, Cambodia to Colombia, and customers including the iconic London Underground and Germany's Deutsche Bahn.

Its annual revenues of 26 billion euros (29 billion dollars) alone outweigh the three Western heavyweights Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom, each of which brings in around nine billion a year.

- Agrichemicals -

The state-owned ChemChina became one of the world's seeds and pesticide producers when it acquired Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta for $43 billion in 2017, putting it in competition with Monsanto and DowDupont.

It was the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm yet, ahead of the $15.1 billion purchase of Canada's Nexen Energy by China's state oil firm CNOOC in 2013.

ChemChina also controls Italian tyremaker Pirelli and German machinery firm KraussMaffei.

- Energy -

The state-run China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) launched its locally developed Hualong One nuclear reactor in 2015 to compete with French and US models, selling to Argentina and Pakistan.

Chinese solar panel manufacturers Jinko, Trina and Solar dominate the global market.

And Chinese oil companies -- CNOOC, CNPC and Sinopec -- are investing heavily even as their global rivals cut spending.

- Aviation -

China's state-owned plane-maker Comac expects to deliver its first home-made passenger jet to a customer in 2021, as it seeks to challenge the dominance of Boeing and Airbus.

The company says it has received a thousand orders for its 168-seater C919 plane.

- Food -

The state-owned food giant COFCO is playing an increasing role in world grain trading after purchasing the agricultural arm of Singaporean commodities trader Noble as well as Dutch Nidera.

China's WH Group became the world's largest pork producer in 2013, when it purchased major US pork and hot dog producer Smithfield Foods Inc.

- Drones -

Founded by a Chinese university student in 2006, DJI has become the world's top civilian drone maker with 70 percent of the market, outpacing its French rival Parrot.

- Smartphones -

Chinese smartphone makers are taking a larger slice of the global market, with Huawei at 15 percent, Xiaomi 8.7 percent and Oppo 8.1 percent.

Phone sales by Huawei and Oppo surged by 30 percent last year, defying a downward trend that hit rivals Apple and Samsung.

- Home appliances -

China's Haier Group is the world's leading manufacturer of home appliances with around 10 percent of the market, ahead of rivals Whirlpool and Electrolux.

Haier even purchased the appliances arm of US giant General Electric in 2016.

- Batteries -

Chinese firm CATL, which supplies batteries for car titans Volkswagen, Ford and Daimler, is battling with Japan's Panasonic for the world's lithium electric car battery top spot.

Its production capacity will increase fivefold by 2020 due to a mammoth new factory in China, and the firm has announced a huge factory in Germany to supply European customers.

- Freight -

The state-owned Cosco Group is the world's third biggest shipping company with 50 container ports across the globe, including Greece's Piraeus and Spain's Bilbao.]]>
2/8/2019 2:42:00 PM
<![CDATA[German minister visits Giza Pyramids]]>
During a visit to the archaeological Giza Plateau on Monday, accompanied by the German ambassador to Egypt, the minister was briefed on the construction of the Greater Pyramid. He visited the Sphinx and the panorama area as well and took several pictures, Director of the Pyramids Archaeological Area Ashraf Mohy said Tuesday.

The minister also gave a number of interviews with Egyptian and German TV stations in which he expressed admiration of the Egyptian civilization.]]>
2/5/2019 2:54:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Japan discuss joint tourist cooperation]]>
Fouda confirmed that security and stability prevail in the governorate, according to a statement issued by his office.

He also shed light on the many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions that the governorate has which makes it a great enjoyable destination for those fond of religious, sports and cultural tourism.

The Japanese delegates expressed pleasure for their meeting with the governor and pledged to convey the positive image they conceived to the Japanese travel agents.]]>
2/5/2019 2:46:14 PM
<![CDATA[Upper Egypt's Aswan wins 2019 UNESCO Learning Award]]>
The award's committee said these cities introduced ideal development and commitment to promote education and learning through innovative and determined policies and programs.

Developing the strategy of bringing together and diversifying projects, including gardening and water conservation in schools, and providing diverse training opportunities for all segments of society were among the most important factors for winning the award, said Mervat al-Samman, a coordinator for Aswan in the UIL.

The awards will be presented at the 2019 International Conference on Learning Cities in Colombia's Medellin. Medellin is one of the ten winning cities.

The cities also include Malaysia's Petaling Jaya, China's Chengdu, Greece's Heraklion, Nigeria's Ibadan, Ukraine's Melitopol, Mexico's Santiago, South Korea's Seodaemun-gu, and Denmark's Sonderborg.

The UNESCO Learning City Award aims at recognizing and displaying cities' good practices in introducing quality education and providing lifelong learning opportunities for all citizens at the local level.

This award is presented every two years to cities in each of the five UNESCO regions that have managed to achieve significant development in learning. Also, the progress should be achieved by implementing the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities guiding documents.

As Egypt chairs the African Union for this year, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi declared in November, at the closing ceremony of the World Youth Forum, Aswan as the capital for African Youths in 2019.

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2/4/2019 10:28:30 AM
<![CDATA[Medical tourism bill to be discussed in parliament soon: MP]]>
House of Representatives’ Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee has finished its final report on the bill and will submit it for the general discussion, he added.

In previous remarks in December 2011, Sedki said the draft law will ensure coordination between the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Health in the emerging field of medical tourism, adding that Egypt has around 1,300 medical sites, but they do not have resorts; hence, the ministries will cooperate to develop these sites.

In case missed it

Egypt to issue facilitated medical tourism visas soon

CAIRO - 22 March 2018: The ministers of foreign affairs and aviation are working on establishing a mechanism to issue medical tourism visas to foreign patients, for the first time in the country, an official source said.





Numerous mineral springs in Egypt constitute a therapeutic tourism attraction. A spring in Wadi Assal (Honey Valley) in Ras Sudr is known among the locals to treat arthritis, and cleanse the skin.

Hammam Moussa, located about three kilometers north of el-Toor City, includes five springs that pour into a pool covered by a large dome. The pool is continually filled with natural, renewable sulfuric water that measures 38° Celsius, and is believed to help cure rheumatism, arthritis, bone and skin diseases, as well as heal wounds.

Hammam Pharaon (Pharaoh’s Bath), located on the international road to Sharm El-Sheikh, is a natural pool of water springing from caves inside a mountain and pouring into the Gulf of Suez. Water in the bath contains a high concentration of sulfur.


Additional reporting by Dunya Hassanin and Mohamed Magdi al-Sisi

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2/1/2019 3:15:28 PM
<![CDATA[Cost-conscious Chinese tourists staying closer to home for Lunar New Year]]>
The week-long holiday, which takes place this year in the first week of February, is one of China's longest breaks and over 400 million people are expected to travel across the country for family reunions, according to Chinese travel agency Ctrip. It estimates 7 million will go abroad.

Hotels and travel agencies in Asian countries from Thailand to Japan anticipate higher numbers than a year ago of Chinese tourists, who have become a powerful spending force with the ability to make, or break, the fortunes of retailers and tourism brands.

But recently, the numbers going to the United States, Australia and New Zealand have fallen or only show small increases.

"We see the growth start to slow a little bit and per pax spending, especially on shopping, declining," said Hunter Williams, a U.S.-based partner at management consultant firm Oliver Wyman.

The consultancy says that average spending on overseas shopping a year ago was 5,800 yuan ($855), compared with 8,000 yuan around Lunar New Year in 2016.

In 2018, the Chinese economy grew at its slowest rate in nearly three decades, and economists expect a further decline this year, in part because of weakening consumer spending.

He Yanping, 26, who works in advertising in Beijing, was among those not venturing too far overseas for Lunar New Year, with an 11-day Malaysia holiday she estimates will cost between 8,000 to 10,000 yuan.

"I actually wanted to go to Australia but the problem is that it's too far, and the hotels and visa are expensive," she said.

FULL BALI FLIGHTS

Ctrip said bookings indicated the four most popular destinations are Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, all within in seven-hours flying time from Beijing or Shanghai.

Incoming flights are full, said Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, which represents the industry on the popular Indonesian holiday. "We are optimistic that bookings will be at least the same (as 2018)."

The Thai Hotels Association said bookings from China, which tumbled after 47 Chinese tourists died when a boat sank near Phuket in July, were back to normal levels.

Chinese outbound travel to the United States has seen a significant slowing since trade frictions between Beijing and Washington began escalating.

In July-September, such arrivals fell 20 percent from a year earlier, according to the private China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, which analyses Chinese travel data.

"For every citizen, it became clear that it is not politically correct at this moment in time to travel to the USA, especially for leisure," an institute spokesman said.

The outlook for Australia and New Zealand, in previous years popular during their summers, is also less rosy.

In November, Chinese arrivals in New Zealand were 4.4 percent below a year earlier, and in Australia they just 1.6 percent higher.

Air New Zealand on Wednesday lowered its profit outlook and forecast revenue growth would ease due to weaker tourism.

Du Ge, a sales director at Beijing Xinjie International Travel Service which organises tours to New Zealand and Australia, said bookings ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday have been weak, which he attributed to the economic climate.

"Three or four years ago, we could have more than 3,000 bookings. Now, maybe 1,000," he said.

"Tourism is considered a luxury, something to have after your stomach is full. But as people's disposable incomes fall, tourism will be impacted." ($1 = 6.7024 Chinese yuan)]]>
1/31/2019 1:06:23 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt witnesses rapid increase in flow of tourists ]]>
“The ministry's policy also sheds light on the distinctive features of the Egyptian character and the different tourist destinations in Egypt,” Nabil added.
Egyptian tourism skyrocketed hitting its peak in 2017, according to Nabil.

Moreover, the parliament's Committee of African Affairs held a meeting headed by parliamentarian Tarek Radwan, in which a persistent plan to boost the African-Egyptian tourism was set.

The Ministry of Tourism expects Egypt to be enlisted among the most visited countries in 2019, according to the latest statistics.

In a similar vein, Egypt has been announced as the fastest growing tourist destination in terms of the year-over-year increase in the number of visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s 2018 release on global travel and tourism.

The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with an increase of 55.1 percent, compared to the same period of the previous year.

Luxor and Giza were among Egypt’s most famous and well-known cities, according to the report.

France, however, was the highest voted country for tourists in 2017.

In August, a government official told Reuters that Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to amount to $4.8 billion, compared to the same period of the previous year. ]]>
1/30/2019 11:50:56 AM
<![CDATA[Japan's ANA to order 30 Boeing, 18 Airbus planes]]>
ANA Holdings said it would buy 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes and 18 Airbus A320neo units, citing growing demand in the region and increased inbound tourism to Japan.

The company said the 30 Boeing jets would have a catalogue price of 383 billion yen ($3.5 billion), adding that the firm has so far confirmed orders for 20 units, with an option to buy 10 more.

The 18 Airbus orders are all confirmed, but their engines are yet to be decided, the company said.

For now, the Airbus deal has a catalogue price of 166 billion yen, ANA Holdings said.

The deal makes ANA the first Japanese buyer of the Boeing model, while the Airbus A320neo already serves ANA's international routes.

The company praised the fuel efficiency of the two models.]]>
1/29/2019 1:22:09 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to receive new cargo aircraft in February ]]>
The source revealed that the deal includes that Airbus and EFW transform the planes from passenger aircrafts into cargo ones so that the capacity of each becomes 60 tons.

The third will be delivered in June as part of the company’s strategic plan to enter new markets in Africa, and some European and Gulf countries.
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1/28/2019 1:29:49 PM
<![CDATA[Serbian flights to Cairo to resume in 2019]]>CAIRO – 27 January 2019: Direct flights connecting Cairo to Serbia’s capital Belgrade will be resumed during 2019, after more than a decade of suspension.


Serbian flights to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh were resumed in 2018 after rounds of negotiations with the Serbian Embassy.


“We displayed the mutual relations between the two countries over the last year and the expected plans for the coming year,” Amr Al-Jowaily, the Egyptian ambassador to Belgrade, told Television Belgrade in an interview.


“EgyptAir has many plans set to facilitate flights between Cairo and Belgrade. Such step reflects Egypt as a center for regional airline flights in Africa. Hence, Egypt will have ties with all the African countries,” Jowaily added.


“Resuming Serbian airline flights will have a positive effect not only on increasing the flow of tourists but also increasing mutual economical and trade co-operation,” Al-Juwaili further stated.


On July 10, 2017, EgyptAir and Aegean Airlines, the flag carrier of Greece and the largest Greek airline, expanded their codeshare cooperation to include Belgrade.


Expanding the codeshare allows passengers to travel with easier connections and more flexibility with one ticket and one single check-in at Cairo Airport to Belgrade via Athens.


According to EX-YU Aviation News, Niš Constantine the Great Airport will be linked to Egypt this coming summer season, connecting the Serbian city with the African continent through scheduled flights for the first time.


Jowaily was quoted as saying, “We are expecting the first flights to depart for Egypt in May 2019. An important element in civil aviation is to think outside the box, as we did with Niš, and to consider the bigger picture, as we are projecting for Cairo as a regional hub".


Jowaily also noted that progress is being made on the introduction of scheduled flights between Cairo and Belgrade. "This is one of the most important steps we all need to work on to expand bilateral relations.


“We have invited airlines in both countries to consider not only the important aspects of passenger traffic between the two countries, but the equally important fact that both capitals are gateways to their respective regions", the Ambassador told the Cord Magazine.


He added, "Cairo has one of the most extensive network of flights to Africa and the Arab world. It is worth noting that 'Greater Cairo' now hosts two new airports, namely West Cairo's Sphinx International Airport, which enjoys tremendous advantage of close proximity to the Giza Pyramids.


Moreover, a set of meetings will be held to discuss issues of mutual concerns such as agriculture, healthcare, communication and technology, which would be of a great addition to both countries’ economy and sustainable development.”


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1/27/2019 12:11:29 PM
<![CDATA[Sphinx International Airport to operate its first internal flight]]>
It is is scheduled to operate about 15 flights a week to serve the internal movement during the half-year vacation in Egypt. Flights are set to head from Sphinx Airport to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and vice versa.

“Flights are fully booked, particularly the flights going to Luxor and Aswan due to their wonderful weather in winter,” an official at the airport told Egypt Today.

“The Sphinx International Airport offers low price flight tickets in comparison to the Cairo International Airport,” he added.

The Sphinx airport is located near the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, serving near regions such as Giza, Al Haram and 6 October City, Faiyum and Beni Suef.

Being located near touristic places like the Pyramids of Giza and the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum, the airport will grasp people’s attraction towards one-day tours. ]]>
1/26/2019 2:15:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Grand Museum to be run by private sector: Min. of Tourism]]>
In a CNN interview, Mashat added that this considers to be a big change, as the government is taking the private sector seriously and working towards engaging them in all the country’s sector to achieve profits and success.



“We are thinning different about the tourism sector, which 98 percent of it led by the private sector, and this is something we are very proud of” Mashat added.

Talking about the Museum, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism said that the government is very excited about this project. “From inside the Museum you have all these monuments and it is very old and ancient, but from the outside it is very contemporary, which reflects the message we want to give to the world. We are very old civilization but we do have modernity” Mashat stated.


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Mashat also pointed out that when she first took the sector she wanted the 17 SGDs (Sustainable Development Goals) to be key component from Egypt’s message to the world through tourism, explain that the government is trying to embed these principles (SGDs) with the private sector.


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She added that Egypt have today ten percent of hotel rooms aligned with the green star certification. “We are changing the norms of evaluations to the starts, and in the new norms we are going to include environmentally sensitive aspects in hotels.” Mashat said.

She noted that last week one of Egypt’s biggest hotels moved to the solar energy generation to allow more resources to be used within the industry and help boosting the message.

First Solar Power Station at JW Marriot Cairo

CAIRO - 19 January 2019: JW Marriott Cairo is proud to celebrate the launch of the first advanced solar-powered photovoltaic (PV) Modeling softwares, the Helioscope and PVSyst, that uses Solar power to convert the sun's rays into electrical energy. The project is contributed in cooperation with H.E.




Mashat also affirmed that Egypt is a destination to everybody’s budget and interest, adding that the country has diversity on its visitor’s base, which is not necessarily consisted of high or law spenders, especially with Egypt ranked second highest destination on the list for 2019.

Regarding the government security measures to maintain safety, Mashat said that country is doing everything it can so the tourists’ visit to Egypt is “enjoyable and safe”.



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1/25/2019 5:58:00 PM
<![CDATA[Aviation service MOU inked between Egypt, Kuwait]]>
The MoU was signed by Vice President of the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority Khaled Abdul Moneim and the Civil Aviation Administration of Kuwait.

Kuwait’s Director General of Civil Aviation, Yousuf Al-Fawzan, said in a press statement that the memorandum comes in the context of modernizing the bilateral operational arrangements related to air transportation regulation between the two countries.

It was agreed to grant designated airlines from both countries the right to increase the operational capacity and to use other services of operational codes, Al-Fozan said.
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1/25/2019 11:48:37 AM
<![CDATA[Cyprus to increase cruise trips to Egypt]]>
This came during Pilides' visit to Egypt on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Pilides hailed the bilateral relations between Egypt and Cyprus in several fields, referring to the depth of historical relations between the two countries, the statement reported.

She discussed with Minister of Transportation Hisham Arafat ways to promote cooperation between Egypt and Cyprus, especially in maritime transport.

Pilides also discussed with Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) Chairman Mohab Mamesh investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone for Cypriot companies.

“During the coming period, a Cypriot delegation will visit the Suez Canal,” She added.

In 2017, Cyprus and Egypt started discussing an agreement to build a gas pipe from a Cypriot natural gas field to Egypt, which was followed by signing an agreement between the Egyptian minister of petroleum and Cyprus' Minister of Energy Lakkotrypis to transport gas from Cyprus to Egypt via a maritime pipeline.

Furthermore, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus in 2013, allowing both states to explore oil and gas in their economic zones.]]>
1/23/2019 1:10:11 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt participates in "Fiture" int'l tourism fair in Spain]]>
Egypt's Ambassador to Spain Omar Selim will participate in the inauguration of the Egyptian pavilion at the five-day international event along with a delegation from the Egyptian governmental and private tourism sector.

Youssef underlined the importance of Egypt's participation in the Fiture which is the third-largest international tourist exhibition after the Berlin and London bourses.

The fair represents a good chance to meet partners and decision makers in the tourism sector from all over the world as well as tour operators and travel agencies operating in the Spanish market, Youssef said.

Youssef added that the event also provides an opportunity to meet with representatives of the international media outlets.

Twenty-six exhibitors representing tourism companies, hotels and airline companies along with EgyptAir are taking part in the Egyptian pavilion.

During the visit, Youssef will also attend the meetings of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which will be held at the organization's headquarters in Madrid. The meetings will include the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (INVESTOUR).]]>
1/22/2019 2:46:51 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to participate in Cairo International Book Fair ]]>
The statement reported that the ministry will offer different kinds of services to guests and participants representing countries from around the World.

Also, General Directorate of Air Culture at the Ministry of Aviation will set up an aircraft-shaped pavilion to get youths and children updated on the culture of travel and aviation.

The ministry will offer gifts and great discounts to visitors of the fair.
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1/22/2019 11:11:42 AM
<![CDATA[Parliament committee calls for removing impediments to restore Korean tourism to Egypt]]>
In a press statement released on Monday, Kholy called on parliamentarians of both countries to exert more efforts to remove any impediments standing in the way of restoring Korean tourism to Egypt, calling for resuming direct flights between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Karim Darwish asserted, during a meeting held late Sunday with the South Korean Parliamentary Society, the depth of Egyptian-Korean relations that date back to the 1940s. He noted that relations and visits between the two countries have been on the rise over the past period.

The meeting was attended by the Korean ambassador in Cairo.

Darwish also reiterated that Egypt welcomes Korean investments and praised the existing coordination between Egypt and Korea in all international fora.

Meanwhile, the Korean parliamentary delegation stressed that Egypt is a great country which has a mighty weight in the region, praising the economic reforms that have been recently introduced by the Egyptian government.]]>
1/21/2019 11:37:50 AM
<![CDATA[Royal Romantic BBQ Dinner at the Garden by Sofitel Luxor Winter Palace]]>
Enjoy the breeze and dulcet oriental music and taste meat delicacies on the barbecue, served with an array of delicious creations, authentic Egyptian tagines, oriental dips and appetizers. An ultimate romantic experience to cherish and impress your beloved one. Starting from EGP 700 per person.]]>
1/20/2019 1:48:12 PM
<![CDATA[Romantic Dinner in Aswan by King’s Fouad Corner at Sofitel Legend Old Cataract]]>
Dine under the stars and soak the shimmering Nile views. Sit down at a candlelit table for two in a secluded dream location, where our butler will meet your every romantic desire for a seamless fine dining affair. Starting from EGP 1,200 dinner for a mouthwatering three - course dinner menu.]]>
1/20/2019 1:45:38 PM
<![CDATA[We work on achieving sustainable tourism development - minister]]>
The plan to advance this vital sector is based on five axes which include institutional and legislative reforms besides paying attention to tourism promotion, developing the national tourism infrastructure and encouraging investments, she noted.

During a press conference held on the occasion of inaugurating the first solar energy station in JW Marriott Hotel Cairo, the minister said that the structural reform program targets achieving sustainable tourism development via formulating and implementing structural reforms which aim at enhancing the competitive ability of the tourist sector to cope with the global trends.

Inaugurating this solar station embodies one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to energy, Mashat asserted, pointing out to the growing interest in the sustainable tourism business to make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.]]>
1/19/2019 3:18:27 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism, environment ministries in talks over nature protectorates]]>
Fouad said the ministry is now trying to promote public awareness on the importance of preserving natural resources, saying the ministry is trying to involve citizens into environmental work and local communities into development tracks.

Mashat underlined the importance of stepping up cooperation with the environment ministry within the coming period as regards the application of the structural reform program launched by the ministry to develop the tourism sector.

The program aims at achieving sustainable tourism and applying international criteria to preserve natural wealthes.
]]>
1/18/2019 8:11:32 PM
<![CDATA[Panda celebrates first birthday in Malaysian zoo with ice cake]]>
The youngster looked around shyly as a zookeeper carried her to a platform in her enclosure where the cake, which had a large number "one" on top, was waiting.

After nibbling at some carrots used to decorate the creation, the panda -- who has not yet been named -- seemed to tire of the celebrations, and fell asleep.

Currently weighing 34 kilos (75 pounds), she is the second cub born to Liang Liang and Xing Xing since they were sent from China to Malaysia in 2014, on a 10-year loan.

The first, Nuan Nuan, was born in August 2015 and sent back to China in 2017. Beijing and Kuala Lumpur have agreed that cubs born in captivity must go back to China at the age of two.

The pandas are kept at the national zoo's panda centre outside Kuala Lumpur.

It's estimated there are some 1,800 giant pandas left in the wild, living mainly in bamboo forest in the mountains of western China, according to environmental group WWF.]]>
1/14/2019 12:17:03 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism Ministry's efforts to increase number of tourists in 2018]]>
In February 2018, the Ministry of Tourism trained workers in the field of occupational safety and health in various
governorates, in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization (WTO), to modernize the standards and conduct a digital examination of hotels.

An Egyptian international consortium has been recruited to internationally promote Egypt as a touristic destination, represented by the IPG / MCN Group and Egypt's Synergy Company; the promotional campaign for Egyptian tourism was launched during the participation in London International Tourism Exchange

Due to the importance of social networking sites and their impact on the global tourism movement, the ministry has used a number of social media platforms and influential media outlets to broadcast positive messages about Egypt.

It is worth mentioning that the board of directors of the tourist chamber started to announce plans to train reception employees who deal directly with tourists, whether in hotels or tourism companies, to maintain the quality of services provided to tourists.

A set of objectives were set for 2019, including the restructuring of the management and strategies of tourism companies, the introduction of modern technology in management targeting all employees of companies, and linking the employment of any individual in the field of tourism to specific training programs.

]]>
1/13/2019 6:51:06 PM
<![CDATA[Alexandria: Egyptians’ winter retreat]]>
Despite the rising popularity of other destinations on the North Coast and Resorts in the Red sea; Alex is still the favorite among Egyptian families.

It is not only a summer resort but also a winter one; significant amounts of people head there in the winter season to enjoy its chilly weather and walk along its beaches in the rain.

There is a set of series reflect the beauty and fabulousness of Alexandria in winter such as zayzinia and Al nawa that left marvelous moments in the Egyptian minds.

Moreover, Alexandria is considered to be a source of inspiration to a number of writers, most prominently Naguib Mahfouz. It inspired Mahfouzwhen he was having his coffee on his favorite café Delices; this is where he got the idea of his landmark Miramar that became one of the timeless movies in the history of Cinema.

In addition, Greek poet, journalist and civil servant Cavafy who lived in Alexandria until his death and English poet David Lawrence who wrote about its charm weather and brilliant sites, making Alexandria feel like a poetic city.

Different Marathons are also held in public gardens and picnics including a weekly Marathon held every Friday morning.

Athletes, executive leaders, and officials take part in these Marathons which give youth an incentive to participate and engage in such useful activities.

Fishing is also among the many activities that can be enjoyed in Alexandria.

“Unprofessionalfishermen gather in different places in Alex such as Bahri region, Stanley Bridge, and Abu Qir heading to Nelson’s Island with small boats.” Mohamed Youssef, fisherman, said.

“Fishermen begin their work from the morning until the evening in Abu Qir, which is known for its abundance of fish. Abu Qir is an open region where fish appear on surface in certain periods of time; fishermen know the timeframe within which they should fish,” Youssef added.

While it is commonly known for people to drink hot beverages to warm them up during the winter season, Alexandrians tend to eat ice creams to feel the atmosphere of cold and winter; just like as Amr Diab did in his unforgivable movie “Ice Cream Fe Gelm”.

Sweet potato is the favorite dessertEgyptians tend to eat in winter. Horse and buggy is the main way of transportation; tourists particularly ride it to take photos.

Although it is always reported that winter is full of negative vibes and depression, winter in Alex is totally different: It cheers people up, reduces stress and tension and other negative emotions.

Some hotel there are named after several celebrities, such as Om Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Waheb, Farid al-Atrash; they were named after these celebrities because they tended to take to these hotel as their own resort, a place to relax and calm.

]]>
1/11/2019 1:48:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to host CORSIA Aviation workshop on April 7, 8]]>
The CORSIA plan aims to highlight the objectives of international standards and recommended practices, and shed light on tools for implementing the plan regarding the emissions of gases during international flights.

It also enables participants to identify timetables for implementing the plan, and provides the tools of adapting to national regulatory frameworks set by CORSIA, such as monitoring and reporting.

“The preparation of international standards and recommended practices regarding the CORSIA plan in such a rapid manner should be seen as evidence that the plan is viewed as a key priority for mitigating the impact of climate change witnessed by numerous countries,” said the president of FAO’s Governing Council.

Director of the Air Transport Department stressed that the ACT CORSIA initiative will help countries to work together to provide training to local MRV experts and provide tools of implementing the plan, which will enable the participants to adapt to their national regulatory framework as needed.

]]>
1/9/2019 7:08:22 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to arrange sightseeing tours for African Cup teams, delegations]]>
The Tourism committee in the Egyptian House of Representatives declared that Egypt is safe to host any major international event, and is also safe as a touristic destination.

In addition, a member of the Egyptian House of Representatives requested both the Ministries of Antiquities and Tourism to arrange a touristic program for the visiting teams and expeditions during the tournament.

A number of members of the Tourism Committee in the House of Representatives confirmed that Egypt's victory in organizing the 2019 African Nations Cup reflects a certificate of international confidence in the country's security and stability, pointing out that the stability existing in Egypt has played a major role in winning the honor of organizing a big event such as the African Cup of Nations.

Mohamed Abdu, member of the touristic committee in the House of Representatives declared to YOUM7 that organizing the CAF in Egypt is considered a huge event, and that Egypt happily welcomes all the African expeditions. Abdu declared that such an event has a positive impact in reviving the Egyptian tourism sector.

Abdu further requested both the Ministries of Antiquities and Tourism to set a touristic and entertainment program for the visiting expeditions to visit touristic hot spots in Egypt such as the Pyramids in Giza, Grand Egyptian Museum and other historical mosques in Cairo.

The MP further stated that the Ministry of Antiquities, Tourism and Interior should cooperate together in preparation for the big event, and to clear and secure the paths for the visiting teams while they visit the country.

Hayam Halawa, a member of the Tourism Committee in the House of Representatives explained that the government should put in place a complete plan to organize a tournament worthy of the name of Egypt, where the institutions of the state and the people must unite to prepare for this event.

"We will organize a wonderful and decent welcoming for all participating teams, and we should exploit this event economically and tourism."

]]>
1/8/2019 7:28:22 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt ranks second as cruise destination in 2019 ]]>
The agency mentioned that the itineraries of luxury lines will mostly include stops in the country. It named the ocean lines Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Silversea as they will announce visits to Safaga port city as well as Luxor by bus from the Red Sea governorate in the spring and fall.

Bloomberg also highlighted Nile cruises that consist of stops in Luxor, Aswan, and Cairo naming the river line Oberoi Philae.

Luxor and Aswan are Egypt’s main archaeological cities, while the Red Sea and South Sinai are the country’s main destinations for diving, snorkeling, beach tourism, and desert safari.

The world's biggest travel publisher, Lonely Planet, named Egypt the most valuable destination of 2019 on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The website specified Southern Nile Valley, as one of Egypt’s best places to travel to, stressing that its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019.

“Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley is the flag-bearer for the country’s return to travel’s super league, and its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019. For starters, world-class ancient sites hugging the Nile south from Luxor to Aswan are accessible for a few dollars,” Lonely Planet stated on its website.

The publisher added, “If you’re on a cruise, food and land transport will be included; otherwise, it’s easy to make inexpensive arrangements for all but a handful of big-ticket temples and tombs, which are more than worth the admission price themselves.”

In September, Egypt ranked first among the most visited tourist destinations in Africa by Chinese tourists, according to the Chinese tourists network.
]]>
1/7/2019 12:26:24 PM
<![CDATA[50% discount on Cairo's river-bus trips in Christmas celebrations]]>
All citizens will pay half ticket on Monday for all cruises via the Cairo river bus.
The authority’s fleet will be devoted for serving churches, gardens, recreation parks, where ravelers head to celebrate Christmas and enjoy outings with their families and friends.

The head of the authority, Rizq Ali told Egypt Today assured the maintenance of 17 river buses and 200 mini buses, ahead of the celebrations.

On the other hand, the Interior Ministry announced beefing up security measures to secure ravelers and worshippers during Christmas celebrations. ]]>
1/6/2019 11:51:48 AM
<![CDATA[Italian Amb. to Egypt Cairo, wife visited Abu Simbel temples, Saturday]]>
They also enjoyed visiting a set of touristic destinations in Egypt during their Christmas vacation.

Gantini expressed his happiness and glory to visit such a unique place where he held a number of meetings with the Major Ahmed Ibrahim, the Governor of Aswan, during which they discussed some of investment projects between Italy and Egypt regarding tourism.

Such a visit is shown to be a call for peace, love, stability and serenity.

This call for peace and love is also highlighted by the visit of the Belgium Royal family to Egypt; they were warmly welcomed, spent a lovely time visiting incredible sites.

Zahi Hawass reflected it in a statement, “Egypt is safe; the Belgium Royal family visit to Egypt to spend their annual vacation here is undoubted evidence that Egypt is the best place to visit,” Zahi Hawass, the Egyptian archaeologist, said.

The Egyptologist, and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, stated in as statement after the end of the Belgium Royal Family visit to Egypt, “I accompanied the royal family throughout their visit to the most impressive archaeological sites, such as Aswan, Luxor, and Pyramids, in addition to Wadi El Melouk, the tomb of the King Ramesses VIII, and Thutmose II; the husband of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut and the king Ramesses III.”

Moreover, Hawass accompanied them in a touristic tour to see the tomb of Tutankhamun, Ramesses VI, and Seti I, as well as the western valley where the tomb of Amenhotep III and the King Ay locate.

Furthermore, Hawass denoted a book recounting the life of Noble tombs in the western bank in Luxor to the King Felipe and two books to his children.

He also gave his discovery helmet, which he wore during his most prominent archeological discoveries, to the King as a gift.
]]>
1/5/2019 4:25:05 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt Tops 2019 travel rankings]]>
All four news sites have ranked Egypt as a top holiday destination during 2019.

CNN Travel

On January 4, 2019, CNN Travel published their annual list of top destinations for the year, placing Egypt in Second place, after Christchurch, New Zealand.

Despite the recent terrorist attack, CNN explains, 2019 will be different.

“So what's different in 2019?” writes CNN.

“Well, while the sand has been settling on deserted classic monuments, Egyptologists have been brushing it gently aside elsewhere to discover a litany of exciting finds, many of which are now being opened to the public,” answers CNN.

As for the safety concerns, CNN writes, “And while safety concerns persist, hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Valley of the Kings take place without incident each year. Likewise, Egypt's main Red Sea resorts are considered safe.”

Positively, CNN expects Egypt to receive many more tourists in the run up to its 2020 opening of its Grand Egyptian Museum.

The Independent

Cairo tops the British Independent’s top ten cities to visit in 2019.

Egypt has lots of treasures that are world admired such as the Greatest Egyptian Museum that cost $ one billion, pointed out the Independent.

The Journal further stated that the museum will attach the whole set of Tutankhauman Tomb for the first time.

Cairo is rich with the fabulous Nile cruises and incredible destinations that you have to see.

Matera, the Italian city, ranked second in Independent’s list, which described it as the capital of European culture.

Perth, the Australian city, ranked third, while Lyon, the French city, came in fourth and Chengdu, in China, came fifth.

The Sun

BRITS have shunned Benidorm in favour of alternative destinations such as … Egypt this year,” wrote British news site “The Sun” on January 4, 2019.

The Sun cites Hosbec’s statistics that show that hotels have seen an eight percent fall in British tourists. Instead of heading to Spain, more Brits are not heading towards Egypt and Turkey due to them being cheaper.

“Last year, around 319,000 British nationals visited Egypt,” writes The Sun.


Vancouver Sun

“King Tutankhamun’s complete museum collection — among 100,000 artifacts in total and some of which have never been seen in public — are housed in the newly opened, $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) that overlooks the pyramids of Giza, in greater Cairo,” writes Canada’s Vancouver Sun.

Ranked third on its list, Egypt is actually number one, according to the news site, for tourists who are interested in art, history and ancient life.

“If art, history and the grand scope of ancient life is your balm, this is your happy place,” the news site writes in reference to Egypt.

“Egypt has had its share of travel warnings in the past since the Arab Spring of 2011, but like any metropolis, it is safe as long as you are aware and avoid areas that are off limits, such as the Sinai Peninsula, and don’t wander off into the desert unaccompanied. The GEM is the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization. King Tutankhamun’s sandals, more than 3,500 years old, have been restored using special processed developed specifically for this task.”

Egypt’s strategy to attract more tourists

In an interview with Manus Cranny and Tracy Alloway on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Middle East” on November 8, Mashat revealed that Egypt has witnessed a “steep rebound” in the tourism industry, citing the significant increase in the influx of tourists.

Mashat spoke of tourism’s future, its prospects and the work that the government is doing to get the industry back on its feet. She also revealed, “At the end of this month in Parliament, I will be announcing E-Trip: Egypt Reform Program”

Shortly after, Mashat revealed the E-Trip at a Luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce. The five-pillar strategy is designed to reform and regulate the industry, as well as to ensure its sustainability.

The five pillars start of at an area that has been criticized over and over again by Egyptians and experts, as well as the minister herself: Administrative and legislative reform. Earlier this year, while speaking to more than 10 experts about the problem in the industry, they had all agreed that there is a problem with professionalism and that most workers are not trained well enough to deal with tourists.

Chairman and CEO of Emeco Travel, former head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation and former Chairman of Tourism Chambers Elhamy El-Zayat explains that one of the top priorities in the tourism sector for the next period is training. El-Zayat adds that because there is no language-proficiency requirement for most hospitality-degree admissions, graduates are often left with poor English skills.

He adds that funds do exist to train people working in the sector, indicating that money for training has been allocated ever since former Minister of Tourism Fouad Sultan (1985-1993) was in office. To reach a higher level of service and communicate better with tourists, El-Zayat, Counsellor to the Minister of Tourism Walid El-Batouty and Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board (ETPB) Hisham el-Demery all call for training.

“We need to make sure that people have a good time. Traveling is an experience. You have to make sure that when tourists come, they will find good English, service and information. It is the guide’s role to show the best of Egypt,” says El-Batouty. “Tour guides are in a great position to generate more business for themselves and for the country by showing the best of Egypt. A guide makes it or breaks it.”

In addition to language and technical abilities, Magdy Saleh, the head of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism in Hurghada says there’s a need to improve the organization of services offered to tourists. He explains, for instance, that the crowds of taxi drivers at Cairo International Airport’s arrival halls is a chaotic scene for someone stepping out of the airport to be greeted by flocks of drivers shouting randomly at him. “There is need for a policy to organise taxis at the airport better,” he adds. Similarly, Demery would love to see “a global awareness campaign on how to treat tourists.”

Consequently, the minister has taken a positive step forward and moved towards giving people vocational training, educating them to enable them to deal with tourists well, and teaching them proper etiquette for dealing with visitors. The ministry will look to hire more high-quality professionals who are able to manage work. Moreover, vocational training will be given to those who work in the industry.

The second pillar is one that has also been on the forefront of people’s minds over the past two years: Rebranding Egypt. All experts unanimously said that there is an urgent need to maximise the types of tourism programs for an uptick in tourist inflows to occur. “We need to introduce new types of tourism including medical, the Holy Family and MICE [meeting, incentive, conference and events],” Demery told us.

Similarly, Saleh calls for an increase in religious events and festivals to attract tourists. “We have forgotten that Egypt is the land of religions,” he says. “Between Mount Moses, the Holy Family tour, and many other heavenly locations in Egypt, Egypt has the potential to rebrand itself from being [solely] a beach-and-monument destination.”

Batouty explains that we need new ideas, and we need to be updated to revive the tourism sectors, citing two new initiatives that have attracted many guests so far. Run by Art D’Egypte’s founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, the first initiative is “Eternal Light. Something Old, Something New,” which took place at the Egyptian Museum, and managed to gain much interest. The exhibition displayed 16 artworks of Egypt’s most prominent contemporary artists, creating a wonderful contrast against the timeless backdrop of artefacts in the museum. Displayed pieces were influenced by ancient Egypt’s art and artists, like Mohamed Abla.

Through social media platforms and social media influencers and bloggers, international tourism campaigns and travel Expos, the tourism is working to rebrand the tourism industry in Egypt as a “responsible choice for eco-friendly tourists” and one that “economically empowers women,” revealed the Tourism Minister.

The third pillar is concerned with fining new markets and diversifying the base from which tourists come to visit Egypt, in addition to beefing up cooperations, focused on tourism, with countries that are considered well-established markets.

The fourth pillar concerns upgrading the hospitability infrastructure. To do so, the Tourism Ministry has decided to launch a private equity find. This fund will also be used to upgrade hotels and resorts that have gone out of style or need to be revamped; an issue that experts we spoke to also brought up.

Concerning this pillar, experts had previously told us that to ensure that the sector keeps growing and accommodate the expected increase in tourist inflows, El-Zayat believes that investors should be allowed to take loans from Egyptian banks. The fact that the door was shut in recent years, he explains, led many investors to downsize their businesses, leaving many unemployed. To maintain the growing tourism sector, investors should be able to rely on banks when needed, El-Zayat suggests.

Calls of increased high-quality investments also came from El-Batouty, who indicates that good investments always make money for Egypt, as well as for the investor. El-Batouty gave Cosmos, an Egypt-based travel company that partners with Viking USA, as a successful model that played a role in tourists’ return to Egypt by providing high-quality services, portraying a positive image of tourism in Egypt.

The fifth, and final pillar, concerns an upgrade to the legislative framework that governs the industry as of right now. This is something that has been on Mashat’s mind for a while: During her first meeting with investors in the tourism sector, Rania El-Mashat, the new minister of tourism, has indicated that she is set on building a newer administrative framework for the sector to allow processes to go smoother and quicker. El-Mashat said that she intends to build a system that would move the sector forward, leading it to be a case study for the international community to take lessons from.

Building on this, Demery told us that there are many great ideas and that people are energetic and enthusiastic to implement them, but to do that, bureaucracy needs to be addressed and the processes need to be upgraded. To keep up with the digital world today, one needs to take actions quicker and keep up with trends, he says, and so we need to be constantly updating our systems to keep up with international trends and needs.

Having spoken to sources who called the industry highly bureaucratic, advising that less bureaucracy would help the industry flourish, it sure is a relief to see the fifth pillar of the strategic plan aim to remove bureaucracy and better the legislative framework. The new framework will be an update to a framework that has not been updated in about 40 years, and will see the ministry itself propose ideas for legislative changes.

Additional Reporting: Fatma El-Bakry
]]>
1/5/2019 3:06:41 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo inquires about part of Great Pyramid planned to be displayed at Scottish museum]]>
Supervisor General of Egypt's Antiquities Repatriation Department Shaaban Abdel Gawad said on Thursday that the rare block of white limestone is set to go on display on February 8 at an exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh city.

Abdel Gawad’s remarks, which came in a statement by the Ministry of Antiquities, were made in response to reports published by some foreign newspapers about displaying the rare stone from King Khufu’s pyramid, along with other ancient Egyptian artifacts, at the Scottish museum.

The Egyptian law criminalizes antiquities’ smuggling and does not allow exporting them, the official said.

If it is proven that the ancient block was looted and smuggled outside Egypt, all necessary measures will be taken to restore it, he stressed.
]]>
1/4/2019 5:08:37 PM
<![CDATA[Alexandria's hotels' occupancy rate hits 98%: official]]>
In an interview with Egypt Today, Menestarely said that this includes all hotels in Alexandria, including Borg al-Arab hotels. He added that such rise in occupation rate will continue until the Coptic Christmas day which falls on January 7.

Alexandria currently has a total of 4,200 hotel rooms, Menestarely said, adding that this number is going to rise by the end of 2019, as new hotels are set to be opened.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt increased by 41 percent in the first half of 2018 to 5.061 million tourists, Reuters reported, while the tourism sector revenues increased by 77 percent in the same period to $4.791 million.

In September, Egypt ranked first among the most visited tourist destinations in Africa by Chinese tourists, according to the Chinese tourists network.

Also, Egypt has been announced as the fastest growing tourist destination in terms of year-on-year percentage increase of visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s 2018 release on global travel and tourism.

The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with a 55.1 percent increase, compared to the same period of 2016. ]]>
1/3/2019 2:23:22 PM
<![CDATA[PM directs to quickly finish renovation of Djoser Pyramid]]>
This came during Madbouli's visit on Tuesday to Saqqara archaeological area to stand on the progress done in the renovation projects there.

Madbouli was accompanied by Minister of Antiquities Khaled el Anani, Giza Governor Ahmed Rashid and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Moustafa Waziri.

The Pyramid of Djoser (or Djeser and Zoser), or Step Pyramid is an archaeological remain in the Saqqara necropolis northwest of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis. The earliest colossal stone building in Egypt, it was built in the 27th century BC during the Third Dynasty for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by his vizier, Imhotep. The pyramid is the central feature of a vast mortuary complex in an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures and decoration.

