<![CDATA[rss-Travel]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Travel]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Hawas meets with US tourism delegation, explains Khufu gap]]>
Hawass met with the American delegation to explain the newly-discovered gap in Khufu Pyramid, the largest of the Giza Pyramids which contains a hollow space of at least 100 feet, the first such discovery in the structure since the 19th century.

He also asserted that the political leadership in Egypt was really interested in developing the archaeological places.

Hawass also denied claims of the presence of an antique city under Sphinx.

He said the new discovery comes out of the ScanPyramids project, an international mission under the authority of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.

The way the grand pyramid was built makes it full of void spaces, he told the American delegation.

More than 50 foreign missions that conducted studies and explorations at the Pyramids have confirmed the existence of these gaps, according to Hawass.

Hawass excluded that these holes may have rooms built inside.]]>
11/21/2017 1:13:45 PM
<![CDATA[EasyJet annual profit drops 30% as competition bites]]>
Profit after tax slumped 30 percent to £305 million ($404 million, 344 million euros) in the 12 months to September 30 compared with a year earlier, EasyJet said in an earnings statement.

Heavy falls in the value of the pound made dollar-priced jet fuel more expensive. At the same time however, a relatively low oil-price environment resulted in airlines cutting ticket prices, ramping up competition across the industry.

EasyJet pointed to "an aggressive pricing environment which saw (its) net ticket revenue per seat fall by 7.8 percent at constant currency".

EasyJet added that total revenue grew eight percent to £5.05 billion in its financial year, while pre-tax profit was down 17 percent.

"EasyJet delivered a robust performance during a difficult year for the aviation industry, flying a record 80 million passengers," said the carrier's outgoing chief executive Carolyn McCall, who announced her departure in July.

After seven years at the helm, McCall is to become chief executive of British television channel ITV.

Johan Lundgren, the former deputy of TUI travel group, will from December replace McCall, who has overseen a trebling of EasyJet's share price while heading the company.

One of her final tasks has been the part-purchase of bankrupt carrier Air Berlin's operations for 40 million euros ($47 million).

Back in July meanwhile, EasyJet applied for a new air operator's certificate in Austria to continue flying across Europe regardless of the final Brexit deal between Brussels and London.

Britain's airline industry has soared over the last two decades under the Single European Sky system, which lifted trade restrictions on EU airlines.

Unless British negotiators manage to secure preferential conditions, British airlines could lose this status once the country leaves the European Union in 2019.]]>
11/21/2017 1:10:12 PM
<![CDATA[Got a spare $71m? How about a single Hong Kong apartment?]]>
A well-heeled buyer snapped up two adjacent mountain-top pads -- each more than 4,000 square feet (370 square metres) -- for an eye-watering combined price of US$149.1 million.

The smaller of the two properties closed at $71.7 million, making it Asia's most expensive apartment by area, at a whopping $17,000 per square foot, according to Bloomberg News.

The price smashed the previous record paid for a place to sleep in Hong Kong's red-hot property market, when a duplex unit on the island topped out at $13,439 per square foot in September.

A month later an office building in downtown Hong Kong sold for a record $5 billion.
In June a single parking space changed hands for $664,200, part of a boom in commercial and residential property prices fuelled by an influx of money from wealthy mainland Chinese investors and developers.

The surging property market has become a political issue as costs in one of the world's most expensive cities continue to soar, forcing some small businesses to close due to sky-high rents while many residents cannot afford to buy or rent decent homes.

An official study last week showed nearly 20 percent of the city's 7.35 million people live below the poverty line.]]>
11/21/2017 12:53:13 PM
<![CDATA[Spanish hotels company Barcelo offers to take over NH Hotels]]>
Family-owned Barcelo has proposed taking a 60 percent stake in a combined company and a majority of its board seats in a non-binding offer that values NH at 2.48 billion euros ($3 billion), NH said in a statement on Monday.

According to a letter sent to NH and published by the Madrid stock exchange, Barcelo has proposed a reverse takeover by NH, with Barcelo suggesting that NH pay for Barcelo with an issue of new shares at a value of 7.08 euros each, a 27 percent premium to NH’s average share price over the last three months.

NH Hotels’ future has been uncertain since representatives of its biggest shareholder, heavily indebted Chinese airline to property conglomerate HNA Group [HNAIRC.UL], were ejected from its board last year over accusations of a conflict of interest due to HNA’s takeover of a rival hotel group Carlston-Rezidor.

A combined NH-Barcelo company would have over 600 hotels and sales of around 3.5 billion euros, although Barcelo said its expression of interest was at this stage, “very preliminary”.

NH’s share price was up 11.4 percent at 5.57 euros at 1556 GMT.

Tourism accounts directly for around 11 percent of Spain’s economic output with the number of visitors to Spain having grown to a record high as sun-seekers shy away from the Middle East and North Africa due to concerns for their safety.

No one at HNA, which owns 29.5 percent of NH and 26 percent of bigger U.S. hotels company Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N), was immediately available for comment.

HNA is now facing close scrutiny in China over $50 billion worth of acquisitions made over the past two years resulting in an increase in its debt and struck a deal earlier this month to sell and repurchase some NH shares to raise cash for internal financing.

Meanwhile NH said on Monday it had recently approved a three-year strategic business plan and this was still in place, focused on boosting its exposure to higher-spending customers and expanding abroad while reducing debt.

Analysts said NH could prove a good complementary fit for Barcelo as the latter, which has over 230 hotels, has a stronger presence in the Caribbean, while NH with over 380 hotels, has leading positions in European cities.]]>
11/20/2017 10:27:29 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir participates in Philoxenia exhibition in Greece]]>
The event is considered the biggest and most important annual exhibition concerned with tourism and traveling.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company Safwat Musallam said that the firm's participation in the international events is considered an important matter as it allows exchanging expertise in the field of tourism.

It also gives the company the opportunity to offer its unique services to a greater sector of clients, he noted.

The national carrier's participation in the exhibition this year came in cooperation with Egypt's Tourism Promotion Authority via a unique pavilion characterized with the pharaonic style, the statement read.

EgyptAir is considered the oldest airlines company in the Middle East and Africa with an 85-year experience in the field of tourism and travel, Musallam reiterated.

The representatives of the national carrier held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the exhibition with leading Greek tourism company to promote tourism in Egypt in the first place, the statement said. ]]>
11/20/2017 3:12:54 PM
<![CDATA[Thailand's Oct tourist arrivals surge 20.92 pct y/y - ministry]]>
The number of foreign arrivals stood at 2.72 million in October, Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent-secretary of the tourism and sports ministry, said in a statement.

For the January-October period, tourist arrivals were 28.8 million, up 6.69 percent from the year-ago period.

The ministry said last month that it expected 33 million-34 million foreign tourists this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 35 million.

In 2016, there were a record 32.6 million visitors.

Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Thailand’s economy, and has been a bright spot for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, whose growth still lags regional peers.]]>
11/20/2017 2:12:42 PM
<![CDATA[Marsa Alam hosts Polish Chamber of Tourism ]]>
Marsa Alam Beach – Wikimedia website – Undated

Borad walker the Middle of Marsa Alam – Wikimedia website – Undated

The event will gather representatives from 170 participating travel agencies, a number of Polish parliamentarians, and representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, according to Berlin-based tourist consultant and Polish tourism market supervisor Mohamed Abd el-Gabar.

Abd el-Gabar stated to the press that he will organize a meeting in Poland between Pawel Niewiadomski, the head of PIT, and the General Authority of Tourism Development as part of the Travel and Tour World Fair running from November 22 to 25, 2017.

It is expected that this formal visit from PIT will serve to improve the positive sentiment and potentially heighten tourist inflows to Marsa Alam. Polish tourism in Egypt has already increased this year by 100% y-t-d, meaning 145,000 tourists ]visited between January and October 2017. ]]>
11/20/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Step inside Egypt’s strangest caves ]]>
Egypt shelters a lot of marvelous caves dating back more than 7,000 years and distributed throughout Egypt’s deserts and archeological sites. There are examples of rocky formations and prehistoric cave paintings. These sites are the following:

1- Djara Cave:

View to the Foggeni Cave hill, Western Desert – Wikimedia Website – 11 March 2011

This rocky cave situated in the Western Desert in Egypt is 30 meters wide, 8 meters high. It was rediscovered twice, initially by German explorer Gerhard Rohlfs, and then rediscovered in 1989 by Dr. Carlo Bergmann, who explored the area by camel.

It is highlighted by the presence of the pure water and animal engravings from the Neolithic period, which classifies the cave to be the second most important stone-age settlement in the Western Desert.

Djara cave 3

2- Sannur Cave:

Hand printing on the wall of Foggni Cave - Wikimedia Website – Undated

It is located 10 km from the city of Beni Suef, which is a 2-hour drive from Cairo.

It was created by percolation of groundwater through the Eocene Lime stone of the Galala Plateau.

Inside the cave there are several shallow holes, but above the ground there are deposits of red soil, unlike the floor, which has excess calcium carbonate as a result of water percolation.

Sannur Cave - Underground Wonderland

3- Foggeni Cave:

Paintings of Headless Beasts in Foggeni Cave – Wikimedia Website – Undated

This cave is considered by archeologists to be one of the most important rock art sites in the whole deserted area. It takes its name from Italian explorer Jaccop Foggeni, who discovered the cave in 2002. It is located in the Western Desert next to Wadi Sora shelter.

The cave is about 20 meters high with a single panel in it 10 meters high. It has various kinds of paintings: prehistoric graffiti, paintings of “headless beasts”, and thousands of small hand prints. It is also known as the Cave of Beasts. ]]>
11/20/2017 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt shares in India’s biggest travel trade expos ]]>CAIRO - 20October 2017: Out of seeking a strong presence in the Indian market and to promote tourism, the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) is arranging four touristic delegations to head to Indian cities to share in two tourism expos to kick off in January 2018.

Being the land of hypnotizing cultures and scenic landscapes of all shapes and types, with the Himalayas to the north and the seas to the south, India has always been a dream destination for tourists across the world. On the other hand, India ranks as one of the biggest outbound travel markets, as it is the world’s second most populated country, with millions of tourists from India visiting different places in the world.

In this context, the ETA will share in two tourism fairs: the Outbound Travel Market (OTM) and the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE).

Deemed as one of India’s most leading travel shows with a clear focus on outbound travel, OTM is scheduled to be held January 18-20, 2018 at Bombay Exhibition Center in Mumbai. OTM is designed to cover big travel markets in one go, just before the peak outbound season.

According to last year’s ratings, up to 1,154 exhibitors from 60 countries participated. ETA’s pavilion extended over 110 cubic meters during the last round, in addition to 12 other participating Egyptian travel companies.

Ranking as the most prestigious travel and tourism exhibition, SATTE is a three-day event to be held from January 31 to February 2, 2018 at the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, India. Over twenty years, SATTE grew the launch touristic platform for many countries and tourism products, working closely with the Indian Ministry of Tourism, and is privileged with much acclaim in international circles to do business with and in India.

The SATTE International Tourism Fair is one of the oldest and largest tourist exhibitions in India. With a total of about 750,000 exhibitors from 35 countries and 28 Indian states. This year, 900 exhibitors from more than 50 countries will be attending the event.]]>
11/20/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Selling death’: Australia cemeteries get new lease of life]]>
The full-bodied oil from Adelaide city’s West Terrace Cemetery is the latest effort by Australian authorities to attract not just the dead — but also the living — to the historic sites.

By reinventing cemeteries as unexplored, lush, green spaces in the heart of crowded cities, they hope to challenge the taboos surrounding death while breathing new life into the usually sombre grounds.

“Trying to sell death is very hard, no-one wants to buy it,” Adelaide Cemeteries Authority chief executive Robert Pitt told AFP as olive trees rustled in the background above ageing headstones.

“However, if we’re selling olive oil or selling an experience... (it’s) where the real value of coming to a cemetery is. And there’s definitely a sense of place here. There’s a sense of reverence and a sense of history.”

This year’s limited-edition bottles of olive oil, released to mark the cemetery’s 180th anniversary, sold out in a flash despite their unusual source.

It shows that cemeteries are moving beyond their main role as sites “for the disposal of the dead”, said historian Cathy Dunn.

Older cemeteries such as West Terrace and Sydney’s Rookwood — the largest in the southern hemisphere — are also becoming tourist hotspots, she added.

Rookwood, a so-called “necropolis” that is the final resting place for more than one million people, has drawn crowds by hosting open days, annual sculpture walks and even bike races.

Its recent open day to commemorate 150 years featured live jazz music, grave-digging demonstrations and face-painting for children.

Rookwood chief executive George Simpson told AFP the industry was tapping into online genealogy to connect with as many people as possible.

In Adelaide, Pitt is considering offering augmented reality at cemeteries to bring grave sites to life with messages from the deceased.

Facing mortality

There’s another pressing need for cemeteries to play a bigger part in people’s lives — death rates in Australia are set to more than double over the next few decades as the population ages.

“More and more people are going to be confronted by their own mortality, if not those of relatives and friends,” said Pitt.

His cemeteries authority has organised “Death Over Dinner” events — where guests share a meal and ask expert speakers about the end of life — to normalise discussions around dying.

“Our experience as cemetery operators and funeral coordinators is very much around that people who pre-plan... and think about their end of life before the time comes have a better outcome for the people left behind,” he added.

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of cemeteries hosting entertainment. Media reports earlier this year highlighted the complaints of a Melbourne family upset after their grandmother’s funeral was delayed as it clashed with a historic food tour.

But Maree Edwards, who has witnessed the evolution of Rookwood since burying her father there four decades ago, is convinced the spruced-up grounds and changing attitudes towards death will open up the hidden world to more people.

“Twenty years ago, there was only a little, tiny tin-shed flower seller here at the entrance. But now, there’s coffee shops,” she said, adding that she hopes her daughter will one day join her for a weekend sojourn at Rookwood.

“You’ve got to come with a different mentality here and think, ‘Wow, this isn’t like a creepy, dead man’s land. It’s nice, it’s a cheery place,’.

“And it’s just a joy to be here, bizarre as it seems.”]]>
11/19/2017 9:32:25 PM
<![CDATA[Xinhua: Hainan Airlines to launch new Sydney route]]>
The airline will fly an Airbus A330 on the new route twice a week, Xinhua said, adding the service was designed to meet increasing demand from tourists and business people.

It will be the first international route operated by Hainan Airlines from its home on the southern island province and the company’s seventh direct route to Australia, according to Xinhua.

Hainan Airlines already flies to Sydney from the cities of Xian and Changsha, and to other Australian destinations, including Cairns and Melbourne, from other Chinese cities]]>
11/19/2017 5:42:15 PM
<![CDATA[Swimming with dolphins in virtual reality to aid disabled]]>
But a Dutch non-profit believes it has found a way to bring people, especially the disabled, closer to such a joyful experience through the technological, immersive advances offered by virtual reality (VR).

The Dolphin Swim Club is the realisation of a more than two-decade journey by artist Marijke Sjollema, who had her first chance encounter with a dolphin in 1993 while snorkeling off the coast of Mexico.

"I saw this grey shadow under the water and my first thought was this is the end. I thought it was a shark," she told AFP.

She tried to stay calm "but this shadow was following me. And then there was this split second that I realised that it wasn't a shark. It was a dolphin.

"I didn't know anything about dolphins, but I instinctively knew, 'Oh a dolphin, I'm fine. This is a good thing'."