The pyramid consisted of six mastabas (of decreasing size) built atop one another in what were clearly revisions and developments of the original plan. The pyramid originally stood 62.5 metres (205 ft) tall, with a base of 109 m × 121 m (358 ft × 397 ft) and was clad in polished white limestone.(MENA)]]>
1/2/2019 3:03:54 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo receives Kuwaiti travelers to celebrate New Year's Eve]]>
When winter season is upon us, we usually find ourselves searching for winter destinations and wonderlands. Egypt is one of the most popular and oldest tourist destinations throughout the world, especially in winter, as it is the time when some Egyptian cities truly shine.

Here are the Egyptian cities which look more stunning in winter.

Luxor

Luxor and Aswan cities are located in southern Egypt. They have nearly half of the world’s monuments and they are the best place to spend your vacation, especially in the winter, because of their warm weather throughout the year; the sun rises up to 11 hours a day during summer, and rises for more than 8 hours a day in winter.

Aswan

Aswan was known as Syene during ancient Egypt which means market because it was located on the main trade route between Egypt and the southern lands. After the construction of the High Dam, Nubians fled to Aswan after water flooded their homeland. Therefore, this city is rich with Nubian culture.
Sharm El-Sheikh

It is a resort town in the southern coast of Sinai Peninsula. Sharm El-Sheikh is one of the world’s extraordinary diving destinations. It is rather hot in summer and warm in winter, which leads it to be one of the most attractive cities in Egypt, especially in winter.

Dahab

Dahab means gold in Arabic. The city derived its name from its yellow shiny sand. It is the second most treasured diving destination in south Sinai after Sharm El-Sheikh.]]>
1/1/2019 4:39:15 PM
<![CDATA[Sharm El-Luli tops TripAdvisor’s list for Mideast’s 10 best beaches]]>
Sharm El Luli beach, located in Wadi El Gamal National Park at the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam, is distinguished by crystal-clear water, white sand and absence of rocks.

In 2017, the beach ranked the third on the same list and the eighth in 2016.

luli
Sharm el-Luli beach in Marsa Alam - TripAdvisor


El-Luli was one of the best 25 beaches in the world in 2018, ranked the 22nd position, according to TripAdvisor website, the world’s largest travel site.

Photos of the touristic destination on the website were visited by more than 1,590 viewers, who expressed their admiration for the place; “an excellent picture postcard location; excellent snorkeling with 2 reefs to swim; good range of fish,” Chris S from Ashford town in the county of Kent, England wrote on Friday.

“Marsa Alalam city is distinguished by spotless beaches and beautiful nature of white flat sand that overlooks beautiful series of mountains,” said Ashraf Abadi, head of a diving center at the city.

luli11
Sharm el-Luli beach in Marsa Alam - TripAdvisor


“The park and its beaches are favorable tourist destinations for Italians and Germans,” said Ahmed Ghalab, head of Red Sea Natural Reserves.

He added that the Natural Reserves Administration seeks to announce Wadi El Gamal National Park a world heritage reserve, as it is enriched with biodiversity and includes a Roman-era temple.

TripAdvisor is accessed by around 390 million visitors in 49 markets worldwide every month, according to the website’s data.


Additional reporting by Emad Arafa from the Red Sea Governorate





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12/31/2018 4:06:57 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir, AEGEAN Airlines expand codeshare agreement]]>
The accord has been expanded, so EgyptAir clients will be able to book tickets to travel to Marseille via Athens airport, EgyptAir Airlines Chairman Ashraf el-Khouly said on Sunday.
Tickets for the new route are available now on EgyptAir's website, he added.

Other routes had been already opened for the clients including Athens to Thessaloniki, Rodhos-Heraklion and Chania.

The codeshare agreement was signed in 2013.
]]>
12/31/2018 11:50:06 AM
<![CDATA[ 2018 Accomplishment: Egypt’s Tourism Ministry revives industry]]>
Despite recently suffering from a terrorist bus attack, which claimed the lives of three tourists and one Egyptian individual, plans for the new year are still on-going and tourists are still arriving in Egypt to enjoy the end of year celebrations.

The efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, which has faced many challenges and setbacks, cannot go unnoticed. Thus, Egypt Today delves into the details of the key strategies the Ministry of Tourism used to bring back tourists to Egypt.

Visiting Egypt

In January 2018, alone, Egypt saw 712,000 tourists come into the country, according to Trading Economics, the online statistics site. Moreover, tourism in the first half of 2018 jumped by some 77 percent to $4.8 billion, compared to the same period in 2016, a government official told Reuters late August 2018, adding that the number of tourists visiting Egypt saw a year-on-year increase of 41 percent, reaching about 5 million. “Indicators suggest the sector will earn about $9 billion by the end of this year”, he said. The official also stated that most tourists are arriving from Western Europe, especially Italy and Germany, and the Ukraine.

In 2017, 8.3 million tourists visited Egypt, according to official figures, and this number, according to experts and international news sites, is expected to exceed 8 million, and then some, by the end of 2018. This will make at least a 10 percent year-on-year increase from 2017; 2017 had seen about 50 percent year-on-year increase from 2016’s figures.

More recently, a report by Forbes argued that Egypt’s stability and its bettering economic situation is attracting more and more tourists; the article hailed Egypt as a top destination for 2018. “Today, the country is stable and ready to welcome travellers back,” writes Allison Diliengro, citing its “passionate residents” with their welcoming spirits.

Later on, Laurie Werner, unique travel experiences specialist at Forbes, wrote in a report, “In my last visit to Egypt I enjoyed lots of privileges and benefits in comparison to my former visit to Egypt in 2007.”

“During my former visit, the tension and security forces were everywhere; we were warned that we might undergo some threats especially in our visit to Luxor. Yet, after the Arab Spring in 2011, these threats were not essential because tourism reduced to a crawl. But now, the several years of general stability after Egyptian President Sisi came to office all are ended.”

In addition, Forbes recorded that tourism rate increased up to 50 percent compared to last year.

“I stay tuned to the opening of the Great Egyptian Museum that will be officially opened in 2020. I am impatient to see all the unique monuments, distinguished tombstones and new archaeological discoveries,” Werner said.

She calls the entire world to visit Egypt for its incredible places, fabulous hospitality and lovely people. Furthermore, Werner recommended a set of places to visit such as Khan el-Kalalili, Philae temple, El Gouna and Aswan.

Similarly, an article published by Reuters in April 2018 shows that tourism revenues went up from $1.256 billion in the first quarter of 2017 to $2.27 billion during the same period in 2018. Conforming this, al-Mashat recently stated that the number of tourists entering Egypt has increased by 30 percent during the first three months of 2018, compared with the same period in 2017.

In statements to Reuters, Mohab Ghali, Hilton's Vice President Operations for Egypt and North Africa, pointed out that hotel bookings increased between 20 percent and 25 percent during 2017. Hilton Worldwide intends to nearly double the number of its hotels in Egypt within seven to 10 years. Similarly, Elhamy Ramzy, the assistant director of sales and marketing at The Nile-Ritz Carlton, tells us that the hotel had a 72 percent occupation rate throughout 2017 and that 2018’s numbers look even better so far.

Extensive campaigns and policies launched by private and public sectors throughout the past year have led tourism revenues to record a seven-year high of $3.5 billion during the first seven months of 2017, a remarkable 170 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. From promoting medical and religious tourism to facilitating international conferences and employing social media and influencers marketing methods, we look back at what has been done in the past months to bring the much-needed tourism industry back on the world map.

Newly-announced E-Trip

In an interview with Manus Cranny and Tracy Alloway on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Middle East” on November 8, Minister of Tourism Rania El-Mashat reaveled that Egypt has witnessed a “steep rebound” in the tourism industry, citing the significant increase in the influx of tourists.

Mashat spoke of tourism’s future, its prospects and the work that the government is doing to get the industry back on its feet. She also revealed, “At the end of this month in Parliament, I will be announcing E-Trip: Egypt Reform Program”

Shortly after, Mashat revealed the E-Trip at a Luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce. The five-pillar strategy is designed to reform and regulate the industry, as well as to ensure its sustainability.

The five pillars start of at an area that has been criticized over and over again by Egyptians and experts, as well as the minister herself: Administrative and legislative reform. The ministry will look to hire more high-quality professionals who are able to manage work. Moreover, vocational training will be given to those who work in the industry. Earlier this year, while speaking to more than 10 experts about the problem in the industry, they had all agreed that there is a problem with professionalism and that most workers are not trained well enough to deal with tourists. Consequently, the minister has taken a positive step forward and moved towards giving people vocational training, educating them to enable them to deal with tourists well, and teaching them proper etiquette for dealing with visitors.

The second pillar is one that has also been on the forefront of people’s minds over the past two years: Rebranding Egypt. Through social media platforms and social media influencers and bloggers, international tourism campaigns and travel Expos, the tourism is working to rebrand the tourism industry in Egypt as a “responsible choice for eco-friendly tourists” and one that “economically empowers women,” revealed the Tourism Minister.

The third pillar is concerned with fining new markets and diversifying the base from which tourists come to visit Egypt, in addition to beefing up cooperations, focused on tourism, with countries that are considered well-established markets.

The fourth pillar concerns upgrading the hospitability infrastructure. To do so, the Tourism Ministry has decided to launch a private equity find. This fund will also be used to upgrade hotels and resorts that have gone out of style or need to be revamped; an issue that experts we spoke to also brought up.

The fifth, and final pillar, concerns an upgrade to the legislative framework that governs the industry as of right now. Having spoken to sources who called the industry highly bureaucratic, advising that less bureaucracy would help the industry flourish, it sure is a relief to see the fifth pillar of the strategic plan aim to remove bureaucracy and better the legislative framework. The new framework will be an update to a framework that has not been updated in about 40 years, and will see the ministry itself propose ideas for legislative changes.

Medical tourism: The Hepatitis C Campaign

Promoted by football stars Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, Egypt launched Tour ‘n’ Cure in May 2016 to help the estimated 71 million people suffering from the disease worldwide. In Egypt alone, Hepatitis C kills some 40,000 people annually. It has also decreased Egypt’s GDP growth by more than 1.5 percent over the past two years; however, the government sees that it is their responsibility to take care of Hepatitis C patients, after years of national struggle with the illness.

For $7,000 (€6,100), patients can spend a week in Egypt receiving the treatment for the virus and touring the country. The program’s Managing Director Mostafa El Sayed explains that this price includes flights, a five-star accommodation, medical analysis, drugs and three days of tours. Visitors can choose to spend their sightseeing days in Cairo, Luxor or Sharm el-Sheikh. To ensure that the largest possible number of people is treated, a regional treatment hub was also set up in Moldova.

Sherine Helmy, CEO of Pharco, the company manufacturing the lion’s share of the generic drugs used to treat the virus in Egypt, explains that, “last year we covered around 700,000 patients, but we are ready to produce in the millions. Our plan is to cure 37 percent of patients worldwide by 2030.” This initiative aimed to better Egypt’s image before the international community, increase the flow of tourists to Egypt by reviving medical tourism in the country, and to also provide cheaper, guaranteed medication, all the while ensuring patients maintain a high morale.

Speaking about the benefits of the program, Tim Coleman, documentary filmmaker and photographer, indicates that for him, it was a life-or-death situation. He had already undergone two rounds of treatment without success, and was low on the list to receive the drugs from the National Health Service. The only viable option left was to pay £120,000 ($156,450) for the drugs in the UK. Two years ago, Coleman saw a Tour ‘n’ Cure advertisement in an inflight magazine. He made the phone call as soon as he got to Cairo. Today, he is entirely virus free.

“It is truly miraculous, what [Egypt has] managed to do,” he says. “It’s such a success story. The whole thing is something Egyptians can be really proud of.”

The program showcased Egyptian hospitality, medical development and Egypt in the most positive light possible, with millions recognising the movement as one of the best worldwide.

Building a reputation as a MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Events) destination: WYF, BPW International and GFF

Launched in 2017 for the first time, the World Youth Forum (WYF) got delegates talking about concerns of youth and the challenges facing them, while also boosting tourism.

The conference brought together 3,000 attendees, represented by 60 delegations. The seven-day gathering witnesses the participation of official youth representatives over 18 years of age, leaders of various youth networks, heads of state, media figures and around 250 young Egyptian expats. It was held under the slogan “We Need to Talk,” sending messages of peace, prosperity, development and the importance of human collaboration to the entire world.

In an interview with Egypt Today, popstar Cheb Khaled said that this forum managed to show the whole world the real image of Egypt, particularly as the forum was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, the city of peace.

The forum has led to a positive upsurge in tourist inflows, particularly younger ones, to Egypt in general, but also the Red Sea in particular. Tourism in Sharm al-Sheikh witnessed a remarkable recovery after the forum, according to the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA).

Not only did the youth forum increase tourism, it also did not cost Egypt anything, as a group of sponsors, including banks, hotels and Egypt Air, funded the event.

The Business and Professional Women International (BPW International) conference had a similar effect on Egyptian tourism. Held in Greater Cairo, the forum brought together over a thousand globally influential figures to discuss women’s entrepreneurship and economic development. The conference showcased Egypt’s Great Pyramids, as well as many other locations, where important ceremonies were held under the agenda. Posted on a myriad of social media accounts, the pictures promoted the country and portrayed a safer side of it than the one stereotypically depicted in the media.

The Gouna International Film Festival (GFF) was yet another opportunity to promote tourism by showing another side of Egypt to the world. “The more visibility Egypt enjoys globally, especially when it comes to matters of art and culture, the better its image around the whole world. The world has a prevailing impression of Egypt, and that impression shows Egypt as plagued with terrorism,” Samih Sawiris, the founder of Orascom Developments and the man behind El Gouna, had told Egypt Today after the event. “The world needs to get other messages from Egypt, and news about it should not always be negative. The world needs to know there are positive news.”

Renewing tourism in Egypt: Religious tourism

“The Holy Family came to Egypt, travelling for about three-and-a-half years across the country. What we have done is—and this project is not recent, we started it about two or three years ago— we picked eight locations in four cities and we readied them from the infrastructure perspective to receive the customers, clients and tourists,” Hesham El-Demery, chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, had told Egypt Today last April.

To promote the tour, in collaboration with Egyptian authorities, Pope Francis visited Egypt later in April 2017, carried out mass and acknowledged the Holy Family’s journey in Egypt as an official Christian pilgrimage. This announcement puts the Holy Family tour on equal footing to Fatima in Portugal, suggesting that thousands of Christian tourists would visit Egypt.

Marketing campaigns worldwide

Multiple marketing campaigns have launched since 2015, most prominently the “This is Egypt” campaign. Other important campaigns include the roadshows in four Indian cities, sponsoring CNN News reports, the Ramadan campaign and the meetings in Ukraine, Poland and Germany.

Launched on December 19, 2015, “This is Egypt” relied on Egyptians to use the hashtag #thisisegypt to showcase their own country. Departing from traditional destinations that tourists are familiar with, the campaign was able to portray Egyptian kindness, hidden gems and the authentic Egyptian culture. The digital, peer-to-peer advocacy campaign has been supported by the likes of Yanni and Morgan Freeman, among others.

“Egypt has transformed as a nation in the past four years, and unfortunately the world does not always see our country the same way we do…we need to close that perception gap… There is so much the world has yet to discover about our country,” former Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou previously told Egypt Today. “With ‘This is Egypt,’ we will work with citizens motivated by pride and patriotism, as well as with SMEs offering unique experiences, social media influencers, and those who can create interesting and compelling content that will show their local perspective. We want to highlight the authentic local experiences that Egypt’s diverse tourism offering has to offer. We are going to show travellers there is more to Egypt than sun, sand and sea.”

Billboards displaying promotional material from the tourism campaign have been raised in countries worldwide, including the Russia, Japan, the UK and other European countries, attracting thousands of tourists to come to Egypt.

The ‘This is Egypt” promotional campaign, directed by advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT), won a Gold Effie Award in the Travel, Tourism and Transportation category and the Silver Effie Award in the Renaissance category, according to the Effie awards’ website.

Roadshows by Egyptian officials to four Indian cities, namely Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmadabad and Bengaluru, were also a huge success. They were attended by a delegation of Egyptian travel trade companies who interacted with travel trade members in Mumbai. As a result of this trip, according to Demery, Indian tourist arrivals to Egypt increased by about 30 percent in the first quarter of 2017. He further pointed out that Indian tourist nights increased by 185 percent in the first quarter of 2017, which saw 148,000 Indian tourists, compared to only 80,000 in the same period in 2016.

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism partnered up with CNN to launch a campaign promoting Egypt. Former tourism minister Yehia Rashed pointed out the importance of this step, “[Egypt] considers the partnership with CNN a strong step on our path towards promoting tourism in international markets, especially through reputable media institutions like CNN. This partnership helps us fulfil part of an international promotion strategy through a strong outlet for the target audience.”

The Ramadan campaign promoted Egypt, according to Demery, in several Arab countries during the holy month of Ramadan in 2017, namely Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan and Gulf countries. This led to a rise in Arabs coming to Egypt, particularly Cairo.

Led by Demery, the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) launched a winter tourism promotion in September 2017. The campaign, which targeted Ukraine, Poland and Germany, aimed to connect tour operators and travel agencies in the Egypt and three countries, respectively. Demery visited the three countries to promote Egypt’s touristic sites and “invade new markets,” as he put it. At the end of his visit to Ukraine, there was an increase in Ukranian winter bookings for the year 2018 by about 30 percent year-on-year. His trips to Poland and Germany saw similar success, with the former arranging a media visit to Egypt to stimulate Polish tourism to Egypt, and the latter holding workshops to encourage travel to Egypt.

Building new attractions and restoring old ones

To encourage the return of tourism over the last couple of years, there has been a movement to build new attractions and tourist-friendly locations for new tourists to see, and recurring tourists to discover. Simultaneously, there has been a move to fix deteriorating infrastructure to save beautiful, old locations and buildings.

Portuguese singer and sister to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Katia Aveiro, performed with great enthusiasm at the opening ceremony of Al-batros Aqua Park Hotel in Sharm El-Sheikh, the largest water park in Egypt. Egyptian businessman Kamel Abo Ali, head of the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association, pointed out that this visit is vital to tourism’s revival as it gives a message to tourists and investors from all over the world that Egypt is safe, especially as Ronaldo’s family is followed on social media platforms by millions of fans.

While building the new locations, the government also ensured that deteriorating hotels and touristic locations are fixed. Commenting on this, Demery explained that, after the 2011 revolution, the country was politically and economically unstable, and so, touristic infrastructure was neglected. Now that Egypt is politically and economically stable, a recent move is emerging to save deteriorating buildings. This, according to Demery, has prepared the country to deal with the expected increase in tourists over the next couple of years. According to a report by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), to ensure that deteriorating buildings are saved, the CBE-launched an initiative that assigned LE 5 billion to the renovation of hotels, resorts and touristic destinations across South Sinai and the Red Sea Governorate. The initiative aims to save hotels built since 1989.

Influencer Marketing

Egypt has, during the past couple of years, started marketing its touristic locations and tours by encouraging celebrities or other high-profile personalities who visited the country to talk about it. “We cannot keep saying Egypt is safe, Egypt is beautiful, Egypt is clean, Egypt is a very hospitable country – no. We will never change the perception if the others, the international celebrities, are not saying this on our behalf,” said Demery, conveying the idea that they need to hear it from people they like and who have experienced Egypt themselves.

Demery explained that they invested in trips, tours, and are now especially targeting people coming for the second or third time to speak about how Egypt has improved. Egypt’s ambassadors to the world, who all visited during 2017 and posted about the country to millions of their followers include, Will Smith, Kourtney Kardashian, Luis Fonsi, Lionel Messi and his sister, Chanel Iman and her boyfriend Sterling Shepherd, Ronaldinho, Rayen Giggs, Armin Van Burren, Dylan McDermont, Forest Whitaker, Adrien Brody, Hilary Swank and Nicolas Cage. Other Arab businessmen and investors, like Khalaf Al-Habtoor, also visited Egypt during 2017 and posted about it on social media.

Walid El Batouty, counsellor to the Minister of Tourism, Egyptologist, World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations’ representative for the Middle East & North Africa and a celebrity travel guide, told Egypt Today that celebrities speaking about their experience in Egypt presents great opportunities. El Batouty gave the example of President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s decision to invite Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, to dinner by the Great Pyramids of Giza. “The pictures were great, we needed the pictures, for us touristic folks. He was conducting his meeting with her in a great location. The lighting was great and so was the overall production,” El Batouty said. “The German market was cut off, but after this, it started gaining momentum again.”

In parallel to promoting the various attractions, the government has also worked to better security measures. In 2015, Egypt passed an assessment by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with inspectors from Dutch, Emirati, Italian and Russian airlines. It is also collaborating with delegations from the UK, Germany and Russia to implement the strongest security measures possible. Furthermore, the Ministry of Tourism installed security measures, including X-ray machines and security scanners, in all touristic resorts to secure holidaymakers.

Today, demand for travel to Egypt has picked up again “as customers look for quality and value,” as Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “Egypt is a wonderful country, with great hotels, great beaches and nice people, and it’s really good value [for money]…People want to go back.”

Melania Trump visits Egypt

In her first solo international trip, U.S. first lady Melania Trump visited Africa to launch her campaign, ‘BE BEST’, which raises awareness on cyber bullying, the opioid crisis and child welfare more generally.

Wrapping up her five-day, four-country trip in Egypt, Mrs Trump, who also visited Ghana, Malawi and Kenya, was received by Egyptian First Lady Enitssar Amer at Cairo International Airport. The two then head off to the Presidential Palace, where they enjoyed a conversation over tea and met with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Later on in the afternoon, Mrs Trump, accompanied by Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat, went to see the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx.

While there, the American first lady said, “It was a nice opportunity to see the pyramids in person, which are truly a historical treasure. We must always do our best to preserve such important historical sites, and I was so pleased to learn of the work that USAID has done to help with preservation efforts at the base of the Sphinx,” according to an official statement by the White House.

Giving a strong boost to Egypt’s tourism sector and marking Egypt as safe to those who have doubts or reservations about the country, Mrs. Trump’s visit can be seen as a green light for the rest of the world to feel safe about visiting Egypt; her visit is ushered in thousands of tourists, kicking the half-lazy tourism sector back
]]>
12/29/2018 11:44:33 AM
<![CDATA[New discoveries to boost tourism sector in Egypt: German Egyptologist]]>
During an interview with German broadcast DW, Raue added that these discoveries will give a boost to the tourism sector in Egypt.

"If you go to Egypt today, people respond appreciatively. It seems that a lot of people are considering going to Egypt as well at some point, because of these fascinating discoveries," he remarked.

Meanwhile, he warned that the urban sprawl and construction due to the growing Egyptian population threaten the cultural heritage.

"It is a race against time, and we’re grateful that we have the active support of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities," he added.

He further remarked that his international research team consists of Egyptian archaeologists and conservators, students and members of staff from the University of Leipzig alongside a geophysicist who comes from Poland.
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12/25/2018 10:35:32 AM
<![CDATA[Red Sea governor invites Chinese tourists to visit Egypt]]>CAIRO - 24 December 2018: Red Sea governor Ahmed Abdullah has called on Chinese tourists to visit Red Sea resorts, pointing to a plan to lure more tourists from different parts of the world.


In an interview with Xinhua news agency Monday, Abdullah said the number of Chinese tourists is on the rise, especially following a visit by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to China.


He expected more Chinese tourists to visit Egypt in the coming period.


"We want one percent of Chinese tourists every year," Abdullah said, noting that more than 100 million Chinese tourists head for different destinations annually.


All Red Sea hotels offer guidance in Chinese language, the governor said, adding that staffers will be given courses to be able to speak Chinese in a bid to expand the use of this Sinitic language.


Asked about campaigns in China to attract tourists to visit Egypt, Abdullah said Chinese tourists are familiar with Egypt the same way China is familiar to Egyptians.


He talked about a plan to attract tourists from different parts of the world.


Egypt ranks first as the most visited tourist destination in Africa by Chinese tourists, according to the Chinese tourists network.

]]>
12/24/2018 10:56:41 AM
<![CDATA[Spacex halts launch of U.S. military satellite due to winds]]>
The next launch attempt will be on Sunday at 8:51 a.m. EST/ 13:51 UTC, according to Space X officials.

The launch, SpaceX's fourth attempt in a week after technical and weather delays, would have been the rocket firm's first national security space mission for the United States. Musk's rocket company has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches long-dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co.

SpaceX sued the U.S. Air Force in 2014 in protest over the military's award of a multibillion-dollar, non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed. It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition.

The next year, SpaceX won an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years.

The launch would be the first of 32 satellites in production by Lockheed under contracts worth a combined $12.6 billion for the Air Force GPS III program, Lockheed spokesman Chip Eschenfelder said.

Air Force spokesman William Russell said: "Once fully operational, this latest generation of GPS satellites will bring new capabilities to users, including three times greater accuracy and up to eight times the anti-jamming capabilities."

The launch was originally scheduled for 2014 but has been hobbled by production delays, the Air Force said.

It would have marked SpaceX's first so-called National Security Space mission, as defined by the U.S. military, SpaceX said.

The next GPS III satellite is due to launch in mid-2019, Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites undergo testing in the company's Colorado processing facility.]]>
12/22/2018 5:10:02 PM
<![CDATA[Swiss tourist takes 6,000 photos for 100 archaeological sites rarely visited by tourists ]]>
Ryan Beck's visit to Egypt in 2000 was a turning point inhis life as he decided to leave his country and live in Luxor to dig more into Egypt's marvelous monuments and unique archaeological sites. So far, he has taken around 6,000 photos for more than 100 archaeological sites and Pharaonic tombs, monuments and temples across Egypt, which are rarely visited by tourists.

"I decided to promote for archaeological sites in Egypt, which are rarely visited by tourists," Beck remarked.

Currently, Beck lives in a two-story house in Luxor with his mother and the other members of his family are expected to come and live in Egypt in the coming period.

He has participated in several exhibitions in Luxor and Aswan where he presented these photos, and he plans to organize exhibitions for children and youth in schools and universities across Egypt.

Also, Egypt has been announced as the fastest growing tourist destination in terms of year-on-year percentage increase of visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s 2018 release on global travel and tourism.

The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with a 55.1 percent increase, compared to the same period of 2016.

Luxor and Giza were on top of Egypt’s most famous and well-known cities for tourists, according to the report. ]]>
12/22/2018 3:26:56 PM
<![CDATA[Pakistan plans to relax visa policy in bid to revive tourism]]>
"We are reviewing our visa policies. We are trying to bring 55 countries into a visa-free region, which includes most of the European countries," Pakistan's information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told Reuters.

That comes after Portugal this month declared Pakistan safe for travel, while France has also relaxed its advisory on travel to the South Asian nation

"I'm happy our (travel) advisories are changing," said Chaudhry.

Potentially restarting tourism has been one of the most talked about parts of new Prime Minister Imran Khan's push to create an Islamic welfare state in Pakistan, but visitors to the country often complain of an arduous visa process. Former Real Madrid soccer stars Kaka of Brazil and Portuguese playmaker Luis Figo were recently denied visas to the country for a promotional visit, Chaudhry said, highlighting the nation's laborious visa process.

"We refused a visa to Kaka and Figo. Can you believe that? I called the section officer and he never heard of ... Kaka," Chaudhry said, laughing.

"I spoke to the interior secretary yesterday and gave him a piece of my mind."

Pakistan was last a prominent tourist destination in the 1970s when the "hippie trail" brought Western travellers through the apricot and walnut orchards of the Swat Valley and Kashmir on their way to India and Nepal.

Since then, a deteriorating security situation and the imposition of a harsh interpretation of Islamic laws has chipped away at the number of visitors.

Following Pakistan's participation in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, the country was rocked by a decade of regular large-scale militant attacks.

Security has since improved dramatically, with militant attacks down sharply in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people.

British Airways on Tuesday announced it would resume flights to Pakistan next year after a 10-year absence that followed a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart such flights.]]>
12/22/2018 12:43:09 PM
<![CDATA[Astronauts land from ISS stint marred by air leak, rocket failure]]>
A Soyuz spacecraft ferrying Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos landed safely in Kazakhstan, Russia's space agency said.

"There's been a landing... The crew of the manned Soyuz MS-09 has returned safely to Earth after 197 days," Roscosmos said on Twitter.

The spacecraft landed slightly ahead of schedule at 0802 Moscow time (0502 GMT), Roscosmos said on its website.

"The crew feels well after returning to Earth," the space agency said.

Live footage on the websites of NASA and Roscosmos did not show the landing of the astronauts' capsule due to thick fog over the snow-covered Kazakh steppe.

Rescuers pulled the crew members out of the capsule, with Prokopyev and Aunon-Chancellor appearing pale and weak due to the effects of long weightlessness, while Gerst beamed broadly and gave an interview to German television.

When the astronauts blasted off in June, they were one of the least experienced crews ever to join the International Space Station -- only Gerst had been on a space mission before, in 2014.

Gerst, who is from Germany, has now spent a total of 363 days on the ISS, a record for the European Space Agency. He is now flying to Cologne, the ESA said.

- Air leak -

The first significant incident in the crew's mission came in August when astronauts detected an air leak in their Soyuz spacecraft, which was docked to the orbiting space laboratory.

They sealed the small hole successfully but Russia launched an investigation and its space chief Dmitry Rogozin suggested it could have been deliberate sabotage carried out in space.

Rogozin said that investigators ruled out the possibility the defect was introduced during the spacecraft's manufacture.

Prokopyev and fellow Russian Oleg Kononenko last week carried out a gruelling space walk lasting almost eight hours to locate the hole from the outside and record and bag evidence.

The hole was in a section of the astronauts' spacecraft that was to fall away and burn up in the atmosphere as they landed, hence the need to carry out the probe in space.

During the space walk, Kononenko said there was some kind of black and yellow "furry" deposit that looked like a "spider" around the hole, but no conclusion has been made public.

Prokopyev brought back the evidence to Earth and will hand it to the FSB security service which will carry out laboratory analysis, TASS state news agency reported citing a source.

Their landing back on Earth was originally planned for December 13 but the schedule was put back after the October failure of a Soyuz rocket carrying the next crew -- the first such aborted launch in the post-Soviet era.

Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague took off for the ISS on October 11 but their Soyuz rocket failed minutes after blast-off, forcing them to eject and make a harrowing emergency landing.

At the time Gerst wrote on Twitter that the astronauts' survival showed "what an amazing vehicle" the Soyuz rocket is.

"Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind," he wrote.

The first successful launch of astronauts since the October accident took place on December 3, carrying Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.]]>
12/20/2018 11:35:29 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to operate direct flights from Sphinx Airport ]]>
Minister of Aviation Younis al-Masri said in a statement that the political leadership is very concerned with the opening of such airports as they contribute to the development of the infrastructure.

The airports in different countries of the world play an essential role in attracting direct economic and investment activities, Masri said, adding that the opening of this airport currently aims to relieve the pressure on Cairo International Airport.

EgyptAir is scheduled to operate about 15 flights a week to serve the internal movement during the half-year vacation in Egypt. Flights are set to head from Sphinx Airport to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and vice versa.
]]>
12/19/2018 12:55:53 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Red Sea governor inaugurates 1st scientific museum on marine life ]]>
museum1
The Red Sea governor and USAID deputy mission director inaugurated the first scientific museum specialized in marine science and environment - Press Photo

Heba Shawky, deputy managing director of Hurghada Environmental protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), said that the museum aims to provide researchers with information about marine life to help them in their studies.

museu2
The Red Sea governor and USAID deputy mission director inaugurated the first scientific museum specialized in marine science and environment - Press Photo

Shawky added that the museum is a great tourist hub as it provides tourists with lenses of virtual reality, enabling them to enter the miraculous world of the Red Sea.

museum3
The Red Sea governor and USAID deputy mission director inaugurated the first scientific museum specialized in marine science and environment - Press Photo

She referred that the ticket prices for tourists, Egyptians and researchers have not been identified yet.

She further explained that the museum, which cost LE 10 million, was established in cooperation with USAID to allow visitors to get acquainted with the unique natural resources of the Red Sea and its biological diversity. ]]>
12/19/2018 10:52:36 AM
<![CDATA[France launches Arabic website to promote tourism ]]>
“Tourism Matters”

“France is the world’s top destination for tourists. We receive every year about 85 million tourists,” Ambassador of France to Egypt Stephane Romatet said explaining that the MENA region is one of the key markets for France.

“We have something in common between France and Egypt. That is Tourism matters,” The ambassador highlighted. “We are launching a new website. France.Fr in Arabic,” Romatet announced.

France.Fr is operated by Atout France which is a public entity in charge of promoting tourism in France worldwide.

Regional Director of Atout France in the Middle East Karim Mekachera stated that tourism represents 8 percent of France’s GDP. “That makes it one of the top industries in the French economy along with automotive. The annual growth rate of the sector is four to five percent,” he said. “Tourism generates €150 billion per year. Of those, €55 billion come from international tourism,” Mekachera stated.

Mekachera
Regional Director of Atout France in the Middle East Karim Mekachera in a press conference in the French Embassy in Egypt to launch France.Fr in Arabic. December 12, 2018 - Egypt Today/Noha El Tawil

As for the decision of launching France.Fr in Arabic, Mekachera explained, “We found it would not be enough to just cooperate with tourism agencies in the Middle Eat so we decided to launch the website.”

“We used to promote destinations in France among professionals but the new step would attract more tourists,” Mekachera added.

“Clusters of Excellence”

Atout France uses social media to direct people to France.Fr website so they would get the necessary information to prepare for a trip to France.

“We have two main pillars in our strategy. One is the clusters of excellence which means identifying what we are good at in France. We are good at the culinary industry, oenology, cultural activities. We have rich history. We are good in sport adventures and shopping,” Mekachera explains.

“We have a variety of destinations such as the countryside, the seaside, the mountains, the cities. We have the fantastic handicraft industry. We lie on top when it comes to the luxury industry,” Mekachera explains. .

“The second pillar is that France - from a marketing perspective - is hard to promote because of the great variety of destinations and activities it has. After brainstorming, we came up with 20 destination brands that are all famous around the world such as Cannes, Leon, Paris, Britany,” Mekachera clarified.

“The website facilitates checking those destinations. We try to have that logic of umbrella brands. Some destinations are less famous compared to others. However, when you hear - for instance - Toulouse you can relate it to a main destination,” Meckachera elaborated.

France.Fr

“The website will enable us for the first time to really address Arabic-speakers very effectively. France.Fr addresses an audience of 200 million Arabic speakers,” Mekachera added.

“Tourists can share with us the photos they have captured during their visits to France and we would put them on social media,”.

The website enables users to check the measures and documents necessary to obtain the visa, and transportation. They can also learn about restaurants, hotels, and museums. All that can be found in the sections Before you Set off, Things to do, Places to go, Happening now in France, and the interactive map.

France. Fr in Arabic is fully adapted. Atout France is very mindful of the Middle Eastern culture when it comes to photos and articles. For instance, there will be no articles on alcohol.

There are now Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts in Arabic. Atout France is eager to do content curation whereas users photos will be posted along with the hashtag #marhaba_faranca in Arabic which means “welcome France.”

The hashtag is inspired by a huge event that was attended by travel agents from around the Arab World, and that was a success. Other hashtags that can be used are #France and #Paris.

The website is optimized to be easily used on mobile phones and tabs which are the source of 90 percent of the traffic on the website by users worldwide.

Visitors can also check restaurants offering Halal food, family activities, events, the weather, the currency, and everything that helps with planning the trip.

Statistics of Tourism in France

“France receives 2.5 million Arab tourists per year with tourists from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia making up the largest portion at 1.9 million. The rest come from Mashreq, Egypt, and Gulf countries. There are 60,000 from Lebanon, 200,000 from Saudi Arabia, and 160,000 United Arab Emirates,” Mekachera stated.

“Yearly, we receive between 70,000 and 100,000 Egyptian tourists,” ambassador Romatet said.

“Tourists from North Africa stay longer as the average number of days they stay is 9.4. The expenditure of a GCC tourist is around $3,000 - 4,000 per trip,” Mekachera said.

“Tourism was influenced by the terror attack in 2015 that incurred a drop in the number of tourists. Nevertheless, 2017 was an amazing year as the number of tourists bounced back with a growth rate estimated at 6 percent. When the figures for the year 2018 are out, we expect them to be good as well,” Mekachera added.

As for French tourism in Egypt, Mekachera stated that “2010 recorded the highest number of French tourists to Egypt at one million. Then, a drop occurred. In 2017, their number was 115,000.”

“When I talk to Air France, EgyptAir, and professional travel agencies, I find that they are selling Egypt. I think Egypt is back on the touristic map,” Mekachera added.
]]>
12/17/2018 11:51:25 AM
<![CDATA[Charter flights between Lyon, Hurghada to be launched in 2019 ]]>
On the sidelines of a press conference held last week, the ambassador praised the economic reforms undertaken by Egypt as well as the mega projects being executed, particularly in the sectors of infrastructure and energy.

Since French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit Cairo in January, the ambassador said that the event can be an opportunity to increase French investments in Egypt whose current size is €4 billion. The most known of those in the tourism sector are hotels run by Sofitel and Club Accor Hotels.

Romatet revealed that the embassy holds visits to France to promote investment in Egypt among French companies, and that a mission to France will take place mid-March to promote tourism in Egypt. On the other hand, missions to Egypt jumped to 10 per year from four.

The ambassador unveiled that charter flights between Lyon-Hurghada will be launched in 2019.
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12/17/2018 11:40:57 AM
<![CDATA[Tourism in Bethlehem booming as Christmas nears]]>
Tourism has recovered following a fall in knife and car-ramming attacks which helped push visitor numbers in the biblical city to a 10-year low in 2015. Bethlehem store owners also said they were benefiting from a surge of visitors to Israel in its 70th anniversary year.

Filing past a sixteen-metre Christmas tree in Manger Square, lines of pilgrims squeeze through the narrow sandstone entrance to Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, a centuries-old basilica whose grotto, Christians believe, is where Jesus was born.

"We have never received this number of tourists coming to Palestine," said Palestinian Minister of Tourism Rula Ma’ayah.

"Especially in a city like Bethlehem, tourism creates waves throughout the economy."

Hotel occupancy rates in Bethlehem are expected to exceed 95 percent by the end of December, the city's hoteliers' association said.

"We are fully booked during the Christmas season," said Wissam Salsa, Manager of the Walled Off Hotel, a quirky Bethlehem guesthouse designed by the British street artist Banksy.

"But of course, our hotel is fully occupied all of the time," Salsa added. "It is in the West Bank."

The hotel overlooks a towering concrete section of the barrier that Israel has built through the occupied West Bank, cutting off Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Israel says the barrier stops suicide bombings, while Palestinians complain that it loops around Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank, where they want to set up a state.

Some American pilgrims in Bethlehem seemed to regard their visit as a continuation of a tour through Israel, rather than a trip to a Palestinian city.

"Coming to Israel has always been on my bucket list," said Robyn Jackson, 36, a travel adviser from Phoenix, Arizona who was shopping for souvenirs in a Bethlehem street leading to Manger Square. "Being in Bethlehem and all the places where Jesus walked is amazing."

For one group of American travellers, Israel's anniversary — together with U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to open an embassy there — was certainly a factor.

"I think excitement has been stirred because of the embassy move," said Keith Jiles, 55, a pastor from Atlanta, Georgia.

"People had been afraid in the past to come. But excitement has built. And you're gonna see more tourism because of it," he said.

Trump's Jerusalem decisions delighted Israelis but infuriated Palestinians and their allies, who warned that a unilateral move could lead to turmoil and hamper U.S. efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The last round of negotiations broke down in 2014.]]>
12/14/2018 8:25:48 PM
<![CDATA[PICS: Tourists enjoy a color festival in Sharm el-Sheikh]]>
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December is one of the prime months in Sharm el-Sheikh, which stays largely warm during winter.

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Hundreds of tourists arrive daily in the Red Sea resort to enjoy the weather, beaches, underwater beauty, water sports and many other activities in the peaceful city.

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12/12/2018 12:18:59 PM
<![CDATA[Nov passenger numbers fell less than 5% after deadly crash: Lion Air]]>
"There was a decline but it wasn't too significant," the airline's CEO Edward Sirait told television network CNN Indonesia. "It was under 5 percent compared to the traffic at the same month last year."

He said Lion Air did not "clearly understand" whether the crash was responsible for the fall in traffic in November, which he said was a low season for travel.

The airline, Indonesia's largest, is privately owned and does not publicly release traffic statistics or financial results.

Sirait said last week Lion Air was considering cancelling orders for 737 MAX jets but it had not yet made a decision.

Sources told Reuters that relations between the airline and Boeing had worsened in a spat over responsibility for the crash.

The airline has 190 Boeing jets worth $22 billion at list prices waiting to be delivered, on top of 197 already taken, making it one of the largest U.S. export customers.

Bankers and some analysts say Lion Air and Southeast Asian rivals over-expanded and would be comfortable with fewer orders.

Boeing has declined to comment on contractual matters but industry sources say aerospace companies rarely leave room for unilateral cancellations except in exceptional circumstances.

The cause of the Oct. 29 crash into the Java Sea has yet to be determined.
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12/10/2018 3:54:51 PM
<![CDATA[Reasons why you have to visit Egypt]]>
The country is rich with breathtaking beaches and incredible destinations that you have to see. These unique areas distinguish Egyptfrom other countries in the region.

According to Forbes Middle East,Egypt has four of the top beaches across its beautiful coastline.

• Sharm El-Luli:

The destination is distinguished with vivid yellow sands and water in so many shades of blue, along with the smooth shore speckled with a sampling of rock formations, shallow warm waters and the vast coral reef where visitors can do snorkeling and diving.

• Blue Hole:

Dahab is famous for the Blue Hole, a 110-meter dive site drawing adventurous travelers from around the globe; it is considered to be one of the prime dive spots in the world.

It draws visitors who come to enjoy the tranquil beauty both above and below water.

Besides diving, windsurfing draws people to sail along its golden sandy shores and enjoy the laid-back vibe due in part to its native Bedouin tribes that have lived in the area for 800 years.

• Fjord Bay:

Fjord Bay in Taba is home to some of the best diving sites in the world. Dive 12 meters to the banana-shaped reef or dive 24 meters to the famous Fjord hole to enjoy watching thousands of unique marine creatures.

• Agiba Beach:

Agiba beach retains Egypt’s cultural essence — tucked on the Egyptian shore alongside the breathtaking Mediterranean Sea. Located in MarsaMatruh,Agiba stands on the famous rock and looks over the water like Cleopatra did 2000 years ago, imagining how she lived in this luxury in ancient Egypt. “Agiba” means miracle in Arabic.

Dahab, best destination ever

If you want to dive, Dahab is your inevitable destination,anotable place where you can own realms of fancy and joy. You can access all facilities with budget price - dive shops like Red Sea Relax’s dive center only charge €25 (less than $30) a dive. So, it doesn’t get much better than that. It is more than being a fair share of great sites; Dahab is a diver's paradise.
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12/9/2018 11:54:08 AM
<![CDATA[Rain protection projects in Taba worth LE200M ]]>
The projects include 12 draining channels, four lakes, and barriers to protect tourism establishments bordering Gulf of Aqaba, the gas pipeline, Nuweiba International Road, high-voltage electricity power towers, and security ambushes. They will finish by the end of the next year.

Those works have been designed based on prospects on heavy rains for the next 100 years. The studies were prepared using mathematical methods, and the data of previous decades taking into consideration climate change. The goal is linking all main valleys of Red Sea Mountains together.

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12/8/2018 1:30:53 PM
<![CDATA[Paris protests could hit tourism and transport stocks again]]>
Air France KLM, supermarket chain Carrefour and electronics store FNAC Darty have borne the brunt of the selling this week, underperforming their peers as the busy Christmas holiday season begins.

“The yellow vest protesters could scare away tourists and hit Accor and Air France, while the consumer sector will be hit as many French people will be put off from going out,” said Meriem Mokdad, fund manager at Roche Brune Asset Management.

The French capital attracted 40 million visitors last year and has more than 2,000 hotels. In the first half of this year, tourists spent some 10.3 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in Paris.

FNAC shares hit their lowest since July on Friday and are on track for a 16-percent drop for their weakest week in 5-1/2 years, Carrefour is set for a 7.6 percent drop this week, its worst since July, and Air France has fallen 10 percent so far, its biggest weekly drop since August.

Hotel chain Accor and motorway operator Vinci hit 18-month lows on Thursday as protesters blockaded roads around the country, while the threat of a broader transport strike is growing.

By comparison, the CAC 40 is down 3.2 percent on the week, German retailer Metro has fallen 1.3 percent, and British Airways owner IAG is down 2 percent for the week.

Much of Paris will be in lockdown and tens of thousands of police deployed across the nation this weekend to contain what protesters are billing as ‘Act IV’ of the ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations that has seen the worst unrest in the capital since 1968.

Top-flight soccer matches have been canceled, the Eiffel Tower is closed, and other popular landmarks are also shutting their doors on concerns about the demonstrations despite pledges on tax reforms from the government.

Small retailers saw a big drop in revenue, and the hotel industry lost reservations following last Saturday’s protests as rioters torched cars, vandalized cafes, looted shops and sprayed anti-Macron graffiti in some of Paris’s most affluent districts.

“Last minute cancellations could be on the way in the tourism and transport sector. Accor has shown some relative resilience, Vinci has a strong enough balance sheet to cope, but we are more wary of the impact on Air France,” said Pierre Willot, fund manager at Paris-based Montaigne Capital.]]>
12/8/2018 11:21:50 AM
<![CDATA[Tourism and marine parks threaten Thailand's 'people of the sea']]>
But when his time comes, Sutem will be laid to rest in a cemetery where all he will hear is the roar of traffic on Phuket, Thailand's largest island and a key tourism destination.

The land in which Sutem's ancestors were buried now heaves with daytrippers taking selfies, while the Urak Lawoi community of the Chao Lay are confined to a small patch of Phuket's Rawai beach that is also claimed by developers and individuals.

"Our way of life of the olden days is gone - when we could fish anywhere, and we had a connection to the land because of our ancestors' burial site and spiritual shrines," said Sutem.

"We do not have that connection any more," he said standing on the sandy beach of Koh He, a small island off Phuket's southern coast, where his ancestors were once buried.

The Chao Lay, or people of the sea, have lived on the shores of Thailand and Myanmar for generations, fishing and foraging.

Some, like the Moken, are nomadic, spending weeks on the sea and free-diving to spear fish. Others, like the Urak Lawoi on Rawai beach in Phuket, have a more settled life while fishing in the Andaman Sea with their traps of rattan and wire.

They grabbed the world's attention in 2004 when they escaped the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami by fleeing to higher ground when they saw the waters recede.

But the community may be facing its greatest threat yet as marine conservation efforts limit their traditional fishing grounds, and a tourism boom pits them against developers keen on the patch of land that their boats, homes and shrines sit on.

Shared by many

At the heart of the struggles of the Chao Lay - also known as "Sea Gypsies" - is not just their right to the sea and land, but also a more fundamental question of legality and identity, said Narumon Arunotai at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

"Their culture and traditions are not protected by the Constitution, and they do not have title deeds and permits, so it is difficult for them to assert their claim," she said.

"But they were there long before the tourists and the conservationists. If managed well, indigenous rights can go well with conservation and tourism," she said.

Across the world, indigenous people are fighting for the recognition of their rights to land, forest and water.

While they own more than half the world's land under customary rights, they have secure legal rights to only 10 percent, according to Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

From Peru to Indonesia, laws aimed at conserving forests are leading to the evictions of indigenous people.

The Chao Lay's right to the sea is even more tenuous as they often lack permits and licences for fishing, and get arrested or fined for straying into newly established marine protected areas or island parks that authorities say are key to conservation.

The Chao Lay in Phuket, which lies about 700 kilometres (430 miles) southwest of Bangkok, face more than two dozen cases related to encroachment of land and trespass of national parks.

Two families on Rawai beach lost their cases, and have to leave the homes in which they had lived for about 40 years.

Four cases have found in favour of the Chao Lay on the basis of DNA evidence culled from old bones, as well as pictures of a 1959 visit to Rawai by the revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In a separate case, dozens of Chao Lay were injured in 2016 in clashes on Rawai beach protesting a developer who had a land title and a permit to build holiday villas, which villagers said would cut access to their boats and shrines.

Government officials ordered an investigation and a halt to construction, according to a report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW), which said the Chao Lay had suffered "decades of poverty, marginalisation and discrimination".

"They generally do not assert ownership rights because they believe that land and water should not be owned or controlled by one person, but rather shared by many," said Brad Adams at HRW.

"Yet they themselves face eviction from their ancestral land," he said.

A 2010 Cabinet resolution to respect the traditions of Thailand's Karen indigenous people and the Chao Lay, and to allow them access to national parks, has not been effectively implemented, campaigners say.

A draft law to establish special social and cultural zones for indigenous groups could resolve conflicts over land and sea with shared rights, said Thanyaporn Chankrajang, an assistant professor at Chulalongkorn University.

"The small-scale, seasonal fishing that the Chao Lay practise is not harmful to marine life or the environment," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Shared rights in marine national parks can be easily implemented, monitored and evaluated, and help protect the environment, as well as their income."

Changed lives

At the small village in Rawai, the open drains and modest tin-and-wood homes of the Urak Lawoi stand in sharp contrast to Phuket's plush hotels.

Their wooden boats and old-fashioned fishing traps - which can be as big as a small car - are an anomaly amidst the speed-boats carrying tourists for snorkelling and parasailing.

Faced with restricted areas and a dwindling catch because of pollution and overfishing by commercial fleets, more Chao Lay are seeking jobs on land in construction and in hotels, said Ri Fongsaithan, an Urak Lawoi community elder.

"Our lives have changed. We have to go farther and dive deeper to catch fish, and that is affecting our health," he said, looking at children playing noisily in the sea.

"Tourism is booming, but we are excluded. And we are worried that we will lose the cases and be removed from here."

A spokesman at the governor's office in Phuket said the authorities had allocated a site on a nearby island for the Urak Lawoi to move to, but that they were not willing to relocate.

The site is far from the beach and their shrines, said Niran Yangpan, an assistant to the village leader.

"We have already adapted to many changes and challenges, and we are willing to adapt further and respect the law," he said.

"But they must also respect our right to the land and to the sea. It is all we have."
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12/5/2018 1:14:36 PM
<![CDATA[Paris riots hurt French tourism and transport stocks]]>
Supermarket Carrefour (CARR.PA) and highway operator Vinci (SGEF.PA) were the worst-performing, down 2.1 and 2.6 percent respectively. Shares in hotel chain Accor (ACCP.PA) and airline Air France (AIRF.PA) fell by 1.6 and 2.7 percent.

Nationwide protests against fuel taxes and living costs, known as the “yellow vest” movement after fluorescent jackets kept in all vehicles in France, escalated on Saturday as rioters ran amok across central Paris, torching cars and looting shops.

Investors and traders connected the stock falls to investors’ unease over the potential impact riots could have on the economy and on tourists’ appetite to visit the capital.

“Accor is falling, and it is fair to say that investors are wondering if there will be cancellations at their hotels,” said Jerome Schupp, a fund manager at Geneva-based firm Prime Partners.

“It’s not good to see those images of a major capital,” said a trader. “It could hurt the economy.”

Highway operator Vinci Autoroutes said the “yellow vest” protests were continuing to have a major impact, although it did not specify any figures in a press release on Monday morning.

Traders said the earnings conglomerate Vinci gets from its motorway concessions could be hit by the protests, which have blocked toll roads across France.

Oil major Total (TOTF.PA) said on Monday several dozen of its gasoline stations had run dry as a more than two-week long protest over fuel tax hikes began to impact fuel reserves and distribution.

The falls came even as France's top stock index .FCHI climbed 1.7 percent, on track for its best day in a month after a truce in the U.S.-China trade war lifted global markets.
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12/3/2018 4:25:40 PM
<![CDATA[New mobile application to train tourism staffers]]>
The application is meant to save time and effort by helping travel agencies download the best training programs in the tourism domain to hone skills of their staffers, the association said in a statement.

Also, the application will provide training courses for the directors of travel agencies and students in the Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, the ministry said.

The association will hold meetings with a number of companies offering such services to choose the best, the statement added.]]>
12/2/2018 12:19:58 PM
<![CDATA[Australia moves to curb 'orphanage tourism']]>
Amid warnings that children in poor countries are being shipped into the institutions to meet the lucrative demand for western volunteerism, a new law has been introduced to tackle the issue.

The Modern Slavery Bill was passed by both houses of parliament on Thursday and includes an explicit reference to "trafficking and/or exploitation of children in orphanages."

Under the new law, so-called "orphanage trafficking" will be treated as a slavery and trafficking offence.

"Australia is the first country in the world to recognise orphanage trafficking as a form of modern slavery," said Paul Ronalds of Save the Children Australia, a non-governmental lobby group.

It is estimated that around 80 percent of the eight million children in orphanages worldwide have parents or family who could take care of them.

Sometimes children are sent away, with their parents believing they will get a good education.

According to Save the Children, more than 50 percent of Australian universities advertised orphanage placements as a volunteering opportunity overseas.

Activists hope the legal change will cause Australians to more carefully vet where they volunteer overseas.

Share or comment on this article: Australia moves to curb 'orphanage tourism']]>
12/1/2018 11:51:54 AM
<![CDATA[ET presents Egypt's most attractive winter destinations]]>
Egypt is one of the most popular and oldest tourist destinations throughout the world, especially in winter, as it is the time when some Egyptian cities truly shine.

Here are the Egyptian cities which look more stunning in winter.

1- Luxor

Luxor and Aswan cities are located in southern Egypt. They have nearly half of the world’s monuments and they are the best place to spend your vacation, especially in the winter because of their warm weather throughout the year; the sun rises up to 11 hours a day during summer, and rises for more than 8 hours a day in winter.

Both of these cities are characterized by their historical sites which attract tourists from all over the world. Luxor is well-known as the world’s greatest open air museum because of its unique archaeological treasures. It also is the second most visited place in Egypt after Cairo.

The most important sites in Luxor are:

a- Temple of Karnak: It was the largest and most significant religious complex in ancient Egypt and it honored not only Amun but other gods such as Osiris, Montu, Isis, and Ptah as well as some Egyptian rulers.

The temple is famous for the Sound and Light Show held every night which is considered one of the most wonderful and exciting ways to discover this temple.

b- Valley of the Kings and the Queens: This valley is an amazing place and a royal burial ground; around 62 Pharaohs were buried in it.

c- Temple of Deir Al-Bahari: In the 15th century BC, the Temple of Deir Al-Bahari was built on the west bank of the Nile so as to commemorate the achievements of Queen Hatshepsut.

Deir Al-Bahari means Northern Monastery and it comprises one of the most wonderful mortuary temples in Egypt.

2- Aswan

Aswan was known as Syene during ancient Egypt which means market because it was located on the main trade route between Egypt and the southern lands. After the construction of the High Dam, Nubians fled to Aswan after water flooded their homeland. Therefore, this city is rich with Nubian culture.

The most important sites in Aswan are:

a- Kom Ombo Temple: Kom Ombo means the Hill of the Gold. Kom Ombo temple is an unusual double temple, as it merges between the temple of Sobek-the crocodile god- and the temple of Haroeris –the falcon god. It was established during the Greco- Roman era.

b- The Nubian Village: The village is divided into three main regions: Upper, Middle and Lower Nubia. The Nubian village is located on Elephantine Island on the Nile River, near Aswan. One of the most common traditions of the Nubian village's residents is raising crocodiles in their homes as pets.

Deir_el-Bahari_0489
Temple of Deir Al-Bahari, Luxor governorate, Egypt –Ccvia Wikimedia commons

c- Abu Simbel Temple: It consists of two enormous temples located on Egypt’s borders with Sudan. This temple was established by Ramses II in the 13 century BC to commemorate Ramses II’s victory at the battle of Kadesh. In 1968, this temple was entirely relocated after building the Aswan High Dam reservoir and lake Nasser.

3- Sharm El-Sheikh

It is a resort town in the southern coast of Sinai Peninsula. Sharm El-Sheikh is one of the world’s extraordinary diving destinations. It is rather hot in the summer and warm in the winter, which leads it to be one of the most attractive cities in Egypt, especially in winter.

8_A_resort_in_Sharm_El_Sheikh
A resort in Sharm El-Sheikh, April 22, 2016- CC via Wikimedia commons

Many tourists visit this city to enjoy its magnificent mountains, exotic coral reefs, picturesque clear blue water, luxurious resorts and gorgeous beaches.

In 2000, the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Sharm El-sheikh as the finest city in the world for peace and beauty.

Additionally, Sharm El-Sheikh is known as “City of Peace”, as this city witnessed many international peace conferences and forums, after witnessing the signing of the Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The most important sites in Sharm El-Sheikh are:

a- The Heavenly Cathedral: Located at Hay El-Noor district in Sharm El-sheikh, it is the biggest Coptic Church and was regarded as one of the world’s 10 most beautiful churches in 2010.

This church’s features explain religious murals of Biblical stories such as the Creation and the Exodus.

b- Ras Mohamed National Park: It is one of the most interesting and famous national parks in Egypt and it is located on the southernmost tip of Sinai. Ras Mohamed has several amazing areas for drivers, as the park is surrounded by unique coral reefs.

c- Naama Bay: It is the most famous shopping spot in Sharm El-sheikh. Naama Bay provides various kinds of merchant displays, where tourists find clothes, souvenirs, jewelry stores, gift shops, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels.

4- Dahab

Dahab means gold in Arabic. The city derived its name from its yellow shiny sand. It is the second most treasured diving destination in south Sinai after Sharm El-Sheikh.
The most important sites in Dahab are:

a- The Blue Hole: Professional drivers come from all over the world to explore the uniqueness of the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is one of best snorkeling spots in Egypt and one of the top 5 blue holes in the world, as it contains wonderful fishes, friendly dolphins, unique coral reefs and various caves.

Dahab_Beach
A beach in Dahab, Egypt, December2003- CC via Wikimedia commons

b- The lighthouse: It is famous for teaching all levels of divers from beginners to professional.

c- Ras Abu Galum: Located north of Dahab, Ras Abu Galum is a wonderful place for snorkeling and diving. Ras Abu Galum's Bedouins are very friendly with tourists and visitors.
]]>
11/28/2018 12:48:08 PM
<![CDATA[S.African MPs seek end of captive lion trophy hunting]]>
South Africa has as many as 8,000 lions in captivity being bred for hunting, the bone trade, tourism and academic research, according to estimates by wildlife groups.

By contrast there are just 3,000 lions in the wild, living in the country's national parks where hunting is prohibited.

Trophy hunting is a $36-million industry, but parliamentarians have been emboldened by high-profile global campaigns to push for its demise.

A committee of lawmakers responsible for overseeing environmental affairs recommended on November 12 that the government reconsider the rules governing the breeding of captive lions for hunting and bone harvesting.

The global trade of body parts from lions killed in the wild is banned by international treaties -- but permitted for animals bred in captivity.

The MPs resolved that ministers should review the issue "with a view to putting an end to this practice".

The decision followed two days of crunch talks between MPs, breeders and animal welfare campaigners.

- 'Damage to brand South Africa' -

Lawmakers also want the government to "reconsider" its recent decision to nearly double to 1,500 the quota of lion skeletons that can be legally traded this year.

In the past decade South Africa has exported the big cat bones to Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and other markets in Southeast Asia for use in jewellery as well as their supposed medicinal properties.

"South Africa is allowing a practice that everybody is turning their backs to. We need to find a solution as a country to improve the situation," said parliament's environment committee chief Phillemon Mapulane.

He added that the country's strong reputation for conservation was being compromised by the situation.

"(It undermines) broader conservation, but (benefits) a small number of breeders without proper scientific or conservation basis," said Mapulane.

"The industry is doing serious damage to brand South Africa."

Derek Hanekom, who was acting minister for environmental affairs when parliament made its recommendations, told AFP he would appoint a special task force to examine animal breeding rules.

"We are finalising the terms of reference of the panel that will investigate and make recommendations on these issues," he said.

The practice of hunting lions raised in captivity has long been controversial in South Africa where a large number of animals are confined to pens ringed with electric fences.

But former environment minister Edna Molewa, who died earlier this year, warned that changing the rules risked creating a situation in which "thousands of lions will have no value and there will be no income".

She also warned that jobs could be lost if the country's nearly 300 lion breeding facilities were closed and the trade banned.

Though the industry contributes significant tax revenues every year, activists have labelled it "unethical".

Campaigns to ban the importation of captive-bred lion trophies have gathered steam in Australia, France, The Netherlands and the United States in recent years.

In 2016 the International Union for Conservation of Nature called on South Africa to end the practice of hunting captive-bred lions altogether.

In September, Singapore Airlines, which was the only airline involved in transporting lion bones from South Africa to Southeast Asia, announced it would no longer carry the controversial cargo.

- Industry warns of job losses -

"This industry is nothing but a blight on the conservation pedigree that South Africa should otherwise be able to claim," said Yolan Friedman, chief executive of the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

"South Africa's captive predator breeding industry is cruel, serves no conservation purpose, and damages South Africa's reputation as a wildlife tourism destination," added Mark Jones of the Britain-based Born Free conservation charity.

Paul Funston, a senior director at the wild cat conservation group Panthera warned that the government review could be too vague to make a difference.

"There is no real clear directive for change, it's not a forceful directive. We are a bit disappointed that it's not an immediate call to close the industry," said Funston.

But Kirsten Nematandani, president of the South African Predator Association, warned that if parliament's recommendations were implemented "it means thousands of jobs will be lost".]]>
11/27/2018 11:02:28 AM
<![CDATA[Thomas Cook shares collapse on fresh profit warning]]>
The company said underlying annual profits would come in at £250 million ($321 million, 283 million euros) for the 12 months to September.

The group had already warned in September that its annual profits would be slashed to around £280 million.

Thomas Cook will publish final results on Thursday, while 2017/18 earnings were knocked badly by rising costs and a long period of hot European weather over the summer -- which saw customers put off last-minute holidays abroad.

On Thursday, Thomas Cook also suspended its annual shareholder dividend, contributing to its share price plunging 30 percent to 33.94 pence in morning deals.

"2018 was a disappointing year for Thomas Cook," said chief executive Peter Fankhauser, citing the impact of a "prolonged period of hot weather in our key summer trading period".

The stock, which is listed on London's falling second-tier FTSE 250 index, later stood down 24.14 percent at 36.82 pence.

Thomas Cook's share price has tumbled by almost three quarters since the start of the year, when it stood at about 124 pence.

"The woe continues for shareholders, in what has been an awful year for Thomas Cook," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"The decision to cut the dividend cannot have been taken lightly.

"However the lack of dividend is likely to be the least of shareholders problems given how badly the shares have performed this year."]]>
11/26/2018 2:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Red Sea ranks 6thamong top 10 diving areas in the world]]>
The magazine reported that the Red Sea contains more than 400 species of registered coral reefs, noting that "diving has become firmly installed in the Egyptian tourism industry."

"One of the best diving sites in the world is Ras Mohamed, followed by the Brothers' islands located between Safaga and Qusair where tourists can find the best coral reefs and sharks ever," according to the magazine.

The magazine also stressed that the San John reef at MarsaAlam is deemed as a combination of seamounts, coral gardens and deep-sea descent, as well as the wreckage of the sinking English ship SislAljorm north ofHurghada, the most popular site for divers.

According to the UK-based magazine's competition, Indonesia topped the ranking as the besttouristic destinationthanks to its biologicaldiversityas it embraces coral reefs and marine life and pays great attention toimproving the conservation of the marine environment.

For his part, Ahmed Ghalab, director of the Red Sea Reserves, said that there are more than 60 diving sites in the Red Sea.

"The marine activity represents 60 percent of the total touristic activities in the Red Sea," Ghalab told Egypt Today.

Ghalab noted that approximately 3million tourists flock to the resort city annually to dive and exerciseother marine activities.

]]>
11/25/2018 1:07:31 PM
<![CDATA[Dodging traffic, and death, on Manila's railway carts]]>
Scores of commuters in the city of about 12 million are propelled to their destinations daily by so-called "trolley boys" pushing metal carts that ply a few segments of the sprawling capital's railroads.

Passengers save time and money -- paying just 10 pesos (20 US cents) a trip -- but must face the constant risk of being crushed by a passing locomotive if they or the trolley boys don't move fast enough.

"Our job here is very dangerous, you need to know what time the train will pass by," said 57-year-old Rene Vargas Almeria, who has been at it for nearly 20 years.

Commuter trains travel nearly two dozen times a day along this 1.2-kilometre (one-mile) stretch of rail in the Santa Mesa district, where authorities grudgingly tolerate the carts due to their popularity.

The trolley boys also ply a few other stretches of Manila's battered rail system, that carries an average of 45,000 passengers a day.

Incredibly, casualties are relatively rare. Police do not keep statistics, but said they couldn't remember the last time a fatality occurred.

The same cannot be said of close calls -- anyone who spends time pushing or riding the carts seems to have a hair-raising story to share.

Rodolfo Maurello's scariest near-miss in almost two decades as a trolley boy came when he failed to notice the train behind him as he was pushing a cart packed with passengers.

"The train was just metres away," the 60-year-old said, recalling how he turned around with only seconds to spare and waved it to a stop.

"The sound of its brakes screeching was very loud."

- 'I trust them' -

Almeria has a similar tale, which happened one day when his mind wandered and his sole passenger was looking the other way.

"I swung my head around and saw the train coming and yanked my trolley off the tracks," he added. "It was really close."

On a good day the trolley boys can make up to $10, ferrying passengers seeking to escape Manila's infamous gridlock -- a collision of poor infrastructure, weak public transit and an increasing number of cars.

Even as Manila's population grew 50 percent from 1995-2015, investment in the city's creaking transport system has not kept up, opening a gap for informal options like the pushcarts to fill.

Most journeys lack life-or-death drama, with workers in office attire and students clutching their lunch bags and pecking at their smartphones, a tattered beach umbrella providing the only protection from the burning sun or frequent downpours.

"There is no traffic," 46-year-old Noemi Nieves told AFP. "It is convenient for us and the fare is just right for our budget."

Despite the risks and minimal comforts, commuters say the trolley carts offer a welcome shortcut to spending hours in traffic only to travel a few kilometres.

Danica Lorraine, 25, shaves nearly an hour off her daily commute, spared from having to take two additional buses each way.

"You just need to be cautious -- very, very, very cautious," she said.

Kerkleen Bongalon, a teacher, has -- for the most part -- gotten over her unease at riding the carts.

One stretch of her journey passes over the Pasig river -- with a 15-metre (50-foot) plunge between the rail tracks and the water below.

"At first it was scary," she said. "I don't know how to swim so if something happens while we are on the bridge I really don't know what would happen."

"But nothing will happen because the trolley boys know the time the train will pass by", she added.

"I trust them".]]>
11/25/2018 11:33:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sotheby's latest auction house to end rhino horn sales]]>
The auction house had been due to put three lots of rhinoceros horn under the hammer at a sale next week.

"The company will no longer offer rhino horn artefacts in the future," Nicolas Chow, chairman of Sotheby's Asia confirmed in a statement.

"Sotheby's deplores any illegal slaughter and trading of endangered wildlife, and strongly supports conservation efforts from the global community," he added.

The decision comes after Bonhams cancelled its sale in Hong Kong of 21 lots of rhino horn carvings, valued at $3.87 million according to Humane Society International, following mounting pressure.

"In future, Bonhams will not offer artefacts made entirely or partly from rhinoceros horn in its salerooms," Bonhams global CEO Matthew Girling said in a statement.

The decision came after thirty-seven wildlife conservation organisations including WildAid wrote to the company demanding it cancel the auction and stop future sales.

An online petition describing the Bonhams sale as unethical had been signed by more than 10,000 people.

"We congratulate Bonhams on its wise decision to stop selling rhino horn items. The rhino will only survive if the trade in their horns, in whatever form, is stopped," said John Baker, managing director of WildAid.

Christie's had already banned rhino horn items at its auctions.

Environmental groups warned even a small uptick in demand for trading in antique rhino horns, as well as pseudo-antique horns, would push rhinos closer to extinction.

South Africa, which is home to about 80 percent of the world rhino population, has been hit hardest by poachers. More than 7,100 animals have been killed over the past decade.

Rhino horns are highly coveted in Asia, where they have fetched up to $60,000 per kilogram.

In 2017, South Africa hosted its first online auction of rhino horn, following the lifting of the ban on domestic trade. The auction attracted fewer bidders than anticipated.]]>
11/24/2018 3:21:46 PM
<![CDATA[Harry and Meghan announce move to Windsor in early 2019]]>
The couple, given the titles the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after marrying in Windsor in May, will live in Frogmore Cottage, a two-storey stucco-faced house in Windsor Home Park close to the castle.

They will relocate to their new home, around 20 miles (32 kilometres) southwest of London, "as they prepare for the arrival of their first child," the palace said in a statement.

"Windsor is a very special place for their royal highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate," it added.

Prince Harry and Meghan, who returned earlier this month from a 16-day tour Pacific tour, currently live in Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace in west London.

Described as cosy and "modest", it consists of two reception rooms and two bedrooms.

The Palace said the couple's office would remain there.

It provided no further details on the new official residence.

Historic England, a public body which maintains a register of old buildings given special protections, lists Frogmore House in its Grade II category.

The status is awarded to just 5.8 percent of approximately 500,000 listed buildings in England, marking them out as particularly important sites.

The organisation dates the cottage back to the early 19th century but does not detail how many bedrooms it contains.

It sits on the grounds of the far grander Frogmore House, built in 1680-84 and a royal residence since 1792 -- and where Harry and Meghan had their evening wedding reception.

"The name derives from the preponderance of frogs which have always lived in this low-lying marshy area," according to the royal family's website.]]>
11/23/2018 3:26:00 PM
<![CDATA[Top Egyptian travel company sees sector recovering as tourists return]]>
Tourism is a cornerstone of Egypt’s economy, a source of income for millions of citizens and a major source of foreign exchange. But the sector suffered severely in the years following 2011’s popular uprising and was further hampered by a spate of militant attacks which targeted visitors.

Egypt’s revenues from tourism jumped 77 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018 to $4.8 billion, while the number of tourists arriving in the country increased by 41 percent to just over 5 million.

Travco Group, which owns over 40 hotels in Egypt and abroad and is the local agent for Germany’s TUI Group (TUIGn.DE), raised its prices by 30-35 percent at the beginning of this winter season, its CEO Hamed El Chiaty told Reuters in an interview.

“The level of tourist bookings during the current winter holiday season in Egypt is promising,” Chiaty said, adding that bookings from Germany, Italy, Poland and Ukraine were particularly promising.

In a devastating blow to the already struggling sector, Russia halted all flights to Egypt, and Britain stopped flights to Sinai, after an Islamist militant bomb attack brought down a Russian passenger plane in October 2015, killing everyone on board.

There have not been any major attacks aimed at the tourist sector in well over a year and Russia resumed flights to Cairo in April, although it has yet to authorize its aircraft to land in the Red Sea resort of Sham al-Sheikh.

Chiaty said that Travco’s price increases were the highest in seven years, rising to pre-2011 levels, while occupancy levels at the group’s hotels were more than 80 percent, with the exception of Sharm al-Sheikh.

Travco has market share of between 15 and 20 percent of the Polish, Belgian, English, Italian, Ukrainian and Austrian markets, Chiaty said, adding that it had recently refurbished its hotels.
]]>
11/21/2018 4:51:02 PM
<![CDATA[In Pics: 10 American bloggers promote tourism in Egypt]]>
The bloggers were invited in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Egypt as their visit took place on Nov.11 - 17. The bloggers’ instagram posts had the hashtag #egyptunveiled.



















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#abercrombiekent#egyptunveiled#

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11/19/2018 12:21:41 PM
<![CDATA[Nigerian millennials fuel domestic tourism]]>
She is one of a growing number of Nigerian holiday-makers keen to explore their country, one whose unenviable reputation for violent crime and corruption largely deters international travelers.

Nigeria thus loses out on tourism revenues to other countries perceived to be safer such as Kenya, Ghana and the Gambia.

Small, social media-savvy companies like Social Prefect Tours (SPT) and TVP Adventures are hoping young professionals like Akeju will form a burgeoning market of tourists wanting to discover the natural beauty and culture in their own backyard.

“At first you would not think there are this many exciting places here, but when you travel you realize that ... there are a lot of fun places, so it is a very good experience to see the beauty of the country,” said Akeju, 23, who works in IT insurance.

From lush forests sheltering waterfalls and warm springs in the west to the Alpine-like mountains of the east, from festivals to historical sites, attractions are in no shortage in the west African country.

But unlike African tourist destinations such as Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania, Nigerian governments have invested little in nurturing the industry.

“The government is more focused on other sources of income and has not really developed the tourist sector,” said Chiamaka Ntia, SPT’s founder.

“People as well are not really informed that there are places that they can go to for leisure, for holiday and also, these places are not properly taken care of, they are not up to standard when you compare ... to those other African countries.”

VISAS ON ARRIVAL

Nigeria brought in $1.09 billion from international tourism in 2016, the latest year available, according to the World Bank. By comparison, Kenya received $1.62 billion that year, Tanzania got $2.16 billion and South Africa $8.81 billion.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed has said the government has implemented policies - including the introduction of visas on arrival last year and efforts to improve the ailing power, road and rail infrastructure - to make Nigeria more attractive for overseas travelers.

“There is no doubt that Nigeria is fast becoming a destination of choice for international tourists,” he said in August. His ministry, however, said an uptick in tourist numbers was based on anecdotal evidence since it lacks data.

Despite the minister’s assertion, problems persist for Nigeria’s tourism industry.

“The downside will be the roads, not so good roads, they are not that great at all,” said Chinedu Ahanonu, a Lagos-based training consultant in her thirties, also on the SPT tour.

Infrastructure is a major challenge: as well as decrepit roads, trains are a rarity and flights are notorious for delays and cancellations.

Travel can also be dangerous. Many roads are plagued by kidnappings and accidents, police are more likely to ask for money than offer a service and deadly communal clashes have erupted across much of Nigeria’s hinterland states, particularly this year.

Despite those hurdles, the travel firms say they focus on safe, accessible spots. For Ahanonu, the effort is worth it.

“It is so much richer, because, you know, it is like finding a diamond inside the rough, in your own place,” she said.]]>
11/18/2018 11:48:06 AM
<![CDATA[Indonesian woman who lost fiance in Lion Air crash pleads for safe planes]]>
Intan Indah Syari had been due to marry her high-school sweetheart, Rio Nanda Pratama, who was a doctor, on November 11.

Photographs of Syari wearing her white wedding dress, alone, on the day of their planned ceremony went viral on social media with thousands of likes and an outpouring of sympathetic comments from around the world.

"I want him, now that he is on the other side, to know that I'm happy. This was to pay him my last respects," Syari said, explaining her decision to wear the dress and how her fiance's last wish had been to see photos of her in the gown.

"We had been waiting for this moment for 13 years, including six years in a long distance relationship, but at the end I lost my fiance," she told Reuters, speaking softly.

Syari said she had kept calling his mobile phone on the days immediately after the Oct. 29 crash, clinging to a faint hope that he might be still alive.

His body was later identified and search officials found his shoes, as well as a bag and paperwork belonging to him.

Indonesian investigators are due to publish a preliminary report on the crash later this month in a bid to explain why the nearly new Boeing Co 737 MAX jet slammed violently into the sea during clear weather.

Pratama's father has filed a U.S. lawsuit against Boeing, alleging it did not adequately warn Lion Air or its pilots of an unsafe design condition. Boeing is headquartered in Illinois

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned airlines last week that erroneous inputs from the system’s sensors could lead the jet to automatically pitch its nose down even when autopilot is turned off, making it difficult for pilots to control.

Urging regulators to prevent any recurrence of such a crash, Syari said that all her hopes and dreams had been shattered.

"Please improve the regulation of the aviation industry, in terms of safety and inspections, before a flight takes off," she said. "If a flight is not fit to fly, please do not let it leave."
]]>
11/16/2018 6:15:35 PM
<![CDATA[This place is the pits: China opens luxury hotel in quarry]]>
Preventing the 88-metre-deep (290 feet) pit from flooding was among the chief challenges for engineers working on the swanky 336-room InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland -- part of a $288 million (S$396 million) development that also includes a theme park.

The hotel, which is one of a growing number of bold architectural designs springing up in China, hugs one side of the pit wall, with a waterfall cascading down the opposite face.

The subterranean 17-floor hotel is about an hour's drive from the centre of Shanghai, with room charges starting at 3,394 yuan ($490) a night.

There is a floor of suites below the water level, but don't expect to gaze directly into the depths of Shenkeng Quarry -- the windows are instead buffered by large fish tanks.

"Why do we say there is nothing in the world that compares to the quarry hotel project?" Chen Xiaoxiang, chief engineer with the real estate giant, Shimao Property, said to AFP.

"It's a project that's completely new, a project we have never encountered before.

"There were no references, cases or experience we could learn from to solve all the difficulties," he said.

That meant engineers were met with unexpected problems.

Before construction started in 2013, for example, heavy rainfall caused a nearby river to overflow into the quarry, filling half of it.

"If something like that had happened after construction was complete, it would have been a devastating blow," Chen said.

Designers built an embankment around the edge of the pit to prevent that happening in future, when hundreds of well-heeled guests are sipping cocktails on the deck far below.

A pump house is used to help regulate water levels.

TOTALLY UNIQUE'

The waterfall is one of the development's most eye-catching features. Adventurous guests can also indulge in rock climbing.

The project's masterminds talk up its environmental bona fides, saying abandoned quarries often become landfills.

"This was a totally unique idea, to really do something special with a site that was forgotten and nobody knew what to do with, and to give it new life," said Martin Jochman, a British architect with the project since it started 12 years ago.

"I never lost my belief that it would be done one day, but it is here now, and I am really excited and amazed by the whole thing," he said.

China's rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a construction boom that often throws up outlandish designs.

The Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television has been nicknamed "The Big Underpants" because it resembles a giant pelvis.

A skyscraper built this year in southwestern China features a 108-metre waterfall tumbling down one side.
]]>
11/15/2018 6:05:31 PM
<![CDATA[Fewer foreign students coming to US for second year in row: survey]]>
New enrollments for the 2017-18 school year slumped 6.6 percent compared with the previous year, according to an annual survey released by the Institute of International Education. That follows a 3.3 percent decline in new international students tallied in the 2016-17 academic year.

Several factors are driving the decrease. Visa and immigration policy changes by the Trump administration have deterred some international students from enrolling, college administrators and immigration analysts said.

A strong dollar has made U.S. college tuition relatively more expensive, Canadian and European universities are competing fiercely for the same students and headlines about mass shootings also may have deterred some students, said Allan Goodman, president of IIE.

“Everything matters from safety, to cost, to perhaps perceptions of visa policy,” Goodman said. “We’re not hearing that students feel they can’t come here. We’re hearing that they have choices. We’re hearing that there’s competition from other countries.”

International students have become an important funding source for American colleges as traditional revenue sources, such as state funding, come under pressure. Most undergraduate foreign students do not qualify for need-based financial aid and must pay close to full tuition and fees to attend U.S. schools.

Similar to previous years, the largest numbers of students came from China, India and South Korea, which together made up 56.1 percent of all international students.

IIE did not track new international student numbers before the 2004-05 school year, but Goodman said the recent declines in new enrollments were comparable to the period after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The annual survey of foreign-student enrollment is funded by the U.S. State Department.

Some immigration policy experts and college administrators attribute the decline to the Trump administration’s drive to restrict immigration and an overall sense of a U.S. political climate that is hostile to immigrants and foreigners.

“It is not a welcoming environment,” said Doug Rand, a former White House official working on immigration issues during the Obama administration.

He noted that Trump has moved to restrict the issuance of skilled-worker visas and permanent residency, which many incoming students may apply for in the future.

“It’s an act of willful ignorance to suggest that our immigration policies aren’t having a direct impact on foreign student enrollment,” Rand said.

Caroline Casagrande, a State Department official, said the “flattening” in international student enrollments began with the 2015-2016 year, prior to the start of the Trump administration. That year, new enrollments still increased by 2.4 percent compared with the prior year.

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to facilitating the legitimate travel to the United States of individuals who want to study in U.S. academic institutions,” Casagrande said during a phone call with reporters. “It’s quite frankly unwarranted to say that it is completely the result of a political environment.”

Cary Jensen, assistant vice provost for international advocacy and engagement at the University of Rochester in New York, said international students had been receiving more scrutiny from the U.S. government since the Sept. 11 attacks, but that “this last year and a half has just taken it to another level.”

Jensen said a major issue facing American universities was the lack of clarity surrounding the Trump administration’s policies, in part due to lengthy court battles over policies like Trump’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries.

“That has kind of been the worst part of this, is the uncertainty,” Jensen said. “That breeds fear and people tend to overreact.”

The administration is pursuing concrete steps to restrict visa policy regarding international students. Last month, it said it would seek to establish a fixed maximum period of stay for international students. Students currently can stay for an indefinite duration of study, and exchange advocates worry such a change would make it harder to recruit students and limit their flexibility once they are in the country.

In August, the administration changed the way international and exchange visitors are found to accrue “unlawful presence,” a violation that could result in being barred from the country for up to 10 years. Several colleges sued over the change, arguing it would cause the “banishment of untold numbers of international students and exchange visitors acting in good faith.”

The total number of new international students in the United States in 2017-2018 grew by 1.5 percent to a record high of nearly 1.1 million, but it was the smallest year-over-year increase since 2005. The growth in total enrollment was driven by a nearly 16 percent increase in the number of students opting to remain in the United States after finishing their studies for short-term work known as “optional practical training.”]]>
11/13/2018 4:13:52 PM
<![CDATA[6 curious stories behind the origin of Egyptian dishes]]>
The Egyptian traditional cuisine has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. But do you know the origin of some of the renowned Egyptian dishes?

Here is a list of the history of some traditional Egyptian dishes:

1- Molokhia:

Molokhia means royal. It dates back to the ancient Egyptian era and is also known as Jute or Jews Mallow. The ancient Egyptians didn’t eat this plant, as they thought it was poisonous, and named it “Khia”.

2
Molokhia, Egypt’s cuisine, July 4, 2012 – Cc via Wikimedia Commons.

During the Hyksos occupation, Egyptians recognized that Molokhia has many health benefits and that it was nontoxic when Hyksos decided to kill Egyptians by forcing them to eat this plant.

Egyptians were forbidden to eat Molokhia during the reign of Caliph Al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah -a ninth-century ruler of Egypt. Some stories say that he banned it because Caliph Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan –the founder of the Umayyad dynasty-liked it, while others claim that he prohibited it, as he thought it led men and women to commit sins.

2- Koshari:

Koshari is one of the most popular dishes in Egypt, although it was first made by the Indians who named it “Khichdi” which means a dish with rice and lentils. During World War I, Egyptians knew Koshari through their dealings with Indian soldiers who came with the British troops to Egypt in November 1914.

5
Koshari dish, Egypt’s food, November 25, 2014 – Cc via Wikimedia Commons.

Egyptians did not only adopt this dish, they also added their ingredients to it such as: fried onion, white vinegar, chili sauce, chick peas, ground cumin and cayenne pepper.

Ibn Battuta, the renowned Muslim traveler of the14th century, was the first person to mention Koshari in his book "A Gift to those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling."

3- Umm Ali dessert:

Umm Ali is a popular Egyptian dessert and one of the most delicious dishes in the Egyptian cuisine. The name of Umm Ali means Ali’s mother and there is a bloody story behind the name of this dessert.

3
Umm Ali dessert, Egypt’s sweet pastry dish – Cc via Wikimedia Commons.

This dessert was made to celebrate the death of Shajarat Al-Durr, who was the second wife of Sultan Izz El-Din Aybak, the first Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. Shajarat Al-Durr was an immensely powerful woman. She forbade her husband Aybak from seeing his first wife, Umm Ali, and his son, Ali.

Sultan Ayabk became aggressive with Shajarat Al-Durr; she was also informed that he was planning to marry a Turkish princess, so she killed him.

After the assassination of Sultan Ayabk, Umm Ali decided to take revenge from Shajarat Al-Durr for killing her husband and conspiring against her son Ali to prevent him from sitting on the throne.

Umm Ali ordered her maids to kill Shajarat Al-Durr in her bathtub by beating her with clogs. In order to celebrate the death of Shajarat Al-Durr, Umm Ali ordered her cooks to create a new and delicious dessert and distribute it throughout Egypt after adding a gold coin to every bowl.

All Egyptians were happy with this dessert and the golden coin; they named this dessert “Umm Ali.”

4- Aroust Al-Moulid dessert:

Arousat Al-Moulid means sugar bride. It is one of the most important ways of celebrating the birth of prophet Mohamed –peace and blessings be upon him- in Egypt.

4
A man selling traditional toys and sweets to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad in Cairo, Dec. 30, 2014. (Photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

Some historians say that when the soldiers of Fatimid Caliph Al-Mustansir Billah defeated the tribes which attacked Egypt, the caliph ordered his sweets divan to cook new desserts and distribute them among the public to honor the soldiers’ victory, so the confectioners came up with the sugar bride.

Other historians say that Aroust Al-Moulid was inspired by the Shiite’s Fatima doll, which commemorates their love to Lady Fatima – the daughter of prophet Mohamed- during the prophet’s birthday. Egyptians knew Aroust Al-Moulid when the Shiite came to Egypt.

However, the majority of historians believed that Aroust Al-Moulid appeared during the reign of Caliph Al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah, when he allowed his wife to accompany him to Al Moulid parade – on the prophet’s birthday, where she wore a glamorous white dress and a crown of jasmine flowers on her head.

The public decided to depict her and Al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah by sculpturing a sugar bride and a groom on his horse.