From that moment on, Sjollema's love of dolphins and all cetaceans was born.
"We know that there is something magical about dolphins. We think of joy, and playfulness and happiness and innocence when we meet dolphins. And this is even a healing quality," she told AFP.

She and her business consultant husband, Benno Brada, have devoted their spare time, energy and personal resources to their mission of enabling people to discover their own encounter with dolphins.


Their first project using normal VR headsets playing a film of the dolphins launched in late 2015.

But last month they went a step further, unveiling waterproof VR glasses, which allow people to drift around a pool watching bottlenose and spinner dolphins playing around them in virtual reality.

This VR dolphin therapy in a pool, still at the trial stage, is thought to be a world first.
"The dream was to find an alternative to dolphin-assisted therapies using dolphins in captivity," Brada told therapists at a residential community for disabled people run by the 's Heeren Loo organisation who were testing out the waterproof goggles in the pool.
The centre has been using the land version of the VR glasses since 2016, and has seen noticeable benefits.

"Some 82 per cent of our clients feel actually relaxed by seeing the films," said the organisation's policy advisor Johan Elbers.

"It takes them away from the world they are in, they enter a new world in another mindset, think differently, feel differently, see differently, and relax completely."

He recalled how one young woman, who had long had trouble sleeping, now watches a VR film of the dolphins swimming at night, and falls quietly asleep.

Another man is able to completely forget an agonising pain in his arm.
Dion, a 21-year-old resident of the community, said watching the film made him feel "peaceful."

"The dolphin noises and the water calms me down, that calms me from all the noises that there are, then you're zen," he said.


The pool-safe VR goggles, developed thanks to 50,000 euros (US$59,000) grant from the Dutch government, consist of a waterproof Samsung smartphone in a waterproof backing mounted on a special 3D-printed rig made of recycled plastics.
11/19/2017 5:38:33 PM
<![CDATA[China pledges another three years of ‘toilet revolution’ to boost tourism]]>
China has been keen to develop and expand services industries to move away from debt-fuelled and investment-driven growth, while offseting the impact of persistently weak global demand for its exports.

Particularly, it has been looking at the emerging tourism industry, pledging late last year 2 trillion yuan (RM1.2 trillion) in investment which it hopes will help lift the sector’s contribution to annual economic growth.

While three years of “toilet revolution” have led to “significant achievements”, according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the booming industry’s prospects are clouded by wide-spread complaints about toilet hygiene levels at China’s tourist sites.

Since 2015, China has poured 1.04 billion yuan into building and renovating 68,000 toilets, far exceeding its three-year goal of 57,000, state news agency Xinhua said.

“The toilet revolution ... is an urgent and necessary measure to transform and upgrade our tourism industry,” CNTA director Li Jinzao was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Under the new initiative, China will have 47,000 toilets built and 17,000 existing ones refurbished in the next three years, Xinhua said.]]>
11/19/2017 5:26:43 PM
<![CDATA[Alexandria: top religious tourism destination]]>
Alexandria houses many Coptic and Islamic tourist destinations. Here are a few of the city’s top destinations:

1 – Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque:

Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Alexandria – Wikimedia website – undated

One of the oldest mosques in Alexandria. It is popular for its unique domes and Islamic architecture, attracting tourists from all over the world.

This mosque was the center of many religious events, like the mawlid (birth celebration) of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi, during which guests, especially Sufi Muslims, came to participate in “Dhikr” (remembrance) circles. Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque, the center of formal religious events, is under the purview of the Ministry of Religious Endowments and operates under the presence of government officials.

2- Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria

Citadel of Qaitbay – Wikimedia website – undated

Built in western Alexandria during the 14th century to defend the city from the advancing Ottoman Empire, the largest stone of the citadel forms the doorway of its entrance and is decorated with red granite.

Over time, the Citadel of Qaitbay served many military functions. Today, it houses a naval museum that makes the citadel worth visiting.

The citadel is surrounded by a peninsula that is always crowded with locals and tourists enjoying the sea view, restaurants and shops on the pier.

3- Monastery of Saint Mina

Monastery of Saint Mina – Monastery of Saint Mina official website – undated

Monastery of Saint Mina, a Coptic orthodox church in Alexandria, is dedicated to Saint Minas – a young Egyptian man from a large family who left the army to live in the desert and fulfill the Lord’s blessings. After a turbulent life, Saint Minas died a martyr in the same location where the monastery stands today – situated in the Western Desert near Alexandria.

The monastery offers food – a plate of beans – to everyone that visits. The monastery also has a gift shop that offers you the chance to take a souvenir home as a remembrance of this sacred place where people have come to pray for over 1,000 years.]]>
11/19/2017 4:38:48 PM
<![CDATA[Love without limits: Binational marriage on the US-Mexico border]]>
The US Border Patrol opened the gate at Playas de Tijuana, known as the Door of Hope, for one hour on Saturday, allowing quick meetings for friends and relatives from both sides.

In the crowd on the Mexican side was Evelia Reyes, who arrived wearing a white wedding dress, a long flowing train and a white veil.

She was accompanied by three children from her previous marriage, including a young daughter also dressed in white.

"For a relationship this wall does not exist, for love there are no borders," Reyes gushed.

At the gate a Mexican judge promptly married her to her groom, Brian Houston, who approached from the US side dressed in a smart grey suit.

The wife of the mayor of Tijuana and the local Mexican Human Rights commissioner served as witnesses.

Reyes, a native of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, said she met Houston in Tijuana three years ago.

Lacking immigration documents she could not travel to the United States — a problem likely to be solved with the marriage.

The San Diego Tribune newspaper said that Houston, a US resident, could not visit Tijuana for reasons he would not elaborate.

The crowd gathered at the gate under the watchful eye of US Border Patrol agents.

The Door of Hope event was organized by the Border Angels, a immigrant rights advocacy group.

Its director Enrique Morones said there was just enough time at the event for 12 families to reunite.

"These families can be together only for five minutes, it's the saddest thing to see," he said.

Most of the 3,200km US-Mexico border has some type of barrier.

But President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the entire frontier, straining relations between the United States and Mexico.]]>
11/19/2017 12:58:51 PM
<![CDATA[Danish Prince Henrik visits Sharm el-Sheikh 3rd time in 2017]]>
This is Prince Henrik’s third visit to Egypt this year. He has almost annually gone on vacation over the last decade to Egypt. The visit showed the beauty of the Egyptian resorts and attested that Egypt enjoys safety and security, he stated.

During his residence in Sharm el-Sheikh, Prince Henrik praised Egyptians’ hospitality, considering the country as a popular destination for ordinary Danes. He added that the reason why he is so fond of Egypt is that the nation has friendly people. “I love Egypt; the Egyptians are a very warm and welcoming people,” he explained.

An increasing number of celebrities have been visiting different tourist sites in Egypt recently.
11/19/2017 10:21:28 AM
<![CDATA[Pharaos Rally Festival from Fayoum to Giza ]]>
Hawara Pyramid in Fayoum – Wikimedia website

The General Authority for Tourism Development organized the festival, with cooperation from travel agencies, in hopes of developing tourism in Egypt, especially from Fayoum to Giza. The competitors ran for 100km, starting from Hawara Pyramid in Fayoum along the Agricultural Road. They then pass through Saqqara sluiceway until they reach the finish at Saqqara Pyramid, Giza.

Saqqara Pyramid – Wikimedia website

The festival started with 35 sprinters. There were 170 competitors from all over the world – three from the USA, 14 from England, nine from France, and seven from Egypt. There was also one participant from each of the following countries: China, Japan, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand and Austria.

Foreign competitor is ready for the festival – Five Photos Website – 17 November 2017

All these countries participated in the festival and also worked indirectly with the Egyptian authorities to activate the tourism sector.

One of the players takes a photo in front of the festival banner – Five Photos website – 17 November 2017

Banner of International Pharaoh Festival – Five Photos Website – 17 November 2017 ]]>
11/18/2017 7:29:21 PM
<![CDATA[Alpine visitors should know the signs of acute mountain sickness]]>
Acute mountain sickness affects more than one in four people who travel above 3,500 meters, or 11,600 feet, and more than half of those who travel above 6,000 meters, or 20,000 feet.

Many popular ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains and the Alps, for example, are well above those elevations.

“With winter and the holiday season approaching, it’s time for travelers to be careful as they visit high altitudes,” said Dr. Jill Jin of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who wrote the one-page primer online November 14 in JAMA.

“It’s important to talk about the signs, symptoms and treatment,” she told Reuters Health by phone.

Headache, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness and sleep disturbances that develop six to 12 hours after ascent all can be symptoms of acute mountain sickness, the article warns. The problems usually improve in one or two days if the traveler doesn’t go higher. In fewer than 1% of cases, symptoms can grow worse and turn into high-altitude cerebral edema.

“Everyone is susceptible, even if you’re young,” Jin said. “Everyone can experience it, regardless of gender and age.”

Acute mountain sickness is easy to diagnose in healthy adults but can be harder to spot in children and those with health problems.

Treatment usually includes rest, hydration and pain medicine for headaches. Some patients need supplemental oxygen. Some prescription medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, can help. People with persistent severe symptoms should go back down to a lower altitude.

“This is a public health problem in places such as Colorado. Millions of people visit the mountains every year, and it affects how people enjoy their trip,” said Dr. Chris Davis of the University of Colorado at Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, who researches high altitude sickness, frostbite and avalanche injury patterns.

“This is high season for Colorado mountain resorts when people plan their Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holiday travel here,” he told Reuters Health by phone. “An ounce of prevention pays off in the long term.”

“There’s a myth that fitness drives your risk,” Davis said. “It’s based on genetics, so even if you’re fit, you may experience it.”

The JAMA paper says a gradual ascent of 400 meters, or 1,333 feet per day - especially for sleeping at night - can help prevent acute mountain sickness. Travelers can also try pre-acclimatization, or regular exposure to altitude, as well as hydrating with water and avoiding alcohol.

Those who have experienced high altitude sickness before should be especially careful, Jin advises. Patients with heart disease, lung disease, anemia and obstructive sleep apnea should talk to their doctors before traveling to high altitudes.

Davis pointed out that while the paper mentions high-altitude cerebral edema, it doesn’t discuss lung edema, which, while rare, is more common and also carries the risk of severe symptoms and death.

“Mountaineers know the tips and tricks of gradual ascent up high altitudes, but some tourists fly from sea level to a city and then immediately drive to the mountains,” he said. “Instead, spend the night in Denver, for example, and split up the trip to lower your risk.”

An accompanying article in JAMA reviews the existing research on instruments to use for diagnosing acute mountain sickness. The “clinical functional score” is highlighted as the simplest of the available instruments.]]>
11/18/2017 4:36:33 PM
<![CDATA[World Cup organizers dismiss fear of possible Moscow hotel shortage]]>
But another problem for the June 14-July 15 event emerged with news that plane ticket prices to some cities staging games had shot up by 40 percent this week.

The vast country -- on tense terms with the West over the Ukraine crisis -- is keen to put its best foot forward when it welcomes fans from across the world to watch what is arguably sport's most beloved event.

The 11 host cities stretching from Kaliningrad near the European Union to Yekaterinburg in the Urals have undergone wholesale renovations aimed at burnishing Russia's image as a welcoming country with a friendly face.

Everything was going according to plan until Moscow's sports and tourism official responsible for arranging hotel space said all rooms in the capital might be booked for the World Cup by the end of the year.

Moscow will host both the opening match and the final at its 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium.

"We are worried that the number of rooms available may already be exhausted by the end of December," Alexei Tikhonov told Russia's RIA Novosti state news agency on Wednesday.

Russian 2018 World Cup organising committee confirmed that 60 percent of the rooms available in Moscow had already been reserved by fans.

But it called Tikhonov's fears unfounded because "the number of Moscow hotel rooms completely corresponds with the standards established by FIFA".

The world football governing body said on Friday it had already sold almost 160,000 match tickets -- 49 percent of them to foreign fans.

Organisers said Moscow had space for 177,000 people after building 42 additional hotels in 2011-16.

"There is no reason to believe that Moscow will encounter a shortage of hotel rooms for the 2018 World Cup," the Russian committee said in a statement released to AFP.

- Take a train -

Event organisers also brushed off news that ticket prices for flights from Moscow to Saint Petersburg for the semi-final match had soared by 41 percent.

Organisers said demand was likely to level off once it becomes clear where each national squad plays when the official draw is held in Moscow on December 1.

"And instead of flying, fans can always take one of our free trains," the Russian committee's transportation department spokesman Ivan Tito told AFP.

Russia will run more than 500 trains between host cities free of charge for fans who have match tickets and a special ID card showing they had passed a security check.]]>
11/18/2017 12:40:45 PM
<![CDATA[Canada highway throws lifeline to Arctic hamlet]]>
But things are looking up thanks to a new highway linking the tiny community to the rest of the country and bringing with it the promise of tourism and jobs.

Long hoped for but widely seen as a far-fetched idea, the highway was feted this week at a ribbon-cutting ceremony where fireworks lit up the faces of locals and dignitaries - tightly wrapped in hats and scarves to brave the extreme sub-freezing temperatures.

"It's really overwhelming today. We're happy and people are excited," said Tuktoyaktuk resident Ella Jean Nogasak, her red anorak visible from afar against the snow.

The 72-year-old has waited a long, long time for year-round road access to her community, which lies well north of the Arctic Circle.

After years of procrastination, Canada's former Conservative government in 2014 finally gave a green light for what was dubbed a "road of resources," intended as a conduit for firms wanting to tap oil and gas riches believed to be hidden beneath the Beaufort Sea.

That prospect dimmed a year ago when, with construction already underway, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed a five-year moratorium on drilling in the Arctic.

But residents of the isolated hamlet still welcome the 138-km gravel road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, which they hope will end their winter reliance on costly air transport for food, supplies, equipment and travel.

It is also expected to bring tourists to the far north.

In Tuktoyaktuk, the unemployment rate is more than 30 percent, and living conditions for the 930 inhabitants are difficult.

"You see, we don't have a hotel, we have limited stores, and limited opportunities within the community," said Tianna Gordon-Ruben, who hopes the road will bring down food prices and help create jobs in the community.

'Our doors are open'.

About 10 m wide, the continent's northernmost route consists in some places of a four-meter high embankment atop the permafrost - a thick subsurface layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year.

Project manager Dean Ahmet describes building the C$300 million (US$235 million) road through a region pocked by lakes and rivers as no less than a feat of engineering.

The permafrost was too soft in summer to support heavy construction equipment, so most of the construction - involving just over 600 workers - had to be done during the seven or eight winter months.

"It was a challenge because we were working in very extreme temperatures ranging from -15 to -57 deg C, 24 hours a day," he told AFP.

At the opening ceremony, Bob McLeod, premier of the Northwest Territories, paid tribute to the crews who worked day and night to complete the project.

In the frozen tundra, a speed limit of 70 km per hour has been set to keep drivers from slipping into a snowy ditch.

Darrel Nasogaluak, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, touted this new lifeline to the south with speeches, handshakes, a few words for everyone, hoping it will lead to a better quality of life for northern residents.

To celebrate, there was a community feast consisting of traditional Inuit game and seafood including caribou and muktuk (beluga whale skin and blubber).

"You know, we're going to have better access to health care, better access to healthier (and) fresher foods," Nasogaluak told shoppers at the only grocery store in Tuktoyaktuk, where a liter of milk costs almost twice as much as in Vancouver, 3,800 km to the south.