5- Swaba Zainab dessert:

Swaba Zainab dessert means Zainab’s fingers; it is one of the famous desserts in Egypt.
Swaba Zainab dates back to 1260 AD, when Al-Malik Al-Zahir Rukn Al Din Baibars - the fourth Sultan of Egypt- returned to Egypt after defeating the Mongols and he decided to celebrate his victory by ordering to bake and give away sweets to the Egyptians.

6
Swaba Zainab, Egyptian dessert, December 7, 2016 – Cc via Wikimedia Commons.

Sultan Baibars admired the new dish dearly and asked the chief about its named. The chief responded “Swaba Zainab”, referring to the baker, Zainab, who made it.

6- Kunafa:

Kunafa is one of the most delicious desserts; its selling prospers during the Holy month of Ramadan.

7
Kunafa dessert, September 21, 2015 –CC via Wikimedia Commons.

Some historians said Kunafa dates back to the Umayyad Caliphate, when Caliph Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan was always complaining about hunger during the fasting hours of Ramadan, and one of his cooks prepared a rich dish to help him endure fasting.

Other Islamic historians said that Kunafa appeared in Egypt when Caliph Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah entered Egypt; the Egyptians welcomed him by presenting a dish of kunafa.
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11/12/2018 4:56:59 PM
<![CDATA[MECSC grants CFCM silver award for hosting World Cup Trophy Tour at RECon MENA 2018]]>
This award comes as celebration of the Mall’s execution of the exceptional event for the World Trophy Tour campaign by Coca Cola, which included a number or entertaining sports activities in celebration of Egypt’s participation in the World Cup.

“It is a great honor for Cairo Festival City Mall to receive the valuable NOI award for hosting a huge event showing our advance in marketing strategies. It positions us as the ultimate “Place to Be” in Egypt. It also shows the growing progress of the mall to being the top favorite destination in East Cairo and the biggest cosmopolitan entertainment hub in Egypt”, stated Sam Hosn, Group Asset Director from CFCM.

“Despite the sweeping success of the World Cup Trophy Tour campaign, CFCM faced many challenges to make the biggest football event come out as huge as it did.

Securing the World Cup was a very challenging task as the security precautions were extremely tight and audited by the International FIFA team. However, CFCM has managed to provide the necessary means to make the event safe, secure and enjoyable for the attendees who have been anticipating this huge football event for 28 years.

Making a celebration of every big event is deeply rooted within our philosophy as we care about sharing joyful moments and experiences with our visitors.” Hosn added.

The Middle East Council for Shopping Centers (MECSC) is the largest regional organization that represents the voice of retail industry in the Middle East, North Africa region. This year, it hosted RECon MENA 2018, the biggest conferences that gathered all regional and global retailers, shopping center owners, management, and service providers to explore the potentials of the retail industry in the region.
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11/11/2018 6:06:00 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism min., Thomas Cook Group CEO discuss boosting ties]]>
In a press release, the Ministry of Tourism said that the meeting was attended by a number of leaderships in Thomas Cook Group, head of the Tourism Promotion Authority Ahmed Youssef and tourism advisor in London Amr el Ezzaby.

Fankhauser said that more tourists are wishing to spend their vacation in Egypt especially in Luxor and Marsa Allam cities. He wished that Egypt will launch a direct flight to Sharm el Sheikh to receive more tourists.

The minister noted that there are a lot of opportunities for tourism investment in Egypt especially in New Alamin area that was inaugurated recently by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as well as other areas in the Red Sea region.

Mashat asserted that the government is giving great attention to the tourism industry as one of the main pillars of Egypt's national economy. She noted that her ministry is cooperating and coordinating with the ministries antiquities and civil aviation to develop the tourism sector.]]>
11/10/2018 11:17:04 AM
<![CDATA[“Egypt is Safe” marathon kicks off from Edfu to Marsa Alam]]>
As many as 90 Egyptian competitors along with 40 participants from foreign countries partake in the 250-km marathon, which is organized by Sukari Mine.

The foreign competitors are coming from the UK, Australia, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Canada.


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11/9/2018 4:28:50 PM
<![CDATA[Tourists tell CNN media reflected wrong picture on Egypt’s security situation]]>
The tourists appeared in a video arguing that the international media did not reflect the real picture of the security situation in the country, adding that they negatively exaggerated incidents.

They said they have found this picture portrayed by media untrue when they visited the country themselves, expressing enjoyment of their holidays in Egypt that they intend to visit it again.

“I have been in Egypt as a tourist 18 times. My first time was now nearly 20 years ago,” one of the tourists stated, naming a number of ancient monuments and tourists attractions she loves in Egypt.

“I’m here already since long time. I live in Egypt already since over 15 years; all this time I have never been afraid to be here,” another tourist said. She also complained that media sometimes exaggerate events, and “make a lot of nothing.”

“I can just only say Egypt is a fantastic country. It is safe. Nobody has to be afraid to fly over here,” she added.

Another tourist said that the internet and the press abroad say that difficult things happen here which he says “was holding [him] back a little bit,” adding he thought “military [will] always be around which is not the case.”

The number of tourist to Egypt increased by 41 percent in the first half of 2018 to 5.061 million tourists, Reuters reported, while the tourism sector revenues increased by 77 percent in the same period to $4.791.

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11/9/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Siwa began Dates Festival on November 7 ]]>
After the success of the first three editions of the festival, Siwa will host the fourth edition in 2018 from November 15-18, in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Secretary-General of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation Abdel Wahab Zayed said earlier that the UAE government will implement three projects for the production of dates in Egypt at total investments amounting to LE 40 million.

Zayed said the first project aims at developing and operating the Siwa dates factory, which has already put Egyptian dates on the international market's map.

The second project targets to inaugurate a dates-factory in the New Valley governorate within six months at a cost of LE 15 million.

Meanwhile, the third project is concerned with setting a strategy for making Egypt a hub for planting, processing and exporting dates, the UAE official noted.

Furthermore, Zayed stressed the importance of Siwa dates exhibition, which attracts many exporters, especially from Asia, and helps in opening new markets for Egyptian dates in different parts of the world.

Siwa is one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces, located about 560 km from Cairo and stretching over 25 meters below sea level. It includes many palm trees meticulously grown between mud-brick homes and also has a number of crystal clear springs, lakes and rivers to help villagers escape from the harsh heat of the sun.

The bizarre mixture of crystal-clear water and endless deserts between shimmering white rock formations changes this small city oasis to a picture from a storybook and makes it a gateway to understanding the new prospective of rural Egypt.
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11/8/2018 2:37:26 PM
<![CDATA[PICS: Tourists enjoy Sharm el-Sheikh nights ]]>
Soho Square and Naama Bay and entertaining places to hang out at night after all the sea activities in the morning. They are full of dancing fountains, decorative seats, restaurants and cafes that offer free musical and dancing shows.

Below are pictures of visitors from various backgrounds mixing in Sharm el-Sheikh during the nights of the World Youth Forum. All photos taken by Hussein Talal for Egypt Today.


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11/6/2018 11:30:45 AM
<![CDATA[Why Sharm El-Sheikh serves as tourist, conferences destination]]>
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View of the Red Sea from a balcony at Sheraton Sharm El-Sheikh, December 2004 –CC via Wikimedia Commons



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Sharm El-Sheikh pink coral beside Threadfin Butterfly fish, March 7, 2009 –CC via Wikimedia Commons


Sharm El-Sheikh also provides various facilities such as hotels, spas, resorts and conference halls. These facilities serve as highly attractive multipurpose destinations for tourists and business people alike. ‎

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The Old Market by a Sharm El-Sheikh beach - Sharm El-Sheikh in English Facebook page.


In 2000, the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Sharm El-Sheikh as the finest city in the world for peace and beauty.

This city witnessed many international conferences, forums and meetings, after the signing of the Camp David Peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Therefore, Egypt chose Sharm El-Sheikh to host all Egypt’s political and economic events to support peace and stability in the region.

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Soho Square, Sharm El-Sheikh - Official Facebook page.

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11/3/2018 9:22:04 PM
<![CDATA[Hurghada airport receives first Munich direct flights]]>
The plane was received with a water salute, and the passengers were greeted with flowers by officials at the airport.

The flights will arrive on weekly basis, and another direct line to Marsa Alam will begin Friday.

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook’s trips to Egypt have increased by 40 percent year-on-year, with Marsa Alam and Hurghada the top destinations, the company’s undersecretary Hossam al-Shaer said Tuesday.
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11/2/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[A tour inside palace of Sultan HB X of Yogyakarta]]>
Sri Hamengkubuwana X, aka Sultan HB X of Yogyakarta, holds the position of the governor of the Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY), which is located on the Island of Java.

The 73-year-old Sultan HB X has five daughters with a 66-year-old wife. He was the only sultan of the royal family to ban polygamy. A debatable issue on his successor was raised recently as he has no sons to inherit the throne and rule Yogyakarta.

So, ruling of Yogyakarta could be whether in the hands of his eldest daughter or his younger brother, who currently occupies the position of vice-president of the province (deputy governor position).

Sultan HB X has many brothers and sisters. His father, who died in October 1988 of heart attack, had 22 children with five wives.

Egypt Today went on a tour in the Royal Palace of the -could be- last Sultan of Yogyakarta. The palace that depicts the Javanese culture is also called the Kraton of Yogyakarta.

At the entrance of the Kraton, a symbol bearing the initial letters of the sultan’s name welcomes the visitors. Hamengkubuwana means in Bahasa “the King of Responsibility,” said a tour guide.

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The Symbol of Sultan's same at the entrance of the Palace- Egypt Today- Samar Samir.jpg
The sultan has his own guards at the entrance of the 262-year-old palace.

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Special guards of the Sultan-Egypt Today- Samar Samir
Despite the fact that the palace is one of the most famous touristic sites in Yogyakarta, the sultan's family is living in it. The family lives in a private building named "The Yellow House" which is opened for the public only a few hours from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. At 2:00 pm, the royal family starts their private life.

The palace was built in 1756, and the first restoration was carried out in 1998.

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Tourists having coffee in a square-shaped hall- Egypt Today-Samar Samir
Beside the Yellow House, lies a square-shaped reception where the sultan holds special ceremonies.

In the middle of the palace, which spans over an area of 2 hectares, the sultan’s museum is located. It is a big golden hall that used to be a reception hall for weddings and other traditional ceremonies.

The sultan’s administrative office is 1 kilometer away from the Kraton.

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Golden engravings represent Javanese culture in Kraton ceiling - Egypt Today-Samar Samir

“This is the oldest car in the palace. It is the sultan's golden carriage. It was used in wedding transportation, but it is not used anymore because it is very heavy and needs 20 people to carry it. Now, all carriages are moved by horses. The [other] carriages are in a museum 500 meters away from the palace,” said the tour guide.

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The oldest car in the palace. It is the golden carriage for the Sultan- Egypt Today- Samar Samir
HB I had converted to Islam from Buddhism and the palace was built in the Buddhist style, Harryansah Khairul, an official from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s Directorate of Middle East Affairs, told Egypt Today during the tour.

HB IV’s Museum

The entrance wall features HB IV’s symbol. The symbol has nine wings which represent wisdom; the number of wings increases with the coronation of a new Sultan.

The sultan's father was born in 1912. During Sukarno’ rule, he was the financial minister. Now, after Sukarno stepped down, the governor of Yogyakarta was exempted of many duties as he should have only one executive duty.

The father was a military leader and fought for independence which was obtained on August 17, 1945 after the second war with Japan.

In his father’s museum, there is a big photo of young Sultan IV who studied law in Holland. After the independence declaration, the father was appointed minister of finance.

The biggest royal family

The biggest family was that of Sultan VII. He had 28 wives and 78 children.

The tour guide referred that Sultan VII used to drink a traditional herbal tea which boosts fertility, adding that this tea was “the viagra of their time.”

Sultan HB VII had three queens and many concubines. He had his own room that none of his wives shared with him.

The biggest family in the history of the world is of the Chinese emperor who had 100 children, the tour guide added.

As for Sultan HB VIII, he had 48 children. He expanded the palace for his family to span on an area of 40,000 cubic meters.

“It was like a city with his private shopping mall. As he loved playing football, he had two big square-shaped playgrounds. He also had a private jungle because hunting was one of his hobbies,” the tour guide pointed out.


The sultan’s antique collections:

Inside one of the ten museums of the palace, gold statues from the royal family collection are exhibited.

The dear represents good power, while the peacock stands for wisdom.

Another museum exhibits a collection of gifts and presents given to the royal family from world leaders.

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Sultan’a alarm for emergency call- Egypt Today - Samar Samir

The palace also includes a small place for teaching children and a library that is still being restored.

It is not known yet who will inherit these Javanese antiquities once the current sultan dies. Maybe his oldest daughter could be the first queen of the province or his younger brother. Who knows?
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11/1/2018 11:43:24 AM
<![CDATA[Thomas Cook's Egypt trips increase by 40%]]>
The number of tourists will rise to 10 million by the end of 2018, Shaer told Egypt Today, adding that Egypt targets 14 million tourists in 2019 and 20 million in 2020, relying on current indications.

The Tourism Chamber Union will also amend tourism legislations to protect the industry from brokers and unlicensed companies after the elections running soon he continued.

Hotel and transport development, as well as the return of trained staff that left the sector during its recession will also be top priorities for the winning candidates, according to Shaer.
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10/31/2018 3:00:32 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism minister confers with WCTE on cooperation domains]]>
The meeting comes as part of the Tourism Ministry's plan to continue its contacts with international experts and foundations to draw on their expertise to upgrade the tourism sector.

The two sides discussed means of implementing the World Convention on Tourism Ethics which has been approved by the 22nd general assembly of the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Mashat noted that the recent structural reforms that have been introduced by the ministry aimed at implementing the concepts of sustainable development and increasing the competitiveness of the tourism sector to cope with international orientations.

The minister also probed means of benefiting from Lamy's expertise to develop the tourism sector, adding that a committee of international experts in various fields will be formed to follow up the ministry's tourism promotion plan.]]>
10/30/2018 2:16:44 PM
<![CDATA[223 Russian tourists land in Sharm el-Sheikh on a Kazakh flight]]>
Director of Sharm el-Sheikh Airport Hossam Tambour received the wave of tourists, and Folklore bands performed for them at the international airport.

On Nov. 8, direct flights from Azerbijan to Sharm el-Sheikh will also begin.

Such flights will accommodate Russian tourists until direct flights form Russia to Sharm el-Sheikh return, as they have been halted since a Russian plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2015.
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10/30/2018 8:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Hanoi’s colonial-era railway doubles as selfie hotspot ]]>
Though picturesque, they are also perilous: the tracks are still in use and most days visitors must scramble for safety as the daily train rumbles through the narrow streets.

But for many, the thrill of dodging a speedy train is part of the appeal.

“It was amazing but scary in the same sense, a little bit overwhelming being so close to the train,” Australian tourist Michelle Richards told AFP.

The tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France who used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam – then part of Indochina, along with Laos and Cambodia.

During the Vietnam War, parts of the railway were badly damaged by American bombs that rained down on the communist-ruled north.


Today the original metre-gauge tracks are still a mode of transport for tourists and travellers seeking a cheaper option.

But in the past few years, visitors to Hanoi have seized upon their photographic possibilities.

Hemmed in by houses and cafés, the tracks offer a unique charm for budding travel photographers – and a business opportunity for makeshift café owners who have set up shop.


“It's got a really weird charm. You've got flowers from the balcony coming down, you've got buildings which are very old and close to each other. You see people here living close to the train tracks,” Hong Kong tourist Edward Tsim said.

As the train rumbles into view, everyone clears the tracks and pulls their phones out to capture the scene.

“It felt like waiting for Christmas... and when it arrived, wow, it was something else,” British tourist Paul Hardiman said.

“Well worth the wait.”
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10/29/2018 11:41:57 AM
<![CDATA[Chinese VP visits Giza Pyramids]]>
The Chinese official toured the area during which he was posted on how the Sphinx was carved and the changes the statue underwent throughout the history, according to a statement released by the Antiquities Ministry on Saturday.

Escorted by the antiquities minister, Wang and his accompanying delegation, also toured the Giza Pyramids area development project accompanied by Chinese Ambassador in Cairo Song Aiguo.]]>
10/27/2018 9:29:44 PM
<![CDATA[More than 4000 tourists arrive at Egypt during the last 24 hours]]>
The airport witnessed the arrival of 162 international and domestic flights carrying tourists from different nationalities such as United States, China, Russia, Britain, Austria, Norway, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, as well as Arab groups from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Morocco.

The world's biggest travel publisher, Lonely Planet, named Egypt the most valuable destination of 2019 on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The website specified Southern Nile Valley, as one of Egypt’s best places to travel to, stressing that its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019.

“Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley is the flag-bearer for the country’s return to travel’s super league, and its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019. For starters, world-class ancient sites hugging the Nile south from Luxor to Aswan are accessible for a few dollars,” Lonely Planet stated on its website.

The publisher added, “If you’re on a cruise, food and land transport will be included; otherwise, it’s easy to make inexpensive arrangements for all but a handful of big-ticket temples and tombs, which are more than worth the admission price themselves.”

In September, Egypt ranked first among the most visited tourist destinations in Africa by Chinese tourists, according to the Chinese tourists network.

In its report, the network said that Egypt was followed by Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia as the most popular tourist destinations visited by Chinese holidaymakers in Africa.

Also, Egypt has been announced as the fastest growing tourist destination in terms of year-on-year percentage increase of visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s 2018 release on global travel and tourism.

The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with a 55.1 percent increase, compared to the same period of 2016.

Luxor and Giza were on top of Egypt’s most famous and well-known cities for tourists’ choice, according to the report.
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10/26/2018 2:36:30 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia's Red Sea tourism project to break ground in 2019]]>
Saudi Arabia plans to develop resorts on 50 islands off the Red Sea coast backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund. The Red Sea Project, to be built between the cities of Amlaj and al-Jawh, will offer a nature reserve, diving in coral reefs and heritage sites.]]>
10/25/2018 1:42:58 PM
<![CDATA[Lonely Planet names Egypt 2019’s most value destination ]]>
The website specified Southern Nile Valley, as one of Egypt’s best places to travel to, stressing that its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019.



“Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley is the flag-bearer for the country’s return to travel’s super league, and its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019. For starters, world-class ancient sites hugging the Nile south from Luxor to Aswan are accessible for a few dollars,” Lonely Planet stated on its website.

The publisher added, “If you’re on a cruise, food and land transport will be included; otherwise, it’s easy to make inexpensive arrangements for all but a handful of big-ticket temples and tombs, which are more than worth the admission price themselves.”

In September, Egypt ranked first among the most visited tourist destinations in Africa by Chinese tourists, according to the Chinese tourists network.

In its report, the network said that Egypt was followed by Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia as the most popular tourist destinations visited by Chinese holidaymakers in Africa.

Also, Egypt has been announced as the fastest growing tourist destination in terms of year-on-year percentage increase of visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s 2018 release on global travel and tourism.

The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with a 55.1 percent increase, compared to the same period of 2016.

Luxor and Giza were on top of Egypt’s most famous and well-known cities for tourists’ choice, according to the report.



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10/25/2018 12:15:45 PM
<![CDATA[Paradise lost: Tourist spots in danger of being loved to death]]>
Here are some other global hotspots that authorities have moved to protect:

Officials on the holiday island, Indonesia’s top tourist destination, declared a “garbage emergency” last year after the palm-fringed Kuta beach was swallowed up by mountains of trash.

Indonesia, second only to China as the world’s biggest contributor to marine debris, deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tons of debris each day from Kuta and two other popular beaches to a nearby landfill.

Known for its 900-odd human figures standing up to 10 meters (32 feet) tall, the isolated Pacific island severely curtailed visitor numbers in August this year due to concerns over the remote Chilean territory’s environmental sustainability.

Tourist stays on the island, believed to have been settled by the Rapa Nui people around the 12th century, were cut to 30 days from 90, after the population — along with the crime rate — doubled in a few decades.

Those who wish to live on the island are now required to be a parent, partner or child of the Rapa Nui people.

Dubrovnik, which boasts an old walled city, saw cruise ship arrivals shoot through the roof after it was used as a backdrop in the smash television drama series “Game of Thrones,” causing congestion as tourists made a beeline for the shoot locales.

Mayor Mato Frankovic told AFP the authorities plan to cut cruise ship numbers coming into the Adriatic port, while deploying cameras to count the number of people entering the old town.
Venice authorities are trialling a system that forces visitors to make a reservation if they want to go to the popular Saint Mark’s Square during peak hours.
They are also fining tourists 500 euros ($585) for bathing or having picnics in the city’s famous canals.
In Florence, officials have resorted to hosing down public spots such as church steps where many visitors congregate to eat picnics. This aims to prevent people from sitting on the wet pavement.

Peruvian authorities increased surveillance at the 15th-century Incan citadel high in the Andes mountain range in 2014 as nude photos and streaking became increasingly common.

Tourists have since at least 2013 been posting their naked selfies on social media, which the government described as a “disrespectful act” aimed solely at getting attention.

The glittering Thai bay immortalized in the movie “The Beach” was closed indefinitely on October 1 to allow it to recover from the impact of mass tourism, after a four-month respite failed to ease beach erosion and pollution.

About 5,000 tourists had arrived by boat each day to the beach framed by limestone cliffs that was made famous by the 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
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10/24/2018 11:10:27 AM
<![CDATA[All you need to know about taking pets on EgyptAir flights]]>
Egypt Today lets you know the requirements for taking pets on EgyptAir flights:

• The weight of the animal or its cage does not exceed 5 kilograms.

• Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old when traveling.

• Passengers assume full responsibility for their pets.

• EGYPTAIR assumes no responsibility for the injury, loss or death of these pets.

• Passengers must carry enough food for the pet during the flight.

• Pets will not be included in the normal free baggage allowance, which is about 8 kilograms.

• Passengers may be accompanied by falcons, but under the terms of EgyptAir Company.

• Passengers must provide pet passports.
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10/22/2018 12:57:49 PM
<![CDATA[Azerbaijan to launch direct flights to Sharm El-Sheikh in Nov.]]>
South Sinai Governor Fouda revealed on Monday, Oct. 22 that Sharm El-Sheikh attracts global interest, confirming that the city will witness a huge number of tourists, including Russian tourists, in 2018-2019 winter season.

In the same context, many Russian tourism companies expect that once charter flights to Egyptian resorts are resumed by the end of 2018, tourist inflow to several cheap world resorts such as the United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam, and Thailand will decline.

The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners; it has suffered badly from the travel ban that turned the once 100 percent occupied resorts to empty buildings.

Tourist inflow to Egypt peaked in 2010, when 14.7 million tourists visited the country, but the number fell to 4.5 million in 2016.

Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt. According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, this number plummeted to 2.38 million in 2015.

The British tourist inflow used to range between 800,000 and 1 million tourists, but this number also declined after the suspension of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. British flights are now limited to the tourist landmarks in the Red Sea and the Upper Egyptian cities of Luxor and Aswan.

Tourism in the whole country has been greatly affected since the uprising that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The most fatal blow to Egypt’s tourism is that the Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, crashed over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, while carrying Russian tourists returning from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 on board.

Following the incident, both Russia and the UK halted direct flights to Sinai; as a result, Egypt’s tourism revenues have been reduced.
Government efforts

During the 26-month air traffic suspension, a lot of false reports about the expected resumption of direct flights between Egypt and Russia circulated in the media.

During that period, the Egyptian government spared no effort to settle the case and speed negotiations with the Russian side, as well as other countries that imposed a ban on direct flights to Egypt.

Russian authorities always stressed that the resumption of flights would only be possible after Egypt satisfies all the demands of Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits by Russian security to behold changes implemented by the government.

During these visits, the Russian side affirmed that Egyptian aviation authorities have made significant progress in complying with Russia’s aviation safety requirements.

On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Cairo for the second time since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014. The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after the bilateral relations have been up and down.

Asked about the return of direct flights to Egypt, Putin said “The Russian security services have reported to me that, on the whole, we are ready for opening the direct air link between Moscow and Cairo ... This would require signing a corresponding intergovernmental protocol.”

On December 15, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi travelled to Moscow and met Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

The two ministers signed an air security agreement that set the required procedures to pave the way for resuming Egypt-Russia air traffic.

“The first flight will likely be launched in February,” said Sokolov.

In mid-December 2017, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement on aviation security and a special protocol on restoring air service between the two countries. Russian President Putin signed the decree on resumption of scheduled flights to Cairo on January 4, 2018. ]]>
10/22/2018 12:42:00 PM
<![CDATA[S. Sinai official receives Ukrainian media delegation to promote travel to Sharm el Sheikh]]>
The Ukrainian delegation come upon an invitation by a travel agency to visit to tourist destinations in the Red Sea resort city.

The delegation is on a four-day visit during which they will visit Soho area, Tiran island and Ras Mohamed National Park. ]]>
10/22/2018 12:32:51 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir announces 50% discount on Aswan flights]]>
Also, additional 12 flights to Aswan will be arranged as a huge number of travelers is expected to visit Aswan to witness the phenomenon.

In February 2018, the sun illuminated the face of Ramses II in Abu Simbel temple in south Aswan for 20 minutes in a phenomenon that takes place twice a year.

For most of the year, the inner sanctum of the main temple of Abu Simbel is shrouded in darkness.

On February 22, a day celebrating the king's birthday and again on October 22, a day celebrating his coronation, sunlight illuminates the seated statues of the sun gods Re-Horakhte and Amon-Re, as well as a statue of king Ramses II. The statues sit in the company of the Theban god of darkness, Ptah (who remains in the shadows all year).
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10/21/2018 2:23:40 PM
<![CDATA[3rd direct China-Cairo air line to be launched from Chengdu Tuesday]]>
The Chinese airlines will operate two flights a week from Cairo to Chengdu on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Sitchuan Airlines had announced that it will launch the third direct line between China and Cairo in Chengdu, the capital of the southern province Sitchuan, using Airbus A330.

Beijing and Guangzhou also operate direct flights to Cairo. In 2017, Chinese tourism to Egypt increased by 94 percent, becoming the fourth largest in Egypt.
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10/21/2018 1:32:58 PM
<![CDATA[Tourist delegations of various nationalities arrive at Cairo airport]]>
Cairo International Airport received on Saturday 815 tourists coming from China, the US, Italy, Colombia, Taiwan and Indonesia to visit tourist and archaeological sites in Cairo and other governorates, a source at the airport said on Saturday.

Authorities at the airport have formed teams from the public relations department to receive the tourists and help finalize their procedures, the source added.]]>
10/20/2018 2:30:14 PM
<![CDATA[Aswan sees leap in visits by media delegations in 2017, 2018]]>
Ahmed Ali Ebeid, the head of the Press Center for Foreign Correspondents in Aswan, said that the years 2017 and 2018 have witnessed an “unprecedented leap” compared to the past eight years regarding the presence of foreign journalists in the city, coming from different media institutions in U.S., UK, France, Switzerland, Russia, Italy and others.

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Foreign media delegations visiting archaeological sites in Aswan - Egypt Today


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Foreign media delegations visiting archaeological sites in Aswan - Egypt Today


Media delegations that arrived in Egypt over the past period have featured their visits in documentary films, TV series, soap operas and movies, shedding the light on Pharaonic and Egyptian ancient civilizations that are found in different Egyptian cities.

Ebeif said that a UK delegation came to Egypt during the last period, and highlighted the work of the Spanish mission that discovered the cancer-infected mummy, and its transfer to Aswan Hospital for medical examination.

Ahmed Abdel Mohsen, an Egyptian-Swiss lecturer who works at a Cinema Institute in Zurich said that Egypt’s Aswan has recently started to attract back a number of world film directors after a long reluctance in making documentary films on Egypt.

Ridley Scott has chosen Aswan, Abu Simbel and Kom Ombo cities as locations for some scenes of his Exodus: Gods and Kings movie, Abdel Mohsen added.

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Foreign media delegations visiting archaeological sites in Aswan - Egypt Today


Some directors choose to shoot their documentary films in locations with archaeological scenes, like the Director Pascal Hoffmann who did a film on the cities that inspired the works of Sculptor Not Vital, including Aswan.

French Director Olivier Lommeter visited Egypt recently to film the second part of his documentary film on temples that were saved from drowning in Aswan during the construction of the High Dam from 1960 to 1970.

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Foreign media delegations visiting archaeological sites in Aswan - Egypt Today


Speaking to Egypt Today, Lommeter said “I love Egypt very much, and my admiration increases to the charming sites in the city of Aswan. We love your country, and I am still hoping I can reach certain concerned bodies in Egypt with whom I can cooperate in producing my future films about the country.”

For his part, Ebeid argued that the fees set for filming the archaeological sites is very high, after the last official raise by the Ministry of Antiquities from L.E. 1,600 to L.E. 5,000, “which is unaffordable to some delegations.”

Ebied called for some facilitation that will benefit the publicity of these sites in Egypt, given the costs that the foreign delegations bear like: travel, flights, accommodation and filming location.







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10/20/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Resuming Russian tourism to Egypt to decline tourist flow to Turkey ]]>
Tulchin remarked that resuming charter tours to Egypt will lead to a decline in tourist inflow to several cheap world resorts such as the United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam, and Thailand.

In the same context, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Wednesday, Oct. 17 during his meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi that flights resume between the two countries, referring that Egypt exerts many efforts to secure air flights.

In October 2015, the Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, crashed over the Sinai Peninsula, while carrying Russian tourists returning from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 on board.

Although Egypt-Russia investigations have not revealed the reason behind the crash, Russia, along with some other countries, had decided to suspend direct flights to Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh for indefinite period. The decision decimated Egypt's vital tourism industry.

The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners,and has suffered badly from the travel ban that turned the once 100 percent occupied resorts to empty buildings.

Tourist inflow to Egypt peaked in 2010, when 14.7 million tourists visited the country, but the number fell to 4.5 million in 2016.

Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt. According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, this number plummeted to 2.38 million in 2015.

The British tourist inflow used to range between 800,000 and 1 million tourists, but this number also declined after the suspension of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. British flights are now limited to the tourist landmarks in the Red Sea and the Upper Egyptian cities of Luxor and Aswan.

Government efforts

During the 26-month air traffic suspension, a lot of false reports about the expected resumption of direct flights between Egypt and Russia were circulated in the media, making Egyptians doubt if this issue will find any end.

Through that period, the Egyptian government spared no effort to settle the case, using all diplomatic capabilities to speed negotiations with the Russian side, as well as other countries that imposed a ban on direct flights to Egypt.

Russian authorities always stressed that the resumption of flights would only be possible after Egypt satisfies all the demands made by Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits by Russian security to behold changes implemented by the government.

During these visits, the Russian side affirmed that Egyptian aviation authorities have made significant progress in complying with Russia’s aviation safety requirements.

On December 11, Russian President Putin visited Cairo for the second time since President Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014. The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after the bilateral relations have been up and down.

Asked about the return of direct flights to Egypt, Putin said “The Russian security services have reported to me that, on the whole, we are ready for opening the direct air link between Moscow and Cairo ... This would require signing a corresponding intergovernmental protocol.”

On December 15, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi travelled to Moscow and met Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

The two ministers signed an air security agreement that set the required procedures to pave the way for resuming Egypt-Russia air traffic.

“The first flight will likely be launched in February,” said Sokolov.
In mid-December 2017, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement on aviation security and a special protocol on restoring air service between the two countries. Russian President Putin signed the decree on resumption of scheduled flights to Cairo on January 4, 2018.

Additional report by Mohamed Abdel Maguid
]]>
10/19/2018 10:58:37 AM
<![CDATA[Nothing to see here: Sri Lanka to revoke rogue bikini ban]]>
The signs erected by local police at Habaraduwa Beach, about 130 kilometres (81 miles) south of the capital Colombo, depicted a pair of western women in bikinis crossed out with a red "X".

"According to Sri Lankan culture, please dress in an appropriate suit," it stated, declaring bikinis "improper".

A police official in Colombo said local law enforcers had not sought approval for the signs, which stirred controversy after going viral on social media.

Sri Lanka does not allow visitors in revealing clothing -- including men in shorts -- to visit Buddhist temples and other religious sites, but beaches are generally more relaxed.

Tourism authorities said visitors to the island's famed coastline had nothing to worry about, and steps were being taken to remove the signs.

"Dress code policing is unneeded and unwarranted for tourists enjoying the scenic beaches of Sri Lanka," the Tourism Development Authority said.

Sri Lanka, a Buddhist-majority island popular with tourists, has criticised foreigners in the past for offending moral tastes.

Foreigners with clothing, tattoos or jewellery depicting the Buddha have seen tourists deported from the island for "hurting the sensibilities" of Sri Lankans.

Last month, three Sri Lankan men landed in hot water after exposing their bottoms near a Buddhist temple as part of a social media challenge and posting the images online.

They were tracked down and charged with offending Buddhist sentiments.
]]>
10/18/2018 11:18:15 AM
<![CDATA[Croatia on course for Schengen zone entry in 2020 - government official]]>
Croatia is one of six European Union members not to be part of the passport-free Schengen zone, which area comprises 22 EU member states as well as four non-members — Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

“Our goal is to meet all the technical criteria by the end of this year. The European Commission must then assess if we’re ready to join which we hope it will do before the next elections for the European Parliament next May,” Terezija Gras, state secretary in the Interior Ministry, told Reuters in an interview.

Gras said Schengen zone membership would help to improve security in Croatia and the wider EU. The free movement of people would also benefit the economy, especially tourism which accounts for almost 20 percent of Croatia’s gross domestic product, she said.

“Control over the EU’s external borders is the most demanding aspect of our preparations. We have already fully equipped our border with Serbia and now we’re doing it on the border with Bosnia,” Gras said.

Croatia is on the route taken by many migrants from the Middle East and central Asia who are trying to reach wealthier EU states. Some cross into Croatia from Bosnia undeclared.

By the end of September, the number of unauthorized migrants in Croatia had risen by more than 30 percent from an estimated 4,800 people last year, police said this month. Most of them were from Afghanistan.

Once the European Commission gives its approval, member states must approve it politically. One potential stumbling block is Croatia’s border dispute with neighboring Slovenia, which blocked Croatia’s EU bid in 2009 for the same reason.

“I believe a win-win solution is possible and we’re keen to work on that. We think as well that, for security reasons, it is also in Slovenia’s interest to have Croatia within the Schengen area,” Gras said.

Croatia’s conservative-led government also hopes that in 2020 it will also achieve entry to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM-2), a waiting room for adopting the euro.
]]>
10/17/2018 11:13:17 AM
<![CDATA[Bulgaria Urged to Save Communist-era Architectural 'Masterpiece' Buzludzha]]>
The striking circular building has been left to fall victim to vandalism and decay, as Bulgaria has been eager to forget its communist past, but now western experts want to preserve it as a heritage site.

The 70-metre (230-foot) high structure -- made of 70,000 tonnes of concrete, 3,000 tonnes of reinforced steel and 40 tonnes of glass -- looks like it is hovering at around 1,400 metres above sea level.

It has a 40-metre-wide ceremonial hall with room for 400 people and was covered from floor to ceiling in mosaics depicting the history of Bulgaria's communist party.

Inaugurated in 1981, it fell into disrepair following the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and now lies empty and crumbling.

In recent years, only the most adventurous foreign tourists have visited the isolated spot, prompting local authorities to lock it up to prevent any accidents.

Nevertheless, experts from cultural heritage organisation Europa Nostra visited the site last month and have urged the Bulgarian authorities to rescue what they believe is "a masterpiece of architecture, engineering and art".

- Endangered site -

Europa Nostra listed it as one of the most endangered heritage sites in Europe this year.

During the Cold War era, the communist party claimed that the red glass stars on top of a tower that is part of the complex could be seen as far as Romania to the north and Greece to the south.

"With its brutalist style, it is a genuine architectural achievement of the 20th century," said Laurent Levi-Strauss, of Europa Nostra and a former deputy chief of UNESCO's Cultural Heritage division.

For British architect Graham Bell, Buzludzha is "an unbelievable building, unbelievably impressive and unbelievably sad in the way it is deteriorating.

"This monument is part of European cultural heritage, but most of Europe doesn't know it exists," Bell said.

The experts are convinced that what remains of the building could -- and should -- be saved.

Following their visit, they called for "urgent action" to stop the decay. And they proposed giving the site national protected status, which would allow EU funds to be used for its rescue.

"It is good that Europe cares about it as Bulgaria doesn't," Buzludzha's 89-year-old architect, Georgy Stoilov, told AFP.

Indeed, the cash-strapped local authorities never regarded Buzludzha as much of a priority and saw little point in the upkeep of a site that had such bad connotations.

It was Bulgarian architect, Dora Ivanova, born a year after the fall of the regime, who has been responsible for the revival in interest in Buzludzha.

- 'Explaining history' -

She came across the monument on the internet while she was at university in Germany and started a campaign for its conservation four years ago.

"It's not possible that such an amazing piece of architecture is in such bad condition. It is a part of Bulgarian history whether we like it or not," Ivanova said.

She said her aim was to conserve the building, rather than restore it, "as restoring it would be to glorify communism". "I just want to explain history," she added.

Part of her project would use three-dimensional projection mapping to show what the missing parts of the mosaics might have looked like.

And Ivanova also suggests offering augmented reality self-guided tours.

Europa Nostra's Levi-Strauss conceded that it would be difficult to restore Buzludzha to its former glory given the controversy surrounding its past.

But that should not prevent the authorities from making use of it for "educational purposes, for conferences and concerts," he said.

Tourism expert Rumen Draganov suggested that Buzludzha could also help boost tourism to a region already known for its Thracian tombs and famous rose gardens.]]>
10/16/2018 1:16:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian tourist delegation to visit Serbia Sunday]]>
He posted them also on an upcoming trip by Red Sea Governor Ahmed Abdallah to Serbia, leading a tourist delegation comprising representatives of 25 companies.

Guwaili said that his embassy has organized an expanded program for the team, with several talks to be held with top officials including the prime minister, foreign minister, deputy premier, trade and tourism minister and the head of the Egyptian-Serbian parliamentary friendship society.

The Egyptian delegation will also participate in a round-table meeting with travel agencies. The round-table meeting is held in cooperation with the chamber of commerce and tourism and the national tourism organization, he added. ]]>
10/14/2018 11:41:42 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to launch 2 new routes in Jan. 2019 to Rwanda and Cameroon: Min.]]>
In the same context, EgyptAir will launch two new routes in the African continent as of the end of January 2019. The new routes are to Kigali, Rwanda and Douala, Cameroon.

This comes within the framework of the efforts to promote the continent's air transport industry by establishing routes to meet the future challenges.

The minister added during an inspection tour around Cairo International Airport that the ministry welcomes the cooperation and exchange of experiences with African countries to develop a vision for the future of the civil aviation industry, enhance the economic yields of African countries and keep up with the growth in investment, shipping and tourism in the region.

The ministry is seeking to develop cooperation with African countries, develop a plan to improve and maintain the level of the aviation industry in the continent, modernize airports infrastructure, develop air navigation systems and facilitate the issuance of visas among African countries.

مصر للطيران تسير خطان جديدان لرواندا والكاميرون فى يناير

قال الفريق يونس المصرى وزير الطيران المدنى، إنه من المخطط أن تسير الشركة الوطنية مصر للطيران #دوت_مصر #فيديو_7 #الدكش #قبلة_الفيشاوى شاهد ايضا http://goo.gl/hTZCtm http://goo.gl/d1r48q تابعونا على الصفحات الرسميه مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي Official website : http://videoyoum7.com/ Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/VideoYoum7 Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/videoyoum7 Official youtube : http://www.youtube.com/MubasherYoum7




]]>
10/13/2018 11:48:05 AM
<![CDATA[Get to know more about the city where Sisi, Putin will meet]]>
According to statement issued by the Kremlin on Thursday, the two leaders will be discussing several issues of mutual interests and exchange views on current international affairs.

Earlier this month, Egypt's Presidency announced that Sisi is expected to pay a visit to Russia in October to meet with the Russian president; however, no official dates were mentioned.

sochi 2


The magnificent Russian city Sochi which falls on the Black Sea coast is dubbed the cleanest city in the world due to its wonderful climate. Sochi has been announced as a summer resort since 1872.



sochi 3

Sochi’s climate is subtropical with a moderate lovely weather, worm at summer and mild cold at winter. It hosted 2014 Green Olympics.


sochi 4


The magnificent Russian city contains a number of archeological sites. It houses ancient rock dolmens and Sergo Ordzhonikidze spa resort. In 1838, the Alexandria Fort was built on the sea shore.

Now, the city serves as the unofficial summer capital of Russia. One of the remarkable landmarks is the famous Caucasus Mountains in the vicinity of Sochi.

Sochi hosted several global sports tournaments of XXII Olympic Winter Games, XI Paralympic Winter Games , Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 to 2020. It also was one of the Russian host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

About two million tourists visit Greater Sochi each summer to enjoy Caucasus Mountains, pebble and sand beaches. Sochi visitors as well enjoy its large number of parks, monuments, and marvelous Stalinist architecture.

This is the second time for Sisi to visit this magnificent Russian city. The first visit was in 2014.
]]>
10/13/2018 11:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian pavilion at Italy's TTG Travel Experience opened]]>
About 2,250 exhibitors and 1,500 tourism service providers from 90 world countries are taking part in the event.

While opening the pavilion, the ambassador asserted the Egyptian government's interest in increasing the number of tourist arrivals from different world countries, especially Italy.

In this regard, he spotlighted that the Egyptian Tourism Ministry has picked a new international alliance to promote Egyptian tourist attractions, through launching extensive promotion campaigns in the main tourism markets, notably the Italian one.

He pointed out to a significant increase in the number of Italian tourist flights coming to Egypt.

Several Italian tour operators are planning to operate charter flights from the cities of Milan and Rome to Luxor as of March, Badr said.

Egypt's inbound tourism in the first six months of 2018 upped by more than 50 percent, he said, adding that the number of tourist arrivals is expected to rise by 90 percent at the end of the year.

The TTG Travel Experience saw a high turnout from tour operators, charter airlines, and regular and low-cost air carriers that seek to operate additional flights to the Red Sea resort cities of Hurghdad and Sharm El Sheikh, as well as Marsa Alam and Luxor.]]>
10/12/2018 6:53:45 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to launch 2 new routes in Jan. 2019 to Rwanda and Cameroon: Min.]]>
In the same context, EgyptAir will launch two new routes in the African continent as of the end of January 2019. The new routes are to Kigali, Rwanda and Douala, Cameroon.
This comes within the framework of the efforts to promote the continent's air transport industry by establishing routes to meet the future challenges.

The minister added during an inspection tour around Cairo International Airport that the ministry welcomes the cooperation and exchange of experiences with African countries to develop a vision for the future of the civil aviation industry, enhance the economic yields of African countries and keep up with the growth in investment, shipping and tourism in the region.

The ministry is seeking to develop cooperation with African countries, develop a plan to improve and maintain the level of the aviation industry in the continent, modernize airports infrastructure, develop air navigation systems and facilitate the issuance of visas among African countries.

مصر للطيران تسير خطان جديدان لرواندا والكاميرون فى يناير

قال الفريق يونس المصرى وزير الطيران المدنى، إنه من المخطط أن تسير الشركة الوطنية مصر للطيران #دوت_مصر #فيديو_7 #الدكش #قبلة_الفيشاوى شاهد ايضا http://goo.gl/hTZCtm http://goo.gl/d1r48q تابعونا على الصفحات الرسميه مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي Official website : http://videoyoum7.com/ Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/VideoYoum7 Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/videoyoum7 Official youtube : http://www.youtube.com/MubasherYoum7



]]>
10/12/2018 1:30:28 PM
<![CDATA[Pilot operation of Sphinx airport Monday]]>CAIRO - 11 October 2018: Civil Aviation Minister Younis el-Masry said the experimental operation of Sphinx International Airport will take place on Monday.

The minister said the move was coordinated with EgyptAir.

The construction of the airport started in 2016 and the project site was inspected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in February.

The airport, located 12 kilometers away from the Giza Plateau, was established on an area of 25,500 square meters.

The airport, constructed by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in cooperation with the Egyptian Company for Industrial Investment, can accommodate more than 300 passengers per hour.

A group of hotels are planned to be established next to the airport to boost tourism. ]]>
10/11/2018 1:36:51 PM
<![CDATA[Sphinx International Airport to be inaugurated in few weeks]]>
The new airport was established on an area of 25,500 square meters, 12 kilometers away from the Pyramids of Giza Plateau, a location that aims at boosting tourism.

The new airport will serve the cities of Sheikh Zayed and 6th of October, and is close to Alexandria, Fayoum and Beni Suef governorates. It is also significantly close to the Grand Egyptian Museum and the Giza Pyramids.

The airport, which was constructed by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in cooperation with the Egyptian Company for the Industrial Investment, accommodates more than 300 passengers per hour.

The pilot operation of the airport started in January.

In June 2018, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy told reporters that the airport will be enrolled on the list of international airports.

]]>
10/9/2018 10:51:41 AM
<![CDATA[Japanese, Indian, French tourists return to Aswan]]>
The source added that 2018 witnessed a huge number of tourists in Aswan’s street in addition to the increase in the number of Nile tours. He said that the price of one Nile tour has reached $50 up from $30.

For his side, tourist expert and owner of a cruise ship in Aswan Ashraf Farag told Egypt Today that this season is better than the last one, explaining that it is expected that the number of cruise ships increase during the mid-year vacation.

Head of the Tourism Companies Chamber in Aswan Abdul Hadi Mohamed also confirmed that the occupancy rate of hotels has increased compared to last year, where Abu Simbel Hotels received during the past few days about 1800 guests.

Earlier in September, Luxor received the first charter direct flight from the Heathrow Airport, carrying 120 Britons, according to Major-General Hesham Issa, the director of Luxor International Airport.

In August, Turkish airlines announced that it will start sending flights to Luxor directly. The first flights will start in October 2019.

Luxor and Aswan are probably the two most popular and important touristic destinations in Egypt. However, to arrive in Luxor, tourists had to first land in Cairo International Airport and then take another internal flight to Luxor. Egypt needed a faster, direct route to Luxor so that tourists are encouraged to come.

These direct routes will solve the problems tourists face when planning their visits which will, in turn, improve tourism in Egypt. It is worth noting that Turkish Airlines is considered cheap compared to other airlines; this will be even more encouraging for tourists who are suffering financially but are still looking for a good vacation.


]]>
10/8/2018 11:48:31 AM
<![CDATA[In Pics: US First Lady visits Giza Pyramids]]>
She was accompanied by Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani and Egyptian Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat.

U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani visit the Pyramids of  Giza Egypt Today- Karim Abdel-Karim
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt Today- Karim Abdel-Karim


PSX_20181006_160023
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt Today- Karim Abdel-Karim


At the panorama of the pyramids plateau, Melania was welcomed by a band performed an pharaonic show.


PSX_20181006_160100
A Pharaonic show at the Panorama of the Pyramids- Egypt Today/Karim Abdel-Aziz



U.S. First Lady Melania Trump visits the Sphinx in Giza Egypt Today- Hussein Tallal- -
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump visits the Sphinx in Giza Egypt Today/Hussein Tallal


U.S. First Lady Melania Trump visits the Sphinx in Giza Egypt Today- Hussein Tallal,,
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump visits the Sphinx in Giza Egypt Today/Hussein Tallal



Mrs Trump was received by her Egyptian counterpart Entissar al-Sisi at the Cairo International Airport.

The First Lady left Washington Tuesday to make stops in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt in a week-long journey focusing on children. The first lady has said that she looks forward to spreading the message of her “Be Best” child-welfare initiative. She launched the campaign in May to focus on the overall child well-being, with an emphasis on opioid addiction and online behavior.

8
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump (L) and Egyptian First Lady Entissar al-Sisi (R)- Press photo


In her meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Egyptian First Lady Entissar al-Sisi at Cairo-based Presidential Palace on Saturday, Melania voiced her admiration for the Egyptian civilization.

She also expressed her keenness to strengthen the bilateral relations between Cairo and Washington, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

President Sisi praised the role played by USAID in Egypt to finance small and medium-sized enterprises in support of Egypt's economic and social reform, Radi said, adding that the President also highlighted the strong relations between the two countries in fields of health, education and tourism.

The meeting also tackled Egypt’s efforts in maximizing women’s role in the society, and the protection of children and youth’s rights, Radi continued.
]]>
10/6/2018 5:16:02 PM
<![CDATA[Philippines to rein in visitors to Boracay island, strained by tourism]]>
Boracay, located off the northern tip of the central island of Panay, is famed for its sugary white sands, turquoise waters, lively nightlife and abundant water sports, which attracted nearly 2 million domestic and foreign visitors last year.

But in April, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the island, calling it a “cesspool”, because of sewage dumped into the sea and buildings constructed too close to the shore.

About a third of the 600 to 700 resorts on Boracay, about 308 km (192 miles) from Manila, the capital, were operating without permits, authorities found.

Just 19,000 tourists will be allowed on the island on any given day, with the number of workers capped at 15,000 daily, the environment official, Sherwin Rigor, said in a television interview.

Only half of the island’s 12,000 existing hotel rooms will be allowed to open each day, he added, to ensure the number of guests on the tiny 10-sq-km (4-sq-mile) island is below its “carrying capacity” of 55,000.

Rigor, who is an undersecretary at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, added that authorities would ban beachfront parties, and activities such as eating, smoking and drinking there.

The closure of Boracay, which earns the Philippines more than a billion dollars in tourism revenue every year, weighed on gross domestic product in the second quarter. Growth slowed to a near three-year low of 6 percent in April-June.
]]>
10/4/2018 1:50:56 PM
<![CDATA[Five years on from migrant tragedy, Italian island of Lampedusa seeks to lure back tourists]]>
Just before dawn on October 3rd, 2013, a boat from Libya carrying over 500 migrants sank off the tiny Italian outcrop. Fishermen and rescuers managed to pull only 155 survivors from the water, along with 366 bodies. The images of the coffins lined up in an airport hangar shocked the world and prompted rescue operations in the Mediterranean off Libya.

It was not the island's only encounter with death: boats bringing migrants to safety also carried body bags. The cemetery filled up, while its famous beaches began to empty.

But while the number of vessels attempting the perilous crossing multiplied between 2013 and 2017, increasingly few landed on Lampedusa, a 20 square kilometre island with just 6,100 inhabitants that lies closer to Africa than Europe. Rescued much further south, migrants either stayed fleetingly in Lampedusa's reception centre or were taken directly to Sicily or the Italian mainland.

The locals have leapt at the chance to restore the island's reputation as a holiday paradise, revamping hotels, vacation rentals and restaurants and widening offers of boat trips to discover hidden caves, scuba diving spots and friendly dolphins.

Now, even at the close of the season, it is hard to find a place to lay your towel on Rabbit Beach, a cove of white sands and crystalline waters fewer than 600 meters from where the 2013 shipwreck still lies.

"Why go to the Maldives when you have beaches like this here?" says pensioner Marzia Davoli, 66, on holiday from central Italy.

There has been a boom in arrivals at the island's new airport, with numbers jumping from 86,000 in 2014 to 128,000 in 2017, and another 3.5 percent on top of that over the first eight months of this year.

'World's most beautiful sea'

"I can guarantee we have the most beautiful sea in the world," said Gaspare Natozi, 50, who runs a little beach shop near the only town.

Banker Argentino Sarto, 55, from Monza in northern Italy, is delighted, telling AFP "the sea is fantastic, the beaches too. The people are very nice and, to be honest, I've seen many more migrants in Monza than here".

Where locals once poured their energies into helping their dispossessed guests, the challenges they face are now tourism-based: some rather tatty hotels, ageing rental vehicles and overcrowded beaches.

The reception centre is still there. Much of it has been closed since March for renovations, but there are 95 places open and regularly occupied.

But since the withdrawal of both humanitarian and military rescue vessels off the coast of North Africa, arrivals directly from Libya have resumed. Over 2,500 migrants have reached the island since the start of the year, mostly from Tunisia. Last week, a boat from Libya carrying 65 people from Eritrea, Somalia and Morocco landed here after a three-day crossing.

But while locals once pulled people from the water and fed them hot meals, the mood has now changed.

In a sign of the times, ex-mayor Giusi Nicolini, who won the Unesco Peace Prize in early 2017 for her efforts with migrants, came third in the municipal elections last year, losing to the president of the fishermen's consortium, Salvatore Martello. Perhaps most tellingly, the anti-immigration League celebrated a breakthrough, pocketing six percent of the vote.

No longer welcome

Puffing on a cigar in his office, Martello accuses Tunisians -- who since 2017 have once more been arriving here in larger numbers -- of committing petty crimes.

"If Lampedusa receives delinquents instead of people in need, fleeing war, then it is no longer a matter of welcome, but of public order."

Amin, 35, a Tunisian who arrived a couple of weeks ago, complained that new arrivals are all tarnished with the same brush. "Here people are a little suspicious, but I heard that there were Tunisians who created problems before us.

"If you come to someone's house, you should show respect," he said.

Standing on the steps of the church at dusk, he smiles as he watches an improvised game of football between migrants and local youngsters. "It's Lampedusa 0, Tunisia 1..."

But when the ball soars across the street to a supermarket, four plainclothes policemen intervene, and the match ends.
]]>
10/3/2018 12:57:33 PM
<![CDATA[Thailand Struggles to Win Back Chinese Tourists During Golden Week Holiday]]>
Lured by Thailand’s proximity and plentiful attractions, visitors from China accounted for nearly a third of last year’s record 35.38 million arrivals in the Southeast Asian nation.

But a Thai tourism official said he expected arrivals during the Chinese holiday to dip 1 percent this year.

“The decrease is because the boat incident has affected our safety image,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The agency has rounded down its forecast of Chinese arrivals for the year to 10.5 million from 11 million, he added.

Thailand has tried to lure back Chinese tourists by offering special immigration lanes at key airports and is also considering offering them a double-entry visa.

In July, Chinese arrivals fell 0.9 percent from a year earlier for their first drop since the start of 2017, when the government cracked down on cheap tour packages.

Tourism experts blamed a July boat disaster off the coast of Phuket that killed 47 Chinese in Thailand’s worst tourist-related disaster in years, underscoring concerns over the kingdom’s lax attitude to safety.

Chinese tourist arrivals continued to fall in August, plunging 11.77 percent from a year earlier, tourism ministry data showed.

Industry experts had hoped that Golden Week, which runs from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 this year and is one of China’s most popular holidays, would bring back its tourists, but that appears not to be the case.

The government said it had cut by 11.5 percent its forecast for the number of Chinese arrivals for the six months from July to 5.1 million.
]]>
10/2/2018 12:44:59 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism Min. to cooperate with Indonesian gov't to boost tourism]]>
The statement reported that Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat will meet the requirements of Indonesian companies in November.

In the same context, the tourism minister met with the Indonesian Ambassador in Cairo Helmy Fawzy to discuss cooperation between the two sides in the tourism field during the coming period.

During the meeting, the minister pointed out that Egypt should benefit from Indonesia’s successful experience particularly after the tsunami crisis which hit Indonesia in 2004.

Mashat will hold several meetings with the ambassadors of various countries in Cairo in the forthcoming period to promote tourism in Egypt, the statement reported.

For his side, Fawzy affirmed Indonesia’s keenness to cooperate with Egypt in the field of tourism and to increase tourist traffic between the two countries.
]]>
9/30/2018 5:05:17 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt sheds light on role models to enhance tourism]]>
The ministry aims to present successful Egyptian stories and talents in all fields including music, art, science and sports to convey the true image of Egypt to the world.

The Ministry of Tourism's promoting campaign is called “P2P – People to People”. The campaign will also promote for the Great Egyptian Museum’s inauguration “GEM 2020”, Minister of Tourism Rania el-Mashat stated.

The minister added that the campaign’s goal is to let the world know the Egyptian people and their potentials in all fields.

The ministry’s promoting campaign is based on branding by destination method, where every touristic destination has its own promoting plan. The ministry also works on its 2019 entertaining agenda which will include international events and festivals.
]]>
9/27/2018 11:19:11 AM
<![CDATA[Min. of Tourism launches e-Visa service providing visa online ]]>
The single or multiple e-Visa for Egypt can be obtained through filling an online application without the need to visit the embassy, allowing its holder to visit Egypt for a maximum duration of 30 days and is valid for a period of 3 months.

“To apply for a visa, the applicant will need to complete the online application of Egypt's visa so that he/she may receive the approved e-Visa via email,” according to e-Visa website.

Promoting tourism to Egypt, a digital TV channel, named Experience Egypt, has been launched by the Ministry of Tourism on Instagram’s view-platform IGTV.

Experience Egypt on Instagram: "An unbeatable journey underwater in #Egypt's Red Sea with South African Olympic Swimmer Calvyn Justus."

72 Likes, 6 Comments - Experience Egypt (@experienceegypt) on Instagram: "An unbeatable journey underwater in #Egypt's Red Sea with South African Olympic Swimmer Calvyn..."




According to a statement issued by the ministry, the channel will feature a host of documentaries on Egypt’s must-visit tourist attractions and cherished cultural heritage to be viewed by millions around the world.

“The Ministry of Tourism is currently looking into launching more promotional campaigns across the most influential and focused platforms to spread its scope across wider populace,” the statement added.

Egypt has been the FIFA’s official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM, as per an agreement signed earlier between the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and the FIFA.

Signing the contract aimed at promoting Egypt as a global investment destination that is capable of attracting more tourists and investments from all over the world.

Egypt’s tourism revenues increased by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, reaching $3.5 billion, a government official previously told Reuters. In that period, tourists visiting Egypt increased by 54 percent, year-on-year, to reach 4.3 million.

The total revenues achieved in 2016 amounted to $2.7 billion.
]]>
9/26/2018 12:51:08 PM
<![CDATA[Luxor to receive delegation of 500 Belgian tourism companies]]>
The delegation will attend the annual conference of Belgian tourism companies in Luxor, in a step to restore and refresh tourism in Upper Egypt's Luxor and Aswan.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Agami said that the delegation will consist of 185 Belgians, adding that they will enjoy a river cruise.

Agami said that the meeting will expectedly have a positive influence on Belgian tourism to Egypt.



Earlier in September, Luxor received the first charter direct flight from the Heathrow Airport, carrying 120 Britons, according to Major-General Hesham Issa, the director of Luxor International Airport.

In August, Turkish airlines announced that it will start sending flights to Luxor directly. The first flights will start in October 2019, according to Agami.



Luxor and Aswan are probably the two most popular and important touristic destinations in Egypt. However, to arrive in Luxor, tourists first have to land in Cairo’s International Airport and then take another internal flight to Luxor. Egypt needed a faster, direct route to Luxor so that tourists are encouraged to come.

Agami stressed that these direct routes will solve the problems tourists face when planning their visits which will, in turn, improve tourism in Egypt. Not only because of this but also because Turkish Airlines is considered cheap compared to other airlines, this will be even more encouraging for tourists who are suffering financially but are still looking for a good holiday. ]]>
9/25/2018 10:32:27 AM
<![CDATA[What you can do in a one day trip to Ain Sokhna ]]>
The beaches and the crystal clear water are the major reasons Ain Sokhna is famous for practicing water sports such as kite surfing, fishing, and scuba diving.

Rent a yacht for a day and go fishing, swimming and diving in the clear waters. Enjoy your time with your friends and family away from the hassle of the capital city.

Belagio compound in Ain Sokhna possesses a kite surfing center. The have a sandy lagoon with shallow water and they’ll help you kite surf in a suitable weather.

History tours are also available in Ain Sokhna; a visit to the Egypt Shore Excursions can take you back to the time of the Pharaohs.

The best reason for visiting Ain Sokhna is that it doesn’t only offer water sports but also land and sky activities. Experience wind surfing, underwater photography, as well as camping and desert safaris.

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9/24/2018 12:41:23 PM
<![CDATA[Light festival dazzles visitors in Portuguese holiday town]]>
The event, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Cascais every year, aims to “celebrate colors and forms in all their nuances, senses and aspects”, according to the organizers.

It also hopes to highlight the historical heritage of Cascais, a former fishing village that became a first-class travel destination by the end of the 19th century.

This year’s installations included an interactive skate ramp that flashed with different colored lights and shapes as skateboarders rode over it.

“There are so many different things so your mind is just kind of watching it,” said Terry Reel, an American tourist visiting Portugal. “It’s just so delightful.]]>
9/23/2018 11:23:12 AM
<![CDATA[American rapper Flo Rida enjoys Giza Pyramids]]>
The Tourism Promotion Authority’s official Twitter account “ExperienceEgypt” said that 39-year old Tramar Lacel Dillard, professionally known as Flo Rida, visited the Giza Plateau as well as the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids.




Gorgeous American singer Alicia Keys also arrived in Egypt last week for summer vacation with her husband, music producer Swizz Beatz, and their two children Gensis Ali Dean and Egypt Daoud Dean, named after the ancient land.

Commenting on one of the photos taken during their trip to an ancient temple, Alicia said, “There’s so much to see. There’s so much to know... So much to uncover... So many ways to grow.”

Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat warmly welcomed Alicia and her family to Egypt. “It’s a pleasure welcoming the Grammy award-winning musician and iconic singer Alicia Keys in Egypt! We hope you and your family enjoy your visit and experience with us,” Mashat wrote on Twitter.

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9/19/2018 2:48:42 PM
<![CDATA[6 tips for better travel experience]]>
Luggage carts

Do not pay for luggage cart services. Instead, you can ask and look for the place where workers usually place those carts. Some workers know that passengers cannot find those carts easily, so they offer help but definitely not for free.

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Luggage

Egyptians usually bring overweighed bags or even oversized handbags. So, you may need to carefully check your airline’s rules and regulations concerning the allowed weight and luggage.

Baggage check-in

Do not check-in your bags very early before the time of your flight, or you will have to wait very long to get them after your arrival at your destination. You should try to check-in your luggage as late as you can to be the first to get your luggage. But of course don’t be too late as you definitely do not want to miss your flight.

Liquids

Usual airport security regulations prohibit passengers to carry liquids before boarding on the plane, so make sure that you empty your water bottle and put it in your handbag before going through the final security check phase to avoid buying a new expensive one from the airport. Afterwards, you can ask anyone to fill it from the first class lounge.

The Customs

If you usually get gifts for your relatives and friends when you come back home, make sure that you have carefully removed the clothing price tag for clothes or have sealed off new electric devices. Then, you can re-put those parts when you return home, or otherwise you will pay customs to pass these new products.

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An Ivanka Trump-branded blouse is seen for sale at off-price retailer Winners in Toronto, Ontario, Canada February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren. '

Transportation from the airport

After arriving in the destination country, look for limousine services provided by tourism companies under governmental supervision and have background information about their pricings, and then you can compare those prices with local taxi services and UBER/Careem services, then you can choose the best and safest alternative.

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Reuters. Taxis block a main road in Budapest's city centre

In conclusion, you might need to double check the rules and regulations of the airport you are heading to and the airline you are flying with to avoid unnecessary troubles.

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9/18/2018 2:44:56 PM
<![CDATA[A scam on the roof of the world]]>
Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Nepal each year, drawn by the Himalayas. The scam that I uncovered affects them all: huge numbers of trekkers are being pressured into expensive helicopter rescues that they don’t need so that a coterie of middlemen can cash in on the insurance payout. Some are even being made deliberately ill for the scammers’ profit.

When I first arrived in Kathmandu in November 2016 to head up the Nepal bureau, I made it my business to get to know as many people as possible linked to the lucrative Everest industry, which nets the impoverished country millions of dollars a year. The spring climbing season, when hundreds of mountaineers gather at the foot of Everest with their sights set on reaching its 8,848 metre summit, is our busiest time in the bureau. Each year records are broken as men and women push themselves to the limits of human endurance. Many fail. Some pay the ultimate price, losing their lives on the flanks of the world’s highest peak.

As a journalist, Everest had me hooked. It has all the ingredients of an amazing story: big personalities, big money, and an even bigger mountain.

But as a ‘civilian’ (and an avid trekker myself), the Everest circus horrifies me. In many ways it represents the worst of humankind: greed, corruption, and man’s desire to control and conquer Mother Nature.

The helicopter rescue scam, which primarily targets trekkers hiking to Everest’s base camp, but also has links to climbers trying to reach its summit, is probably the most brazen example of fraud and corruption linked to the industry. And for me, it has come to typify Nepal’s mercenary attitude towards its greatest attraction, Everest.

It’s like the goose that laid the golden egg. We all know how that story ends.

A strangely lucrative helicopter business

Not long after I arrived in Nepal I started hearing rumours of middlemen profiting from the insurance payouts linked to unnecessary helicopter rescues of tourists. But it was two stats that initially spurred my investigation: first, that 20 new Airbus B2 and B3 choppers had been delivered to Nepal in five years. And second, that private helicopters in Nepal wrack up more flying hours per year than anywhere else in the world. Those two figures suggested to me that Nepal’s helicopter business was disproportionately lucrative compared to the size of the market.

I started digging.

Many of the people I first spoke to tried to tell me that the fraud was an old problem. It had been brought under control years ago. No story here. That type of reaction was something I frequently came up against during my investigation as people tried to dismiss my questions, telling me that I didn’t understand Nepal.

But being brushed off like that is a red flag to most journalists. I soon realized that the scam had evolved, becoming harder to prove – and even more lucrative – in the process.

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A helicopter comes in to land at Mong La village near Namche Bazar, April 17, 2018.

Rewind four years. There were a handful of helicopter operators and their brokers charging insurers exorbitant and inconsistent rates for chopper rescues. I saw the invoices: a rescue from near Everest billed at $10,000 and then a few days later a similar rescue billed at $12,000. Another might come in at a bargain $6,000. The true cost of the flight was closer to $4,000 but the insurance companies were coughing up and the difference was being spread between the helicopter company, trekking guide and the broker.

At that point, a few forward-thinking brokers waded into the market. They realised that insurers were catching on to the scam because of the inconsistent billing. So they did two things -- they negotiated a unified price grid with some helicopter companies at the start of the main trekking seasons (spring and autumn) so prices were fixed. And they built relationships with international insurance companies to allay any other concerns they may have.

As a result, prices came down, so the insurers were happy. So were these shrewd brokers who had priced in a per flight cut for themselves.

Trekkers and porters walk along a path in the Everest region, April 17, 2018.
(AFP / Prakash Mathema)

And that’s where the new scam took off. Instead of charging crazy rates for a few flights, these brokers pushed guides to have as many people as possible rescued, often with multiple tourists crammed into one chopper (each trekker’s insurance company would be billed for the full flight). In return, they would get a cut.

Most trekking guides make Rs2,500 per day ($22) during the two short trekking seasons, but can make up to $500 in kickbacks from a single rescue. The broker with a charter company and the trekking agency managers in Kathmandu pocket even more in commission from the hospital.

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Nepalese porters walk up a path high above the north-eastern town of Namche Bazar, April 18, 2015. (AFP / Roberto Schmidt)

Soaring number of rescues

The number of rescues happening in Nepal’s Himalayas have soared.

Precise numbers are hard to come by. There is no central dispatch unit for helicopter flights and the ten private helicopters companies were unwilling or unable to give me the details of how many rescue flights they carry out each year. A few of them told me that if their competitors knew how many rescues they were doing, they would be targeted and undercut.

So, I turned to TripAdvisor.

I spent hours scouring reviews of Nepal-based trekking companies for references to helicopter rescues and messaging the review writers. It was through these conversations that I began to get a true sense of the scale of the problem: groups of tourists where more than half of them had failed to complete their trek and had instead been evacuated in a chopper.

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A helicopter delivers goods to Everest base camp, April 24, 2018.

Helicopter highway

While there were a few angry reviews by people who felt that they had been pressured into a rescue and suspected a scam, the vast majority of people were full of praise for their guide who organised a chopper to swoop in and save them from a bout of the squits at Everest’s base camp.

I found this naivety quite difficult to get my head around. Who honestly believes that it’s necessary to be rescued by a helicopter for a common cold? Or thinks that getting on a helicopter is safer than walking to a lower altitude? Walking down is the standard medical advice if you start experiencing first symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, like headaches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea. The symptoms disappear as if by magic the lower you get.

I have since managed to get my hands on more data and estimate that eight percent of tourists trekking in the Everest region this spring were rescued by helicopter – that’s up to 17 flights per day. Everest’s Khumbu Valley has become a helicopter highway.

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Trekkers walk along a suspension bridge near Labja Dorhan on their way to Namche Bazar, April 17, 2015.

The reason this scam works so well is that most altitude-related symptoms will disappear when the patient reaches Kathmandu, which lies at just 1,400 metres above sea level. In most cases, doctors can’t prove if a patient had potentially life-threatening altitude sickness before they got on that helicopter. They say there is little they can do to police the unnecessary rescues, as it’s their duty to give the benefit of the doubt to the patient. Though some hospitals and doctors are also in on the scam.

This leaves it up to the guides (few of whom even have first aid training) to make a decision about who needs a helicopter evacuation.

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Patients wait to see a doctor at the Everest ER tent clinic at Everest Base Camp, April 24, 2018.

I saw this play out right in front of me.

After months of interviews in Kathmandu, I laced up my hiking boots and headed to the Everest region. Me and AFP’s Nepal photographer Prakash Mathema were aiming for Everest base camp – an eight-day trek from Lukla, a small town with an even smaller airstrip that serves as the gateway to Mount Everest.

A few days in, we arrived in the small village of Mongla at lunchtime. Within moments of ordering tea, we heard a helicopter was on its way to rescue a trekker. I went to find her.

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Nepali porter Milan Rai, 14, rests as he makes his way up a rocky path high above the north-eastern town of Namche Bazar, April 18, 2015.

Sunita, a student nurse from London, was tired. She was feeling nauseous. Climbing the steep slope to Mongla had just been too much, she said. She wanted to go home.

Why not walk back or hire a pony for the return journey, I asked.

No, she wanted a helicopter and her guide had assured her she could get one through her travel insurance.

As we continued to talk, I could see her guide becoming visibly agitated by my questions. He interrupted on a few occasions, taking her outside to talk away from me. She came back more convinced that a helicopter was needed.

Then she said something that set off the alarm bells: she admitted that she had only brought travel insurance the previous day.

Some insurers do let you buy coverage mid trip, but most – including hers, I later confirmed – have a 72-hour grace period, during which time you cannot use it unless you need assistance linked to an accident.

But her guide continued to assure her that his company had confirmed that a helicopter rescue would be covered by her insurance.

About an hour later, a helicopter turned up and Sunita disappeared back to Kathmandu.

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Trekkers walk along a path at the Everest region, some 140 km northeast of Kathmandu, on April 17, 2018.

We communicated by email after that. The last email I received from Sunita, about three weeks after the rescue, said she still believed her insurance company was going to pay. She then stopped replying.

I don’t know if Sunita lied to her insurer and told them that she had been involved in an accident, which would mean she committed insurance fraud. Or if her insurer refused to pay and she got landed with a large bill for a helicopter rescue she probably didn’t need. Her guide denied that he got a cut – but he was wearing a cap with the logo of a trekking company that I later connected to another fraudulent rescue.

Sunita had paid $950 for a 10-day trek to the Gokyo Valley, she told me. (The Gokyo Valley neighbours Everest and from its high reaches you get the best views of the world’s highest peak.) That amount is below the cost price for the trek, I confirmed with multiple industry sources. And 10 days does not allow enough time for acclimatization days, which are essential to get used to the thin air at altitude and avoid being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness.

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Mount Ama Dablam (6812 metres) as seen from the Pangboche village in the Everest region, April 27, 2018. (AFP / Prakash Mathema)

Beware of cheap treks

Trekking agencies selling cheap treks, often with no acclimatization days, are at the heart of this scam. They attract customers with low prices, knowing they will make a profit if just one of the group gets rescued. They increase the chances of a tourist needing a rescue if they push them to high altitudes without the proper acclimatization. Meanwhile, some guides told me they were given quotas: get at least a third of the group choppered out. To make the quota, some would slip baking soda – a laxative – into trekkers’ food to give them diarrhoea.

I decided to pose as a tourist to see how easy it was to buy a trek for below cost price and without acclimatization days. I donned my scruffiest jeans, flip flops and grabbed the elephant-patterned cloth bag I’d picked up the last time I was in Sri Lanka, and headed for Kathmandu’s tourist district, Thamel.

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A busy street in Kathmandu's Thamel tourist district, September, 2018. (AFP / Prakash Mathema)

As I negotiated Thamel’s narrow potholed streets for once I didn’t bristle when approached by hawkers trying to sell me tourist tat. Thamel is a maze of alleys crammed with cupboard-sized trekking agencies with faded maps and photos of the famous Himalayan peak peeling off the walls.

I walked into a few at random. Each time I gave them the same story: me and 5 friends wanted to go to Everest base camp. After getting the price for a standard 12-day trek (the highest price I was quoted was $1,050 and the lowest $650), I asked if we could do it in 10 days so me and my fictional friends could also squeeze in some extra sightseeing during our Nepal sojourn. Only one out of the five companies I spoke to refused my request and warned me that it was unsafe to climb to Everest base camp’s 5,364 metres without acclimatizing properly.

I asked some of the trekking agencies what would happen if me or my friends got ill while trekking. They all assured me that a helicopter could be there to save us within moments.

“After you get back to Kathmandu, we get on the phone together to your insurance company and you tell them ‘I needed a rescue, I didn’t want to die’,” one told me.

“This is my volunteer service to tourists,” he added.

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Mount Everest is seen beneath some prayer flags, April, 2018.

Nepal’s tourism industry is vital to the country’s economy. In terms of cash and the numbers employed, it is probably second only to Nepal’s export of men to the Gulf’s construction sites (remittances from foreign labour account for over a third of GDP). But between poverty and a lack of opportunity, poor regulation and a weak government, unchecked growth and the lure of quick cash, it is easy to see how -- and even why – mountain tourism in Nepal has become such a dirty business.

Veterans of Nepal’s trekking and climbing industry often blame the scams and unscrupulous business practices on outsiders who have muscled in on the mountain tourism. They say its businessmen from other parts of Nepal, not the natives of Nepal’s high Himalayas who are responsible. In some ways it is driven by jealousy that those born in the Himalayan foothills have been lucky to benefit from an industry that has grown up around them. The Khumbu region, which is home to Everest and the Sherpa ethnic group who have become synonymous with mountain guiding, is wealthier than other parts of Nepal thanks to tourism.

While Sherpa continue to guide people to Everest’s summit, few are employed in the less lucrative trekking business. Many trekking guides don’t even come from the mountains, but Nepal’s lowlands where more than half the country’s people live.

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Kathmandu's busy Thamel commercial tourist area, September, 2018.

An expected part of doing business

The Everest industry – both climbing and trekking – has become a victim of an aggressive race to the bottom on pricing, with cost -- not the quality of service -- defining the market. The price of a trek to Everest base camp has stayed roughly the same for the last 20 years, while the cost of an expedition to the summit has halved. With razor thin profit margins, fraudulent helicopter rescues represent low hanging fruit in terms of potential cash. Many also blame the 2015 earthquake, which devastated swathes of the country, for scaring away tourists, forcing travel agencies to compete for a smaller pool of potential customers.

The commission chain that underpins the scam is an accepted part of doing business in Nepal, an attitude that will be difficult to change. Salaries are low and kickbacks are expected to boost earnings: a taxi driver dropping off a tourist at a hotel will usually receive a small payment. A doctor can boost her income considerably on the small commission she gets from the private lab where blood tests are sent. The ambulance driver will also be paid by the hospital where his drops a patient.

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A Nepalese porter carries a load in the Kumbh region of northeastern Nepal, April, 2015.

On top of that, the tourism industry is built on a web of close connections, the same names cropping up as board members and shareholders of trekking agencies, helicopter companies and hospitals. I found one particularly well-connected man who owns a helicopter company and a charter company. He is also a founding member of a second helicopter company and a hospital, as well as being the managing director of two trekking companies and the executive chairman of an airline.

These same people also sit on the board of the civil aviation authority or head up the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), which is somehow meant to be both an industry regulator and a lobby group. This conflict of interest is costing Nepal the opportunity to build a sustainable tourism industry.

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Climbers make their way to the summit of Mount Everest, May 16, 2018.

A similar attitude pervades the government. The Tourism Ministry launched its own probe into the scam in early June, just weeks before I published my article after more than six months of work. It wrapped up in six weeks with threats of action against 15 companies. However, the government appears more concerned by the untaxed dollars linked to the huge insurance payouts than actually holding anyone to account for the massive fraud. In the final investigation report, there is no mention of the commission payments that are fuelling the scam.

I sat down recently with a senior government figure closely connected to the probe. He started by blaming the tourists. “They demand the rescues,” he told me. That is the same argument used by the trekking companies I’ve linked to the fraud. He then told me that some new guidelines and a code of conduct for the trekking agencies were going to stamp out the scam.

As I left, I passed members of TAAN who were there for a meeting with the same government official. I wondered if they were there as lobbyists or regulator.

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Agence France-Presse reporter Ammu Kannampilly (2R), and Nepalese guide Pasang Sherpa (R) stand on a ridge over a valley leading north into the Khumbu region as they try to get a clear view of Mt. Everest on April 18, 2015. (AFP / Roberto Schmidt)
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9/18/2018 2:16:55 PM
<![CDATA[France empties streets for pedestrians on car-free day ]]>
The streets were fully cleared from running vehicles from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. GMT, except for emergency vehicles, customized cars of the disabled, tour buses, and taxis.

The activity’s main objective is to “make public spaces less polluted and more comfortable and quiet,” according to Paris municipality’s official website.

A Day Without Cars, means a day WITH cleaner air, less noise, more cyclists, pedestrians, fun and smiles; the street is ours,” tweeted Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of the capital city, on her official Twitter account.



Moreover, “the center of the capital will be dedicated to pedestrians, soft traffic and public transport one Sunday per month,” the municipality stated through its official website, adding that the decision will be applied on the first, second, third and fourth districts.

In addition, there is a noticeable reduction in car movements throughout Paris reaching 6 percent from 2017 to 2018, and air pollution rates were also decreased by a “similar percentage”, according to the Presidency of the Capital’s Municipality.

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People walk on the car-free Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France, May 8, 2016. — Reuters pic
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9/17/2018 3:21:25 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina’s currency crisis a boon for foreign tourists]]>
Brazilian Pedro Perreira de Azevedo has been rubbing his hands in delight after his family holiday, with his wife and three children, turned out cheaper than expected.

“We’d planned a budget of 7,000 reais (around $1,700; Dh6,131) but in the end we’ve spent between 3,000-3,500,” said Perreira de Azevedo, while his family took pictures outside the Argentine presidential palace.

When they arrived from Belo Horizonte in the east of Brazil on September 5, the peso had just lost 20 per cent of its value in the wake of President Mauricio Macri announcing Argentina would ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to advance a $35 billion loan to help prop up an economy in crisis.

With the peso having lost half its value against the dollar since the start of 2018, the Brazilian real looks strong in comparison despite its own difficulties — it has itself dropped from around 3.3 to 4.1 since January 1.

“We were able to buy whatever we wanted and visit all the tourist sites in Buenos Aires,” added Perreira de Azevedo.

“At Boca Juniors’ stadium we even had a VIP visit!” added one of his daughters excitedly.

Not far from the iconic Bombonera stadium in the rugged La Boca neighbourhood, Lori Berho, an American living in Chile and on holiday with her brother, said she felt lucky to have been able to benefit from such a favourable exchange rate.

“Last night we were able to enjoy a complete restaurant meal for two for $60 when normally it would have cost $100,” she said.

The struggling peso has left tourist guides a touch out of date.

“When you read the tourist guides they say things cost more in Argentina then elsewhere in Latin America, but over the last 10 days we’ve spent less than we expected,” said a young French tourist, Pauline Gauthier, meandering though the historic streets of San Telmo with her partner.

Of course, for Argentines, known as great voyagers, the situation is the exact opposite.
Romanina Valenzisi, a 34-year-old lawyer, booked flights for a two-week holiday to Spain and Italy six months ago.

Now, she must pay for her hotels in Europe, but their prices have gone through the roof.
In January, 18 pesos could be exchanged for one dollar, but that figure is now around 38.

“I have to pay for the hotels now and everything costs double, which is coming out of my budget,” she said.

“I already know that I’ll spend less money and buy less [while on holiday].”

Travel agents have been hard hit too as holidays have crept out of reach for many people.

“Sales of foreign travel have dropped 25-30 per cent over the last few weeks,” said Vincent Chevalier, a Frenchman who has run a travel agency in Buenos Aires for the last 28 years.

“The crisis is also starting to affect internal tourism.”

Even the centre of Buenos Aires has been hit, as hotelier Gonzalo Sastre has found out.
“When the peso had a ‘normal’ level, we had a good stream of locals during the week, basically people who came for work,” he said.

“Now, companies are sending fewer employees.”

Even so, his hotel is booked out for the next two weeks, thanks to Brazilians.
“In this region there’s a very opportunistic tourism based around the drop in currency,” added Chevalier.

Argentina’s problems may improve the spending power of its visitors, but it’s proving a problem for neighbouring countries used to welcoming large numbers of Argentines, in particular Uruguay and Chile.

Uruguay is so worried that the numbers will drop off that it has reintroduced a value-added tax (VAT) exemption for tourists arriving from the far shore of the River Plate in a hope to keep the flow of Argentines flooding into the country during the January-February summer holidays.
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9/16/2018 3:32:41 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt named Africa's most visited tourist destination by Chinese]]>
In its report on Friday, the network said that Egypt followed by Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia as the most popular tourist destinations visited by Chinese holidaymakers in Africa.

Read also

5 tips to spend a week in El-Gouna for LE 5,000

CAIRO - 12 September 2018: El-Gouna is located 22 km north of Hurghada International Airport and 470 km away from Cairo. It is famous for being the perfect spot for various water sports. There are six districts in El-Gouna: Marina Town, Mediterranean District, Nubian Quarter, Hilltop District and the Italian Quarter.


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9/14/2018 2:06:10 PM
<![CDATA[Major US tourist sites prepare for Hurricane Florence]]>
The full force of Florence is threatening the city's colonial structures, cobblestone streets and dozens of bohemian bars and cafes, which delight the region's five million annual visitors. A direct hit on Charleston could shock the area's $4.2 billion tourism industry, which employs more than 47,000 people.

This 200-mile-long (320 km) stretch of barrier islands is lined with pristine beaches that draw a wild and picturesque line between the vast Atlantic and the North Carolina mainland.

Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made history's first successful motorized airplane flights here, in December 1903 between the wind-swept dunes of Kitty Hawk. A museum on the site has been undergoing renovations for two years and was due to re-open September 28.

It was on one of the islands, Roanoke, that explorers attempted in the late 16th century to found the first permanent English settlement in North America. One of the settlers who sailed back to Europe found no one on his return to Roanoke, and only the letters "Croatoan," the name of an Indian tribe, engraved on a tree. For centuries the fate of the "Lost Colony" has remained shrouded in mystery.

Large expanses of fine sand are flanked by miles of grand hotels, restaurants, and boardwalks in South Carolina's Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach, further north in Virginia. The popular destinations are particularly vulnerable to the full force of stormy seas. Millions of tourists visit each year, lured by mild weather until late in the summer season.

Fort Sumter, near Charleston, was site of an artillery battle between Union and Confederate forces that launched the American Civil War, on April 12, 1861. The fortress, including its cannons, is today among the major attractions of the region.

Further north in Virginia, the beautifully preserved colonial city of Williamsburg, and nearby historical sites of Jamestown and Yorktown, are not under evacuation orders but could suffer flooding as they are near waterways.

Washington is a prime tourist zone, with more than 20 million visitors last year. Between the US Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall is home to world-class museums, celebrated monuments and the White House, all of which could face flooding in the event Hurricane Florence brings her wrath northward. The mayor of the city, which is famously built on a swamp, declared a state of emergency Tuesday to mobilize resources in preparation for the storm.

Across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia, authorities began distributing sandbags on Monday to fight flooding in sections of the historic downtown already besieged by weeks of heavy rain.
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9/13/2018 10:36:31 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir starts operating new flights to Hong Kong next week]]>
In a statement on Wednesday, Adel said that his company is always seeking to open up new markets in the world's major countries, underscoring that the Far Eastern destinations are viewed as promising markets in the aviation and air transport fields.

For his part, Chairman of EgyptAir Airlines Sherif Ezzat said that the company will operate two weekly flights on board its Airbus 300-330 aircraft to Hong Kong on Mondays and Fridays.

Ezzat added that the flights will pass through Bangkok.]]>
9/12/2018 2:52:07 PM
<![CDATA[5 tips to spend a week in El-Gouna for LE 5,000 ]]>
There are six districts in El-Gouna: Marina Town, Mediterranean District, Nubian Quarter, Hilltop District and the Italian Quarter. There are also three major central areas in El-Gouna where there are houses, shops, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, namely Down Town area, Tamar Hanah area, and Marina Abu Tig area, which are being developed to accommodate large yachts.

El-Gouna is known to be one of the most expensive cities in Egypt but here are some tips that might change your mind:

1. Don’t travel by your car

Don’t spend your money on fuel if you are traveling from Cairo to El-Gouna; you can travel through any of the transportation companies. El-Gouna is a place where you can walk from one place to another very easily and if you can’t walk, the city offers rickshaws which are considered the official transportation means there. You can get a rickshaw using Careem or Uber applications while in El-Gouna and it costs LE10 (0.65 $) for the trip that is less than 2 kilometers.

2. Don’t stay at a five-star hotel

Three-star hotels in El-Gouna are like five-star hotels at any other place. All El-Gouna hotels include restaurants, private pools, lakes or beaches, good rooms, friendly staff and luxurious facilities. The average rate per person is only LE 500/ night (28 $).

3. Don’t book your hotel because it has a private beach

The most popular beach in El-Gouna is called Moods with an entrance fee of LE 150/ person (8.7 $). The beach is considered to be one of the best places for diving and snorkeling. But, if you don’t want to visit it, most of the hotels that don’t have private beaches offer a boat to take you to another hotel which has a beach for free.

4. Don’t book your meals with your hotel reservation.

If you want to treat yourself to a delicious dinner, the marina gives you a wide variety of five-star restaurants. You can feast upon a meal of fresh seafood, Italian homemade dishes, burgers and of course the traditional oriental food. El-Gouna offers a wide selection of restaurants and you can choose according to your preference and budget.