With a bright sun forecast in a few months, will the tourists flock to Tuktoyaktuk? Nasogaluak hopes so.

"I'd just like to invite everybody in Canada, southern Canada and all over the world to come share our rich culture and incredible scenery.]]>
11/18/2017 12:07:03 PM
<![CDATA[10 instructions to follow to ensure Red Sea dolphins remain undisturbed]]>
The instructions are:

1- Sea launches with valid naval licenses sail in the coral reefs areas named el-Arq and el-Fanous from 9 am to 2 pm.

2- All boats should be anchored in specified places according to signs.

3- No launches or zodiacs to be in places for dolphin rest. These places are labeled by white signs.

4- Launches and zodiacs are banned from getting close or following dolphins.

5- Launches or zodiacs with divers are allowed to enter dolphins rest places only to get down divers then back to specified places for anchoring.

6- Zodiac entering these places laden with visitors should be at least four meters with a motor of 25 horsepower.

7- Boats should move very carefully in coral reefs areas, el-Arq and el-Fanouse, and boats should not follow dolphins but to be in parallel with them with 50 meters distance.

8- One guide should be available for every eight visitors during their trip to the coral reefs areas.

9- Life Jackets should be on board;one for each visitor from the beginning of the voyage.

10- In case of violations of these instructions, the owner and the captain of the launch will be seen as responsible, and the boat will be banned from entering the coral reef areas again.
11/18/2017 10:51:21 AM
<![CDATA[Moon Valley in Siwa Oasis ]]>
A room inside Moon Valley (undated photo) – Moon Valley Siwa Oasis official Facebook Page

In Moon Valley, which is about 6 kilometers away from Siwa’s Oasis, you are able to live unique moments and experience primitive life, as the rooms of the valley are made from rocks and materials from the surrounding environment, which absorb the sun’s heat during the day only to reemit it back at night. Even the lightening system uses zero electricity due to the many openings in the domes above the village that transmit sunlight midday, while candles are enough to light the village at night.

The terrace of Moon Valley (undated photo) – Moon Valley Siwa Oasis official Facebook Page

In the heart of the valley, you can taste the real meaning of nature, where impressive mountains, golden sands and water springs meet each other under the stars and moonlight. The valley was built at the foot of Izbat Mountain and is framed by desert plants.

The furniture is made of wood, and each guest room has a beautiful mountain view that makes you sleep safely in the heart of the desert. The village offers barbecue facilities and easy access to a children’s playground.
The village serves a buffet breakfast each morning at the property and also organizes many concerts for some of the most acclaimed bands and DJs that definitely bring the city to life at night.

Take the step and don’t hesitate to spend one night there. ]]>
11/17/2017 9:19:49 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir, LOT sign codeshare agreement]]>
The agreement, which comes into effect as of today, will enable customers of the two airlines to travel to Cairo and Warsaw via Budapest and Milan.

EgyptAir Chairman Safwat Musallam said the deal is meant to provide high-level services for customers, praising strong relations between the two companies.

LOT President Rafal Milczarski, meanwhile, expressed his company's desire to boost cooperation with EgyptAir in the coming period.

LOT is keen on improving services provided for customers and increasing the number of its flights to secure more profits, Milczarski said.]]>
11/17/2017 5:02:13 PM
<![CDATA[Cyprus smashes record for tourist arrivals in 2017 ]]>
The eastern Mediterranean island has benefited from its reputation as a regional safe haven as unrest has hit the tourism sectors of its traditional competitors Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.

Arrivals in the first 10 months already comfortably exceeded the record 3.18 million registered in the whole of 2016.

Cyprus has benefited from a boom in visitors from its largest market, Britain ― up nearly eight per cent for January-October ― along with a revival in those coming from Germany (up 60 per cent), second largest market Russia (up 5.2 per cent) and Israel (up 80.8 per cent).

The surge has helped Cyprus return to growth following a €10-billion (RM49 billion) bailout to rescue its crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013.

Income from tourism accounts for about 12 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a quick recovery. ]]>
11/17/2017 5:01:54 PM
<![CDATA[Critics hit US over elephant trophy imports]]>
The move reverses a prohibition imposed under Barack Obama and is the latest rollback of Obama-era controls on a number of fronts.

It also came on the same day that the US State Department presented to Congress its first annual report on wildlife trafficking which, it said, "remains a serious transnational crime."

The US Fish & Wildlife Service said it "will begin issuing permits to allow the import of sport-hunted trophies from elephants hunted in Zimbabwe" between January 21, 2016 and December 31, 2018.

The statement on the service's website Thursday confirmed an announcement made this week at a South African pro-hunting forum.

Zambia will also be covered under the revised rule, which had been sought by the Safari Club International Foundation, based in Arizona, and the National Rifle Association.

An environmentalist group, the Center for Biological Diversity, said the new ruling will allow importation of the animals' heads, feet and tails, "legalizing the killing of endangered elephants."

According to the Great Elephant Census project, African savannah elephant populations fell by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014, while Zimbabwe saw a drop of six percent.

Despite an overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has declined in part because of continued illegal killing, said a report this year by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

African ivory, in particular, is highly sought in China where it is a status symbol.

"Reprehensible behavior by the Trump Admin. 100 elephants a day are already killed. This will lead to more poaching," The Elephant Project, a group based in Florida that aims to protect the animals, said on Twitter.

The US decision takes advantage of a provision in the Endangered Species Act, which says the import of such trophies can be legal if accompanied by proof that the hunting benefits broader conservation of the species.

- Tumult in Zimbabwe -

"Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities" to conserve, and by putting revenue back into conservation, the Fish & Wildlife Service said.

"Hunters should choose to hunt only in countries that have strong governance, sound management practices, and healthy wildlife populations."

Updated information from Zimbabwe led US officials to find "that African elephant trophy hunting in Zimbabwe will enhance the survival of the species in the wild."

It cited data showing the country has more than 80,000 elephants.

But the US-based animal rights group PETA on Thursday denounced the administration's reasoning.

"Selling a threatened animal's life to raise money for 'conservation' is like selling a child on the black market to raise money to fight child molestation," it said.

Presenting its wildlife trafficking report to Congress, the State Department said Trump has called for "a comprehensive and decisive approach" to organized crime groups involved in the trade.

"The US government is combating this illegal trade at home and abroad," the department said in a statement.

It identified several countries which are either a "focus" of trafficking or a more serious country of concern, but Zimbabwe and Zambia were not among them.

Trump's sons are known to have a passion for hunting.

A photo widely shared on the internet shows Donald Trump Jr posing with a knife in one hand and an elephant tail in the other, the animal's corpse beside him.

The US decision follows tumultuous days in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe refuses to resign after the military seized control of the country.]]>
11/17/2017 4:58:14 PM
<![CDATA[Flat tire? China bike sharing boom shows signs of strain]]>
The country has seen a wave of iconic, brightly colored shared bicycles hits its city streets over the last year, helping revolutionize urban travel, but also drawing some public ire over mountains of bike clogging up sidewalks.

The chief executive of Bluegogo said in a public letter posted online he had “made mistakes” and the firm was winding up. He apologized to investors, partners and 20 million registered users of the company’s 600,000 bikes.

“We fought until the very last and I believe we can all leave with pride and our heads held high,” Li Gang wrote, adding he had endured months of sleepless nights.

He said financing in the market had become a “bubble”.

China’s bike sharing craze has been driven by huge investments, especially into the two market leaders Mobike and Ofo, which have raised billions of dollars from tech giants like Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N).

The two brands - often seen as China’s “Uber for bikes” - have deployed millions of bicycles around the country, and pushed overseas into markets in the United States and Europe.

The trend hasn’t been without its opponents. Regulators have tightened rules around shared bikes and raised concerns too many bikes were hitting the streets. Some cities have put bans on shared bikes, citing safety concerns.]]>
11/17/2017 4:55:11 PM
<![CDATA[Japan railway ‘deeply sorry’ after train leaves 20 seconds early]]>
The Tsukuba Express train linking Tokyo and the capital’s northern suburbs pulled out of Minami Nagareyama Station at 9:44:20 instead of 9:44:40.

“We deeply apologise for causing tremendous nuisance to customers,” said the Tsukuba Express company.

“There was no complaint from customers over this incident,” said the firm, which added that no one missed the train due to the early departure.

Japanese railway services, including shinkansen bullet trains, are famous for their world-beating punctuality.

Even the slightest delay prompts an effusive apology from the train guard, which often lasts longer than the hold-up itself.

With trains running the same route every few minutes to cope with huge numbers of passengers, even brief delays can back up the whole network causing overcrowding.

The apology had several social media users scratching their heads.

“A weird country in which a 20-second difference prompts a sincere apology while faking quality data on aluminium and steel products or misconduct on car check-ups are done just like that,” read one tweet.

This was a reference to a recent string of corporate scandals that has floored the reputation of Japan Inc.

Car giants Nissan and Subaru have admitted that uncertified staff had inspected vehicles while Kobe Steel has been embroiled in a quality data-faking scandal.]]>
11/17/2017 1:28:35 PM
<![CDATA[Art project lights up iconic 85-year-old Dutch dyke]]>
As daylight faded, the art project to celebrate the Afsluitdijk — a bridge which runs 32km across a gulf in the northern Netherlands — was lit up by the lights of passing cars driving across the famous divide.

The Icoon Afsluitdijk project is designed to shine at night “to enhance and safeguard” the dyke’s “rich heritage and anchor its position in the world as a Dutch water engineering and design icon,” its creators said.

Commissioned by the Dutch government, the project consists of a number of art installations, of which the last, called Gates of Light, was unveiled yesterday.

Artist Daan Roosegaarde and his team applied a reflective layer to the Afsluitdijk’s 60 imposing floodgates, which allows the concrete gates to brightly light up at night in the retro style of the 1930s, when the dyke was first built by hand.

There are also a number of temporary installations including one called Windvogel (Wind Bird) in which huge kites generate enough electricity to light up their specially designed anchor lights with luminous colours.

Roosegaarde said the structure, which was completed on May 28, 1932, “needed a renovation”.

“We restored the historical floodgates, renovated them, removed the rotten concrete and added a layer of reflective material,” he told AFP.

Referring to the importance of dykes, which help keep out the water in a country where 26 per cent of the land is below sea level, Roosegaarde said: “Dykes in The Netherlands are as holy as cows in India.”

The Afsluitdijk (literally, “cut-off dyke”) was built to keep out the North Sea and create an inland lake and polders, or land reclaimed from the sea.

It secures hundreds of square kilometres of inland coastline inside its boundaries, creating the vast but shallow IJsselmeer, which quickly turned into a freshwater reservoir.

Across the dyke stretches a multi-lane highway providing a shortcut between North Holland and Friesland, letting travellers shave almost 300 kilometres from their journey.

Even after 85 years it is still considered one of the world’s civil engineering wonders.]]>
11/17/2017 1:23:37 PM
<![CDATA[Turquoise waterfalls dry up after Mexico quakes]]>
But after a powerful earthquake hit the country, they dried up — and the area’s once-booming tourist economy along with them.

The state of Chiapas, where the falls trickle near the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, was the epicentre of the 8.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico on September 7, killing 96 people.

Besides flattening houses and buildings across a broad swathe of southern Mexico, the quake, along with thousands of aftershocks, also altered the bed of the Agua Azul river.

The tremors — together with the normal erosion of the limestone whose minerals give the water its bright colour — collapsed a portion of the river’s left bank, said Mexico’s National Water Commission.

That shifted the flow of water to another branch of the river and caused the water level to drop by nearly a metre, leaving the falls completely dry in many places.Locals watched in alarm this month as the water dried up from one day to the next, making them fear for the future of a tourist attraction that draws thousands of visitors a day from around the world.

“If there are no tourists, there are no jobs,” local businessman Juan Manuel Hernandez told AFP.

The government vowed to study the problem and seek a solution.

But not content to sit back and wait, locals have taken matters into their own hands.

Using shovels and pickaxes, they partially restored the riverbed to its original course, bringing back a trickle of the famously bright blue water.

After moving as much stone and sediment as they could by hand, they have asked the authorities for heavy machinery they hope will help them bring the falls back to their full flow.

Mexicans have a tradition of springing into action after earthquakes, stepping up when overwhelmed authorities don’t.

After the September 7 quake and another on September 19 that levelled dozens of buildings in Mexico City, killing 369 people, volunteers flooded the streets to pull survivors from the rubble, bring emergency supplies and even provide free legal services and psychological counselling.]]>
11/17/2017 1:21:19 PM
<![CDATA[Visitors to UK hits August record after Brexit fall in pound]]>
The number of overseas residents coming to the country in August rose by an annual 5 percent to 3.9 million, the highest number for any August and the second highest for any month.

By contrast, the number of British residents going abroad during the month - normally the busiest of the year for holiday travel - fell by 3 percent to 8.9 million, official data showed.

The pound fell sharply after the referendum decision to leave the European Union in June 2016, pushing up inflation for British households - and making holidays abroad more expensive too - but leading to lower prices for foreign tourists.

The combination of more foreign visitors to Britain and more Britons spending the summer at home was a factor behind a pick-up in the country’s economic growth in the third quarter, Howard Archer, an economist with EY Item Club, a forecasting body.

“It is notable that there were reports that UK retail sales were boosted in August by more people taking holidays at home as well as spending by tourists,” Archer said.

In the first eight months of the year, the number of overseas visitors to Britain rose by 8 percent while Britons travelling abroad rose too, up by 3 percent, the ONS said, based on preliminary data.

Foreign visitors to Britain spent 2.8 billion pounds in the country in August, a record for any month and an increase of 3 percent from the same month last year. Spending by Britons abroad rose by 1 percent during the month to 6.2 billion pounds.]]>
11/17/2017 1:19:26 PM
<![CDATA[AirAsia testing personalised baggage pricing, eyes more add-on revenues]]>
The Malaysia-based carrier reported 49 ringgit ($11.73) of revenue per passenger beyond the ticket price in the quarter ended June, but hopes to raise that to 60 ringgit with the help of a $100 million investment in digital initiatives that also include a new duty-free website and reusable baggage tags.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes told reporters the revenue target was a “tough ask at the moment” but the airline “had a shot” of making it. He was discussing the carrier’s digital investment plans at a briefing in Singapore.

Research firm Crucial Perspective last month said the 60 ringgit target was “overambitious”. AirAsia’s June-quarter number was up from 47 ringgit a year earlier.

AirAsia receives around 18.7 percent of its revenue from sources other than ticket prices, ranking 13th among world airlines according to the latest annual report on ancillary revenue by U.S. consultants IdeaWorksCompany.

Ireland’s Ryanair Holdings PLC, which ranks fifth at 26.8 percent, changes the fee for checked baggage depending on the flight’s demand and proximity to its departure date.

Fernandes said AirAsia was looking to tailor pricing to individuals and was using data and machine-learning to better understand what passengers were prepared to pay. The airline earns 49 percent of its add-on revenue from baggage fees.

“We begin to know what your tolerance level is for a certain ticket to a certain destination,” he said. “We will charge you differently for baggage. We are testing it.”

He said he did not believe passengers would stop logging in with their AirAsia loyalty programme account before buying a ticket even if they realised they were being charged for baggage based on their travel profile.

“They don’t do it for airline tickets - why should they do it for bags?” Fernandes said.

AirAsia is launching a prepaid travel money card, which can be loaded with 10 different currencies, for Southeast Asian travellers, he said. Other airlines, like Qantas Airways , have already successfully rolled out similar cards.

Duty free, including the launch of a website offering home delivery and if possible airport collection, with personalised deals is another good opportunity to raise revenue, he added.]]>
11/16/2017 7:18:23 PM
<![CDATA[Record number of Americans forecast to travel over Thanksgiving]]>
Roughly 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles (80 km) or more away from home Nov. 22-26, a 3.3 percent increase over last year and the most since 2005, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said in a report released on Thursday.

“A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season,” Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, said.

The largest share of travel, roughly 89 percent, will be on U.S. roads.

U.S. motorists will take 45.5 million trips this holiday, a 1.5 percent increase over last year and also the most since 2005, even though gas prices are at their highest since 2014, AAA said.

Air travel is expected to grow by 5 percent to 3.95 million trips, buoyed by the cheapest tickets since 2013, AAA said.

It is the sixth consecutive year air travel has grown during the holiday, and now accounts now for 7.8 percent of all travel, its highest share since 2010, AAA said.

U.S. motor travel accounts for 10 percent of global demand, and is closely watched by global oil traders.

Overall, motorists are on pace this year to break the record for most vehicle miles driven on U.S. roads, helping spur potential record demand for gasoline.

U.S. gasoline demand and vehicle miles traveled both set records in 2016.

Gas prices jumped more than 10 percent after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, peaking on Sept. 8 at an average of $2.67 a gallon. Prices were at $2.56 a gallon on Wednesday, about 10 percent above last year, AAA said.]]>
11/16/2017 7:14:27 PM
<![CDATA[Azerbaijan flights to Sharm El Sheikh to be resumed in March 2018]]>
This came following the meeting that was attended by Suzanne Jamil, Egyptian ambassador to Azerbaijan, and a number of civil aviation officials in Azerbaijan.

During the meeting, they discussed the necessity of intensifying promotional publicity for Egypt in the Azerbaijani market, which is considered one of the most promising tourist markets.

It was agreed that Azerbaijan Air Lines would put promotional advertisements for Sharm El-Sheikh flights on the company's website to attract the largest segment of Azerbaijani citizens.

Tourists will be granted incentives to encourage them to come to Sharm el-Sheikh from Azerbaijan, such as free nights in a number of hotels.

Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev received a delegation led by Fouda, who is on a visit to Baku.
The direct flights between Egypt and Azerbaijan will be important not only for tourism, but also for expansion of political and economic relations, Fouda said.

Fouda guaranteeing the security of tourists visiting the South Sinai Province stating that there is stability in the region and no danger to the lives of tourists exists. ]]>
11/16/2017 6:20:26 PM
<![CDATA[‘Hurghadians’ can’t help but return to their second home ]]>
Michel Van Haarlem, a member of the “Hurghadians” Facebook page, is a Dutch citizen with an Egyptian heart. His story with Egypt began 14 years ago when he visited Safaga for the first time.

Photo of Michel Van Haarlem, a Dutch tourist practices diving in El Gouna, Hughada - Facebook homepage travelogue

“From the first trip, I fell in love with Egypt and its people, and I felt that this is my second home. I can still feel the same excitement every time I book a ticket to Egypt, even though I have now visited this beautiful country many times over the past years,” Van Haarlem told Egypt Today enthusiastically.

Van Haarlem spent all his holidays moving between Egyptian cities, such as Luxor, Sakkara, Cairo, Qena, Aswan, Esna, Edfu, El Gouna and the apple of his eye – Hurghada.

Photo of Michel Van Haarlem on board of an air hot balloon, Hurghada, Egypt - Facebook homepage travelogue

As a Hurghadian, Van Haarlem told Egypt Today Magazine, “El Gouna is also one of my favorite places. I go there mainly for diving. I am now in Holland, but I was in Egypt three weeks ago for a Nile cruise, which is really amazing, and I have a lot of nice memories. It was an amazing experience and we are contemplating to do it next year.”

Speaking of the Egyptians’ warm reception, Van Haarlem said, “When my friends ask me what is so special about Egypt, the answer is easy: the friendly people who always wear a smile on their faces; their generous reception, even though they don’t have much as we have in Europe; let alone the amazing diving sites, the ravishing nature, and the monuments and archaeological sites.”

Van Haarlem concluded by saying, “I will always support Egypt till the last day of my life. Because ‘Ana behabik ya Masr’ (I love you Egypt).”

Photo of Michel Van Haarlem, a Dutch tourist visits Luxor, Egypt - Hurghadians Facebook page

Another example of a tourist deeply attached to Hurghada is Alice Matthiesen, also a member of the Hurghadians Facebook page. She is a German athlete and sports model.

“This country gives me so much great moments and feelings. We as Hurghadians want to show the beautiful sides of this country. Thanks to Egypt, Hurghada and the people who give me an unforgettable holiday,” said Matthiesen on the Hurghadians Facebook page.

Hurghada is one of Egypt's leading holiday resorts, popular with visitors from around the world. It is the perfect getaway for those seeking total relaxation with fantastic weather and warm sea temperatures throughout the year. The city is fast growing into a major holiday resort, packed full of attractions, and it has a growing reputation as an international destination for visitors from all corners of the globe.

Photo of Michel Van Haarlem, flying in an airship, Hurghada, Egypt - Facebook homepage travelogue

Hurghada became an international center for aquatic sports. This is the perfect place to practice your favorite sea sport, whether windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming, or above all, snorkeling and diving.

The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous amongst divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare types of fish and coral reefs, which may also be observed through glass bottom boats.]]>
11/16/2017 9:43:33 AM
<![CDATA[Campaign to renovate Hassan Fathy Village in Luxor ]]>
Road in Hassan Fathy Village – Five Photos Website

The three authorities have launched this initiative to rescue the village and make it suitable for human life. This comes as a part of greater development project to rebuild and renovate underrated historical places in Egypt.

“All buildings surrounding this village will be decorated in the village’s style to be more attractive and comfortable,” Luxor’s governor said to the press.

Mosque in Hassan Fathy Village - Five Photos Website

The village will be constructed through three phases. The first phase includes renovation of the Al-Khan building and the mosque, the second is to develop the Hassan Fathy home and theater, and the last phase encompasses rebuilding all homes situated in the village, according to the governor’s statement.

Renovation work of Hassan Fathy Village – Five Photos Website

Hassan Fathy village is located on the Nile’s west bank in Luxor. It dates back to engineer Hassan Fathy, who was born on March 23, 1900. He was the first Egyptian member to serve on the teaching staff of the Faculty of Fine Arts, and he also worked as an engineering expert at the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA). His influence in engineering and architecture stretches all over the world, as he constructed many buildings in Athens, Greece.]]>
11/16/2017 9:37:26 AM
<![CDATA[The first Zorbing Park in the Middle East opens in Cairo]]>
Zorbing ball is a sport that puts in motion three in one activities: swimming, rolling down hills and playing bouncy ball.

Two zorbing balls in Verticality Zorbing Park (undated photo) – photo courtesy of Verticality Zorbing Park official Facebook Page

This giant inflatable ball is double sectioned, with one ball inside another with a layer of air between them and dumping pumps. It is also lightweight and made of flexible plastic to roll you down smoothly.

Gamers rated it 4.8 out of 5 stars with positive comments, such as Mohamed Nabil, who wrote “lots of joy for kids and adults, we did enjoy the day."

Double sectioned Zorbing ball (undated photo) – photo courtesy of Verticality Zorbing Park official Facebook Page

The park holds many crazy games other than zorbing ball. There is a Dragon Island Amusement Park that includes a quick line to a large trampoline, eight other games, a kids area, soccer, and baseball fields.

Zorbing ball culture originated in New Zealand, but now the ball is manufactured in EU and ISO certified in Amusement ride safety according to European standard. ]]>
11/16/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[French envoy calls on his country's nationals to visit Sharm El Sheikh]]>
Addressing a session of the Egyptian-European Business Council on Wednesday, he said despite the decline in the number of French tourists who visited Egypt in 2011, this year witnessed a 15 percent increase compared to the past year.]]>
11/15/2017 5:38:52 PM
<![CDATA[Budget airline backer Franke spends a bundle on jets]]>
Passengers may grumble about paying extra for baggage, seats and meals, but the 80-year-old industry veteran - the co-founder and managing partner of Phoenix-based private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC - offers no apologies.

“The consumer is essentially like your teenager: a spoiled brat,” Franke said after agreeing the giant Airbus (AIR.PA) deal - worth up to $50 billion at list prices - at the Dubai Airshow on Wednesday.

He said passengers had become used to flying premium carriers with lots of amenities, but they were not willing to pay a higher price for them. “So if you want the lowest possible fares, you have to have some trade-offs,” he said.

Franke is betting the aviation industry is evolving toward the European model where bare-bones carriers like Hungary’s Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) and Ireland’s Ryanair (RYA.I) have made greater inroads in taking market share from legacy airlines on short flights than in the United States.

Franke said the idea was to make air travel affordable enough so that it could attract people who wanted to avoid a longer journey on a bus or train. “The reason they don’t or haven’t been able to (fly) is because of the high cost of the airfare,” he said. “So if we are able to produce a model that has low fares, we have had great success in attracting customers.”


Indigo, founded in 2003, controls Denver-based budget carrier Frontier Airlines as well as new Chilean airline JetSmart and part of Mexico’s Volaris. The private equity firm sold an 18.7 percent stake in Wizz Air in June and once held stakes in Singapore’s Tiger Airways and U.S.-based Spirit Airlines.
The huge Airbus order includes A320neos and A321neos for Wizz Air, Frontier, Volaris and JetSmart.

Franke said it underscored his optimism about their growth potential. He began his airline career at then-bankrupt America West Airlines, which later acquired U.S. Airways and was then bought out by American Airlines (AAL.O).

At America West, he took lessons from low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and Ryanair about flying aircraft as many hours of the day as possible and charging extra fees, he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last month.

“Not staying disciplined about the business model and allowing other costs to leak in is the ‘path to hell’,” Franke said on Wednesday. Budget airlines partly save money by buying large numbers of jets at low prices when manufacturers are eager to fill up their order books, and then generally sticking with one type.

Industry sources say Indigo Partners takes a fee on aircraft allocated to airlines, making it effectively four deals in one. But finance sources said the cost to Airbus in last-minute concessions to bring lengthy and secret talks to a head in time to promote the order at the air show may have been significant.

“We are not going to discuss the pricing of the aircraft but as they say in the West, where I am from, we didn’t just arrive in town on the watermelon truck,” Franke said. “We know how to buy airplanes and we are pretty good at it.”]]>
11/15/2017 5:26:04 PM
<![CDATA[Hilton Worldwide plans Egypt expansion, sees pick-up in tourism]]>
The U.S. company, which runs thousands of hotels around the world and manages 17 hotels in Egypt, aims to add 2,500 rooms and take on seven more projects in the North African country by 2022, Hilton’s Mohab Ghali said.

Egypt’s tourism industry, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency and employer of millions of Egyptians, has suffered since a 2011 uprising but has picked up in recent months amid government efforts to restore stability and revive the industry.

“The average occupancy rate at hotels in Egypt has increased by 20-25 percent this year,” Ghali said on the sidelines of an event to promote investment in Port Said.

Ghali added that the number of visitors to the North African country is expected to continue to climb next year.

A government official said last month that Egypt’s tourism revenue had jumped by more than 210 percent year on year to $5.3 billion in the first nine months of 2017.

A flotation of the country’s currency last year, which cut the Egyptian pound’s value by half, has helped to lift the tourism market after political turmoil and two plane crashes left its resorts nearly empty.

“As long as there is economic and political stability, you’ll see the numbers of tourists improving,” Ghali said, adding that 40 percent of hotel reservations are currently made by local visitors.

“Why would we sign new contracts and expand here if we weren’t optimistic about Egypt?”]]>
11/15/2017 5:19:37 PM
<![CDATA[Alaska Airlines discontinues Los Angeles-Havana daily flight]]>
The U.S. government made it tougher last week for Americans to visit Cuba and do business in the country, making good on a pledge by President Donald Trump to roll back his Democratic predecessor’s move toward warmer ties with Havana.

The regulations include a ban on Americans doing business with some 180 Cuban government entities, holding companies, and tourism companies.

The airline which started the Los Angeles-Havana flight in January this year, said it will redeploy the aircraft to other markets with stronger demand.

Passengers who have tickets booked to Havana after January 22 will be rebooked on another airline at no additional cost or a full refund, the company said.]]>
11/15/2017 2:26:04 PM
<![CDATA[Scored by history, overhauled Algiers mosque to reopen]]>
Now the ornate towers and arches are set for a new chapter as the majestic place of worship gets ready to open its doors for the first time in nearly a decade following a lengthy renovation.

Once a symbol of Ottoman influence, it was known for more than a century as the Roman Catholic Saint Philippe Cathedral after France’s conquest of Algeria, only to revert to a mosque when the country claimed independence in 1962 following a bloody struggle.

In 2008, it was shut down as the ravages of time — and a powerful earthquake — took their toll.

But much to the delight of local residents it will soon be up and running again after more than three years of restoration work, funded by the Turkish government.

“I can’t wait to return there to pray,” said Salim, a trader working nearby, who declined to give his second name.

My father brought me here to pray for the first time in 1978 when I was just nine years old.”

A worker walks in the Ketchaoua mosque in the famed Unesco-listed Casbah district of Algiers as they complete the final stages of its renovation on October 15, 2017. — AFP pic
A worker walks in the Ketchaoua mosque in the famed Unesco-listed Casbah district of Algiers as they complete the final stages of its renovation on October 15, 2017. — AFP pic
Bloody assault

The date of the first mosque built on the site remains under debate but the earliest references to it can be found in 1612.

In the late 18th century, the Ottoman ruler of the region Hassan Pasha completely transformed the location and turned it into one of the grandest mosques in the city.

That lasted only for around 40 years until the French seized Algeria and requisitioned the building by force.

“Its conversion into a church in 1832 took place after an assault by the colonial army” that claimed the lives of some of “the several hundred faithful who had dug in to oppose the takeover,” said Aicha Hanafi, professor of archaeology at the University of Algiers.

“That same year, on December 24, they celebrated the first Christmas Mass,” she said.

The Christian capture of the mosque brought both a physical and spiritual change to the building.

Its first women

After returning to its original function following independence some 55 years ago, the mosque underwent cosmetic changes to make it conform to the demands of the Muslim faith.

Now the latest renovations have seen a greater overhaul, restoring more original features and making space for some 1,200 faithful, including, for the first time, women.

“We did all that we could to maintain the historical monument,” said Abdelouahab Zekkagh, director of the national agency that oversees the use of historical buildings.

He said that the minarets were taken apart stone by stone and those blocks that were too badly worn were swapped for new ones bought in from the west of the country.

The original minbar (pulpit) built by the Ottomans in 1794 has been restored and the niche indicating the direction of prayer has been repainted in gold leaf by a Turkish craftsman.

Architect Akli Amrouche is slightly disappointed that the new verses of the Koran inscribed on the walls do not match the originals.

But, overall, after the long road that the mosque has travelled he is happy with the facelift.

“It is an excellent job, the minarets have been saved and the prayer room renovated,” he said. — AFP]]>
11/15/2017 2:22:11 PM
<![CDATA[Travel through time in Luxor airship ]]>
Luxor is famed as one of Egypt's biggest attractions worldwide. The equivalent in Arabic is the “City of Temples”, describing the monuments that have survived from ancient Thebes, built by the ancient pharaohs more than 7,000 years ago. There are many more beauties hidden in the City of Temples that you need to know before you travel to Luxor.