5. Don’t search for night life only

El-Gouna is famous for its wild night life, but it may cost you a little bit more than usual. So, instead, you should enjoy the Aquarium located in El-Gouna's downtown for only LE 20 for Egyptians. The Aquarium contains a huge variety of different sea creatures including rare species of fish and reptiles.

Also, you can enjoy safari rides in the desert or on the beach for low prices, where you can take a camel ride for 15 minutes for LE 30 (2$) or rent a beach buggy t for 2 hours for LE 100 (6$).

]]>
9/12/2018 12:32:51 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Qalyubia Governorate returns to tourism map]]>
Director of the Nile Walkway Project Talaat Sultan told Egypt Today that the project was established upon the directives of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and clarified that the president wants every citizen to enjoy their right to the Nile free of charge.

Sultan pointed out that the walkway will be opened for citizens free of charge and kiosks will be established to provide them with services, adding that the project is set to be completed within eight months.

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He also said that the government will set a plan to develop Al-Qanater in cooperation with the ministers of antiquities and investment along with the establishment of an international museum worth LE 2 billion.

The governor of Qalyubia will meet with a Chinese delegation headed by the chairman of the Chinese Businessmen Association Wednesday to promote investment opportunities in Al-Qanater, an official in Qalyubia Governorate revealed.

On September 6, Qalyubia Governor Alaa Abdel Halim checked the River Nile walkway in Benha city worth LE 19 million.
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9/11/2018 3:00:56 PM
<![CDATA[Opening the way for yacht tourism in Egypt]]>
In January, Major General Hesham Abo Sena confirmed that all developments needed to be made in the Red Sea Ports Authority is being dealt with quickly and effectively by the leadership. Abo Sena added that they have already begun developing the Sharm el-Sheikh yacht port and the port of the Royal Yacht in Suez.

Abo Sena added that the authorities also signed an agreement to establish and develop the container and cargo terminal at Safaga Port and transfer it to a major port in the Red Sea at a cost of $400 million on an area of 600 thousand square meters and the establishment of a station at Nuweiba port at a cost of $350 million to link the Arab Mashreq with the Arab Maghreb and Africa.

Moreover, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism announced that Egypt and Cyprus have reached an agreement on cruise tourism in March 2018 and that they have agreed to launch a joint campaign to promote tourism; they will have a program for a yacht tourism.

There are top recommended cruises places in Egypt like Luxor and Aswan, Hurghada red sea and el gouna.

The number of tourists in Egypt has dropped 4.5 percent from 2015, according to the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS), however, in 2018, Egypt has started to regain its status as one of the top touristic destinations. To do this, Egypt is tailoring its touristic services to attract tourists from all over the world, including European tourists who were previously the reason for Egypt being on top of the touristic destination list.

In fact, the return of tourists to Egypt has been felt by other touristic destinations like Spain, who have seen the influx of British tourists drop by 5.6 percent since July 2017, according to The Independent.
]]>
9/10/2018 3:33:04 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism Promotion Authority recommends golfing, hot stone massages in Gouna]]>
“Get a ride and go golfing in El Gouna; it is one of the activities you can enjoy during the day,” Tourism Promotion Authority tweeted.




The Tourism Promotion Authority provided other recommendations such as hot stone massages, which helps induce relaxation, and is also a key service provided in resorts in El Gouna.

El Gouna is located 22 kilometers north of Hurghada International Airport; it is characterized for being a site for deep diving and various water sports.

There are also three major central areas in El Gouna with houses, shops, shopping areas, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, namely the Town, the Tamar Hanana Square and Marina Abu Tig, which are being developed to accommodate large yachts.
]]>
9/9/2018 10:40:02 AM
<![CDATA[Zimbabwe’s tourism booming after Mugabe exit]]>
Mugabe was removed from power in November last year after the military stepped in.

Mugabe’s fall has been a blessing to Zimbabwe with more tourists now visiting.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO Karikoga Kaseke revealed the tourism boom at the Sanganai World Tourism Expo in Bulawayo.

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said the tourism expo is giving his government a platform to re-engage with the world after decades of isolation.

“It is, therefore, my wish that the expo will facilitate the much-needed interactive networking sessions for local tourism operators, hotels and lodges. Thereby instilling confidence in Zimbabwe as a tourism destination of choice.”

More than 600 exhibitors and buyers are part at the Sanganai World Tourism Expo, which has become one of Africa’s prime travel and tourism showcases.

South Africa has the most exhibitors and buyers, with a total of 25 taking part.

“We as the tourism board, we are obviously here to promote South Africa and we are hoping that the delegation we have brought we will able to do business and convince the Zimbabwe trade that they should actually send tourists to South Africa,” said South Africa Tourism’s Bontle Madiba.

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9/9/2018 10:24:01 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt is the fastest growing tourist destination: UNWTO]]>
The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with an increase in the number of tourists up to 55.1 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.

Luxor and Giza were on the top of Egypt’s most famous and well-known cities for tourists’ choice, according to the report.

France, however, was the highest voted country for tourists in 2017.

In August, a government official told Reuters that Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to amount to $4.8 billion compared with the same period last year.

After the 2011 revolution, Egypt’s economy and tourism witnessed a sharp fall that affected the whole country; however, it started to recover during the past period according to economic and governmental statics. A comprehensive economic reform program was launched by the government that included floating the Egyptian pound.
Tourism sector, same as other economic critical sectors to the country, witnessed a gradual improvement.

According to the anonymous source cited by Reuters, the visitors’ numbers during the first half of 2018 jumped 41 percent from a year before to about 5 million. A total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.

“Indicators suggest the sector will earn about $9 billion by the end of this year,” the official said, adding there were expectations of greater traffic from Western Europe, Italy, Germany and Ukraine towards the end of the year.

On Aug. 15, official statistics issued by the Red Sea governorate showed that the number of tourists who visited the cities of the Red Sea in July reached 505,710 tourists, an increase of more than 130,000 tourists compared to June.

This number included 125,141 tourists from Germany, 106,731 from Egypt, 36,000 from the Czech Republic, 24,000 from Poland, 24,000 from Britain, 17,000 from Ukraine, 16,500 from the Netherlands, 13,000 from Austria, 12,800 from Belgium, 12,000 from Slovakia, 11,000 from Belarus, 10,700 from Italy, 8,700 from France, and 8,000 from Switzerland.

Hotel occupancy rates in the Red Sea also increased in July to 74 percent up from 63 percent in June. It came as follows: 73.72 percent in Hurghada, 77.98 percent in Safaga, 60.56 percent in El Qoseir, and 73.63 percent in Marsa Alam.

British Thomas Cook, a tourism and aviation company, said that British tourism to Egypt has been seeing a massive boost thanks to the renewed faith in the country’s political security and stability since the beginning of this year.

Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat said earlier that the number of tourists visiting Egypt jumped by 30 percent during the first quarter of 2018 compared to last year. ]]>
9/7/2018 11:19:38 AM
<![CDATA[Arab youth delegations visit West Bank of Luxor]]>
The Nile Ship for Youths is organized by the Youths and Sports Ministry in cooperation with the Arab League.

The youth delegations visited the three-floor Hatshepsut Museum and the Valley of the Kings that includes 63 tombs.

Seventy percent of Hatshepsut Museum was restored by the Dutch mission.

The Arab youths admired the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Ismail Soliman of Djibouti told MENA that he was happy to visit Egypt and see priceless monuments of Luxor that represent the ancient and unique Egyptian civilization.

He said he will invite his fellows in Djibouti to visit Egypt.]]>
9/6/2018 2:22:13 PM
<![CDATA[Azerbaijani flag carrier airlines to resume flights with Egypt November]]>
In a press conference last July, Egyptian ambassador to Azerbaijan Adel Ibrahim affirmed that Egypt has become totally safe and ready to receive Azerbaijani tourists who are looking forward to visiting Egyptian tourist attractions.

Despite an agreement that took place last November between Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda and the Deputy CEO of Azerbaijan Air Lines Jamil Manizad to resume direct flights from Baku to Sharm al-Sheikh beginning March 2018 after a year of suspension, the decision has not yet come into effect.

Azerbaijan flights to Sharm El Sheikh to be resumed in March 2018

CAIRO – 16 November 2017: Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda agreed with Deputy CEO of Azerbaijan Air Lines Jamil Manizad to resume direct flights from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan to Sharm El-Sheikh beginning March 2018 after a year of suspension.



Last July, the Egyptian ambassador revealed the reason of the delay, saying that the airlines are worried that direct flights can cause big financial losses. Ibrahim added that the absence of direct flights led the trade turnover between the two states to weaken.

Trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $8.05 million in 2017, according to Azerbaijani official reports.

Egyptian Air Cairo, which is owned by EgyptAir, the flag carrier airline of Egypt, decided earlier to suspend flights from Sharm al-Sheikh to Baku due to insufficient number of passengers, Azerbaijan-based Trend News Agency reported.


Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil ]]>
9/6/2018 11:19:38 AM
<![CDATA[Luxor receives 1st direct charter flight from Heathrow Airport]]>
Issa manifested the British tourists are planning to visit sites in the West and East banks, in addition to the landmarks in the city of Luxor. "Dozens of tourism experts and leading figures of tourist companies in Luxor welcomed the British tourists at the airport," said Issa.

"EgyptAir flight no. (761) flied from Luxor Airport to the Heathrow Airport in London with 130 Britons on broad," added Issa.

He stressed many direct and charter flights were resumed from and to foreign cities, with hundreds of tourists on board to visit Luxor.

In August, a newly-discovered sphinx was found during the development of Al-Kabbash Road project. General Director of Luxor Antiquities Mohamed Abdel Aziz remarked that the ministry is currently working on lifting the statue, as it cannot be extracted directly from its place due to the nature of the environment it is in.

Moreover, Abdel Aziz added that Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani urged tourists to visit Al-Kabbash road to see the statue.

In the same context, Bassam al-Shamma, an Egyptologist, remarked that the Sphinx’s discovery was expected as several sphinx statues were found across Luxor such as the sphinx statues for King Aymanhotb III and Thutmose IV.

Al-Kabbash Road project, which will be finished by the end of 2018, was resumed in 2017 with a budget of LE 230 million ($12.7 million) in cooperation with Luxor governorate, the head of the projects’ sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, Waheed Aboul Ela, told Egypt Today Friday, quoting Minister Anani.

Aboul Ela said the road will be paved to allow easy access for visitors. The project also includes the development of the floors, the completion of excavation and repairing the collection of Al-Kabbash, and ram-headed sphinxes as well as re-installing them.

Anani announced that an engineering committee visited Luxor on May 27 to discuss all the project’s obstacles and to prepare a detailed study for the current situation as well as a comprehensive financial feasibility study for the project.

Al-Kabbash Road is the road that connects Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple. The project to excavate and restore Al-Kabbash Road began in 2005 and about LE 600 million have been spent on the project. The project was halted after the January 25 Revolution.
]]>
9/5/2018 10:24:13 AM
<![CDATA[Hurghada: Pearl of the Red Sea]]>
Weather in Hurghada is scorching hot and humid during the summer months; from June until late September. I always made sure I carried a bottle of water when I walked out in the sun to avoid dehydration. The weather becomes pleasant and cool in the evenings, and becomes even more pleasant from October until winter starts in December.

Winter is fun in Hurghada and most water sport activities keep going in most beach resorts unless safety precautions have to be applied in case of windy conditions which lead to dangerously high waves; this is a rare condition though.

Hurghada attracts tourists from all over the world; Asia, Africa, Russia, Europe and the Americas. Locals and Arabs are also attracted to the exotic, calm beach resorts available in the coastal city of Hurghada.

Snorkeling, diving and parasailing are offered in almost every beach resort in Hurghada. The Red Sea is generally renowned for its beautiful coral reef, colorful fish and sea creatures which are pleasant to get a close look at. I wasn’t interested in that as much as I was interested in laying on the beach all day enjoying my music and food. I will surely come back with my friends or family to Hurghada to explore the beauty of the Red Sea.

The beauty of the Red Sea’s coral reef and the rare, colorful sea creatures that reside in it is the main reason tourists are attracted to spend their vacation there. Another reason for visiting Hurghada is that it allows families to spend a nice family vacation in a calm, slow-paced city.

As a solo traveler, I can easily enjoy a 2-3 day vacation in Hurghada, depending on what I have in mind. As previously mentioned, the city is ideal for relaxation, water sports and beach bums who want to lay on the beach all day enjoying the clear blue sea and the warm, white sand. This is what I adore!

Districts of Hurghada

El Dahar: This is the city’s old town. It is filled with local coffee shops in which I treated myself to a hot cup of tea and hookah for a price that doesn’t exceed LE 10. The district is rather shabby, but the main roads are flooded with shops that offer all kinds of goods.
Local restaurants offer everything from seafood to Koshary (a local meal made from rice, lentils, and macaroni). Clothes shops in the old town offer locally made clothing that tourists find affordable. Unfortunately, I did not find the appropriate size, so I had to pass the chance.

Deep in the area, resides the “Souk” (Market) offering fruits, vegetables, clothes, souvenirs, girl accessories and plenty more. In such a place I recommend negotiating prices with the trader as prices are not fixed. I had a hard time beating the vendor in the price negotiating hassle, but I ended up with some good stuff!

EldaharSouk-youtube
El Dahar Souq - YouTube.com


Sekala: This is the modern district of Hurghada even though it is the most ancient of them all. It is also the shopping/tourist district as numerous small malls are available offering almost everything. Tourists and locals alike tend to enjoy shopping and a nice walk there. I did not spend much time there to be honest, because the place tends to get crowded as the sun sets and the temperature drops.

In Arabic, the word “Sekala” means boat marina. Numerous branded super markets and fast food chains are available in the modernized district. I was rather excited when I spotted Macdonald’s there!

The most popular shopping places in Sekala are Sultan Centre Shop, Evolution Egypt, Akhenaton Egypt Gallery, Downtown bazaar and Senzo mall. I checked out most of them, and the shopping variety was splendid!

Senzo Mall is the most popular and most spacious mall in the district. The place offers everything to families and teenagers. A play area is designed for children inside the mall which tends to get noisy as the families arrive.

Village road is another touristic path located south of Sekala. It is home to top notch 5+ star hotels that offer all kinds of services to tourists. This place is considered upscale and not really for locals.

Tourists can freely and safely walk at night, enjoying the weather and shops that surround the street from both sides. I loved walking there late at night as the city quiets down.

Touristic pathway - aligatorek arwikipedia.com
Touristic Pathway, Hurghada - ar.wikipedia.com

The marina/harbor is close to the area where private yachts and boats hibernate on the water, which makes beautiful scenery ideal for taking pictures.
Sahl Hashish Road is an upscale area also branching South of Village Road. The road is also home for upscale hotels and resorts. I had no energy left to walk up there, but I had a glimpse from afar. Private properties are also located on Sahl Hashish Road. This area is considered for the well off.

North of Sekala, many hotels run a shuttle to the Marina, where many shops, bars and diners are available. Sekala is also home to most bars of Hurghada.

A tourist seeking to eat traditional Egyptian food must visit El-Dahar. It is safe to go in groups or even as a solo backpacker. I do not recommend a foreign woman to go to El-Dahar alone. I felt safe walking there even at night, but being a young, strong local man gives me an advantage.

Personally, I stayed in Marriott Beach Resort Hurghada for three days. The hotel was magnificent; the interior and exterior design, the services, the pool, the lobby and the staff were all amazing.

Most locals in Hurghada view tourists as heavy bags of money, but genuine people are also present everywhere. I did not notice any begging going on anywhere in the city; this is probably because of the efforts exerted by the local police.

Hurghada can be considered as a diverse city, because many locals from Upper Egypt head to Hurghada to find a job and therefore a tourist will meet many locals working there that are not actually the original residents of the city.

My experience in Marriott Beach Resort was pleasant and I surely recommend it. The room was perfect, and hygiene was well taken care of.

marriott2standardroom-mariotofficial
Marriott Standard Room, Hurghada - Marriott Official Website

Mariott1
Marriott Hurghada - Marriott Official Website

Last but not least, I do recommend Hurghada to families, honeymooners and solo travelers. Night life is present in Hurghada everywhere, but it is not the ideal city for night owls who seek a wild night life vacation. Hurghada is a rather slow-paced “chilling” type of city, and that is what I liked most about it.

I was glad to meet and socialize with people from several countries, which deepened my general knowledge and networking skills.

Beauty of Hurghada - Marriott official
Beauty of Hurghada - Marriott Official Website

]]>
9/4/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Spanish tourist numbers fall in July for first time in nearly a decade]]>
Tourism accounts for around 11 percent of Spain’s economic output and the number of foreign visitors rose to 82 million last year, making Spain the world’s second most visited country after France. The sector is the biggest employer in Spain.

Visitor numbers fell by 4.9 percent in July, Monday’s data showed, the first fall for that key summer month since 2009.

In the first seven months, numbers rose by 0.3 percent, the lowest growth rate in eight years and compared to double-digit growth in 2016 and 2017.

Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt have experienced a resurgence in tourism, marking a revival of demand for these destinations which had been shunned by holiday-makers following militant attacks and an attempted military coup in Turkey in 2016.

This season they have been competing for German and British tourists with packages priced up to 73 percent cheaper than the popular Spanish resort islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca, according to one study.

Spanish hotels have cut prices in an attempt to lure back visitors, hoteliers and tourist officers have told Reuters.

In Tunisia, tourism jumped by 40 percent in the first half of 2018, its government said, driven by a strong return of European tourists three years after they were targeted in attacks. Egyptian numbers surged by a similar percentage.

In Turkey, tourism grew by nearly a third in the same period after slumping in 2016 following a series of bomb attacks and the abortive coup.

Spanish hotel operators have attempted to upgrade their offerings in response to the spike in visitor numbers of recent years, targeting high-spending tourists rather than those seeking cheap sun-and-sand packages.

Official data on Monday showed that, although the total spend of international tourists in July had fallen 0.9 percent from one year ago, the average spend was up 9.5 percent.
]]>
9/3/2018 4:20:22 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: ‘Call Horse Carts’ application to apply in Luxor next November ]]>
He added that horse carts are the popular means of transportation in Luxor, which tourists love to experience during their visit to Luxor.

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He also said that the government would discuss some solutions in cooperation with tourism companies to oblige owners of horse carts to comply with the rules of application.

The application will apply on 340 horse carts in Luxor governorate, and they will also stop at specific places. The ministry will provide diapers for the horses for free, Sherif said.

Sherif said that anyone who violates the system will hand over his/her cart to the
government, in addition to the horses that will be delivered to Brock Horse Hospital.

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9/2/2018 12:25:05 PM
<![CDATA[How Egypt’s top 5 governorates got their names ]]>
1 – Cairo governorate:

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. Historians were divided into two groups in identifying the origin of the name, Cairo. Some historians believed that Cairo is derived from planet Mars, as this planet appeared in coincidence with Jawhar al-Siquilli’s orders to build a new capital city for the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt.

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The Citadel of Saladin, Cairo, Egypt, April 17, 201- CC via Pixabay

The second group said Al-Qahirah (Cairo) means conqueror or vanquisher. At the beginning, Siquilli named it Al-Mansouria; however, after four years from establishing it, Fatimid caliph Al-Mu’izz Li Din Allah arrived to Al-Mansouria and changed the name to Al-Qahirah, and he derived the name from his intention to conquer his competitor, the Abbasid caliph.

Cairo attractions:

1- The Cairo Tower.
2- The Egyptian Museum.
3- The Hanging Church.
4- The Cairo Opera House.
5- Saladin Citadel.

2 - Alexandria governorate:

Alexandria is a port city located on the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt and it is the second largest city after Cairo. Alexandria derived its name from Alexander the Great who established it in 331 BC.

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Bibliotheca Alexandrina at night, Alexandria, Egypt, September 17, 2010 – CC via Wikimedia commons

Alexandria governorate was established on the small port town of Rhakotis by Alexander and it had been the capital of Egypt for nearly a thousand years, until 641 AD when Muslims established El-Fustat to be the new capital.

Alexandria attractions:

1- Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
2- The Montazah Garden.
3- Alexandria National Museum.
4- The Qaitbey Fortress.
5- Catacombs of Kom El-Shuqqafa.

3- Damietta governorate:

Damietta governorate is located in the extreme northeast of Egypt in the delta region; it has five administrative districts. Damietta was called Tamiates during Greek and Roman era, while it was named Tamiata during the Coptic period.

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Amr Ibn al-Aas Mosque, Damietta, August 10, 2014 – CC via Wikimedia Commons

There were various theories about Damietta’s name origin. Some scholars said the word Damietta was originally pronounced “Da Mat Ptah Ten” which means the city of the god Ptah.

However, others believed that the name of Damietta originated from the ancient Egyptian word “Damt” which means ability. Scientists referred to Damietta’s ability to unite salty water of the Mediterranean Sea and fresh water of the Nile in one place.

Damietta landmarks:

1- Amr Ibn al-As Mosque.
2- Al-Radwaniya Mosque.
3- Souk AL-Hesba.
4- The Old Bridge.
5- Al-Manniy Mosque.

4- Al-Fayoum governorate:

Al Fayoum is located 92 Kilometers southwest of Cairo and it is divided into six administrative centers. It is famous for its fertility and the abundance of plant and animal life.

The name of Al-Fayoum changed several times. In ancient Egypt, it was called “Shedet” means reclamation land, and then was called “Ta –She “meaning the land of the lake.

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Lake Qaron, Al-Fayoum, March 8, 2013 – CC via Wikimedia Commons

It was also named “Baym” which means lake or sea, due to its location near Lake Moeris. Additionally, it was Called "MR Wr" which means the great sea, as water covered all the lands of Fayoum during the flood season.

During Greek and Roman eras, it was called Crocodopolis because of the existence of the huge number of crocodiles in this area. It is worth mentioning that Egyptians worshiped god Sobek – ancient god of crocodiles. Eventually, it was called Al-Fayoum after the Arab conquest of Egypt.

Al-Fayoum attractions:

1- Wadi Al-Rayan.
2- Lake Qaron.
3- Water Wheels.
4- The pyramid of Hawara.
5- The Hanging Mosque.

5- Luxor governorate:

Luxor is located in the south of Upper Egypt and it is often known as the world’s greatest open air museum, as it is considered one of the greatest temple centers all over the world.

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Temple of Deir Al-Bahari, Luxor, January 18, 2009 – CC Via Wikimedia Commons

Luxor has had several names through the ages. In ancient Egypt, it was named Waser. Luxor was then named as the home of Amun- ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air.
The Greeks called it “Thebes” and the Greek poet Homer named it the city of the hundred gates due to its large doors and buildings. Luxor’s current name is derived from the Arabic word "Al-Qosour" which means the palaces.

Luxor Attractions:

1- Temple of Karnak
2- Valley of the Kings and the Queens
3- Mummification Museum
4- Temple of Deir Al-Bahari
5- Colossi of Memnon

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9/2/2018 11:55:05 AM
<![CDATA[Alicia Keys, family delighted over visit to Egypt]]>CAIRO - 31 August 2018: Gorgeous American singer Alicia Keys arrived in Egypt last week on summer vacation with her husband, music producer Swizz Beatz, and their two children Gensis Ali Dean and Egypt Daoud Dean, named after the ancient land.


The family has enjoyed exploring the vibes of ancient Egypt, starting from ridding camels to spending their nights traveling through the Nile River. They have also soaked in the Egyptian culture through dressing the traditional clothes of the Nubian people and learning a bit of Arabic.





As Swizz expressed love to his queen Alicia after eight years of marriage in front of the Great pyramids of Giza, he delivered a powerful massage to all men to support their partners and not be jelous of their success.


“Attention all MEN‼ You shouldn’t be jealous or upset if you have a Queen that’s successful , Smarter or better than you! What you should do is thank the most high or step your game up!” Swizz posted on Instagram.





For her part, Alicia said, “We have been Nesu and Nesa (Kings and Queens) for thousands of years! Greatness is in our DNA! Genius runs through our veins! This pic is exactly how I feel! Keep Shinin’ powerful YOU!!”





No caption capable of capturing the vibe 😋😋😍😍 @therealswizzz

A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on



Moreover, the couple have enjoyed their time on a Nile cruise while Alicia danced while showing some belly dance movements.





Commenting on one of the photos taken during their trip to some ancient temple, Alicia said, “There’s so much to see. There’s so much to know... So much to uncover... So many ways to grow”





Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat warmly welcomed Alicia and her family to Egypt.




]]>
8/31/2018 8:44:15 PM
<![CDATA[The incredible marathon of New Zealand Tawaki penguins]]>
The breathtaking distance was recorded by researchers, who for the first time managed to track the birds.

Penguins, universally adored and the stars of cartoons, are actually not well studied.

One third of all penguin species live in New Zealand, where they are part of the landscape, mostly in the wilder south. Nevertheless most penguin species are considered vulnerable or endangered.

Until now it was unclear where one penguin species -- the Fiordland crested penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) -- migrated each year in search of food.

Zoologists assumed that they stayed near the coast. To find out, researchers with the Tawaki Project -- which uses the bird’s local name -- attached satellite tracking tags to 20 penguins and followed their migration daily.

"My first reaction was there’s something wrong with the data," said Thomas Mattern, a research fellow in Department of Zoology, University of Otago, New Zealand and the project director.

"Then I was just puzzled, I was completely flabbergasted -- where are they going, when will they stop?"

The penguins swam halfway to Antarctica, in areas where the warm northern waters collide with the cold waters of the south. Then they swam back New Zealand.

Round trip, a female traveled 6,801 kilometers (4,226 miles) in 67 days. A male swam 5,597 kilometers (3,478 miles) in 77 days.

The complete data relates to only five animals, because the tags seem to have detached from the 15 others being tracked during their trip.

This new information confirms that penguins are among the most extraordinary vertebrate swimmers on the planet.

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A Fiordland penguins - as pictured here by researcher Thomas Mattern - will swim with its pack from its home in New Zealand halfway to Antarctica and back each December. Photo: AFP

According to Mattern, the Russians had even studied the hydrodynamics of penguin feathers to mimic it for their submarines.

The penguin study was published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Researchers had a tough time finding funding for their project. Each tag costs between $1,500 and $2,000. And according to Mattern, research like this "has completely fallen off of fashion."

"If you seek academic funding, it has to be these days a topic that is en vogue, be it ancient DNA or microbiology," Mattern said.

"Field studies that conduct baseline research are often considered to be too descriptive and boring."

Instead, non-governmental organizations and the public helped fund the research.

Why focus on penguin migration in the first place?

"Penguins are seabirds, they spend up to 80 percent of their life out in the ocean, and we have not the faintest idea of what they do there," Mattern said.

While the birds are suspected to be in decline, "in order to do something about that, you have to know what is affecting the species."

The warming of the oceans, tourism and fishing probably affects the penguins, but effects on their lives still need to be studied scientifically.

"Penguins are in trouble around the globe, and mostly it’s because there’s problems in changes in the ocean," said P. Dee Boersma, a biologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, and an expert in South American penguins.

Boersma, who did not participate in the project, noted that the warming climate has not been good for penguins.

"The other big problem is the competition with fisheries," Boersma said.

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A Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), native to the coasts of Chile and Peru, at a zoo in Bremerhaven, Photo: AFP

African penguins used to number in the millions, now they’re down to about 30,000, she said. Why? "Because they don’t have any food to eat, because humans are taking almost all of the sardines," he said.

The unresolved mystery is why the Tawaki penguins swim so far, especially when the costal waters of New Zealand in December are swarming with fish and other food.

Scientists believe that this could be an instinct inherited from an ancestral species of penguins that lived further south, before populating New Zealand.

To answer this question further research is needed -- if possible with international funding.

"The penguins do not belong to New Zealanders or Australians, it is the whole of humanity who is responsible for it," Mattern said.
]]>
8/30/2018 1:59:25 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's tourism revenue jumps 77 pct in first half: government official]]>
Egyptian tourism has been gradually recovering from a 2011 downturn triggered by the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, helped by a currency float in late 2016 that halved the pound's value and made the country a relatively cheap bet for foreign visitors.

The tourism sector is a pillar of the country's economy and a key earner of foreign currency.

The official, who declined the be named, said visitor numbers during the first half of 2018 jumped 41 percent from a year before to about 5 million. A total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.

"Indicators suggest the sector will earn about $9 billion by the end of this year," the official said, adding there were expectations of greater traffic from western Europe, Italy, Germany and Ukraine towards the end of the year.

That figure would mark a jump from last year's $7.6 billion.]]>
8/29/2018 4:56:34 PM
<![CDATA[After flood, tourism in India's Kerala left mud-bound]]>
These inland lagoons running parallel to the coast are one of the biggest tourist draws in India’s most southwesterly state, but the stain of death and devastation wrought by Kerala’s worst flood in a century will take longer than a season to wash away.

The quaint towns and villages scattered between the lush forests and paddy fields bordering the backwaters are now communities in despair.

Houses in low-lying areas are still submerged, roads are waterlogged and the sewage from drains have washed into channels that are too slow-moving to effectively flush out the effluent.

Sudarsanan T.K., a houseboat owner in the town of Alappuzha, had been looking forward to the peak tourist season, but as his home disappeared under 2.5 meters (eight foot) of water his family now have to live aboard the boat he would otherwise be renting to tourists from Europe, China, Malaysia and India.

“I’ve nothing left, but this houseboat. I don’t know how I can repay my bank loan in this condition. The bank may take back my boat. I will have nothing at all then,” Sudarsanan, a 64-year-old father of two, told Reuters.

Some 1,500 houseboats are tied up at Alappuzha, going nowhere, with many of the owners still paying off loans taken to buy the boats.

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A man sits at the entrance of an empty houseboat in a tributary of the Pamba river following floods in Alappuzha district in the southern state of Kerala, India, August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V

Sudarsanan owes about $8,600 on the loan taken eight years ago to buy the boat, and he could have earned up to $7,000 by December if the deluge hadn’t washed away his hopes.

Hundreds of people perished in the flood and more than one million of Kerala’s 35 million people were forced to abandon their homes and take shelter in relief camps.

Blessed with natural beauty, fertile land and bountiful seas, Kerala has been dubbed “God’s own country” by its people, but the Marxists running the state government reckon it will need $3.57 billion to rebuild over the next two years.

“Kerala’s GDP growth may fall by 2 percent,” state Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told Reuters, forecasting growth of 6 percent for the financial year ending next March.

Crops have been lost, the construction industry was dead for a month, and tourism, which contributes 10 percent of the state’s economy but accounts for about 25 percent of jobs creation, has been badly hit.

FESTIVAL WASHOUT

For discerning tourists looking for a more laidback Indian experience, Kerala has it all - long sandy beaches, lazy waterways, charming, historic towns like Kochi and the cool, forested hills of the Western Ghats.

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FILE PHOTO: A man walks inside the flooded Cochin international airport after the opening of Idamalayar, Cheruthoni and Mullaperiyar dam shutters following heavy rain, on the outskirts of Kochi, India, August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V/File Photo

Kerala doesn’t draw numbers like the northern tourist circuit, the so-called “Golden Triangle” running from New Delhi to the Taj Mahal in Agra, and Jaipur’s palaces in the desert state of Rajasthan, but it has carved out a sizable niche.

Last year, one million foreigners visited Kerala, along with 15 million domestic tourists, but state government and industry officials reckon the flood will result in losses for the tourism sector of $357 million.

The floods struck just as Kerala was gearing up for Onam, the harvest festival which is one of the highlights of the state’s cultural calendar.

Festivities, including the spectacular Vallam Kali races involving traditional war canoes, some manned by more than 100 paddlers, were postponed.

“Kerala has lost out on one of the best seasons, as the calamity struck during the 10-day run up to Onam,” said Ranjini Nambiar, who heads a travel consultancy.

Thousands of volunteers have joined a clean-up campaign mounted by the state, and Shilendran M., an executive with the CGH Earth luxury hotel chain, expected some kind of order to be restored within the next few weeks.

“The state administration is working on a war footing,” said Shilendran, whose group has more than a dozen properties in Kerala. “We are limping back to normal.”

Hardly anywhere in the state escaped the calamity.

Ernakulam district, the biggest industrial and tourism contributor to Kerala’s economy and home to the historic city of Kochi, suffered major damage, and its busy international airport was shut for nearly two weeks.

Munnar, a hill resort overlooking the tea and cardamom plantations high in the Ghats was cut off, as bridges were washed away and landslides blocked roads.

Once every dozen years a bright purplish-blue bell-shaped flower called the Neelakurinji, blossoms on the slopes around Munnar - and this was one of those years.

The state tourism had marketed 2018 as the Kurunji year, but people in Kerala are more likely to remember the mud.

]]>
8/29/2018 11:02:43 AM
<![CDATA[Saint Catherine to host world peace forum in Sept.]]>
Gomaa made the announcement following a meeting with South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda.

They agreed to organize the gathering to promote tourism in general and religious tourism in particular, said Gomaa.

The annual forum is a religious message of peace to the whole world, he added.

The minister reiterated that terrorism has no relation with all religions.]]>
8/26/2018 2:12:34 PM
<![CDATA[Vietnam president hails Egypt's ancient civilization]]>
Quang, who was accompanied by Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr and Security chief Tarek Allam, hailed the greatness of the Egyptian Pharaonic civilization.

He awarded antiquities officials a portrait of Lotus, which is common in the Egyptian ancient civilization and Vietnam

The Luxor trip is part of the Vietnamese leader's four day visit to Egypt.

The Karnak Sound and Light Show highlights the dramatic history of ancient Thebes. The show narrates the achievements of some great Pharaohs, with poetic descriptions of the ancient treasures. As visitors walk through the complex of temples, pharaohs arise to tell the story of their interesting lives, as haunting music mysteriously flows through this ancient city. ]]>
8/26/2018 11:05:43 AM
<![CDATA[Vietnamese president arrives in Luxor]]>
The one-day visit comes upon invitation by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Quang will pay a visit to temples and Pharaonic tombs in the East and West Banks besides attending one of the sound and light shows.

The Vietnamese president is scheduled to meet Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr and lawmakers in preparation for inking a tourist cooperation protocol between Vietnam and the Upper Egyptian governorate.

In the airport, Quang was welcomed by Badr besides other Egyptian officials and a delegation of the Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt as well as senior security leaders in the governorate.]]>
8/25/2018 7:22:11 PM
<![CDATA[Have you been to the underwater museum in Dahab yet? ]]>
These statues, made of environmentally-friendly materials to preserve and protect coral reefs, were placed by a group of professional divers, the I-Drive Tribe, according to Egypt Independent.



Although the main aim of the project was to save coral reefs as per Egypt Independent, it has also attracted huge numbers of tourists to diving in Dahab and taking a look at both the statues and the corals.

In an interview with CBC, Abdul-Rahman Al Mekkawi, a prominent diver in Dahab and one of the underwater museum founders, explained that he has plans, with his colleagues, to create an underwater museum, “Egyptian Pharaohs Underwater”, that could be used for tourism and for environmental purposes and which would preserve the coral reefs too.

As Dahab is already a famous touristic destination, coral reefs and an underwater museum would generally help boost tourism ever more.

Earlier this month, Hagar Essam, a student in applied arts, decided to photograph the underwater museum as a way to show support for the idea and for her graduation project on tourism.

Hagar explained that she wanted her graduation project to be original because she likes adventure, and the presence of statues underwater surprised her. When she asked, Hagar came to learn that these statues are here for environmental purposes and tourism.

Despite not many knowing, the statues have been underwater for approximately five years and are preserving aquatic life.


]]>
8/25/2018 2:38:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt welcomes 257 tourists over past 24 days: sources]]>
The sources added, as cited in media outlets, that a total of 257 tourists landed in Cairo before heading to Egypt’s most notable tourist destinations such as Luxor and Red sea cities of Hurgada and Sharm el-Sheikh.

In another context, the Red Sea Port Authority is preparing the Maritime Nuweiba port to receive pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia through Nuweiba-Aqaba route and facilitate the measures of their arrival.

Operation rooms were formed to follow up on the arrival of pilgrims and facilitate the measures of their arrival, and an official of the Ministry of Tourism will be at the port to solve any problems that pilgrims might face.

The total number of pilgrims that will start returning home on Sunday is 36,000 pilgrims; 12,000 through land and 16,000 through airlift.

The number of pilgrims from inside and outside Saudi Arabia in 2018 has reached 2.3 million; the number of pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj was reported to be 1.76 million.

At the same time, the number of Egyptian pilgrims who passed away in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj pilgrimage reached 33, spokesman for the Health Ministry Khaled Megahed said on Wednesday.

Deaths from heat exhaustion, fatigue and natural causes are a common occurrence among pilgrims on Hajj in Saudi Arabia, which takes place this year from Aug. 19 to 24.

During a press conference in Mina, Saudi Arabia, Marwan added that the Egyptian authorities are coordinating with Saudi officials to issue death certificates for the deceased Egyptians, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marwan, who heads this year's Egypt's Hajj mission to the holy lands in Saudi Arabia, said on Tuesday.

Marwan praised the role played by the medical team accompanying the Egyptian Hajj mission, pointing out that it provided excellent medical service to all pilgrims, in terms of examination, providing medicine, and following up on some cases in their rooms.
]]>
8/24/2018 3:08:50 PM
<![CDATA[Dragons and steamed buns at Taiwan's temple-like church]]>
Taiwan embraces freedom of religion and has one of the highest densities of temples in the world, with close to 70 percent of the population believers in Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk traditions.

About six percent of Taiwan's 23.57 million population are Christian, with 300,000 of those Catholic.

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Believers holding candles and flowers during a Catholic mass in the Holy Spirit Church in Yanshui, about an hour's drive from the southern city of Tainan.- AFP/Sam YEH


There are more than 1,000 churches across the island but the Holy Spirit Church is particularly unique.

Located on a quiet road in the rural town of Yanshui, about an hour's drive from southern Tainan city, it started life as a simple wooden structure, built by a German missionary more than six decades ago.

However, in 1986 it was reconstructed by Chinese pastor Li Shaofeng who had a very different vision, melding features of a typical Chinese temple into the design, including lanterns, red pillars, and painted dragons motifs.

"The pastor thought of building a more Chinese-style church to adapt to the local environment," said Joseph Chung, the church's current pastor.

"He built this church hoping to attract more followers," said Chung, 67.

- 'Blessed place' -

Several other churches in Taiwan incorporate some temple-like characteristics, but none to the same extent.

Murals cover almost all of the interior walls of the Holy Spirit Church, depicting teachings from the Bible, but with a twist -- most of the figures look Asian and wear Chinese-style clothing.

Even the bread in the church's mural of "The Last Supper" -- the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus and his apostles -- is replaced with baozi, Chinese steamed buns.

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Priest Claudio Pegoraro swinging an incense holder during a Catholic mass in the Holy Spirit Church in Yanshui, about an hour's drive from the southern city of Tainan. .- AFP/Sam YEH


At the back of the main hall, next to the confessional, is a shrine with candles and a Chinese incense bowl to commemorate the church's late pastors.

Burning incense is a common Chinese tribute to deities or ancestors.

Chung says the number of regular followers attending services has dropped in recent years as Yanshui residents move to bigger cities.

But masses are still held daily, with special events drawing believers from all over southern Taiwan.

The music for the services is performed by Catholic nuns from the attached Monastery of St Clare, which was started in 1990.

Churchgoer Cecilia Huang has been a regular visitor to the Holy Spirit Church for 20 years and says she particularly likes praying with the nuns.

Huang says she appreciates the church's design aesthetic and says it does not change the nature of her religion.

"The essence is the same," said Huang, 66.

"It's only the appearance that looks like it's integrated into Taiwan's environment, bringing blessings to this place."
]]>
8/24/2018 12:12:09 PM
<![CDATA[Scientists confirm ice exists at Moon's poles]]>
Signs of ice on the Moon have been reported by scientists for years, but previous observations could have been explained by other phenomena, such as unusually reflective lunar soil, the study authors said Tuesday.

"This is the first time scientists have definitive evidence for the presence of water ice on the surface," lead author Shuai Li of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology told AFP.

The ice mainly lies in the frigid shadows of craters at the lunar poles, and was detected using instruments that flew on the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organization.

Using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument, researchers identified three chemical signatures "that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon," said a NASA statement.

The polar regions where the ice lies are "super cold," Li said, noting that the warmest temperatures never reach above minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit (-157 Celsius.

It is unclear exactly how much ice exists on the surface, since the instruments could only detect ice within a few millimeters of the Moon's surface, he said.

But NASA said if there is enough of the ice, "water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the Moon."

The US space agency is aiming to return humans to the Moon in the coming years for the first time since the storied Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

Li said the best way to find out more about the Moon's ice and how to tap into it as a resource would be to send a robotic rover to explore the lunar poles.

The full study was published in Monday's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.]]>
8/23/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Venezuelans flood into Ecuador, defying passport rules]]>
This year 423,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Rumichaca border near the southwestern Colombian town of Ipiales. Alarmed, Ecuador last Saturday put in place rules requiring Venezuelans to show passports, rather than just national identity cards. Peru will do the same this Saturday.

2018-08-21T215600Z_500282430_RC19CFD43F90_RTRMADP_3_VENEZUELA-MIGRATION-COLOMBIA-ECUADOR
Venezuelan migrants walk along the Ecuadorean highway to Peru before new rules requiring they hold a valid passport kick in, at Tulcan, Ecuador August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Rojas



Hundreds of migrants who had begun traveling days ago by bus and on foot through Colombia from Venezuela before the policy change crossed the Rumichaca checkpoint on Tuesday. More than a dozen Ecuadorean police watched them, but did nothing to stop them.

"We only want Ecuador to support us to keep moving forward to Peru where we can work," said Yorian Alcides Gamez, as fellow migrants sang the national anthem.

They plan to walk and hitchhike 840 kilometers (522 miles) in freezing conditions to the crossing at Huaquilla in Peru.

"We're walking to Peru, we're on our way. You wouldn't believe the number of people," 23-year-old tourism student Antony Vinales said.

Like Gamez and Vinales, hundreds of migrants had planned to cross legally with their Venezuelan national ID card to find work in Ecuador, Peru or Chile.

Sleeping in tents and on streets, tension is mounting as conditions worsen, migrants complain of the cold and the little money they have for food is running out. Arguments have started to break out as they vent anger at Ecuador. "We're really very disappointed, we feel alone, desperate, we never thought that the government of Ecuador would do that to us, when in my country they were so well-received in their time of need," said Deisy Santana, a 48-year-old construction engineer. "Some people have been traveling by foot 30 days and their feet are destroyed."

Ecuador's foreign and interior ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Venezuela's economy has been in steep decline and there are periodic waves of protests against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro argues that he is the victim of a Washington-led "economic war" designed to sabotage his administration through sanctions and price-gouging.

The chaos has forced many to flood across the borders in search of work, food and basic healthcare. Latin American governments initially welcomed them, mindful of Venezuela's role in taking in those fleeing dictatorships and conflict in the past.

But the ballooning exodus this year has stretched social services, created more competition for low-skilled jobs and stoked fears of increased crime. In Brazil, angry residents of a border town ran riot and drove out migrants on Saturday after a restaurant owner was stabbed and beaten.