Airships have become one of the best rides for travelers, but only few know about it. When some are intimidated to try them, others deem them as worth trying. Here we will take you on a tour on board an airship, and you can be assured that you will crave flying in one soon.

An airship flies over the green fields, Luxor, Egypt, undated photo, Egypt Best Places Facebook Page.jpg

Take a deep breath before you come on board, as the view of Luxor is breathtakingly beautiful from an airship. Your trip will start at 5 a.m., and if you are lucky enough, you will enjoy the scenic sunrise. The Nile view flowing between the modern city and the west bank necropolis, backed by the temples of Karnak to the east and the spectacular view of tombs on the west bank, will captivate your mind and heart.

If you are a first time flyer, be sure to wear heavy clothes, as you will fly 2,000 ft above Luxor for nearly 45-60 minutes with 10-12 persons. Once you are on board, the balloon slowly floats up, and the higher it gets, the more you can see, while also watching other time machines take off. There is nothing in the world that compares to the view and grandeur of the Egyptian monuments from an airship.

Airships, or hot air balloons, are known for mainly depending on the expected weather conditions and wind directions during flight. These conditions are only available in certain seasons and in a few countries around the world, such as England, Spain, Turkey, Kenya and Egypt.

Luxor gained international fame by being the only place that is able to fly hot air balloons throughout the year’s seasons, due to the nature of the atmosphere and moderate weather on one hand, and the beautiful historical views of the city on the other. ]]>
11/15/2017 9:32:45 AM
<![CDATA[“Egypt Selfie” campaign to see Egypt from tourists’ eyes ]]>
1- A foreign couple shared a video of them walking along one of the touristic places in Egypt and acting in pharaonic positions. The video had more than a million views once it was uploaded on the “Egypt Selfie” campaign group on Facebook.

2- Kazakhstanian women named Kamila supported the campaign with photos of her wearing pharaonic outfits at several historical places, like the Giza Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum.

kazakhstanian women in Egypt with Pharaonic outfit

3- An Iraqi family participated in the campaign with their photos after visiting about 10 touristic sites.

4- A traveling girl named Jordan Taylor provided the campaign with her selfies at the Giza Pyramids, Mohamed Ali Mosque in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan to deispel all allegations that Egypt is an unsafe country for women.

Photo 3 Tourists taking selfies in Giza Pyramids - The Wonderful of Egypt Facebook Page

5- An American tourist has uploaded his tour at the Roman Pavilion of the Egyptian Museum with a caption stating that the knowledge he acquired in Egypt is equal to all he had learned from school since 1978.

Traveller Jordan Taylor in Egypt official face book page

It seems that tourists are playing an active role in these campaigns not only by visiting our country, but also by promoting tourism in Egypt and encouraging others all over the world to visit every inch of the country.

The Egypt Selfie campaign is a friendly attempt to create a more valuable and attractive story about Egypt. The site was launched by Ahmed salama. He launched it on social media, sponsored by This is Wonderful Egypt Facebook page administrators.

At first, Ahmed started with himself . He shared a lot of selfies on the campaign group and encouraged other Egyptians to attract Arabs and foreigners. ]]>
11/15/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 13: Holy Family rest in Minya’s ‘Mountain of Birds’]]>
Edited map of the Holy Family’s route in Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority

Most residents work in quarries which surround the village from all directions. They are tough workmen who retrieve marble and white granite from the mountains, while few of them work as peasants. All residents are Christians, since the last three Muslim families left the village to another Muslim-majority village. When they decided to leave, Reverend Bafnotious asked them, “Why did you decide to leave? Did anyone bother you?” Malak, a resident of the village told us this story on the ferryboat. He said that the Muslims just wanted to join their in-laws in a nearby village, so they sold their land and left. Nobody bothered them; we have all been neighbors for many years.

A view of Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

Many people got into the ferry. Some of them were going to the quarries, while others were transferring vegetables, fruits and goods. We could see the crosses of Gabal et-Tayr Monastery in the distance, like plants sprouting in the wilderness.
As the ferry got closer, we saw the small stairs of the monastery carved into the mountain.

The cave in which Virgin Mary and Child Christ stayed at Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

On our way to the Southern bank of the Nile, we pondered the story of the Holy Child who was sailing down the same river more than two thousand years ago when someone screamed as he saw a rock falling down the mountain towards him, but baby Jesus could stop the rock from falling, carving his tiny hand on it. The mountain was thus called Gabal al-Kaff (Mountain of the Palm), before it was changed to Gabal et-Tayr (Mountain of Birds). The name refers to all those strange birds that migrate annually to the mountain and do not leave it until they die.

One of the entrances to Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

When we got off the ferryboat, we saw the road to the village with a lot of stacked white sand. It seemed like it was in the process of being paved. The car took us through the streets of the village; then through a one-kilometer road to the monastery’s main gate where we entered the world of the Holy Family once more.

Part of the natural landscape at Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

The gate of the monastery led to a sandy courtyard. To the right, there was a booth selling Christian souvenirs and books; it was run by a nun who went about her daily work while reciting Christian hymns. We could also see policemen securing the monastery and carrying out their national duty; one of them was performing Al-Asr prayer, an afternoon prayer for Muslims, when we got there. And several antiquities inspectors were sitting near the ancient church’s gate.

Ancient engravings at Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

“Our church is special because it is the only church built inside the mountain. It used to be one rock and now it is four rocky walls; in the cloister, there used to be 10 rocky pillars. In 1938, the church was restored and the second and third floors were built,” said Reverend Sawfilos. He also indicated that the rock where Christ’s palm was imprinted used to be in the monastery, but then during the British occupation, it was stolen and never returned. However, it is preserved in a U.K. museum.

An icon at Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

"In 328 A.D., Empress Helena, mother of King Constantine I, came to the mountain. When people told her that the Holy Family passed by this area and hid in the cave, she ordered that the rock around the cave is sculpted into the architectural style of Orthodox churches. She called it the Virgin Mary Church," continued Reverend Sawfilos. He indicated that the monastery consists of five churches; they are the Virgin Mary Church (the ancient church), the Holy Family Church, Saint Joseph Church, Saint Salome Church, and finally, Al-Hurub Church (the flight), which reminds Egyptians of the difficult journey taken by Christ in their country.

The ancient columns of Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

As we went into the church, we were fascinated by the icons on the walls. Some icons were ancient, and others were brought in by Christians seeking to be blessed. On each icon, you could see the name of the person who presented it to the church, written in a small font. In a small corner of the church, you could see the Virgin’s shrine in the heart of the mountain, where lovers of the Virgin left their prayers, hoping she will deliver them to the Heavens. You could also see a box for donations; the Virgin loves those who give. The money goes to the poor of course.

A man going down one of the staircases of Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

There was a recent icon of the Virgin with stars surrounding her as she is the "Second Heaven" in the Bible. She had a wreath on her head because she is a queen, and around her, there were pigeons, because pigeons symbolize her. Therefore, this icon shows many names given to Mary in the Bible. They are more than 100 names, and the most important ones are, “the highly favored,” and “the pigeon,” as simple people love to use these names.

9: One of the staircases of Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

On the wall, there was an icon of the Holy Martyrs of Bethlehem. The Reverend told us that they were the children killed by King Herod and his soldiers as they were looking for Baby Jesus among the newborns. In the middle of the church, there was a rocky pillar, with a baptismal font sculpted into it. The Reverend said the font is not used today for fear of it collapsing.

A view of farmland from the top of Gabal et-Tayr Monastery, Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

We left the rocky church and went to Al-Hurub Church, recently built on the mountain, featuring a huge dome. Next to it, there was another cave leading to the stairs we saw outside of the monastery, called the "Virgin’s stairs." The attendant told us that these stairs used to be the only way one could get into the church in the past. As for this mysterious cave, the attendant told us that it blesses women who are having difficulty getting pregnant; women enter the cave from the right side and leave from the left side more than once while calling on the Virgin.

Gabal et-Tayr Monastery from a ferry in Minya Oct. 14, 2017 – Maher Eskandar

Above the cave, there was what the Reverend called al-bakara, which is an old piece of machinery used to lift groundwater at mountain to the top, but the water dried up after the practice stopped.

We took a few flights of stairs to the modern buildings in the monastery; then we found ourselves on top of the mountain, and we could see the many agricultural fields surrounding us. We also saw the palm trees growing in the middle of the rocks with remarkable resilience to survive.

We left the monastery and crossed to the West Bank, following the steps of the Holy Family again. They did not stay in the villages of Assiut for long, but they got to the spot where Deir al-Muharraq, the first church in history, was built.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 12: Minya, Upper Egypt – Holy Family’s first stop after Cairo

Ep. 11: At Holy Family’s Maadi station to Upper Egypt

Ep. 10: Holy Family leaves behind Egypt’s most visited church

Ep. 9: holy family in Egypt - Islamic Cairo

Ep.8: Holy Family in Egypt – Virgin’s Mary Tree in Heliopolis

Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/15/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi emphasizes tourist potentials in western Egypt]]>
The president’s remarks were made during his meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Matrouh Governor Alaa Abu Zeid, during which he also urged establishing integrated entities including the necessary facilities and services in a way that contributes to improving people’s living conditions.

Sisi also underscored the importance of finalizing the relevant projects as soon as possible, at the lowest cost and in accordance with the highest quality standards, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

The meeting comes within the framework of following up the government’s plan to develop western Egypt, which aims to set up a foreign investment-attracting zone and transfer the area into a tourist destination throughout the year.

The plan will in turn help boost the national economy and provide job opportunities via establishing a number of projects in Marsa Matrouh governorate, the spokesman added.]]>
11/14/2017 6:56:15 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism in Egypt started to recover, says official]]>
In statements to MENA correspondent here on the sidelines of his participation in the first regional conference on tourism in the Middle East and North Africa, Demeiry noted that despite the current absence of the British and Russian tourists, there are several other markets coming to Egypt.

There is an increase in the number of tourists coming from traditional markets, such as Germany and Italy, or the new ones, like Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Poland, India and China, he said.

The two-day conference was inaugurated on Tuesday in Amman under the theme “Competitiveness for Sustainable Growth.]]>
11/14/2017 3:56:37 PM
<![CDATA[Make this street your next destination]]>
long Passage of Al-Alfy Street – Credit to Ahmed Hussein – Egypt Today Photographer

Al-Alfy Street is the largest passage in downtown Cairo. It is 135 meters long and 22 meters wide, linking Orabi Square and Emad El-Din Street. The street is divided into two parts; Zakria Ahmed main street divides Al-Alfy street into two parts; a walkway with many restaurants on either side.

This street is considered by many who visit downtown Cairo as a stop or meeting point. It has numerous vintage restaurants and modern cafes on both sides, like Umm Kalthoum Café, Elfalero Sweets, and Al-Alfy Bek Restaurant.

Al-Alfy Bek Restaurant on the right side of Al-Alfy Street – Credit to Ahmed Hussein – Egypt Today Photographer

In 2014, Al-Alfy Street had the worst reviews since many street vendors were clogging the street’s multiple intersections.

El Falero sweets at Al-Alfy Street – Credit to Ahmed Hussein – Egypt Today Photographer

However, between 2015 and 2017, the street was entirely renovated and redrawn. All street vendors were removed, trees were planted, a new lighting system put in place, and all the former wooden seats were replaced with a novel granite sidewalk. These steps came under a project by Cairo governor.

This old street and renewed passage dates back to the Mamluk Prince Mohamed Bek Al-Alfy, who fought against the French invasion of Egypt. ]]>
11/14/2017 1:09:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-Jordanian ties in tourism sector 'excellent': Jordan]]>
In statements to MENA on Tuesday on the sidelines of the first regional conference on "Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa: Competitiveness for Sustainable Growth", the minister said that Egypt and Jordan are working together to promote tourism in Europe and other world countries.

Annab added that she held contacts with Egyptian Tourism Minister Yehia Rashid to boost cooperation in the tourism field, including religious, non-religious and adventure tourism, in the two countries.

The conference, which kicked off on Monday under the patronage of Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki, is part of the activities of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism to reflect the Global Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

The two-day conference includes the signing of the "Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism — within the framework of the corporate social responsibility" agreement, between the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and seven global companies, in addition to Jordanian national tourism associations.]]>
11/14/2017 12:55:07 PM
<![CDATA[In Morocco, a blue tourist town is turning green]]>
Chefchaouen - known locally as Chaouen - wants to become a model for sustainable development at a time when the northwest African kingdom has shone a spotlight onto its commitment to the environment and a greener future.

Take Aziz, a local council employee in his forties. He whizzes silently around town on an electric bicycle doing his job as an inspector of building sites."It's a practical and eco-friendly way of getting around!" he says.

"It respects the environment and allows us to get around easily without using polluting modes of transport," Aziz says, wearing a fluorescent safety vest and with a helmet firmly on his head.

Mohamed Sefiani, mayor of the town of some 45,000 residents where visitors come to admire hundreds of hues of blue, says Chefchaouen began to go green more than seven years ago.

"In April 2010, the municipal council took a unanimous decision aimed at transforming Chaouen into an ecologically sustainable town," he says. Local political commitment to the project is strong, the mayor says, but much still needs to be done.

"Chefchaouen isn't an ecological town yet, but it certainly has the will to become one," says a smiling Sefiani."We are in a transition phase. At a Moroccan and African level, we're among the most advanced towns in this respect."

Raising awareness

A newly inaugurated municipal swimming pool equipped with solar energy is near an "ecology centre" built from recycled containers where the town's green projects, funded mainly by the European Union and backed by several NGOs, are highlighted.

France's GERES - Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity - was asked to help transform Chefchaouen."It was at the town's request that we came here to support its energy and climatic transition," says the NGO's Virginie Guy, who is coordinating the project.

Among the initiatives is an "info-energy" centre to raise awareness about energy savings, photovoltaic panels at several sites, such as the municipal library, that contribute to electricity production, and an environmentally oriented museum is also nearly complete.

The info-energy centre's Houda Hadji explains the basics of eco-construction, energy efficiency and the benefits of energy-saving lightbulbs, among other green topics. "There's very strong interest" from visitors to the centre, says the young guide, her hair concealed under an elegant veil.

"This is the first initiative in Morocco working on energy upgrading in buildings, and providing information about savings, targeting both businesses and individuals," she adds.

Chefchaouen is one of 12 southern Mediterranean locations to benefit from a European programme that has granted it around 10 million dirhams ($1 million, 900,000 euros) and declared the town "a model and initiator of change in sustainable energy management".

But not everything is green yet in the little blue town."The public dump is not yet up to standard," Mayor Sefiani concedes."We're working on a landfill and recovery centre, and I think that by 2021, we will have ironed out all the problems."

Renewable energy

With "green" mosques, solar and wind farms, electric buses and a ban on plastic bags, Morocco has been forging ahead with environment-friendly policies over the past few years.It regularly trumpets its proactive strategy in terms of green energy, instigated by King Mohammed VI.

Late last year, in the southern city of Marrakesh, the country hosted the COP22 international climate conference and has begun an ambitious plan to develop renewable energy.

In a country devoid of hydrocarbon resources, the aim is to increase the share of renewable energies nationally to 52 percent by 2030 (20 percent solar, 20 percent wind, 12 percent hydro).

A massive flagship project was inaugurated by the king in February last year. The Noor solar power plant is on the edge of the Sahara desert, some 20 kilometres outside Ouarzazate.

Spread over an area equivalent to more than 600 football pitches, the plant's half a million metal mirrors follow the sun as it moves across the sky and stores the energy collected from its rays.

Despite pushing its green credentials, Morocco still has many environmental hurdles to clear on its way to cleaner horizons.

A recent World Bank report covered by Moroccan media spoke of "alarming" peaks of atmospheric pollution in the country's major cities.

And a number of eco projects announced to great fanfare during the 2016 COP22 conference remain just that -- announcements.]]>
11/14/2017 9:14:02 AM
<![CDATA[TV host Ellen reposts video of Egypt’s Red Sea]]>With nearly 50 million followers on her Instagram account, DeGeneres’ video got more than five million views in just two days.

Many initiatives are underway to revive tourism in Egypt as many renowned Hollywood stars have visited Egypt in the recent period.

Since the drawback that hit the tourism industry following the revolution and, in particular, the crackdown of Russian plane over South Sinai in 2015, tourism revenues have gone down by over 70 percent.

Hollywood star Forest Whitaker visited Egypt in October to attend the El Gouna Film Festival, where he visited the Egyptian museum and shared photos as he marveled at the iconic pyramids, to document such an “inspiring moment,” as he tweeted.

In February, Argentinean football legend Lionel Messi arrived in Egypt as part of Egypt’s "Tour 'n' Cure" campaign to combat Hepatitis C.

Messi’s visit to Egypt was met with great fanfare. During his first day, he explored the Great Pyramids of Giza and met a number of Egyptian children. He also attended a gala at the Mena House Hotel in the presence of several ministers.

In addition, Hollywood star Will Smith arrived for a visit with his family and shared his now famous selfies admiring the “beauty” and “magnificence” of Egyptian monuments.
Early in April, Manchester United football legend Ryan Giggs visited Egypt as part of a UEFA tour, promising to return for a longer trip.

Shortly after, Egypt’s Tourism Development Authority announced a remarkable hike in tourism rates, crediting its promotional campaigns in Europe.
11/13/2017 5:42:52 PM
<![CDATA[United resumes Newark-Delhi flights after halt due to poor air quality]]>
UA Flight 82 had been canceled on Friday and Saturday, data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24 showed, while the airline’s website said it had waiver policies in place for passengers traveling to, from or through Delhi until Monday.

UA Flight 82 has resumed operations, but “we will continue to monitor conditions over the next few days”, a spokesman said.

The third-largest U.S carrier is monitoring advisories as the New Delhi region remains under a public health emergency, and is coordinating with respective government agencies, the United Airlines spokesman had earlier told Reuters.

Last week, New Delhi declared a pollution emergency as toxic smog hung over the city for days, with tourism operators reporting cancellation of bookings for the Christmas holidays.

U.S. rivals Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines Group Inc said they do not operate flights to New Delhi, while several Asian airlines contacted by Reuters said they had not canceled flights.

Verisk Maplecroft, a risk consultancy, says India has the worst air quality out of a list of 198 countries it measures, and that New Delhi ranks among the world’s top 10 most polluted cities with many urban areas around the capital also among those with the worst air quality.

“At the national level, India tops the index rankings (i.e. the country with the worst air quality), followed by Bangladesh and Thailand,” said Richard Hewston, Verisk Maplecroft’s global head of environment and climate change.

The company’s Air Quality Index assesses the atmospheric concentrations of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, known as PM 2.5.

A U.S. embassy measure of PM 2.5 showed a reading of 481 in New Delhi on Monday morning, local time. The outer limit of “good” air is 50.]]>
11/13/2017 4:40:25 PM
<![CDATA[Despacito’ model Zulyeka Rivera spotted in Egypt]]>
Zulyeka in Bedouin outfit in Giza Pyramids - Twitter Official Account

It seems, however, that this effectiveness stretched over Egypt to kick off the tourism activation program, especially after the model of “Despacito” had visited touristic spots in Egypt on Friday.

Zulyeka Rivera riding balloon in Luxor – Twitter Official Account

Zulyeka Rivera is promoting tourism to Egypt on her own way as she made a simple tour around the most popular touristic sites and historical places with a professional photo-shoot in the country’s attractions, including Giza Pyramids and Sphinx, Luxor and Aswan, Mohamed Ali Mosque and Khan el-Khalili Street.

ZulyeKa enjoying Nile view from Aswan – Twitter Official Account

Rivera is also Miss Universe 2006 and a Puerto Rican actress who participated in the movie “Runner Runner,” which was published in 2013. She is also the TV host at one of the top shows at Univision: “Despierta America.” Zulyeka was born on October 3, 1987, and at the age of 14, she began her modeling career, which she was highly passionate about, and her face helped her more as she graced many magazine covers.

Zulyeka take a photo infront of Sphinx – Twitter official Account

ZulyeKa Rivera at one of Luxor temple – Twitter Official Account

Zulyeka in Mohamed Ali mosque – Twitter Official Account
11/13/2017 3:29:18 PM
<![CDATA[Climate change imperils one in four natural heritage sites: report]]>
The number of sites at risk has grown to 62 from 35 in 2014, when one in seven were listed, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which released the report at UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

Among the ecosystems most threatened by global warming are coral reefs which bleach as oceans heat up, and glaciers which melt.

"Climate change acts fast and is not sparing the finest treasures of our planet," said IUCN director general Inger Andersen.

The report found that 29 percent of World Heritage sites faced "significant" climate change threats, and seven percent -- including the Everglades National Park in the United States and Lake Turkana in Kenya -- had a "critical" outlook.

"The scale and pace at which it (climate change) is damaging our natural heritage underline the need for urgent and ambitious national commitments and actions to implement the Paris Agreement," said Andersen.

Negotiators are gathered in Bonn to work out a nuts-and-bolts rulebook for executing the planet-rescue pact adopted by nearly 200 countries in the French capital in 2015.

The agreement seeks to limit average global warming caused by greenhouse gases from fossil-fuel burning to under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, and to 1.5 C if possible.

The 1 C mark has already been passed, and scientists say that on current country pledges to cut emissions, the world is headed for a 3 C future.

- 'Devastating' -

The IUCN monitors more than 200 natural Heritage Sites listed by the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Three World Heritage-listed coral reefs -- the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean, the Belize Barrier Reef in the Atlantic, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the biggest on Earth -- have been affected by "devastating" bleaching events over the last three years, said the IUCN report.

Corals "bleach" when they are stressed by environmental changes -- due to ocean warming or pollution.

The corals expel the colourful algae that live in them, and turn bone white.

"Retreating glaciers, also resulting from rising temperatures, threaten sites such as Kilimanjaro National Park, which boasts Africa's highest peak, and the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, home to the largest Alpine glacier," said the union.

Wetlands, low-lying deltas, permafrost and fire-sensitive ecosystems are also affected by changes to Earth's climate, it added.

Harm to these natural sites endangers local economies and livelihoods, the IUCN report said.

"In Peru's Huascaran National Park, for example, melting glaciers affect water supplies and contaminate water and soil due to the release of heavy metals previously trapped under ice.

"This adds to the urgency of our challenge to protect these places."

Only invasive plant and animal species surpassed climate change as a risk to natural heritage sites, said the union. And climate change boosts their spread.

Tourism was the third-biggest threat, followed by infrastructure expansion, mining, and oil and gas exploitation.

Sites on the World Heritage list are earmarked for protection for future generations.

Countries assume responsibility under the World Heritage Convention to protect listed sites within their borders.

The report said the management of heritage sites has declined since 2014, "notably due to insufficient funding."

The Bonn meeting is the first of UN climate envoys since US President Donald Trump said he would pull America out of the hard-fought Paris Agreement, a move many fear will make the 2 C goal that much harder to reach.]]>
11/13/2017 3:05:49 PM
<![CDATA[Burullus City glows with Graffiti ]]>
Graffiti tells the story of the walls speaking for themselves and enliven the city with scenes of fish, blossoming roses and singing birds.

Painted by Aly Said

Ordinary viewers and professional artists share the opinion that looking at a work of art up close and personal is essential to appreciating its total effect. The visual experience can never be attained through looking at a laptop screen or printing process; both rather add a barrier to art and distort the aesthetic significance.

The experience brings the memory of Sistine Chapel ceiling, when it was restored by Leonardo Da Vinci and turned into a masterpiece and a world attraction. Similarly, this graffiti has added to Burullus city a much spirit-uplifting experience, transforming the simple city into a work of art.

Painted Assem Abdel Fatah

Egyptians became more familiar with Graffiti as a real form of art after the January 25 Revolution. Egyptian street artists documented the events of the revolution and turned this art from simple negative vandalism to a much more redefined form of art that radiates love and peace. Young graffiti artists have altered several of the street's murals, especially the ones on the walls of the former AUC building, to suit the current political situation in the country.

Painted by Nader Neseem

Burullus city was lucky enough to witness this combination of street artists of different nationalities every year. The residents prepare for this event even before the artists themselves and coordinators of the event. People’s eyes and faces show how excited they are for the shift in the city outlook. It is surprising enough for them to see painters’ brushes and fingers turning the city walls into lively masterpieces and throbbing works of art that speak love and peace.

Painted by Manal Moubarak

“It was a fantastic experience for me because it was the first time for me in Egypt. I have seen so many good things in Cairo and Burullus. The kids and the happy people, it was all amazing,” an Italian artist said in the forum.

Painted by Noha Deyab

“The residents were so happy with this unique experience that brought a colorful life to their houses. They are accustomed with the drawing and painting atmosphere, and some of them even wait for this event to take place every year. They cordially interact with the painters, prepare in advance and ask artists to draw them their favorite drawings,” said an Egyptian artist participating in this event.

Painted by Mohamed Abu El Wafa

Although many consider the spray-painted pieces a nuisance, graffiti has been gaining recognition from the art world lately as a legitimate form of art.]]>
11/13/2017 9:58:30 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 12: Minya, Upper Egypt – Holy Family’s first stop after Cairo]]>
The Holy Family spent five days on its journey down the Nile, blessing the cities of Upper Egypt. Child Christ caused water to spring from an empty well. With his small palm, he stopped a rock from falling on the passengers, and the mountain is thus named Gabal al-Kaff (Mountain of the Palm). A village is also called Deir Abi Esus, meaning the House of Jesus. Centuries later, Arabs altered the name to Deir al-Garnous.

Deir el-Garnous church – V Egypt Tours

From Maghagha, a town in Minya, the car took us to Deir al-Garnous village. Locals installed speed bumps themselves in front of their houses. The lanes were too narrow that they would not accommodate two vehicles at the same time. We found the village with a lot of difficulty. When we got there, we noticed that the metal doors of people’s houses were adorned with crosses, as if people wanted to assert the Christian identity of their village. For many years, Muslims have not resided in this village, and the people do not welcome strangers among them.

The people of Deir al-Garnous work in agriculture, trade and transportation of goods. Toward the middle of the village, we could see the beacon of the Virgin Mary Church. There were huge domes and a long beacon towering above the surrounding houses built by peasants and merchants who could build their houses using red bricks after many encroachments on farmland.

Deir el-Garnous church – V Egypt Tours

The gates of the Church opened, leading to a spacious courtyard. We could see both the ancient buildings and others that Reverend Aghathon, current Bishop of Maghagha, commissioned building in order to accommodate the largest number of worshippers possible. If you took two steps back, you could notice the contiguous domes. There were twelve of them, representing Christ’s 12 apostles. On top of each, there was a cross which is lit at night. The church goes back to the 10th century A.D.

Reverend Bernaba is the Representative of Maghagha Archbishopric and other priests call him the “historian of Deir al-Garnous.” Writing about this church was part of his graduation project from the Clerical College, a hub of clerical education in the Coptic Church. He told us that the Holy Family crossed this village on their journey, that it was called Abi Esus, and it was changed to Deir Besus in the 12th century A.D. Years ago, it became known as Deir al-Garnous, which is the official name today.

Cover (1)
Deir el-Garnous church – V Egypt Tours

Reverend Bernaba tells us that the Holy Family spent three days in this place before they left to Gabal at-Tayr. Christ made a well emerge here when he felt thirsty. Saint Joseph hit the ground with his stick, making water spring from it.

Reverend Shenouda Girgis, long-serving priest at the Virgin Mary Church in Deir al-Garnous told us that the church is called Deir al-Garnous because monks used to live there during the 7th century. Monks later left the area. A church was later built and took the name of deir (monastery). Ancient pillars, a baptismal font and an ancient mill which monks used to grind grains for bread still survive in the church to this day.

A group of peasants gathered around the well, praying for blessings. They filled water bottles from it and said they would water their fields with it, and prayed for the blessings of Jesus and his virgin mother. Reverend Shenouda said that the well is a source of blessings to the village. Even Muslims in nearby villages come to it and pray for the miracle of being cured from disease, he said.

From Deir al-Garnous, the Holy Family crossed to the other bank of the river and we do not know exactly what happened there. We took the train to Samallout and when we got there, we took the Agricultural Road to Bani Khaled ferryboat, which connects both banks of the Nile.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 11: At Holy Family’s Maadi station to Upper Egypt

Ep. 10: Holy Family leaves behind Egypt’s most visited church

Ep. 9: holy family in Egypt - Islamic Cairo

Ep.8: Holy Family in Egypt – Virgin’s Mary Tree in Heliopolis

Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/13/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[How the Great Pyramid proves once again it's a world wonder]]>
Technologies used in Void Discovery – Reuters

Archeologists and scholars spend years searching for and studying the secret of the pyramids’ internal structure and the mystery of its architecture. The team discovered the structure’s most recent secret; experts from ScanPyramids describe the void as being the size of an airbus with 200 passengers on board.

Scan Pyramids Projects Team – Guardian

“It is a very big void space above the Grand Galley, roughly 30 meters long,” ScanPyramids deputy coordinator Yasser Al-Shayeb told the Egyptian press; adding that the team could not know if the void was horizontal or inclined or made by one structure or several successive ones.

The discovered void cannot be a chamber as it is a long passage, four meters wide and 30 meters long, but the chamber should be of a rectangular and square shape. It is also observed through three different moun-detection technologies, installing emulsion films in the queen chamber in the pyramid and three independent analysis that came up with the giant void inside, according to the team coordinator.

Japanese Detector at Great Pyramids – BBC

The ScanPyramids team that made the discovery comprise Egyptian, French, Japanese and Canadian scientists who teamed up two years ago in a bid to solve mysteries and understand the inner architecture of the pyramids with the use of modern technologies and infrared scanning under the supervision of a scientific committee assigned by the Minister of Antiquities.

Four similar weight-reliving voids were found on the top of the king chamber to distribute the weight of the pyramids down, giving a scene of the rule upon which Pharaohs built the pyramids.
11/12/2017 7:54:07 PM
<![CDATA[Bots battle for the ball, and the globe, in Robot Olympiad ]]>
But the same may not be true for workers, especially those in menial or transport activities where robots are steadily taking over. Think factory assemblers and sorters, or even self-driving cars.

Some of the technology behind the robot revolution could be seen in the Olympiad, which gathered more than 2,500 people from more than 60 countries in a vast hall on the outskirts of Costa Rica's capital San Jose — the first time the event, now in its 14th year, has been held in the Americas.

Pint-sized robots packed with sensors and rolling on plastic wheels showed their football skills by battling rivals on miniature football fields.