2018-08-21T215611Z_1341846372_RC1FD2707200_RTRMADP_3_VENEZUELA-MIGRATION-COLOMBIA-ECUADOR
Venezuelan migrants walk along the Ecuadorean highway to Peru before new rules requiring they hold a valid passport kick in, at Tulcan, Ecuador August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Rojas
]]>
8/22/2018 11:33:54 AM
<![CDATA[Parks receive Egyptians to celebrate Eid El-Adha ]]>
Usually in national holidays, people in Egypt go to public parks, like Fostat Park and Giza Zoo, and museums to celebrate Eid.

Mohammed Rashad, director general of Giza Zoo, said that the number of visitors has reached 6,000 visitors so far, expecting the number to reach 20,000 visitors during the first day.


Children_celebrating_Eid_AL-Adha_in_Giza_Zoo_Photo_credit__Karim_Abdel_Aziz
Children celebrating Eid El-Adha in Giza Zoo - Karim Abdel Aziz

Sayed Khalifa, head of the Agriculture Guidance Sector at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the Orman Park will be open for citizens during Eid El-Adha.


Garden_decoration_at_Orman_Park._Photo_taken_April_7,_2018_-_Egypt_Today-Mariam_Mosleh
Decoration at Orman Park April 7, 2018 - Egypt Today/Mariam Mosleh

Khalifa added that they coordinated with the Ministry of Health to deploy a number of ambulances near the park in order to deal with emergency cases.
Also, the Ministry of Interior deployed police patrols outside the garden.


1203110-Different-species-of-flowers-shown-at-Orman-Park.-Photo-taken-April-7,-2018---Egypt-TodayMariam-Mosleh
Different species of flowers at Orman Park April 7, 2018 – Egypt Today/ Mariam Mosleh

The Orman Park includes about 600 different types of plants, from palm trees, orchids, and daisies to roses, and cacti. All garden requirements as well as brides’ bouquets can be found at the park.

Giza governorate also opened the Giza Panorama Park on Fayoum Road free of charge for citizens during Eid.

Governor of Giza Mohamed Kamal el-Daly said that gardens and green spaces in the streets, squares and beside the Nile Corniche are ready to receive the visitors.

Fostat Park, which is located in Misr Al-Qadimah area in Cairo, witnessed a high turnout of people on the first day of Eid El-Adha and was visited mostly by children, who played with bicycles and enjoyed games in the park.


HASSAN_MOHAMED_(2).JPG_Children_riding_bikes_in_Fostat_Park_duirng_Eid_Al-Adha_Photo_credit_Hassan_Mohamed
Children riding bikes in Fostat Park during Eid El-Adha - Hassan Mohamed

Some youth could also be seen playing football in the park in celebration of the holiday, amid tight security measures and ambulances.


HASSAN_MOHAMED_(15).JPG_Children_in_Fostat_Park_during_Eid_Al-Adha_Photo_credit_Hassan_Mohamed
Children in Fostat Park during Eid El-Adha - Hassan Mohamed

Weather in the cities along the Mediterranean coast of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh is fine through the Eid vacation, according to Egypt’s metrological authority.

Generally, the climate during this Eid allows citizens to go out and enjoy the parks, river Nile picnics, as well as the beaches overlooking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Alexandria is famous for its various touristic attractions such as Citadel of Qaitbay and Al-Morsy Abul Abbas Mosque. The city is also famous for its marina where people enjoy sea cruises on yachts and boats.

2258236-قوارب-التنززه-ببحرى-(7)
FILE - Boats in Alexandria

Prices of these cruises are affordable for everyone, so families and friends can spend a good time for little money.
Finally, citizens are advised not to be exposed directly to the sun and to stay away from poorly ventilated places.

Egyptians flock to public parks for Eid

CAIRO - 1 September 2017: During national holidays, including Eid Al-Adha, people in Egypt go to public parks, like Fostat Park and Giza Zoo, as well as museums to celebrate Eid in their hometowns.




Eid El-Adha, also called the feast of sacrifice, is an annual Islamic holiday celebrated worldwide.


Additional reporting Mariam Mosleh
]]>
8/21/2018 3:04:55 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir increases domestic flights to 200 in Eid ]]>
Official statistics issued by the Red Sea governorate showed that the number of tourists who visited the cities of the Red Sea in July reached 505,710 tourists, marking an increase of more than 130,000 tourists compared to June.

This number includes 125,141 tourists from Germany, 106,731 from Egypt, 36,000 from the Czech Republic, 24,000 from Poland, 24,000 from Britain, 17,000 from Ukraine, 16,500 from the Netherlands, 13,000 from Austria, 12,800 from Belgium, 12,000 from Slovakia, 11,000 from Belarus, 10,700 from Italy, 8,700 from France, and 8,000 from Switzerland.

EgyptAir previously operated 17 flights to carry a total of 3,675 Egyptian Muslims to Saudi Arabia's Mecca to perform pilgrimage rituals (Hajj).

Nine flights flew from Cairo and Sharm El- Sheikh to Jeddah, while eight others left for Medina, stated the state-owned news agency MENA.

A total of 325 flights carrying 62,000 pilgrims flew to Saudi Arabia, including pilgrims from Mali and Palestine for the 2018 Hajj season.

EgyptAir began operating flights of pilgrims as of August 1, when pilgrims from both North and South Sinai arrived Jeddah International Airport. However, the first flight to Medina took off August 2, carrying pilgrims from Giza and Port Said governorates, according to Chairman of the national carrier company Sherif Ezzat.

The hajj, a five-day ritual which retraces the journey of Prophet Mohammad that took place 14 centuries ago, is a religious duty that should be carried out once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

It is the world's largest annual Muslim gathering, with over 2.3 million people attending this year. The faithful come from nearly every country in the world, speaking dozens of languages and sometimes practicing Islam in different ways based on local customs or traditions.
]]>
8/20/2018 2:56:10 PM
<![CDATA[In Pics: Dronka Monastery; historical eyewitness of the Holy Family journey]]>
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Church clergy and Copts celebrate at Dronka Monastery in Assiut, Egypt, in September 2017 – Egypt Today/Hazem Abdel Samar

Reverend Luka who served as the monastery secretary for years told Egypt Today that the Virgin’s cave goes back to the time of the Pharaohs, who carved it to hide from the flood 4,500 years ago and when the Holy Family arrived, they lived in the cave. Back then, Assiut, where the Holy family took the boat to return to Palestine, was the capital.

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Egyptian Coptic Christians lighting candles before a Virgin Mary icon at Dronka Monastery in Assiut, Egypt, in September 2017 – Egypt Today/Hazem Abdel Samar

“The Holy Family’s time in Dronka was a time of extraordinary phenomena and miracles,” said Reverend Luka, adding: “When the Holy Family left, the first church, the Cave Church, was built here in the 1st century AD. It was not like today's churches, but one in the spiritual sense – where prayers are held and supplications are raised.”
The reverend told Egypt Today that the monastery welcomes a million visitors annually during the Virgin’s fast mid-August.

The reverend said, “When monasticism emerged in the 4th century in Egypt, this place became a monastery. Many monasteries were built, but Dronka Monastery survived, unlike them. They were, however, chronicled in Coptic history.” He further explained that the Dronka Monastery used to be called the "Monastery of Writing Monks" as monks were active in copying books.

Assiut officials said that the government provided sufficient services for the Coptic holy sites in Assiut and that they have recently added new extensions to the place as well as direction signs on the main desert roads to reach the monasteries.

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The Holy Family in Egypt - Wikimedia commons/Edwin Long
]]>
8/19/2018 5:02:50 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish airlines will send direct flights to Luxor in 2019 ]]>
Ajami explained that flights will come from Europe and all over the world via Turkey, as transit, to Luxor directly. The counterparts agreed to start with four flights and gradually increase them to eight by January 2020.

“We went on a number of tours in Luxor with the representative of the Turkish Airlines in Hurghada and someone from Istanbul also came over to Luxor where we held a series of meetings to study the tourism industry in Luxor and Aswan,” he told Egypt Today.

Ajami added that after two years, they concluded an agreement to start these direct flights in October 2019. This is similar to what is happening in Hurghada as the Turkish Airlines also operates direct flights to Hurghada.

The tourism industry in Egypt has been in a state of limbo for years; however, when the industry begins to improve, this improvement will be reflected in all other sectors and industries in Egypt. In turn, this will encourage tourism companies, travel agencies and airlines to seek new contracts and new agreements that would inevitably revitalize the tourism industry in Egypt as a whole.

Simply flying from one place to another is not as easy as it sounds anymore as it is a problem that most tourists face due to increasing prices and oftentimes, lack of direct flights to a particular destination. These obstacles most certainly cause tourists to cross some countries off their list while planning vacations.

Luxor and Aswan are probably the two most popular and important touristic destinations in Egypt. However, to arrive in Luxor, tourists first have to land in Cairo’s International Airport and then take another internal flight to Luxor. With the gem that is Luxor, Egypt needed a faster, direct route so that tourists are encouraged to come.

Ajami stressed that these direct routes will solve the problems tourists face when planning their visits that will in turn, improve the tourism industry in Egypt. Not only because of this but also because Turkish Airlines is considered cheap compared to other airlines, this would be even more encouraging for tourists who are suffering financially but are still looking for a good holiday

This agreement is expected to benefit Luxor and Aswan enormously and it will hopefully attract many tourism companies and travel agencies to work with the Turkish Airlines, he added.

Considering the delay in implementing these resolutions, Ajami confirmed that the airlines is setting its own schedule before the year starts and so this would inevitably take a long time to agree on the logistical matters internally.

Back in 2015, many airlines, including Turkish Airlines, suspended their flights to Sharm El-Sheikh due to the bombing of a Russian Jet that took off from Egypt killing all people on board. Interestingly, Turkey was the first of all the airline companies that resumed its route to Egypt almost a year after the supposed terrorist attack, according to a statement the embassy had previously said.

Additional reporting done by Amal Raslan ]]>
8/18/2018 3:22:12 PM
<![CDATA[7 things to do in Egypt during Eid El-Adha ]]>
Between bazaars, North Coast events and adventurous trips in Dahab, we’ve got you covered.

Chill O'posite Festival 2018 in Dahab

If you can manage to get out of crowded Cairo and haven’t yet visited Dahab, then get moving because you definitely don’t want to miss this music festival that will be held from Aug. 22 to 25.

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Not only will you get to hear music made by international guests and MENA artists, you’ll also get to visit a variety of places such as the Sheikh Ali Resort Pool, Totta Downtown Dahab and Wadi Al Twailat.

You can check details regarding accommodation and packages via https://www.chillopositefestival.com/tickets

North Beach Event by Emaar Misr at Marassi
From a live performance by Mahmoud El Esseily to glitter face painting, Marassi is going all out this Friday with a carnival from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

marassi

So instead of just sunbathing by the beach, why not do it with glitter on your face, music in your ears and an acrobatics show for entertainment!

‘The Egyptian Jazz Projekt’ at Salt Beach & Restobar

For all you jazz fans looking to kick-start Eid with some nostalgia, head straight to the Salt Beach & Restobar on Aug. 17 at 11:30 p.m. and enjoy the night ahead of you with great music and a definite better weather forecast than Cairo.

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‘Run to Eid’ by Active Go

Instead of spending Eid shopping or relaxing by the beach, put those running shoes on and go for a family run.

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This 5-kilometer run that will take place in Maadi on Aug. 17 needs you to be an early riser because the meeting point is in front of Family Cinema at 7 a.m. For those of you who want to participate but aren’t used to doing sports regularly, there will be a fitness exercise before the run to get everyone started.

Pre-Eid Bazaar at Tivoli Dome

Feel more like shopping, redecorating your house and perhaps introducing your jewelry box to a new pair of earrings?

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Tivoli Dome in Heliopolis will be holding a pre-Eid bazaar hosted by Egy Bazaar, alongside a festival and performance, with loads of jewelry to choose from on display, starting Aug. 16 to Aug. 17.

147th Rove in Dahab

This Eid trip, organized by Rove Egypt, is all about getting adventurous! From the Aug. 21-25, you’ll be snorkeling, enjoying Bedouin night, strolling at the Friday market and stargazing at the campfire.

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Eid El Adha in Marsa Alam

Already been to Dahab and looking for a different adventure this time? Eid El Adha in Marsa Alam, hosted by Desert Adventures Egypt, is from Aug. 21-25.

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From snorkeling to boat trips, this adventure will help give your mind a break from the city life in Cairo.
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8/16/2018 1:25:11 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Red Sea boasts thousands of tourists in July]]>
Official statistics issued by the Red Sea governorate showed that the number of tourists who visited the cities of the Red Sea in July reached 505,710 tourists, an increase of more than 130,000 tourists compared to June.

This number includes 125,141 tourists from Germany, 106,731 from Egypt, 36,000 from the Czech Republic, 24,000 from Poland, 24,000 from Britain, 17,000 from Ukraine, 16,500 from the Netherlands, 13,000 from Austria, 12,800 from Belgium, 12,000 from Slovakia, 11,000 from Belarus, 10,700 from Italy, 8,700 from France, and 8,000 from Switzerland.

Hotel occupancy in the Red Sea also increased in July to 74 percent up from 63 percent in June. It came as follows: 73.72 percent in Hurghada, 77.98 percent in Safaga, 60.56 percent in El Qoseir, and 73.63 percent in Marsa Alam.

British Thomas Cook, a tourism and aviation company, said that British tourism to Egypt has been seeing a massive boost thanks to the renewed faith in the country’s political security and stability since the beginning of this year.

Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat said earlier that the number of tourists visiting Egypt jumped by 30 percent during the first quarter of 2018 compared to last year. Tourism revenues also achieved an 83.3 percent surge in the first quarter of 2018.
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8/15/2018 11:35:58 AM
<![CDATA[In pics: Darb Sinai: the longest walking path in Egypt]]>
Darb Sinai starts from Aqaba Gulf to the heights of St. Catherine, giving travelers the chance to see the best natural scenery in Egypt. It is considered a top tourist attraction with its heights and sandy dunes.

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Amidst this charming nature, it takes two weeks of walking through the mountains to discover the Bedouin life and its details which begin with breakfast and end up with sleeping under the moonlight. For those who are interested in medicinal and aromatic plants, there are 472 plant species to explore in St. Catherine.

Darb Sinai was one of the most important topics discussed by Minister of Tourism Rania el-Mashat with Amr Samra, the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest.

Samra suggested some ideas to boost tourism in Darb Sinai, explaining that Darb Sinai is the first long walk in Egypt.

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Mashat welcomed the ideas presented by Samra, noting that the ministry is ready to cooperate with him to implement these ideas in the future.

Samra added that the Wanderlust magazine described Darb Sinai as the best natural path in the world.

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8/14/2018 4:39:03 PM
<![CDATA[Cyclists take on "land of a thousand hills" in Tour du Rwanda]]>
That earned the 20-year-old $2,000 in prize money and made him the youngest winner of the contest that the tiny central African nation hopes will make a mark on the global professional cycling map.

Near neighbours Ethiopia and Kenya have produced scores of long-distance runners who regularly dominate the world’s top athletics contests. Rwanda wants its Tour and band of riders to make its name in another endurance sport.

Local competitors have now won the Tour du Rwanda five years running, beating a growing roster of international challengers.

This time, cyclists from a dozen other countries including France, South Africa and the United States rode through the “land of a thousand hills”, cheered on through villages, towns and farms by large crowds. Sixty riders finished according to the race results.

“You get a lot of spectators in every part of the race, so that makes it really special,” said Spanish rider David Lozano from Team Novo Nordisk after winning stage seven on Saturday.

The government says it plans to push the sport further by sponsoring the eight-stage Tour, now in its 10th year, and by exempting imported professional bicycles from taxes. One target is to get its riders into the Tour de France, the pinnacle of competitive cycling.

Organisers says next year’s Rwandan Tour will be upgraded by professional cycling’s governing body (UCI) to the 2.1 road race category, enabling it to host even more international competitors.

“Rwanda (will) host big teams, world teams, those who are in big races in Europe. It means that in the presence of those teams, Rwanda will be on the map of cycling,” said Aimable Bayingana, President of the Rwanda Cycling Federation.

“It’s very important because it attracts many people to visit our country,” said Thompson Mushimiyimana, one of the fans who watched the tour pass through the Northern Province of Musanze over the weekend.

Tourism is the biggest foreign exchange earner in the country, which is trying to lay to rest memories of a 1994 genocide in which 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by ethnic Hutu extremists.
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8/13/2018 5:32:34 PM
<![CDATA[ Tourists enjoy kiteboarding in Hurghada]]>
Ahmed El-Sayegh, an owner of a kitesurfing center, said that tourists coming from all over the world especially Europeans, are passionate about this sport. He asserted that nearly half of tourists who visit these places in Hurghada come to play this sport.

Ashraf Emam, a kitesurfing trainer, said that kitesurfing competitions require competitors to show skills and perform a number of professional acts using their boards in a given period of time.

A number of referees observe and evaluate the competitor’s performance. Another form of these competitions requires competitors to surf between two gates; the one to reach the finish line first wins.

While kitesurfing competitions are held in different parts in the world including France, Spain and the Canary Islands, Egypt organized a kitesurfing competition with the participation of 50 Egyptian and foreigner players in March 2016.

In 2017, the Red Sea governorate’s Marsa Alam hosted another kitesurfing competition with 85 participants, with the aim of refreshing tourism.

Tourism in Egypt

Eight years ago, more than 14.7 million tourists arrived in Egypt, while Paris attracted only 8.2 visitors in the same year of 2010.

In 2015, the tourism industry witnessed another hit when a Russian plane was shot in the Sinai Peninsula in a terrorist attack claimed to be carried out by ISIS elements. As a result, tourism flow fell to its lowest number to reach only 4.8 million.

Three years later, Russian flights to Egypt resumed and the country restored its peace and order. Indications reveal that Egypt will welcome more than 8.3 million visitors in the current year.

Additional reporting by Nawal Sayed
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8/12/2018 11:27:29 AM
<![CDATA[In pics: Arish beaches: low-cost refuge from hot weather]]>
Mahmoud Abel Rahman, a resident of Al-Arish, told Egypt Today that the beach is the only place one can go to escape the hot weather; his children also enjoy going to the beach and swimming. He is keen to breathe fresh air free of dust on the beach every day, as advised by his mother.

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Salim Sabeh, director of Tourism Department, North Sinai Governorate, said that the people of Al-Arish city this year have been flocking to the beach heavily, adding that the most important characteristic of Al-Arish beaches is the corniche, which extends along the beach.

“At present, many people are suffering from the lack of ability and cannot afford to rent chairs or umbrellas as well as exploit the owners of private beaches. So, they resort to the beaches of Al-Arish because of their appropriate prices through the service projects provided by the government to people; these service projects include open beaches for people at affordable prices,” Ismail said.

Sameha Farag, a housewife, also pointed out that from time to time she goes to the beach in the afternoon out of the stress of life and difficult conditions in the area of their residence in the neighborhood of Safa, south of Arish.

“There are no public parks for our children so the beach is our only entertainment place in North Sinai,” she added.

Al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai, is characterized by the spread of five-star hotels overlooking the sea coast directly and the cafeterias are spread along the sea coast to welcome the holidaymakers.

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8/11/2018 3:03:47 PM
<![CDATA[TUI likely to plump for larger variant of 737 MAX plane]]>
TUI stuck to its guidance for underlying earnings to rise at least 10 percent at constant currency this year, but its chief executive warned not to expect results to come in higher than that, sending its shares down 9 percent.

“I would be a little bit cautious this year...We have good visibility of at least 10 percent but to caution that there will not be a massive outperformance on top of 10 percent,” TUI Chief Executive Fritz Joussen told reporters after the company reported third-quarter results.

Last year, TUI exceeded its guidance for growth in core earnings (EBITA) of at least 10 percent when the figure came in at 12 percent.

But the warmer than average weather across its main customer base in northern Europe made outperformance “a little bit less likely” said the CEO. Hot weather means fewer people fly south to the Mediterranean in search of summer sun.

“Tourism companies don’t usually like it when it’s hot, and it is hot. People want to go on holiday when it rains,” Joussen said.

Thomas Cook last week said profit would come in at the lower end of expectations after the summer heatwave kept holidaymakers from booking last-minute trips overseas.

TUI's stock was down 9.4 percent to 1434 pence at 0820 GMT, making the company the top faller on Britain's bluechip index .FTSE.

“Various moving parts including soft UK/France trading and a one-off airline disruption impact in the third quarter indicate some small downside risk to company consensus constant currency earnings of around 11 percent,” Barclays analysts said.

For the third quarter, TUI reported underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation down 7.4 percent at 205.1 million euros ($238.1 million). The company tends to make the bulk of its profit in its final quarter when many northern Europeans go on holiday.

TUI, whose customers come from Britain, Germany and Scandinavia, could face disruption next year if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal. The company said it was prepared should that happen.

“If you don’t know, you prepare for the worst case scenario. That is our duty as a company,” Joussen said.

“Are we ready if it happens? Yes.”

Asked for examples of what those preparations entail, Joussen declined to go into detail.

“The list is long...you’re talking about people customers, everything is involved,” he said.]]>
8/9/2018 2:58:29 PM
<![CDATA[311 African pilgrims arrive to Cairo Airport to travel for Hajj]]>
Public relations teams of EgyptAir were dedicated to end the flight measures for African pilgrims and provide them with services, according to a source at the airport.

In the same context, 352 Palestinians have arrived to Cairo Airport’s seasonal hall to travel to Saudi Arabia and perform Hajj.

Cairo International Airport will operate on Wednesday 24 flights to transfer 5400 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, of which 13 flights will be operated to Jeddah until August 12 for the travel of 3,321 Palestinian pilgrims.

Additionally, EgyptAir operated 17 flights on Saturday to carry 3,675 Egyptian Muslims to Saudi Arabia's Mecca for performing the pilgrimage ritual (Hajj) which is due to start in the third week of August.

Nine flights were scheduled to fly from Cairo and SharmEl-Sheikh to Jeddah, while eight others were set to leave for Medina, stated MENA news agency on Saturday.

It is scheduled that a total of 325 flights will carry 62,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, including pilgrims from Mali and Palestine for the 2018 Hajj season.

EgyptAir began operating flights of pilgrims from South and North Sinai to Jeddah as of Wednesday. The first flight to Medina took off Thursday, carrying pilgrims from Giza and Port Said, according to the chairman of EgyptAir.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered opening the Rafah Border Crossing in order to ease the travelling procedures for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip seeking to travel to Mecca for Hajj.

The president ordered opening the gates on Saturday, August 4 until Tuesday, August 7.

Three thousand Palestinians were able to pass through the border in Rafah and reach Cairo International Airport to travel to Saudi Arabia and perform the upcoming Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina.

This step was taken by the Egyptian side in order to support residents of the Gaza strip.
The hajj, a five-day ritual which retraces the journey of Prophet Mohammad that took place 14 centuries ago, is a religious duty that should be carried out once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

It is the world's largest annual Muslim gathering, with over 2.3 million people attending this year. The faithful come from nearly every country in the world, speaking dozens of languages and sometimes practicing Islam in different ways based on local customs or traditions.

Millions of Muslims from around the world travel to Mecca every year. Saudi authorities said more than 2 million Muslims participated in 2017’s hajj season.

Additional report by Rehab Ismail
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8/8/2018 11:40:11 AM
<![CDATA[Pics: Egyptian in Red Sea resort town charms snakes to sleep]]>
Refaie, who has been charming snakes for the past five years, says the reptiles have become closer to him than some of his human friends.

“The world of snakes is vast, the trainer must learn the secrets of hunting and capturing snakes ... if he is not knowledgeable he could be exposed to deadly venom at any moment,” he said.

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Amier El Refaie dances and sways with a cobra during his show at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt July 13, 2018. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Refaie holds each snake by the tail and gently swings it back, forth and sideways to soft Indian music. Then he looks directly into its eyes before touching its head with his forehead and laying it on the ground.

The 29-year-old has more than 13 snakes and hopes that snake charming could become a growth industry in Egypt, where tourism is slowly picking up after years of downturn caused by political turmoil and attacks by Islamist militants.

Beaches and dive sites around Sharm el-Sheikh once attracted around one fourth of the tourists who visited Egypt before a 2011 uprising scared visitors away.

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Amr El Refaie makes a cobra fall asleep during his show in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt July 13, 2018. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

The tourism industry, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, has gradually recovered in recent months, with revenues up about $1 billion in the first three months of 2018, a boon for thousands of workers like Refaie whose wages depend on the flow of visitors.

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An Egyptian man looks on, while a cobra of AmierEl Refaie (R) is around his neck during a show in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt July 13, 2018. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

“I hope Egypt can host international shows, where I will not be the only one doing this beautiful work ... It can attract more tourism still as I’ve seen in the last period how much visitors to Sharm El Sheikh love this show,” Refaie said.

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8/7/2018 3:25:24 PM
<![CDATA[Morocco’s ancient Roman city of Volubilis rises again]]>
After decades of decay, however, custodians of the now closely guarded ancient city have turned the page and are bringing back the tourists.

The site, nestled among olive groves near the city of Meknes, boasts a new museum and visitor center and has been attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.

They stroll along the main artery lined with porticoes and the remnants of vast mansions, whose mosaic floors testify to a prosperous past.

A triumphal arch, a classic symbol of Roman architecture, sits at the top of what once was the main compound.

Known in Arabic as "Oualili," the city was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

The ancient city has "known several civilizations, from the Mauritanian era to the Romans through the Islamic period," according to Mohamed Alilou, topographer and assistant conservator of the site.

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After decades of looting and decay, custodians of the now closely guarded ancient city are turning the page and attracting back tourists. Fadel Senna/AFP

Volubilis was founded in the third century BC by a Moorish community, before being annexed by the Roman Empire in 42 AD.

At its peak, it would have counted up to 15,000 inhabitants.

Threatened by civil wars across the empire, the Romans evacuated the city in 285. It didn't regain its splendor until the arrival of Arab conquerors in the seventh century.

In the eighth century when the Idrisid dynasty erected the city of Fez as its new capital, Volubilis fell once more into disuse.

Bacchus gone missing

At the end of the 17th century, Sultan Moulay Ismail sent thousands of slaves to plunder Volubilis's marble columns for the construction of his palace in Meknes.

"On the track leading from Volubilis to Meknes, we found capitals [of columns] abandoned by slaves, who fled when they learnt that Moulay Ismail was dead," said Alilou, who has been watching over the site for more than 30 years.

Excavations at Volubilis began in 1915, along with research programs and restoration work.

But renewed interest in the site brought with it looting, especially during the period of French colonial rule from 1912 to 1956.

One particularly striking case in 1982 made headlines when a marble statue of Bacchus—the Roman god of wine—disappeared.

In a desperate bid to find the relic, King Hassan II dispatched gendarmes who "interrogated, abused and beat" peasants who "didn't know Bacchus from Adam and Eve," according to Moroccan press reports.

The effort was in vain and the statue was never found.

"The people here are still traumatized," said a resident of nearby Moulay Driss Zerhoun.

Moroccan media frequently warn that the country's heritage—archeological finds, mosaics and ancient coins—is being looted.

But in Volubilis, Alilou says that looting is a thing of the past.

Today "the site is fenced off and well guarded," he said. "We have a team of 14 guards who work day and night, cameras are everywhere."

Mustafa Atki, another Volubilis conservator, said the whole issue of looting was "sometimes exaggerated."

Since the opening of its museum in 2013, the ancient city has attracted several hundred thousand visitors a year.

"In 2017, for the first time we past the 300,000 mark," said Atki.

Alilou said the ancient city covering 42 acres (17 hectares) has yet to reveal all of its secrets.

"A third of the site, especially the western quarter built in the Islamic era, has not been excavated," he said.

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8/6/2018 1:21:35 PM
<![CDATA[Aswan to be converted into international tourist hub soon]]>
Hegazy stated that the executive departments in the governorate are aiming to develop the city in an effort to solidify the beautiful city’s previous leading status among the numerous touristic hotspots around the world.

The governor expressed his previous statements during the convention held on Saturday with the governorate’s officials, where he urged officials working on the project to intensify their efforts in order to develop the city according to international touristic standards.

Aswan is just north of the Aswan Dams lying on the east bank of the Nile. The city is known for its hot desert climate that can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius during the summer. The climate drops and becomes moderate and beautiful during spring and winter. Many tourists from Europe, USA, Canada and Asia love to visit Aswan during the winter because of its magnificent moderate climate, escaping the freezing climates of their own homes.

The ancient city of Aswan is the portrayal of the strong Nubian culture that influences numerous areas south of Egypt.

Tourists in Aswan usually enjoy a Felucca ride on the Nile while they gather together and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery that surrounds.

Day tours are very common in Aswan. Philae Temple and Obelisk is a common day tour destination. The prices are usually affordable for most visitors and a beautiful day can be enjoyed with friends or family for a reasonable price.

Families, friends and solo travelers can enjoy a classy lunch while the boat cruises the Nile in Aswan in a very enjoyable and memorable experience.

Elephantine Island is one of Aswan’s major hotspots. Colorful mud-brick houses surround the area giving it a unique vibe. Aswan Museum lies in the southern end of the island.

Nubian Village Elephantine Island cc via en.wikipedia.org
Nubian Villa in Elephantine Island - cc via en.wikipedia.org

Ruins of Abu is Aswan’s most ancient settlement. It consists of the Old kingdom Temple of Khnum and the Temple of Satet.

Moreover, Aswan’s “Nilometer” lies near the ruins. It was used by ancient Egyptians to measure the Nile’s water level at a certain point during the year to further estimate the height of the annual flood and hence predict the result of their harvest beforehand.

The north part of the Island is also a must visit, especially the villages Koti and Siou. The houses in both villages are painted in colorful and very vibrant colors. Farmers in both villages attend to their farms until this day, which has been their family’s main source of income for generations.

The exotic property that was once owned by Lord Kitchener; Aswan Botanical Gardens can still be visited. Lord Kitchener transformed the place into a floral garden of exotic plants mixed from Asia and Africa.

Aswan Botanical Garden cc via en.wikipedia.org
Aswan Botanical Garden - cc via: en.wikipedia.org

In addition to that, The Nubian Museum in Aswan is one of Egypt’s most significant monuments for history enthusiasts to visit. The museum portrays the ancient and modern Nubian culture.

Just outside of Aswan, 12 kilometers to be precise, lies Philae Temple, also known as Temple of Isis which is one of Egypt’s most beautiful monuments. The temple has a unique architecture and illustrates exquisite artistry. Even though not within the city’s boundaries, a visit to the temple is considered by most visitors for its beautiful design and the history it offers.

Moreover, Aswan’s Notherern Quarry hosts the notorious unfinished Obelisk. The stone is estimated to be a 41-meter-long and weighs 1,168 tons if completed. The reason for abandoning the stone is unclear until today, while many believe the stone was abandoned because of a huge crack in its body.

Aswan’s High Dam was one of Egypt’s most controversial projects in the country’s modern history that caused political havoc at the time of its completion during the early seventies. The works in building the dam begun in 1960 and took 11 years to be completed. The dam was President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s project and greatest achievement which was funded and supported by the Soviet Union during the 60’s.

Furthermore, the Monastery of St. Simon is also a great destination to visit in Aswan. It lies on the golden sand dunes of the Nile’s West Bank. The monastery is one of Egypt’s largest Coptic monasteries and was found in the 7th century.

In addition, Tombs of the Nobles is a beautiful series of rock tombs located at the West Bank’s cliffs. During the old and middle kingdoms in ancient Egypt, Elephantine Island’s governors, priests and other elites were buried there.

Last but not least, Kalabsha Temple, Aga Khan Mausoleum, Old Cataract Hotel and the Western Quarry (Gebal Simaan) are all unique places residing in the ancient and beautiful city of Aswan South of Egypt.

The government’s efforts to convert Aswan into a modern, exquisite and international touristic city is a step deeply anticipated by the Egyptians, especially those residing in south Egypt to improve and convert the region into a touristic destination which meets international touristic standards, hence providing the locals with new job opportunities and refresh the city’s economy.




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8/5/2018 5:28:59 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir operates 17 flights to carry 3.6K pilgrims to Jeddah, Medina]]>
Nine flights are scheduled to fly from Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh to Jeddah, while eight others will leave for Medina, stated the state-owned news agency MENA on Saturday.

It is scheduled that a total of 325 flights will carry 62,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, including pilgrims from Mali and Palestine for the 2018 Hajj season.

EgyptAir began operating flights the pilgrims as of Wednesday, when pilgrims from both North and South Sinai arrived Jeddah International Airport. However, the first flight to Medina took off Thursday, carrying pilgrims from Giza and Port Said governorates, according to chairman of the national carrier company Sherif Ezzat.

The hajj, a five-day ritual which retraces the journey of Prophet Mohammad that took place 14 centuries ago, is a religious duty that should be carried out once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

It is the world's largest annual Muslim gathering, with over 2.3 million people attending this year. The faithful come from nearly every country in the world, speaking dozens of languages and sometimes practicing Islam in different ways based on local customs or traditions. ]]>
8/4/2018 12:07:22 PM
<![CDATA[New airport to be established in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital]]>
He announced in Thursday statements to media outlets that he agreed with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on establishing this new airport which is expected to be larger and wider than Cairo International Airport, with all the needed facilities attached to guarantee passengers’ comfort.

Currently, experts are working on choosing the most suitable place within the capital for establishing the new airport. Masry affirmed that this new airport will aim to link most of Egypt’s governorates and achieve a wide average of passenger traffic.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has laid the first stone of the New Administrative Capital in East Cairo in October 2017. With an area of 170,000 feddans , the new capital will include 20 residential areas expected to accommodate 6.5 million people and a road network 650 km in length. The capital was planned to include an international airport and an electric train to link it with the 10th of Ramadan and El-Salam cities.

It will feature 1,250 mosques and churches, a 5,000-seat conference center, nearly 2,000 schools and colleges, over 600 medical facilities, and a park that is projected to be the world’s largest.

The New Administrative Capital is located in the area between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, east of the regional ring road. This is roughly 60km from the cities of Suez and Ain Sokhna.

The new capital is planned to be a sustainable city, housing the ministries, parliament, Egyptian Media Production City, presidential palaces, and embassies.

Twenty-five public and private construction companies have been mandated to carry out the infrastructure projects and build the residential neighborhoods of the new capital, while the army is only responsible for managing the project.

The company provided about 170,000 jobs in the construction operations and the coming phases of the project will require more workers, stressing that the state treasury does not bear the burden of financing any phase of the project.

Housing prices in Cairo will decline significantly in the coming years because of the rise of supply in the market after completing the construction of the planned 350,000 housing units in the capital.

The New Administrative Capital Company is 51% owned by the armed forces and 49% by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA). The paid-up capital of the company amounts to EGP 20bn, including contributions from the armed forces and NUCA, and the authorized capital is EGP 204bn.

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8/3/2018 12:23:45 PM
<![CDATA[Eiffel Tower shut in dispute over 'monstrous' queues]]>
Access to the monument, which welcomed more than six million visitors last year, was blocked from 2 p.m. GMT, according to a sign at the base of the tower.

Staff had already been set to strike on Thursday.

The site's management said staff took action after talks with unions fell apart earlier Wednesday afternoon. The site was not evacuated, and tourists already inside were allowed to finish their visit.

Staff are angry over a decision last month to start setting aside half of the Eiffel Tower's daily tickets for people who buy them online in advance and choose a scheduled time for their visit.

Previously just 20 percent of tickets to go up the 324-meter "Iron Lady" could be booked ahead of time.

The tower's management has also started reserving specific elevators for each type of ticket holder, a move that "creates lines that are at times monstruous and often lopsided," the CGT union said.

During off-peak times for pre-booked tickets, such as the early afternoon, the reserved elevator might be half empty -- despite lines of up to three hours at the elevator for walk-ins.

And high demand at the pre-booked elevator can cause backups that force people to wait long beyond their scheduled visit.

"Employees' patience has run out," the CGT's Denis Vavassori said on Monday, adding that many visitors were unhappy with the long waits.

Staff want all the elevators to be available to all visitors, no matter what kind of ticket they have bought.

SETE, the company which runs the site, says it sells 10,000 online tickets for the tower every day and that "the waiting time is very short".

"For visitors who come without tickets, the waiting time at the checkouts at the foot of the Eiffel Tower is exactly the same as last year, while the number of visitors has increased," it insisted.

The tower has been hit by repeated strikes by its 300-strong staff in recent years over issues ranging from pick-pocketing to maintenance work.
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8/2/2018 11:28:23 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir to operate flights to carry 50K pilgrims ]]>
Chairman of the national carrier company Sherif Ezzat said that the company is scheduled to fly pilgrims from both North and South Sinai to Jeddan International Airport on Wednesday, while the first flight to Medina will take off Thursday carrying pilgrims from Giza and Port Said governorates.

The hajj, a five-day ritual which retraces the journey of Prophet Mohammad that took place 14 centuries ago, is a religious duty that should be carried out once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

It is the world's largest annual Muslim gathering, with over 2.3 million people attending this year. The faithful come from nearly every country in the world, speaking dozens of languages and sometimes practicing Islam in different ways based on local customs or traditions.
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8/1/2018 11:09:10 AM
<![CDATA[Chile to restrict tourists and non-locals on Easter Island]]>
Despite its isolated location some 3,500 kilometers from the coast of Chile, the island is a popular tourist destination, not least due to its remarkable collection of around 900 tall human figures with distinctive features and standing up to 10 meters tall.

However, it is those very tourists, alongside mainland migrants, who have become a threat to the island's well-being. Chile, which annexed the territory in 1888, has decided to act.

In 2007, Easter Island was designated a special territory while back in March, congress voted to limit the number of tourists and foreign or mainland residents allowed on the island, and the time they're allowed to stay.

As of Wednesday, new rules will come into effect that reduce the time tourists – Chileans not part of the Rapa Nui people and foreigners – can stay on the island from 90 to 30 days.

"Foreigners are already taking over the island," Mayor Pedro Edmunds told AFP.

At the last census in 2017, there were 7,750 people living on Easter Island, almost double the population of a few decades ago, before the island was hit by a tourism boom and the real estate development that accompanied it.

Edmunds says that number is 3,000 "too many."

"They're damaging the local idiosyncrasy, the thousand-year culture is changing and not for the good," he added, saying that "customs from the continent" were infiltrating the island and "that's not positive."

Crime and domestic violence figures are also rising.

It's not just obnoxious people from the mainland causing problems, though – the increase in tourism is harming the environment.

All basic services are straining under the pressure, not least waste management, Ana Maria Gutierrez, the local government's environmental adviser told AFP.

A decade ago the island generated 1.4 tons of waste per year per inhabitant, but that figure has almost doubled to 2.5 tons today, with a population that recycles very little.

"Environmentally the island is very fragile," Gutierrez said.

The new laws, however, impose stricter rules on those who wish to live on the island, amongst them a requirement to be related to someone from the Rapa Nui people: either a parent, partner or child.

Others who will be allowed to stay are public servants, employees of organizations that provide services to the government, and those who develop an independent economic activity alongside their families.

On arrival, tourists must present their hotel reservation or an invitation from a resident.

The rules will also establish a yet-to-be-decided maximum capacity.

But Edmunds isn't happy, as he feels the rules don't go far enough to protect the island's culture, heritage and singularity.

"I don't agree with these rules, it's not enough because it doesn't reflect all the aspirations of the island," he said, admitting that like "many other Rapa Nui" he favors a "total" ban on the arrival of new residents.

However, he said the legislation was at least "a good start."

Rapa Nui are a Polynesian people closely related to those on Tahiti, whereas the majority of Chileans have European ancestry, with a minority of indigenous peoples.
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7/30/2018 6:07:43 PM
<![CDATA[Armenia's newest tourist site has amazing back story]]>
Their one-storey house in the village of Arinj outside the capital Yerevan may not look like much but today it brings in visitors from all over the globe after a 23-year labour of love by Tosya's late husband, Levon Arakelyan.

They come to see a twisting network of subterranean caves and tunnels known as "Levon's divine underground."

In the cold and quiet, Tosya leads tourists through corridors that connect seven chambers adorned with Romanesque columns and ornaments like those on the facades of medieval Armenian churches.

"Once he started digging, it was impossible to stop him," she said of the project that began in 1995. "I wrangled with him a lot, but he became obsessed with his plan."

A builder by training, Levon would toil for 18 hours a day -- only pausing to take a quick nap and then rush back to the cave, confident that he was being guided "by heaven".

"He never drew up plans and used to tell us that he sees in his dreams what to do next," his widow told AFP.

Over more than two decades he hammered out the 280-square-metre (3,000 square-foot) space, 21 metres deep into strata of volcanic rocks -- only using hand tools.

"My primary childhood recollection is the loud knock of my father's hammer heard at night from the cave," said his 44-year-old daughter Araksya.

At the start he had to break through a surface layer of black basalt, but at the depth of a few metres Levon reached much softer tufa stone and the work progressed.

He pulled out 600 truckloads of rocks and earth, using only hand-held buckets.

Levon died in 2008 at the age of 67 from a heart attack after destroying the last wall that separated two tunnels.

- 'Amazing place' -

A decade on from the project's completion, Tosya also runs a small museum commemorating her husband's work in the village of some 6,000 people.

The underground complex has several analogues in the world.

An eccentric man named William Henry "Burro" Schmidt spent more than three decades digging a half-a-mile tunnel to transport gold through a granite mountain in California, beginning his work in the early 1900s during the state's gold rush.

In Ethiopia a man named Aba Defar began carving churches on a mountainside after claiming divine inspiration from years of dreams.

Today the Armenian cave features prominently in travel brochures, regularly drawing busloads of visitors.

Milad, a 29-year-old Iranian tourist, called the maze an "amazing place".

He said it made him realise just "how boundless the spiritual and physical capabilities of a person can be".
]]>
7/29/2018 4:47:15 PM
<![CDATA[Spain moves to defend rights of tourism's "21st-century slaves"]]>
Cleaners, whose plight has become emblematic of the inequalities enduring in Spain even after the economy rebounded from a deep recession, will now be the first to benefit from changes to labour laws by the two month-old government of Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez.

For Maria del Mar Jimenez, one of the women known as "Kellys", from the Spanish "las que limpian" ("the women who clean"), change cannot come fast enough.

"I live it first-hand. We are 21st century slaves," said the 56 year-old who cleans in a five-star Madrid hotel, describing the constant muscle pain she feels after three decades of work.

As Spain flourished to become the world's second most visited country, and income per hotel room jumped 9.5 percent last year, Jimenez says she and her colleagues ended up having to clean more than 24 rooms a day.

"When the 35 year-olds are my age, what state will their backs be in? They will have arthritis and breathing problems that ruin their lives," she said.

As many Spaniards prepared to pack for their summer holidays, the government pledged on Friday to invest 30 million euros ($35 million) to hire 833 new labour inspectors to uncover abuses of contracts and failures to pay employees.

Prime Minister Sanchez says he is righting the perceived wrongs in labour reforms introduced by his vanquished conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy, as part of a broad social agenda aimed at appealing to disillusioned left-wing voters.

Austerity-minded Rajoy was criticised by unions for weakening workers' rights with the 2012 labour law, adopted during the darkest period of an economic crisis that left deep scars on the euro zone's fourth-largest economy.