Others rolled across tables seeking out blocks of certain colors and sizes to grab and place within demarcated zones.

It was all more than child's play for the contestants representing their countries, aged from six to adult.

“It’s so difficult,” said Hassan Abdelrahem Alqadi, 17, from the United Arab Emirates.

“We have to do it in the system and make the robot take the color and go to the pieces that we want. So it’s very difficult,” he said.

The teen, who hopes to be a mechanical engineer in the oil industry, admitted he had picked up tips from watching other competitors' practice sessions. He and other tech-savvy youngsters crowded around dozens of tables — computers or robots in their hands — to observe.

Environmental theme

At one table, a group of Australian teens fine-tuned their contraptions trying to win possession of a palm-sized transparent "soccer" ball containing a sensor. The robots were able to detect the ball, grab it while fending off rivals, and protect the goal area.

Being at the Olympiad, surrounded by equally bright peers from around the world, was eye-opening for the teens.

“We’ve never been to an international competition before, so it’s a new experience. I can really only compare it to the competitions we’ve had in Australia — in Australia we've done pretty well,” said Tiernan Martin, 13.

The competition over the weekend was being judged in several age categories, as well as in the football, university and open tournaments.

This year, the environment was the overriding theme — an area in which Costa Rica is at the forefront.

Thus, robots had to show their usefulness in sustainable tourism (identifying protected areas), carbon neutrality (planting trees), and clean energy (seeking out the best places to set up wind turbines).

Robots 'help humanity'

Costa Rica's science and technology minister, Carolina Vasquez Soto, told AFP her country won the right to host the Olympiad — hitherto held mostly in Asia — “for the participation we've had in sustainability, because we are contributing to that with more and bigger resources.”

On the larger question of what robots, and the associated field of artificial intelligence, now represent for human workers, the national organiser for the World Robotics Olympiad, Alejandra Sanchez, was upbeat.

While some see robots as a threat to jobs, she said she saw them as an opportunity.

“I think it's really good. It's good they replace human beings in some tasks. But we are not being discarded — we're changing the functions for human beings,” she said.

“Before, a human being was the one painting cars, for example. Now we have a robot painting vehicles and a human being controlling the robot.... So, it's a personal opinion, but I believe robots are here to stay, and here to help humanity.]]>
11/12/2017 6:51:03 PM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid star visits Egypt to participate in Tour n' Cure]]>
Salgado visited Egypt to promote treatment for Hepatitis C, as part of Prime Pharma’s “Tour n’ Cure” campaign to support tourism treatment in Egypt.

Salgado visited Egypt to promote treatment for Hepatitis C - File Photo

After launching an aggressive campaign to fight the debilitating hepatitis C virus domestically, Egypt launched a program to help the estimated 71 million people afflicted with the disease worldwide.

In May 2016, the country launched the Tour n’ Cure program, which has been promoted by football celebrities Lionel Messi and Dani Alves. For €5,900 ($8,000), European patients can spend a week in Egypt and tour the country at the same time they receive treatment for the virus.

Salgado visited Egypt to promote treatment for Hepatitis C - File Photo

Tour n’ Cure, Egypt’s latest initiative in medical tourism, offers the opportunity to treat Hepatitis C patients from all over the world, through an effective and advanced complete treatment program with no waiting time and at a fraction of the cost.

It also offers to enjoy the beauty of Egypt and visit historic landmarks during the days of the treatment, while enjoying a relaxing stay at a 5-star hotel.]]>
11/11/2017 11:22:21 PM
<![CDATA[Underrated city should be on tourist map ]]>
Nile Cornich in Minya – Best Places of Egypt - FaceBook Page

Minya City is one of the underrated cities in Egypt, but it has a great location at the halfway point between Cairo and Luxor, roughly at the border between Upper and Lower Egypt. Named the “Bride of Upper Egypt”, the archeological sites it encompasses and its agricultural and industrial importance put the city on the top of tourist lists and government maps.

Green areas of Minya City – Best Places of Egypt - FaceBook Page

“Tell el-Amarna” is one of the most famous places in Minya. It is a flat piece of land next to the Nile Valley, with only a stripe of palm trees separating it from the Nile River. It stretches over 120 kilometers from north to south. The sand there is a mixture of ruins from temples and palaces that archeologists are still discovering. El-Amarna is named after a Bedouin tribe called Amarna, who lived in a valley there named “El-Tell”.

Nile view from Minya City – Best Places of Egypt - FaceBook Page

Bani Hassan is the second most famous site in the city and includes a lot of tombs. Those tombs tell us the real life and traditions of the middle kingdom. Bani Hassan lies on the eastern bank of the Nile and conjoins around 39 rocky tombs, like the tombs of Amenemhet, Khnumhotep and Khnumhotep I.

Ruins of Palace at Tell el-Amarna – Memphis Tours Website

Tuna El-Gabal is a temple-shaped tomb belonging to the priest of Toth, the god of wisdom and knowledge, dating back to the age of Akhenaton.

Minya City – Wiki Pedia

The Monastery of the Virgin Mary, located on top of a rocky hill, is called Gabal El Teir. El Teir is located about 25 km northeast from the capital of Minya. It was constructed by Empress Helena in the fourth century.

Monastery of Virgin Mary – Watni Website

The archeological site is rich enough to attract thousands of tourists, there are many rural homes owned by Upper Egyptian residents. Residential homes are opened to tourists, whereby they can taste the traditional food in the city, like eggs and black honey.

Minya is worth visiting and valuable enough to attract tourism to Egypt and change the negative perceptions about Upper Egypt. ]]>
11/11/2017 7:16:39 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Greece talk stimulating tourism movement]]>
This came during Qabil's visit to Greece, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Trade on Saturday.

The meeting took up the importance of reaching a MoU on bolstering tourism cooperation between the two countries as well as activating the trilateral deal between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.

Coordination is underway between officials of both countries to foster tourism movement, minister Kountoura said, adding that the trilateral agreement will be signed to facilitate cruise trips between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.]]>
11/11/2017 2:04:29 PM
<![CDATA[Italy's Ostia, Mafia-by-the-sea where silence is safe]]>
"If you don't see anything, hear anything or say anything, then you can live to be 100 here," a sexagenarian resident of Ostia, near Rome, told AFP, declining to give his name.

"But if you want to change things, then you are going to have some major problems ahead," he added.

"That should have happened a lot earlier. These problems are enrooted and now it's no good lopping off a branch because another will grow and the tree will be just the same."

Ostia, a town with a population of 85,000, where many live on impoverished estates, has been in the media spotlight since Tuesday when the brother of a mafia boss violently assaulted a journalist.

Roberto Spada was filmed headbutting TV reporter Daniele Piervincenzi, before attacking him with a baton.

Piervincenzi had been investigating Spada's alleged links to the far-right CasaPound movement and his nose was fractured in the attack.

In Ostia on Friday dozens of Italian journalists protested in defence of freedom of speech after the attack on their colleague.

Piervincenzi was questioning Spada for a report for national broadcaster Rai about municipal elections, two years after the local council was dissolved due to mafia infiltration.

CasaPound, suspected of links to organised crime in the area, won eight percent of the first round votes.

Italian police arrested Spada on Thursday for assault, with prosecutors saying his behaviour was typical of methods used by organised crime groups to control territory.

While no one in the town openly talks about the mafia, its influence is all pervasive.

"Look at that beach. Not long ago the beach huts, towels, life guards were all abusively managed by the clan," one resident said.

"But since last summer, nothing. The municipality decided to seek tenders for the management, but no one has bid," he added, smiling knowingly.

- 'Digging a bit too deep' -

The attack on Piervincenzi didn't just upset fellow journalists. Ostia residents also turned out to defend freedom of expression.

"Let's just say that the presence of the press has forced law enforcement to lift the lid on the issue," Silvia Frau, a resident, told AFP.

"I hope they stay once the media rush is over," she added.

However another local passing by said that the reporter "was looking for it and he got it".

"He should have known when to stop. He was too insistent, he wanted to dig a little too deep".

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, of the populist Five Star Movement, was one of the first politicians to react to the attack, calling the violence unacceptable and pledging a crackdown on crime.

"Spada's arrest is proof that there are no lawless areas in Italy," the interior ministry said in a statement.

CasaPound came fourth in Sunday's first round voting in the municipal elections and is hoping to do better in the second round on November 19.

It is calling on voters to kick out Raggi who it claims "hasn't even managed to move an abandoned mattress in 18 months".

The Spada clan is notoriously violent. Seven members of the family were sentenced to a combined 56 years in jail in October, and Roberto's brother Carmine was ordered to serve 10 years last year for extortion and mafia association.

CasaPound insists that is all part of a campaign to discredit the movement.

"What CasaPound has done on the ground is anti-mafia work, anti-organised crime," the group's vice president Simone Di Stefano said Thursday.]]>
11/11/2017 1:47:38 PM
<![CDATA[3,460 tourists arrive in Safaga on one ship ]]>CAIRO – 11 November 2017: The cruise ship Mein Schiff 5, carrying 3,460 tourists from different nationalities, arrived in Safaga, a Red Sea town, on Friday to lie at anchor for two days before it sails to other international ports. The ship’s first stop in Egypt was the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

The capacity of Mein Schiff 5, built in 2016, is 3,975 passengers and 1,030 crew members. Its height and width are 310 meters and 39 meters, respectively, consisting of 18 floors.

The ship is owned by TUI Group, which is a multinational travel and tourism company headquartered in Hanover, Germany. It is the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world and owns travel agencies, hotels, airlines, cruise ships and retail stores.
11/11/2017 1:45:35 PM
<![CDATA[Ep. 11: At Holy Family’s Maadi station to Upper Egypt]]>
We stopped in front of the church, and we told an inquiring policeman that we had an appointment at the church. We went through the metal detector and security guards verified our identities and allowed us in. Edward Wadie, a church deacon, led our tour in the big, historical church.

The floating Bible reportedly found on the surface of the Nile – Egypt Today

When he met us, he had just removed his gold-embroidered dalmatic that he wears at the morning mass as he always does on Fridays and Sundays. The church used to be called the al-Adaweya Virgin Mary Monastery, but then became a church when Maadi developed, which made a monastic life of solitude difficult.

“The Holy Family stayed at our church for three to four days on their way to Upper Egypt,” Wadie said.

The stairs the Holy Family used to take a Nile boat – Egypt Today

The church’s ancient sanctuary was a wooden structure adorned with crosses, but with also tiny windows on it. Wadie explained that monks in the past monitored the area outside through those tiny windows to spot any imminent Berber, in which case they would escape with the Blessed Sacrament (Christ’s body) and his blood (the wine). Berber attacks on monasteries occurred in the fifth and sixth centuries and monasteries were plundered of food, crops and other possessions.

Next to the church’s sanctuary, there was an icon of the Virgin Mary, where golden earrings, a golden necklace and a cross dangled from her image. The base of the icon was filled with gold, too. Wadie said lovers of Virgin Mary gave away this gold when she answered their prayers. He said there is always more gold coming in, as the Virgin Mary “never turns down someone’s prayers.”

Inside Maadi church – Memphis tours

There are many amazing stories about that church, but Wadie told us probably the best one. He said a floating Bible was found in the river next to the church on March 12, 1976. Samaan, a worker in the church, found it, so he called Reverend Bishara Ibrahim, the church’s priest who was conducting mass.

The reverend and deacons found the Bible amid the waves of the Nile, but it stayed open, displaying the verse, “Blessed be Egypt my people,” though the Law of Buoyancy says paper would sink and not float. The church has been preserving this Bible in a transparent glass box to this today.

The Nile from a tiny window in Maadi church – Memphis tours

There is another sanctuary located in the nave of the church, with a dome hoisted on wooden pillars. In front of it, there are the church’s wooden benches and beneath it there is a metal door which connects you to the stairs that the Holy Family used to reach the Nile and take a boat to Upper Egypt. The church’s priests pray in this sacred area constantly.

Inside Maadi church – Memphis tours
To our right, there was an entire family who came to be blessed by the holy shrine. The family members started to reach the Virgin’s shrine and once they got there, they immediately started to pray. The bodies of saints in their metal tubes surrounded the whole shrine, and in the middle of it, you could see the Virgin’s icon, lit by candles.

The mother whispered something to the Virgin’s icon, as if she was telling her a secret. Next to her, the father was lighting a candle for the Virgin, while their son was calling on them to glorify the Virgin. They all stood solemnly, and others joined them and started to chant, “Bless you Mary, a flower in the garden. Bless you Mary, bride of the holy Light.” Then, they chanted a Coptic prayer and left the shrine to continue praying in the church.

Before we left the church, we saw a small sailboat sailed by a lady and her young son. She was not going to Upper Egypt like the Virgin, but came from the other bank to earn a living near the luxurious Maadi corniche. We were then getting ready to continue our journey southwards to El-Minya, but we did not consider sailing down the Nile, at the time filled with crocodiles, as the Holy Family did.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 10: Holy Family leaves behind Egypt’s most visited church

Ep. 9: holy family in Egypt - Islamic Cairo

Ep.8: Holy Family in Egypt – Virgin’s Mary Tree in Heliopolis

Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/10/2017 8:23:12 PM
<![CDATA[What impact did WYF have on Sharm el-Sheikh?]]>
During an interview with TV channel ON Live, Hesham Ali said attributed the rise to the World Youth Forum held November 5-9, adding that workers of the tourism sector are provided with high-level training to advance the industry.

Soho Square, Sharm al-Sheikh - official Facebook Page

Sharm al-Sheikh resort hosted the five-day World Youth Forum (WYT) that brought together about 3,000 young people from more than 60 countries in an effort to explore key issues facing young people and determine their role in implementing global development goals and combating terrorism.

Sharm el Sheikh, King of Bahrain Street

Store and bazaar owners in the world-famous Red Sea resort also reported major commercial activities in the town on the sidelines of the WYF.

Hamada, a shop owner in Sharm el-Sheikh, expressed his happiness at the outcome of the WYF on the tourism level, saying “we have weather and attractions that do not exist anywhere else in the world…we are the safest country in the world at this time.”

the Old Market by a Sharm al-Sheikh beach - Sharm al-sheikh in English Facebook page
11/10/2017 4:56:46 PM
<![CDATA[WYF crowns Sisi's efforts to promote Sharm as key tourist destination]]>
The event has drawn a galaxy of Egyptian and foreign senior officials who took part in dialogues and sessions meant to foster understanding between generations.

The participation of youths worldwide in the WYF is of special importance.

Youths taking part in the gathering were given the chance to freely express their views in various issues before President Sisi.

Concluding the five-day forum, president Sisi announced on Thursday the recommendations of the international event that came to a successful end.

The recommendations include assigning the organizing committee of the WYF to take measures to turn the forum into an international center concerned with Arab-African-international dialogue among world youths.

It also includes tasking the Foreign Ministry to coordinate with state bodies concerned and international agencies, topped by the UN General Assembly, to adopt decisions issued by a simulation of the UN Security Council that was carried out by youths from Egypt and the world during the forum.

Assigning the organizing committee to hold the forum annually in November in Sharm el Sheikh is also among the recommendations.

The forum, which was opened last Sunday, brought together 3,200 young people from 110 states under the slogan of "We Need to Talk."

Some 70 official delegations, including leaders and senior officials, attended the world forum, the first of its kind to be held in Egypt.

Envoys from the United Nations and the African Union were also present at this unique gathering.