"Our aim is to reinstate workers' rights that were lost during the crisis," Labour Minister Magdalena Valerio told a news conference. "The government is going to push for dignified and decent employment."

But Sanchez's administration has not said it plans to repeal the 2012 law, and, even with the planned changes, hoteliers will still be able to outsource the hiring of cleaners, a factor which unions say contributes to their precarious position.

Jimenez said it was too soon to celebrate.

"We are hopeful, because the minister said she was going to do something, and hope is all we Kellys have left." ($1 = 0.8581 euros).]]>
7/28/2018 1:50:37 PM
<![CDATA[Direct Charter flights between Madrid, Aswan re-launched on Friday]]>
Eman Ishak, owner of a tourism company based in Aswan, said that the group includes 150 Spanish tourists arriving from Madrid. They are expected to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Nile, and to visit the sights and landmarks of Aswan, which is the traditional southern frontier of Egypt.

In pics: et reviews Nubian Museum in Aswan

CAIRO - 1 April 2018: The Nubian Museum is one of the most famous museums in Aswan City, Upper Egypt; it houses a number of museums and archaeological temples which attract tourists from around the world.




Egyptian and Spanish companies held negotiations to organize weekly charter flights between Madrid, Luxor and Aswan starting from July 2018.

The negotiations took place on the sideline of the Vitor International Tourism Fair, which was held in Madrid and participated by Spanish speaking countries from all over the world, according to Ali Ghoneim, manager of an Egyptian travel agency that participated in the fair.

Spanish travel agencies are interested in organizing tours to Egypt, in particular Luxor and Aswan. Also, an increasing number of Spanish tourists visited Egypt over the last few years, which has positively affected the Egyptian tourism industry, according to Mohamed Hassanein, president of Glaxia.

He added that there are around 23,400 tourists visiting Egypt in 2016 and 36,000 tourists in 2017, which highlights the rapid influx of Spanish visitors in Egypt.

It is expected that there will be a great promotional campaign organized by the Egyptian authority to attract Spanish tourists to Egypt.

Weekly charter flights from Madrid to Luxor, Aswan

Cairo - 20 January 2018: According to local news reports, Egyptian and Spanish companies held negotiations to organize weekly charter flights between Madrid, Luxor and Aswan starting from July 2018.




Aswan is located in southern Egypt; it is a great place to explore that country’s unique ancient history. Many places deserve visiting in the city, like the Tombs of the Nobles, Elephantine Island, the Botanical Garden, Abu Simbel Temples, Philae Temple and the Nubian Museum, according to Memphis Tours.

In pics: et reviews; Beauty of Nubian culture

CAIRO - 5 April 2018: From the first step into the Nubian Village, one feels comfortable and cheerful; the houses are decorated with beautiful, simple colors that are comfortable for the eyes. The Nubian civilization is undoubtedly an ancient civilization.




et reviews Philae Temple: The Legend of the Nile River

CAIRO - 3 April 2018: Philae Temple is one of the most beautiful places you can visit in Aswan, from the moment you set foot on the boat that will take you to Agilika Island, on which the temple is built. The temple is a true testament to the grandiosity and genius of the Pharaohs.





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Tourists in Aswan - Egypt/ File Photo



Mohamed Fawzy (2)
Tourists in Aswan - Egypt/ Mohamed Fawzy



Mohamed Fawzy (20)
Aswan / Mohamed Fawzy
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7/27/2018 2:12:26 PM
<![CDATA[Top 5 famous stories of Egypt’s sculptures within Cairo thoroughfares]]>
Here is a list of historical statues that you can see in Cairo governorate:

1 - Ibrahim Pasha:

Ibrahim pasha
The statue of Ibrahim Pasha on his horse at the Opera Square in CAIRO, Egypt on August 29, 2013 - CC via Wikimedia

The statue of Ibrahim pasha is located in the opera square. In 1872, khedive Ismail entrusted Charles Coedier -French sculptor- to build a statue for his father Ibrahim Pasha. Charels Coedier also painted two plates, describing the battles between Egypt and Turkey. However, Turkey intervened and refused to show these plates, as they represented their defeat against Egypt, hence, Coedier traveled to France with the two paintings.

In 1948, at the 100th death anniversary of Ibrahim pasha, the Egyptian authority tried to restore these paintings but failed. Therefore, the two Egyptian sculptors Ahmed Othman and Mansour Farg created two identical paintings and placed them on both sides of the statue.

In 1841, Ibrahim’s son Khedive Ismail took power after the wife of Soliman Pasha al-Faransawi poisoned Ibrahim Pasha.

In 1789, Ibrahim pasha was born in Greece. When Mohamed Ali took over the rule of Egypt, he summoned Ibrahim from Istanbul. During the period 1816-1819 Ibrahim succeeded in suppressing Wahhabi rebels.

In 1925, the statue of Ibrahim Pasha had been moved from El-Attaba square to Opera Square after July 23 revolution. The Opera Square was built during Khedive Ismail's era and its name was changed several times; it was known as Teatro Square, Opera Square, and then Ibrahim Pasha Square.

2- Talaat Harb statue:

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Talaat Harb statue-CC via Wikimedia

Talaat Harb Square was initially named Soliman Pasha Square- a French commander in the Egyptian army during Mohamed Ali era. In 1954, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser gave it the name Talaat Harb Square and transferred the statue of Soliman Pasha to the Military Museum.

In 1867, Mohamed Talaat Mohamed Harb was born in El-Gamalia, Cairo governorate. In early 1900s, Harb became a pioneer in the economy field; he played a huge role in reforming the Egyptian economy, detaching it from any colonial investments.

Talaat Harb established Banque Misr in 1920 with the concept of investing in national savings and directing them towards economic and social development. Therefore, he established Banque Misr, which became the first bank to be wholly owned by Egyptians.
The statue of Talaat Harb was sculptured by Fathy Mahmoud who was born in 1918 and graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts, Cairo University.

3- Saad Zaaghloul statue:

Saad_Zaghloul_statue
Saad Pasha Zaghloul statue, Alexandria, December 13, 2006 –CC via Wikimedia

The statue of Saad Zaghloul is located on Qasr El-Nile Bridge. In 1860, Zaghloul was born in Kafr el-Sheikh; he was considered one of the leaders of the 1919 revolution.

In 1924, Saad Zaghloul became prime minster after the Wafd Party won 90 percent of the Parliament seats. He was arrested several times for fomenting protests against the British occupation and he was exiled to Malta in March 1919.

In 1928, the Egyptian government entrusted sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar to sculpt a statue for Saad Zaghloul in front of Cairo’s Opera House.

4- Lazoghly Statue:

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Lazoghly Statue – CC via Wikimedia

Lazoghy statue lies at the intersection of Magles El- Ommah Street, Dawawin Street and khairat Street. In 1872, Egyptian authorities, during Mohamed Ali era, decided to erect statues of the most famous Egyptian dignitaries to commemorate their efforts, and one of these dignitaries was Lazoghly Pasha.

His real name is Mohamed Laz while the word Oghly means son. Some stories said that Lazoghly was the mastermind behind the famous massacre against Mamluks in the Citadel of Mohamed Ali.

Because lazoghy wasn’t interested in glorifying his name and achievements, the French sculptor Jack Mar couldn’t find any picture of him. Therefore, the sculptor asked one of Lazoghli’s friends to find a person who looked exactly like him; they found a man who was working in transporting water “Saqqa” to sculpture Lazoghy Pasha Statue.

In late 1800s, Lazoghly pasha came to Egypt and occupied several state positions during Mohamed Ali’s era such as the minister of finance, minster of defense and finally as prime minster for around 15 years.

5 - Mostafa Kamel statue:

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Mostafa Kamel statue, January 11, 2013 – CC via Wikimedia

The statue of Mostafa Kamel is located in Cairo's downtown. His statue was erected after his death in Europe -before the Second World War¬- by Leopold Savine, a French visual artist.

In August 1874, Mostafa Kamel was born in Cairo. Kamel was a prominent Egyptian figure, as he fought for Egypt's independence against the British occupation. Kamel was the son of an Egyptian army officer, and he studied law in Cairo University and in the University of Toulouse in France.

Even though he lived only 34 years, he left great marks in Egypt’s history. In 1900, Kamel founded Al-Liwa newspaper . He also revived the national liberation movement which had been suspended after the failure of the Urabi revolution, and British invasion of Egypt in 1882.

Kamel’s name is associated with the famous Dunshuay incident in 1906, when four Egyptian peasants were hanged by the British. He led a strong campaign worldwide against the atrocities of the British occupying forces. This campaign prompted many international figures to support the Egyptians' right to independence and also earned Kamel the love of all Egyptians.

One of his famous quotes was: “Had I not been an Egyptian, I would have wished to be Egyptian.”

In December 1907, Khedive Abbas II helped him to establish the National Party to counter the Ummah Party which was supported by the British, but Kamel died after a few months of the establishment of the National Party. His funeral was the occasion for a massive demonstration of popular grief.

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7/25/2018 1:46:34 PM
<![CDATA[Stable Egypt ready to welcome more tourists: Forbes]]>
Freelance traveler Allison Diliengro wrote in the Forbes about her experience during her latest trip to Egypt. She paid a visit to "the cradle of Civilization", as she described the country, in April to spend the spring, amid fears that her expectations were "too high."

Allison extolled the capital city of Cairo and its "passionate residents", and narrated the story of the popular January 25, 2011 Revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, the matter which affected tourism. "Today, the country is stable and ready to welcome travelers back," Allison noted.

Eight years ago, more than 14.7 million tourists arrived in Egypt, while Paris attracted only 8.2 visitors in the same year of 2010.

In 2015, the tourism industry witnessed another hit when a Russian plane was shot in the Sinai Peninsula in a terrorist attack claimed to be carried out by ISIS elements. As a result, the tourism flow fell to its lowest number to reach only 4.8 million.

Three years later, the Russian flights to Egypt resumed and the country restored its peace and order. Indications reveal that Egypt will welcome more than 8.3 million visitors in the current year.

Alison sang the praises of affordable hotels and accommodation costs in Egypt. "Five-star hotel rooms cost as little as $200 per night," she added.

She also paid a snap visit to the Upper city of Aswan where she went to the Elephantine Island with her husband and enjoyed her "favorite view in Egypt."

Egypt has been trying to tighten its finances and draw back investors and tourists who bring a huge amount of foreign currency to the country's treasury which has been tied to a three-year $12 billion IMF loan programme since late 2016.

The data showed that tourism revenues rose to $2.27 billion in the first quarter of 2018, from $1.256 billion in the same quarter a year ago, Reuters reported in April. Expatriate remittances increased to $6.46 billion from $5.78 billion.

Rania al-Mashat, minister of tourism, said that the number of tourists visiting Egypt has jumped by 30 percent during Q1 of 2018, compared to 2017. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported that the country has received at least 730,000 tourists in February 2018, achieving a 35 percent increase, compared to the same month of the previous year.

Meanwhile, a report recently released by STR global said that Egypt’s hotel occupancy rate for Q1 of the 2018-2019 fiscal year was at its highest since 2010. The report stated that the increase in occupancy rates hiked by 21.2 percent to reach 60.1 percent in Q1, with an increase in the average daily rate bringing in LE 1,292.

Tourists’ flow to Egypt has resumed and Egypt has restored its leading position again as the best tourism destination in the region, according to the French pioneering travel magazine TourMaG on Thursday.

Few days ago, a 20-year-old French magazine revealed the percentage of French tourists visiting Egypt in 2018 alone has increased to 146 percent. “Tourists no longer prefer going to Tunisia or Turkey only; Egypt is back in the competition again after years of instability,” the magazine added.

TourMaG revealed that “600,000 French tourists visited the land of the Pharaohs in 2010. But six years later, only 70,000 paid touristic visits to Egypt in 2016.”

“This increase in tourists’ numbers visiting Egypt is an outcome of the restoration of security, order and safety of travelers,” TourMaG explained.

One year ago, exactly on July 15, 2017, French Ambassador to Egypt Stephane Roumtier said in a press conference in Alexandria that “Egypt will witness an increase in the number of French tourists received in 2017.” ]]>
7/24/2018 4:47:03 PM
<![CDATA[Environment ministry launches campaign to clean Magawish Island in Red Sea]]>
The campaign is launched in coordination with Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA). Nearly 120 persons will participate in it. 

In statements on Tuesday, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said Magawish Island is one of Egypt's marine protectorates. In the coming days, cliff-nesting seabirds, especially gulls, will lay their eggs on the island, she noted. The gulls lay two or three speckled eggs in nests composed of vegetation. 

The campaign is part of Egypt's initiative "Red Sea Islands free from plastic", she said. It also falls within preparations for the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP 14), set for Sharm El Sheikh on November 17-29, the minister added. ]]>
7/24/2018 1:35:18 PM
<![CDATA[Tourists returning to majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe ]]>
The number of foreign visitors to Victoria Falls, the southern African country's flagship destination, jumped nearly 50% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2017, the tourism minister says.

Countrywide, arrivals rose by 15% to 554 417, according to treasury statistics.

Political and economic turmoil under longtime autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe had wrecked the sector, but authorities and tourism operators now believe the industry has a new lease of life.

Mugabe was ousted in November after a 37-year repressive rule during which tourists shunned the country, fearful of police demanding bribes, crumbling infrastructure and scarce fuel.

Cash was also in short supply from 2009, when hyperinflation forced Zimbabwe to abandon its own currency in favour of the US dollar.

We were in a closed period for a long time," admitted Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira, speaking ahead of key elections on July 30. "We closed ourselves in, doors were locked."

Since Emmerson Mnangagwa took over as president from Mugabe in a de facto coup last year, "we are poised for growth", the minister told AFP.

"There are good vibes from the industry and from the international world - everybody is so positive," she said.

With Zimbabwe's economy still in tatters, an influx of tourists is expected to help bring in desperately needed revenue, with the sector already contributing around 10% to GDP.

"It's a key pillar to our economy and a low-hanging fruit - we just have to get our act together," Mupfumira said.

But visiting Zimbabwe is generally more expensive compared with neighbouring countries.

Good feeling

"It is not a cheap holiday," said Ilan Wiesenbacher, a restaurateur in Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi River plunges over a gorge and raises a mist that can be seen more than 20km away.

"We have seen a steady rise in numbers," said Wiesenbacher, manager at the Three Monkeys restaurant. "There is a general good feeling around Zimbabwe and tourism."

Even in the traditional low season from January to March, craft beer brewer Jake Le Breton had more glasses to fill at his River Brewing Company bar in Victoria Falls.

"We have just come out of a quiet season... (but) it was a busy time with a higher number of tourists than we have seen in previous years," said Le Breton, adding that local hotels have been fully booked.

"The general sense in this country, especially from a tourist, is one of anticipation, one of excitement."

Lloyd Machaka, who operates Chikopokopo Flights helicopter tours over the Victoria Falls, has also seen more visitors from Malawi and the southern African region.

"Hopefully we will have more investors coming in to build more hotels, bigger hotels. We want more airlines coming here," said Machaka, standing by one of his helicopters.

'I feel very safe'

Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines now fly direct to Victoria Falls's smart new airport.

"I feel very safe, the people are welcoming. Getting the visa was really easy," said Canadian tourist Katelyn Pretzlaff.

French tourist Patrice Lehmann, who was visiting the Victoria Falls for the third time, said: "It's one of the most impressive things I have seen in my life."

Zimbabwe has also removed the notorious police roadblocks that had become a constant annoyance for motorists. Typically, drivers reluctantly paid bribes to evade long questioning over minor alleged offences.

"The issue of roadblocks - it was a disaster, a real problem," the minister admitted.

Authorities have launched an aggressive drive to "reassure the world that Zimbabwe is open for business, Zimbabwe is a safe, peaceful tourist destination," Mupfumira said.

Alongside "Vic Falls", the country's highlights include Lake Kariba, the vast game-filled national parks of Hwange and Mana Pools and the Eastern Highlands mountains.

Mnangagwa, a former ally of Mugabe, has vowed to hold a clean election next week as proof of the country's fresh start, but many critics say the same Zanu-PF party chiefs still call the shots.

Mnangagwa is the favourite to win, but any dispute or violence over a close result could spell a return to instability.
]]>
7/23/2018 4:38:19 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: 1st BelugaXL aircraft successfully completes its flight test]]>
The plane took off from France's Toulouse-Blagnac Airport and circled back.

The statement reported that the BelugaXL will fly for 600 hours to complete its flight test for more than ten months, before entering into actual service in 2019; pointing out that the BelugaXL aircraft carrier program was launched in November 2014.





“I am personally pleased with the strong response that our aircraft has received. We at Airbus have positive impressions of the future of our aircraft and we are always ready with the best solution. Airbus plans to build five such aircrafts by 2023,” Eric Schulz, chief of sales, marketing and contracts for Airbus said.

Airbus showed its products during its participation at the Farnese Aviation 2018, showing the strong performance of its commercial aircrafts which have achieved many successes, the statement reported.]]>
7/22/2018 2:19:03 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt seeks to declare Sharm El-Sheikh an environmentally friendly city]]>
This comes during the minister’s participation with her counterpart, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) minister Edna Molewa, in the side sessions of the Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Conventions at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.

During the session, the minister asserted that the African Environment Ministers support Egypt’s efforts to organize a conference on biological diversity at Sharm El-Sheikh next November as an international event representing the African continent.

“In coordination with the United Nations and Egypt, the ministry is working on recycling waste, using environmentally friendly technologies for renewable energies, and reusing water in Sharm El-Sheikh,” Foad added.

On the political side, the Ministry of Environment affirmed Egypt’s efforts to push sustainable development through a special initiative combining climate change with biodiversity and desertification, the statement reported.

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A tourist walks past empty sunbeds on a beach in Egypt – AFP

With regards to tourism at Sharm El-Sheikh, on April 21, 2018, Andrea Vento Viaggi, the representative of one of the biggest Italian tourism companies, affirmed that Italian tourists will return to Sinai in Sharm El-Sheikh in flocks during the summer.

Italian tourists ranked second before 2010 for the highest amount of tourists from one country visiting Sharm El-Sheikh, and it is expected that Italy will once again be on top during the next period, as there is continuous coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the governor of South Sinai, Viaggi said.

Italian tourism companies promote the sea-side Egyptian destination to attract more tourists, Andrea mentioned. The city of Sharm El-Sheikh is a prime destination for Italian tourists, in terms of elite hotel services, places of entertainment, weather, and prices.

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Tourists pictured returning from the beach in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on November 7, 2015 – AFP Photo/Mohamed El-Shahed

Additional Report with Rehab Ismail
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7/21/2018 4:06:25 PM
<![CDATA[Giza zoo to welcome baby giraffe ‘Sawsan’ within days]]>
Mohamed Ragaey, the head of the Central Zoological Department at the Zoo, said that a plan has been put to immunize the mother giraffe against viruses and bacteria to protect the baby during delivery, according to local news outlets.

The zoo are feeding the mother giraffe with nutritious meals of fruits, carrots, and leafy greens. The mother giraffe will be provided with special veterinary care throughout the day.

The Giza Zoo is the biggest animal park in the Middle East, and it was opened for the public in 1891 during the rule of Khedive Tawfiq. Many kinds of rare and endangered animals and birds live in the park and have successfully bred there.


The Zoological Museum, the first and largest of its kind in the Middle East, is located inside the zoo. It displays mummified animals from all over the region and Africa.

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The Zoological Museum inside the Giza Zoo – Best Places Egypt Facebook page

In January, the Giza Zoo received for the first time two Red Kangaroos coming from Slovakia.

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Red Kangaroo with Joey in Linton Zoo – CC via Flickr/Mrs Airwolfhound

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7/20/2018 12:09:19 PM
<![CDATA[From 'futuwwa' to an old man, what batons stand for in Qena]]>
Sabri Sayed, a 42-year-old batons salesman in Qena, said that he came to El Wekala area at a young age to sell his products to by-passers. He added that everyone needs batons; some people need them for support while walking, while others use them as a sign of prestige.

It is originally a weapon used for protection; its purposes developed with time. Batons are also used in carnivals and in Tahtib competitions (fighting art) during the Sidi Abdel-Rahim al-Qanai and Sidi Abu al-Hajjaj carnivals in Luxor, where two people compete using their batons. One competitor's baton shatters at the end, making the other contender a winner.

3Sabri Sayed selling batons in Qus, Qena - Egypt Today/Wael Mohammed

He pointed out that batons and sticks have many types and uses. There is the thin stick which is used by carriage riders or donkey and camel riders and it serves as a tool for guiding the camel or the donkey.

There is also the truncheon which is thicker and larger; helping elder people walk is among its many uses, while the young ones use it for defense purposes.

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Sabri Sayed selling batons in Qus, Qena - Egypt Today/Wael Mohammed

Sayed noted that most Qus residents carry the truncheon or the stick around with them.
The salesman concluded by saying that the prices of the batons and the sticks differ according to their types.

The sticks used by carriage and camel riders are the least expensive since they are small in size; their price doesn’t exceed LE 50. The batons used by elderly people cost about LE 70, while the ones used in Tahtib competitions costs between LE 100 - LE 150 as they come in various aesthetic designs.

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7/18/2018 2:01:02 PM
<![CDATA[573 expats to participate in ‘Your Vacation at Your Home Country’ initiative]]>
Meanwhile, the ministry will hold a meeting on Tuesday with young people who participated in the World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh to prepare for the initiative, discuss all the problems facing Egyptians abroad and to listen to their suggested solutions.

The initiative will be launched on Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Cairo at the headquarters of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics; an opening session followed by a number of workshops and a closing session will be held, all tackling expatriates' inquiries in the attendance of officials of various ministries.

Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram previously said that the initiative aims to promote the connection between Egyptians abroad and their homeland and attract their investments to participate in the development process.

The Ministry of Immigration has launched several initiatives in the last period to better communicate with Egyptian expats; such as the Roots Revival initiative, which came within the framework of a cooperation protocol signed by Egypt, Cyprus and Greece in December 2017.

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7/17/2018 3:42:49 PM
<![CDATA[After 1st Huge success locally & Internationally Glam Getways returns to Gouna]]>
According to Glam Getaways, the event was lunched for the first time last year on November 5 in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, and achieved all of its goals including promoting tourism through practicing Zumba.

According to its official website; GLAM Getaways is an exceptional multi-day international event in Egypt, which is open for all Zumba fans around the world. Glam Getaways, an initiative by Egyptian Zumba instructor Sally Salama, invites all Zumba® fans around the world to enjoy energetic workouts on the banks of the Nile with 15 international instructors, alongside Egyptian trainers.

The website added that GLAM is the first international event featuring Zumba Fitness Master Classes in Egypt aiming to help promote local tourism. It is also considered to be the first of its kind in the Middle East.

https://glamgetaways.me/



The event will be hosted for six days in Gouna, and only for two days in Cairo. Registration for the exceptional event was announced to be online through the following link: https://glamgetaways.me/registration/



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7/16/2018 10:36:23 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir operates new route to Hong Kong mid September]]>
Chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company Captain Ahmed Adel said the national carrier aims to open new markets in one of the important international cities, noting that the Far East market is a promising one for aviation movement.

The new route between Cairo and Hong Kong will launch as a twice-weekly service on Mondays and Fridays with a stop over in Bangkok, he added.

He also said Egyptair will fly its Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the route, which it configures with two classes.

EgyptAir also offers up to 25 discount to its customers on the first flight to Hong Kong on all classes. Tickets are currently available till the date of the flight.


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7/16/2018 2:14:59 PM
<![CDATA[Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa Appoints New General Manager ]]>
Florian Gruhl has 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry having started his career as a Trainee at Hilton Bonn in Germany in 2002. Gruhl ascended from Food & Beverage Supervisor to Food & Beverage Manager in both Europe and the Middle East before becoming Operations Manager at Hilton Salalah Resort in the Sultanate of Oman in 2012. In June 2014, he was appointed Director of Operations at Hilton Kuwait Resort, before his appointment as General Manager of Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa in May 2018.

“At Hilton, we’re passionate about delivering exceptional guest experiences. We are a business of people serving people and our Team Members extend their passion for hospitality to our guests every day,” said Mohab Ghali, vice president of operations, Egypt and North Africa, Hilton. “We are pleased to welcome a stellar leader to the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa team. Florian’s great level of commitment, dedication and accountability will ensure our guests continue to enjoy the superior quality of service that Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa is known for around the world.”

Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa is located in the village of Karnak on the east bank of the lush River Nile. Expect glorious views over the river and the historic city of Luxor. The stylish resort is the ideal base for exploring the region’s historical attractions. Among the eight restaurants and bars at the resort, guests can enjoy two infinity pools, a library and fitness room. Inspired by Egypt's ancient culture and tranquil beauty, The Spa provides a haven from everyday stress, caring for guests, from head to toe, with signature, holistic treatments and modern facilities.
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7/15/2018 3:58:00 PM
<![CDATA[First space tourist flights could begin in 2019]]>
Virgin Galactic, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, and Blue Origin, by Amazon creator Jeff Bezos, are racing to be the first to finish their tests — with both companies using radically different technology.

Moments of weightlessness

Neither Virgin nor Blue Origin's passengers will find themselves orbiting the Earth: instead, their weightless experience will last just minutes. It's an offering far different from the first space tourists, who paid tens of millions of dollars to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in the 2000s.

Having paid for a much cheaper ticket — costing $2,50,000 with Virgin, as yet unknown with Blue Origin — the new round of space tourists will be propelled dozens of miles into the atmosphere, before coming back down to Earth. By comparison, the ISS is in orbit 250 miles (400 kilometers) from our planet.

The goal is to approach or pass through the imaginary line marking where space begins — either the Karman line, at 100 kilometers or 62 miles, or the 50-mile boundary recognized by the US Air Force.

At this altitude, the sky looks dark and the curvature of the earth can be seen clearly.

Virgin Galactic

With Virgin Galactic, six passengers and two pilots are boarded onto SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity, which resembles a private jet.

The VSS Unity will be attached to a carrier spacecraft — the WhiteKnightTwo — from which it will then detach at around 49,000 feet (15,000 meters.) Once released, the spaceship will fire up its rocket, and head for the sky.

Then, the passengers will float in zero-gravity for several minutes, before coming back to Earth.

The descent is slowed down by a "feathering" system that sees the spacecraft's tail pivot, as if arching, before returning to normal and gliding to land at Virgin's "spaceport" in the New Mexico desert.

In total, the mission lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. During a May 29 test in California's Mojave desert, the spaceship reached an altitude of 21 miles, heading for space.

In October 2014, the Virgin spaceship broke down in flight due to a piloting error, killing one of two pilots on board. The tests later resumed with a new craft.

The company has now also reached a deal to open a second "spaceport" at Italy's Tarente-Grottaglie airport, in the south of the country.

Branson in May told BBC Radio 4 that he hoped to himself be one of the first passengers in the next 12 months. About 650 people make up the rest of the waiting list, Virgin told AFP.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin, meanwhile, has developed a system closer to the traditional rocket: the New Shepard.

On this journey, six passengers take their place in a "capsule" fixed to the top of a 60-foot-long rocket. After launching, it detaches and continues its trajectory several miles toward the sky. During an 29 April test, the capsule made it 66 miles.

After a few minutes of weightlessness, during which passengers can take in the view through large windows, the capsule gradually falls back to earth with three large parachutes and retrorockets used to slow the spacecraft.

From take-off to landing, the flight took 10 minutes during the latest test.

Until now, tests have only been carried out using dummies at Blue Origin's West Texas site.

Company officials were recently quoted as saying the first tests with Blue Origin astronauts would take place "at the end of this year," with tickets for the public expected to go on sale in 2019.

But in comments to AFP on Friday, the company struck a more cautious note."We have not set ticket pricing and have had no serious discussions inside of Blue on the topic," the firm said.

"We have a flight test schedule and schedules of those types always have uncertainties and contingencies. Anyone predicting dates is guessing."

What's next?

SpaceX and Boeing are developing their own capsules to transport NASA astronauts, most likely in 2020, after delays — a significant investment that the companies will likely make up for by offering private passenger flights.

"If you're looking to go to space, you'll have quadruple the menu of options that you ever had before," Phil Larson, assistant dean at the University of Colorado, Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science, told AFP.

Longer term, the Russian firm that manufactures Soyuz rockets is studying the possibility of taking tourists back to the ISS. And a US start-up called Orion Span announced earlier this year it hopes to place a luxury space hotel into orbit within a few years — but the project is still in its early stages.
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7/15/2018 11:17:47 AM
<![CDATA[132,000 tourists used Egyptian ports in 2017 ]]>
The report added that Egyptian ports have seen the entrance of 66,987 tourists to Egypt, while 65,417 came out during 2017. Some 47,900 tourists entered through Red sea ports, while 45,834 left.

FILE - Port Said (East)
Port of Port Said - Photo courtesy of Port Said Authority

The ports following Suez Canal economic zones allowed the entrance of 6,843 tourists and the exit of 6,843.

The port of Alexandria allowed 12,740 tourists to access Egypt, and 12,740 to exist.

Alexandria port – Photo courtesy of Alexandria port Authority
Picture: Port of Alexandria - Photo courtesy of Alexandria Port Authority

Egypt is a maritime country that has a remarkable geographical location on the junction of three continents and has coasts up to 2,000 kilometers long on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea which allow its connection with the foreign world since ancient ages, according to the Maritime Transport Section’s official website.

The Sector’s strategy is the effective contribution in the Egyptian national economy and Egyptian foreign trade through creating efficient cadres capable of influencing the decision makers in the field of maritime transport on the international level.

The Maritime Authorities in Egypt include Red Sea Ports Authorities, Alexandria Port Authority, Port Said Port Authorities, Damietta Port Authorities and the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety.

Tourists’ flows to Egypt has resumed and Egypt has restored its leading position again as the best tourism destination in the region, according to the French pioneering travel magazine TourMaG on Thursday.

The 20-year-old magazine revealed that the percentage of French tourists visiting Egypt in 2018 alone has increased to 146 percent. “Tourists no longer prefer going to Tunisia or Turkey only, Egypt is back in the competition again after years of instability,” the magazine added.

195 million tourists likely to visit Arab region by 2030 - official

CAIRO - 21 June 2018: Head of the Arab Tourism Organization Bandar bin Fahd al Fuhaid expected on Thursday that 195 million tourists will visit the Arab region by 2030, threefold the current number. In a statement, Fuhaid underlined the importance of developing the tourism industry in Arab countries as it plays a vital role in promoting Arab economies.



Egypt’s current account deficit for the third quarter of the 2017-18 fiscal year narrowed to $1.93 billion from $3.1 billion a year earlier as tourism revenues improved, data from the central bank and Reuters’ calculations showed in June 2018.

Egypt current account deficit narrows as tourism rises

CAIRO - 28 June 2018: Egypt's current account deficit for the third quarter of the 2017-18 fiscal year narrowed to $1.93 billion from $3.1 billion a year earlier as tourism revenues improved, data from the central bank and Reuters calculations showed on Thursday.




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7/14/2018 11:51:53 AM
<![CDATA[Seven black rhinos die in Kenya in botched relocation - media]]>
The rhinos, who are part of a critically endangered species, died in "unclear circumstances" at the Tsavo East National Park, the newspaper reported.

They were among 14 rhinos the state-run wildlife service (KWS) began moving last month from the capital Nairobi to Tsavo East.

Kenya had a rhino population of 1,258 in 2017 of which 745 are black rhinos, 510 are southern white rhinos and three were northern white rhinos, having grown from less than 400 rhinos in the 1980s. The white rhino is a near threatened species.

In May, three black rhinos were killed in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Poaching has risen in recent years across sub-Saharan Africa where armed criminal gangs have killed elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns. Often the animal parts are shipped to Asia for use in ornaments and medicines.

A KWS spokesman was not immediately available for comment. World Wildlife Fund-Kenya said in a statement it was "extremely concerned" by the reports. ]]>
7/13/2018 3:07:43 PM
<![CDATA[French tourism to Egypt in 2018 spikes 146%: magazine]]>
The 20-year-old magazine revealed that percentage of French tourists visited Egypt in 2018 alone has increased to 146 percent. “Tourists no longer prefer going to Tunisia or Turkey only, Egypt is back in the competition again after years of instability,” the magazine added.

TourMaG revealed that “600,000 French tourists visited the land of the Pharaohs in 2010. But six years later, only 70,000 paid touristic visits to Egypt in 2016.”

“This increase in tourists’ numbers visiting Egypt is an outcome of the restoration of security, order and safety of travelers,” TourMaG explained.

One year ago, exactly on July 15, 2017, French Ambassador to Egypt Stephane Roumtier said in a press conference in Alexandria that “Egypt will witness an increase in the number of French tourists received in 2017.”

He praised Egypt’s increased security procedures to protect tourists at archeological sites, as witnessed during his visit to the Pyramids last July. Roumtier explained that the French government is going to cooperate with its Egyptian counterpart to organize awareness campaigns aimed at attracting tourists from all over the world.

Economically, Roumtier asserted that 50,000 French companies are currently investing in Egypt. He called for increasing investments in Egypt, citing successful ventures like the development of the third line of Cairo’s metro system and the establishment of Carrefour markets (French multinational retailor).

Routier added that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is interested in establishing a French industrial area in Egypt.

The trade volume between Egypt and France reached €2 billion ($2.29 billion), while the volume of investment reached €4 billion ($4.58 billion), according to Roumtier.

He further praised the measures carried out by the Egyptian government to improve the economy under a program of reforms, after securing the three-year $12 billion (LE 215.24 billion) deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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7/13/2018 12:19:49 PM
<![CDATA[Baptiste Yoga: a journey into the power of letting go]]>
While the physical postures expand your physical power and help you explore the magnificent capabilities of your body, meditation allows you to be present and awakened; to explore the possibilities of the now, to cherish whatever you are putting your heart at in the present regardless the outcomes, to accept the present moment as it is and as it is not; knowing that it is the most sacred pillar of your journey into power. Life happens now.

The process of being brutally honest with one's self, admitting what loops one is keeping him/herself in, what patterns one is repeating and what is holding a person back from being his/her true authentic self and living up to his/ her true abilities is inquiry or Niyama. Inquiry is the question "What must I give up to be me?" It might be pride, resentment, disappointment or anything that is not bravely addressed and that is putting barriers in the way of becoming the free unburdened self.

Together, these practices are like a mountain with no top; they accompany the person along his/her journey into the power to give up their own resistance to development and growth, granting one priceless moment of disclosure and self-actualization. The Baptiste Yoga practices transform yoga from a kind of workout to a lifestyle and take you from doing yoga to being yoga, on and off your matt. But, how does one become yoga? Yoga in Sanskrit means union or connection; we become truly united and connected with ourselves and others.

Who is Baron Baptiste?
Baron Baptiste is a U.S. teacher and a student who believes that learning is a circle and a cycle where people exchange roles constantly; teachers are originally students of their own life experiences, they become teachers only when they humbly share their experiences with their students, who in turn become teachers by sharing their own experiences and displaying their own perspective of life issues. This approach has made Baptiste and his students highly impactful teachers.

"Share yourself in ways that impact others" – Baron Baptiste

Despite being able to reshape the yoga scene as well as whole communities, Baptiste and his students do not claim possessing a special brand of wisdom and are so far from being guru-like, which is surprisingly empowering. It is just us, humans, being true and generous in our practices, and lifting ourselves, other people and communities up. It is just the sincere version of us that makes miracles.

"Your work in the world is meant to be about representing the power and spirit that is within you" – Baron Baptiste

The Africa Yoga Project (AYP)
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, the AYP is supported by the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute along with other prestigious partners; the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute sponsors students, encourages volunteer participation and provides the project with financial and training support, according to the AYP official website.

PHOTO-2018-07-04-15-56-42
Egyptians at a class by the Africa Yoga Project - Photo provided to Egypt Today

Not only does the AYP help people of different ages and backgrounds discover distant glowing spots in their souls and abilities through yoga, the project also helps increase employability in Kenya, where more than 70 percent of citizens are below 30 and face an unemployment rate of 40 percent, as well as in 13 other African countries. Working from the conviction that yoga is service, the AYP provides free community yoga classes to some 6,000 people in 80 locations, including schools, orphanages, prisons and special needs centers.

One dedicated teacher at a time

In 2007, senior Baptiste yoga teacher Paige Ellenson, co-founder and executive director of AYP, accepted the invitation of Kenyan acrobats, whom she had previously met while on a safari in Kenya, to come back to Kenya to teach them more about yoga.

Ellenson accepted going back to train people she was not supposed to see in the first place as she was not supposed to get off the Jeep during that safari. She also accepted staying in the informal settlements of Nairobi where most people lived on less than $1 a day simply because it was her true calling. That is how the AYP started.

During the training, Ellenson met the “Ghetto Girls”; five teenage girls who lived in a small room of iron sheets and who gladly traveled over two hours every day to attend the yoga class as it made them feel clean, strong and happy. One of the famous Ghetto Girls, Catherine Njeri, would later be director of teachers in the AYP and a source of motivation to many girls including myself.

PHOTO-2018-07-04-15-56-42
Egyptians at a class by the Africa Yoga Project - Photo provided to Egypt Today

She also met a boy who excelled in acrobatics but had to support his family of five after his father died in a car accident, and got involved in drug dealing and picking pockets.
The boy, Walter Mugbe, encountered grave challenges in the life that looked nothing like the one he aspired for; he witnessed a couple of his friends getting killed by a mob when he was only a teen. When asked about the incident, Mugbe said "I knew I was going to be the next person to die."

Mugbe described getting into yoga poses for the first time, "I felt so free and safe at that moment; I felt light, like something was weighing me down and all of a sudden I felt free. It was a brand new experience for me." Finding yoga, Mugbe found something to hold on to; he kept taking yoga classes until he was offered the teacher training scholarship. Now Mugbe is part of a team of 200 teachers at the AYP, spreading the light yoga once shed on their souls.

PHOTO-2018-07-04-15-57-09 Egyptians at a class by the Africa Yoga Project - Photo provided to Egypt Today

I am a proud student of Catherine Njeri and Walter Mugbe. Them coming to Egypt was a golden opportunity for me and other local Yoga teachers. I learned that Yoga has no religion or ethnicity. Those teachers come from strong beliefs, solid commitment, hard work and real-life experience; they pursue their passion and seek to unlock the doors behind which the passion of their students lies hidden with ultimate perseverance and sincerity.

It is because of teachers like them that a lot of people have found their voices, and their true callings. To Baron, Paige, Catherine, Walter and all the teachers who make unveiling the essence of their students the higher mission, I send love and light.

PHOTO-2018-07-04-15-57-10
Egyptian Yoga instructor Riham Magdy with Catherine Njeri and Walter Mugbe from the Africa Yoga Project

Here is the promise Catherine and Walter made on the first day of the Baptiste Yoga Immersion Training, "Expand Your Powers"; the promise that kept us going through days that were most intense and eye opening, "You will discover for yourself what is holding you back from being your true and authentic self. You will embody the practices and techniques of Baptiste Yoga on and off your matt as a contribution to yourself and others. You will leave the program with the ability to teach a 90 minute Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga class." They kept their promise, every bit of it.

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7/12/2018 12:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Initiative launched to promote date palm cultivation in North Sinai ]]>
Along the west cost of Al-Arish city and Bir El-Abd village, clusters of date palm dangling from the branches of palm trees can be frequently seen. North Sinai is considered Egypt’s top home-grown date palm markets.

Cultivation of date palm and processing it into commercial products has been a traditional profession inherited through generations; thus the call for new advanced methods was recently initiated by ministries of social solidarity and investment and international cooperation to upgrade the traditional industry.




1903242-سيناويات-يبدأن-تطوير-منتجات-البلح-(5)


Both ministries launched an initiative to develop date products industry in North Sinai. The project focuses on empowering young people and training them to use and invest in natural resources in their villages.

Sobeih el-Shafei, supervisor of the project, said in press remarks on Wednesday that the project offers training programs for villagers in North Sinai on the advanced methods of date palm cultivation, harvest, processing into commercial products and packing.


He added that the role of the project is to train women and young people to increase their income by taking up the popular craft; the project also helps them find local outlets for their products.

Women at afflicted Bir Al-Abd revive Bedouin-style woolen crafts

CAIRO - 8 February 2018: In spite of the difficult circumstances faced by the women living in Sinai, their quest for a positive change and a tangible impact on their societies is always clear cut.






Noura Ghonmi, a trainee, said she was trained to replace kernel of dates with peanuts and chickpeas, and to store them in suitable containers.

Meanwhile, another trainee, Amira Salman, added that she and 15 of her girl neighbors are regularly attending the new training, which is considered one of a kind.

“We are offered an opportunity to learn new ways of the production practices of the date palm present everywhere around us,” Salman added.

Egypt’s exports of dates rose by 32 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year, amounting to 17,300 tons against 14,200 tons in 2016, Ministry of Industry and Trade stated.


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7/11/2018 1:20:47 PM
<![CDATA[Digital TV channel launched to promote tourism in Egypt ]]>
The channel, considered to be the first of its kind in the Middle East, will be broadcasted through the official page of the Egyptian General Authority for Tourism Promotion.

Experience Egypt on Instagram: "An unbeatable journey underwater in #Egypt's Red Sea with South African Olympic Swimmer Calvyn Justus."

72 Likes, 6 Comments - Experience Egypt (@experienceegypt) on Instagram: "An unbeatable journey underwater in #Egypt's Red Sea with South African Olympic Swimmer Calvyn..."





According to a statement issued by the ministry on Tuesday, the channel will feature a host of documentaries on Egypt’s must-visit tourist attractions and cherished cultural heritage to be viewed by millions around the world.

“The Ministry of Tourism is currently looking into launching more promotional campaigns across the most influential and focused platforms to spread its scope across wider populace,” the statement added.


Egypt has been the FIFA’s official regional supporter of the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM, as per an agreement signed earlier between the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and the FIFA.


Signing the contract aims at promoting Egypt as a global investment destination that is capable of attracting more tourists and investments from all over the world.

In 2017, Egypt’s tourism revenues increased by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, reaching $3.5 billion, a government official told Reuters last month. In that period, tourists visiting Egypt increased by 54 percent year-on-year to reach 4.3 million.

The total revenues achieved in 2016 amounted to $2.7 billion.

Egypt’s tourism sector is one of the country’s main foreign currency earners, and it has been struggling after the political and economic turmoil following the January 25 Revolution in 2011. More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, dropping to 9.8 million in 2011.

How Egyptian tourism bodes in 2017

CAIRO - 23 October 2017: The tourism sector has been receiving many positive views recently, though it is still performing well below potential and the peak figures of 2010, when 14 million tourists visited the country. Egypt's tourism revenues increased by 170 percent in the first seven months of 2017, reaching $3.5 billion, a government official told Reuters last month.



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7/10/2018 5:05:21 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights to Eritrea's Asmara next week]]>
Fana television reported the news on its Twitter feed.

The restoration of diplomatic ties and trade links was agreed on Monday after a historic day in Asmara of talks between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The nations went to war in 1998 and cut ties then, but last month Ethiopia's new reformist prime minister offered an olive branch to Eritrea, kicking off a rapid rapprochement that has stunned the region and delighted many citizens in both states.]]>
7/9/2018 3:39:25 PM