The forum sought to boost dialogue between youths and decision makers as well as provides a platform for youths from different parts of the world to interact, share thoughts, and exchange cultures and experiences as future world pioneers.

The event included 46 sessions and workshops in which 222 speakers representing 64 countries spoke.

The sessions tackled various key issues including, the employment of youth and fighting terrorism, extremism and illegal immigration.

On the sidelines of the event, President Sisi took part in an international marathon.]]>
11/10/2017 1:01:12 PM
<![CDATA[How ruthless French robbers have ruined 'romantic' Paris for the Chinese]]>
As a guide, he knows all too well that cash-flush visitors lugging bags of valuables are easy prey for muggers and pickpockets."It's happened many times. The last two groups I had were robbed in this store," he said, recounting how unseen predators made off with bags momentarily left on the floor by their owners.

"I tell them Paris is dangerous and to hide their money inside their clothes. I try to be more careful everywhere. What more can I do?" he asked.

While all tourists are potential prey for thieves, the big-spending Chinese, who have a reputation for carrying wads of cash with them, have emerged as a prime target.
Last week, a group of

around 40 Chinese tourists were gassed and robbed outside their hotel near the capital's Orly Airport

-- the latest in a series of attacks that have dented France's image among Asian travellers.

In a statement on Saturday the Chinese embassy in France noted "several large-scale violent robberies" involving Chinese tourists recently in the country and urged them to exercise caution. Jean-Francois Zhou, head of the Paris-based Ansel travel agency, said France used to be associated with "the good life and gallantry".

"That image has been tarnished. Everyone now is aware of the security risks," he added. "The Chinese feel really abandoned in France," he said.

Robbers posing as cops

The most recent robbery, in the low-income suburb of Fresnes, fits a pattern of attacks at cheaper hotels in outlying neighbourhoods where some tour operators put up less affluent visitors.In August 2016, a group of assailants also used teargas to hold up a group of tourists outside their hotel in a gritty neighbourhood near Charles de Gaulle airport to the north of the city.

A receptionist at a three-star hotel in the high-rise northeastern suburb of Le Blanc-Mesnil told AFP that her place of work -- which also regularly receives Chinese groups -- had been targeted repeatedly."They used to come in groups of five or six, on scooters, and rob handbags and cash from tourists in the parking lot," she said, asking to remain anonymous because she was not allowed to speak to the media.

The hotel responded by closing off an entrance close to the road that served as a quick getaway route and instructing staff to call for a police car to be present each time a Chinese group arrives.

"But it's still happening today," the receptionist said, adding that the hotel had been targeted twice in the past six months by robbers posing as police officers. The hotel's management did not respond to a request for comment.

Still 'romantic'

China was the world's biggest outbound tourism market in 2016 in spending terms, ahead of the United States.Paris is the favourite European destination of the Chinese but France lost some of its lustre in 2015 and 2016, with three large-scale terror attacks dealing a severe blow to its carefree image.

Chinese arrivals fell 23 percent in 2016 to 1.8 million, but tour operators and department stores said that by the summer of 2017 they were back in force, encouraged by the marked decline of bloodshed in the past year.Jenny, a Chinese saleswoman at Galeries Lafayette, which this year opened a store dedicated to Chinese shoppers, told AFP demand for 2,000 euro ($2,300) Italian handbags was brisk.

"Paris is... very romantic!" a young woman in Chen's tour group said in halting English. But while tourists may have begun taking the continuing terror threat in their stride, crime could yet stymie France's ambition to attract five million Asian tourists annually by 2020.

The police have tightened security around tour groups and deployed mobile vans to help visitors report thefts in a host of languages, including Chinese.And to encourage visitors to carry less cash, some department stores have begun installing terminals from Alipay and WeChat Pay, two of China's most popular mobile payment platforms. But for Zhou, "given the scale of the phenomenon, these measures are not enough".]]>
11/9/2017 11:03:02 PM
<![CDATA[AccorHotels drops booking service for independent hoteliers]]>
The decision is a setback for Chief Executive Sebastien Bazin, who launched the initiative in 2015 to fight online travel agents such as Expedia and Booking.com that have been accused of hitting the margins of traditional hoteliers.

“The group has decided to stop marketing independent hotels on its website by end-2017 as the results were mixed,” a spokeswoman for AccorHotels said, confirming a report from L‘Echo Touristique magazine.

The service had aimed to triple to 10,000 the number of hotels offered on AccorHotels online by 2018. But only 2,000 independent hoteliers signed up.

One hurdle was that clients using the website were more likely to book one of the group’s well-known brands such a Pullman, Mercure, Ibis or Raffles than an unknown hotelier.

Giving small independent hoteliers greater visibility would have required stepping up marketing investments.

AccorHotels, which runs more than 4,000 hotels worldwide and has been expanding through acquisitions in the luxury end of the market and with new concierge services, now wants to focus on integrating and developing its large brand portfolio.

The cost of launching the online marketplace project was estimated at 22 million euros ($25.59 million), on top of the 225 million euros AccorHotels said it would spend to beef up its digital business between 2014 and 2018.]]>
11/9/2017 10:57:02 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism min. underlines Egypt-UK deep-rooted relations]]>
In an interview with The Independent on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Travel Market (WTM) currently being held in London, the minister said it is the right time has come to restore British tourism to Sharm el Sheikh city.

The recent positive tourism indicators in Egypt would be crowned by regaining usual inflow rates soon, the minister said.

Meanwhile, the minister noted that Vatican Pope Francis had recently blessed the Holy Family journey in Egypt as an official Christian pilgrimage. ]]>
11/9/2017 10:32:14 PM
<![CDATA[Have a Look at upcoming projects in Luxor ]]>
Luxor government worked on reconstructing main routes, streets, developing hotels, and transportation centers. Luxor is one of most visited and important cities in Egypt that supposedly includes a third of the world monuments. It is known as the largest open-air museum in the world and conjoins many upcoming projects to be more attractive to the tourists all over the world.

Karnak Temple, Luxor in March 2012 – Marc Ryckaert via Wikimedia Commons

Luxor governor Mohamed Badr has stated that they are working on making all services better and renovating temples and statues in Luxor. They are working to make the tourism incentive program more suitable. These types of programs are meant to generate more revenues to the country.

Luxor Temple in September 2012 - Jorge Láscar via Flickr

Here are the leading projects in Luxor:

1- An open-top bus to take tourists in a cheerful tour along the Nile Corniche and between all monumental sites in Luxor. It will be designed according to international style to facilitate many visits in the city.

2- The government intends to renew the marina of Luxor’s east and west bank and provide it with international shops, restaurants and cafes.

3- For the first time in Luxor, there will be an international conference hall to host international meetings, formal deals and presidential conferences in the center of the city.

4-An opera to revive the artistic side in Luxor as it will open the door for famous artists, singers and musicians to visit the city.

5- Cable Car, which will be a great opportunity for tourists to have an overview of Luxor. This project is proposed and is in need of investors.

6- Malls and an international stadium that change Luxor into an integrated city.
The governor said that all these proposed projects come as a result of many international companies. There are around 140 businessmen joining in Luxor, organizing a formal work-based meeting. These meetings are ought to change tourism in Luxor.
11/9/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 10: Holy Family leaves behind Egypt’s most visited church]]>
Safely hidden from the eyes of King Herod’s soldiers, the family lived in a cave in Old Cairo for three months before they were forced to change their plans and leave the cave to Maadi.

Our taxi stopped at a metal gate near the ancient Religion Complex area. We left our bags at the security screening device and walked amid many ancient churches and monasteries while the sound of the Adhan (the Muslim call for prayer) started out from the nearby Mosque of Amr ibn al-As. Visitors went in and out from all directions; European, Indian and Asian tourists in addition to street vendors and teachers taking their students on a trip to the site.

We asked about the Church of Abu Serga, and a policeman directed us to stone stairs which opened to a narrow tunnel that took us to a small alleyway where street vendors displayed their postcards and souvenirs. On the right was the church from which the smell of incense emanated and filled the passages leading to the church with beautiful scents. Originally called The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, the church later became known as the Church of Abu Serga after the Arab conquest of Egypt because of the influence of the nicknames Arabs used.
We stepped into the world of Abu Serga. Later on, we would take our shoes off when we approached the spot that was forever blessed after Christ stepped on it. On the right as we stepped in we saw the Life and Passion of the Christ nativity icon which dates back to the 18th century, according to the account of Nancy, an archaeologist who serves the church.

The icon shows in detail Mary giving birth to her fatherless child in a manger. The gifts of the Magi surrounding her, and an angel above her announcing the birth of the King of Kings. We left the icon and walked deeper inside the church. On the floor there was a glass panel that showed a baptism tub beneath which was used by Copts during the reign of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. During his reign Copts were denied the commemoration of the baptism of Jesus in the Nile. They had to dig a tub and fill it with water and bath in it to escape his wrath and at the same time keep the ritual.

On the left of the entrance was a stone baptismal font which was found buried between layers of stone, yet restorative efforts could bring it back to life. A baptism font is a stone sink from which Copts give the secret of baptism to their children and they become servants of Jesus Christ.

In front of a monumental pillar there were relics of saints. Copts keep the remains of the martyrs of faith, and there in the Church of Abu Serga lay the remains of Saint Bashnouna, one of the monks of the Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great. He died in the 12th century and was placed next to the remains of saints Sergius and Bacchus after whom the church was named.

In the center of the church there was a stone pillar about which Nancy provided an interesting account. She said that in 1967, a few weeks before Egypt’s defeat in the war with Israel, the pillar bled, and was then prayed at by Pope Cyril VI who said that the country’s pain is the Church’s pain, and that the pillar bled just like the soldiers on the front.

We walked deeper into the church and came to a narrow passage which took us to stairs. We went down a few steps and found ourselves inside the church’s cave, the sacred spot which was blessed by Jesus Christ and was inhabited by the Holy Family for months. Inside the cave we saw the rock which is said to have been stepped on, and thus blessed, by Jesus. The cave was dimly lit, and taking photos or using the camera flash was prohibited.
Visitors from India were seeking the blessings of Jesus, and different names of Mary were heard in different languages. One visitor called her “Mother of Light,” another said “Virgin Mary,” and a third called her by the name “Madonna;” so many names for the one Mary who is a destination many in the East and West travel to.

The church was packed with old icons, most of which date back to the 18th century. Jesus’ apostles appear in all the pictures preaching his message east and west. From the inner face of the dome above, Jesus appeared before his followers in a painting drawn on deer hide, which dates back to the 18th century, according to Nancy.

The well from which the Holy Family drank is well kept by the church. The well’s water had become stagnant and was, thus, covered by green algae, but the priests had to leave it untouched because the water lifting machines which are used for the renewal of wells could have endangered the ancient architectural structure of the church. Nevertheless, the well endured as a witness to the historical journey even if people no longer drink from its water.

Inside Abu Serga church – Sara Allam

In his office which is annexed to the church, Archpriest Angelos Girgis receives visitors and archeologists. In fact, he also wrote a book about the history of the church in which he has been serving for years. He told us that the place where his church is located is the only place the Holy Family came across twice, that is, on their flight in and out of Egypt. It became a church in the Apostolic Age, as Saint Mark the Evangelist and Saint Peter blessed it with their visits.

Empress Helena then decided to build a church above the church of the cave. Archpriest Angelos emphasized that the church and the Ministry of Antiquities are working hard to chronicle the path of the Holy Family, which the Vatican has recently approved. He indicated that he is in touch with different stakeholders, most importantly, the Ministry of Tourism and that different stakeholders are coordinating together to demonstrate the historical significance of this church.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 9: holy family in Egypt - Islamic Cairo

Ep.8: Holy Family in Egypt – Virgin’s Mary Tree in Heliopolis

Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/9/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Visit the Pyramids, and now the nearby tombs of their builders]]>
A view of the Tomb - Ministry of Antiquities

The tombs are of immense importance because they, among other evidence, prove that the mysterious structures were built by Egyptian farmers, rather than slaves.

A view of the Tomb - Ministry of Antiquities

The tombs, which promise "curses" upon those who open them, reveal secrets about the workers.

A view of the Tomb - Ministry of Antiquities

One of the tombs contains remains of Nefer Theth, a workers' and royal palace supervisor. Curses are inscribed inside his tomb to protect his mummy and belongings from thieves. The second one was home to Egyptian Prince Khufu and his wife Meritites I. All the tombs date back to the Fourth Dynasty (2694-2513 B.C.).

A view of the Tomb - Ministry of Antiquities

Sine their discovery 27 years ago, experts have been restoring the site as a part of a plan to open more archaeological sites to the public.

A view of the Tomb - Ministry of Antiquities

“O all people who enter this tomb who will make evil against this tomb and destroy it; may the crocodile be against them on water, and snakes be against them on land; may the hippopotamus be against them on on water, then scorpion against then on land,” reads a warning inside one of the tombs, according to archaeologist Zahi Hawass interpretation in his book Valley of the Golden Mummies.

11/9/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Good news for Alexandria tourists ]]>
To re-engineer the public transportation in the larger size cities, SWVL will start their bus transportation network to enable their riders to track their ride and book their seat through an online application. They will provide high-quality vehicles to arrive at the exact time shown in the application.

“We are proud to announce the launch of our services in Alexandria,” co-founder of SWVL Mostafa Kandil told press. He added that their mission is to offer an affordable, reliable and convenient means of transportation, not only to natives in Alexandria, but also to its thousands of seasonal visitors.

With simple steps, you can take a reliable tour around Alexandria with its eight main routes. First, choose your pick up by searching the address and save your favourite to use later. Second, chose your destination or your most convenient route, and the app will match the user to the most convenient route according to nearest time and walking distance to the pick-up station. Third, track your bus and navigate your way to the station. Finally, see your route in details and pay in one click.

SWVL gives visitors the opportunity to implement their tourist program and visit the Bibliotheca, one of the best places in the country to learn about the history and culture of Egypt. Then they will take you to El-Montazah Palace. There you will overlook the Mediterranean Sea and see the beautiful architectural design with gardens that make it a perfect place in the city to visit and relax. Another place to visit is Pompey’s Pillar, the Roman column that is the largest in all of Egypt and was erected to honor and show gratitude to the Roman emperor.

SWVL expands to achieve the vision of providing countries with well organized transportation systems in all cities and markets. It has been available in Cairo since March 2017.
Photo 1 SWVL app– official Website

Photo 2 SWVL service – official website

3- Montazah Palace – Wiki Media

4- Bibliotheca - Wiki Media

5- Pompey’s Pillar – Wiki Media
11/8/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Andalusian Garden changes meaning of green areas ]]>
The garden is divided into two parts: the north Arabian part, which is the Andalusian part, and the south Pharaonic part.

In the center of the Andalusian part, there is a large wonderful fountain decorated with Turkish and Italian marble, a statue of renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawky is positioned against this fountain. The Pharaonic part includes a lot of Ancient Egyptian replicas that are placed between vast gardens.

Directly behind the statues, and facing the fountain, there is a wonderful open stadium where many concerts of popular Egyptian singers, like Abd Al Haleem Hafez, were held.

The garden was founded in the Zamalek district of Cairo in 1935 by Zulfugar Pasha as a present to his wife. It covers 8,400 square meters.

Don’t hesitate to experience a new meaning of green areas.

Riverside view – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

Walkway inside the garden – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

Pharaonic replica – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page
11/8/2017 2:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Red Sea gov. to support accessible tourism in 2018 economic conference]]>
Accessible tourism is the ongoing endeavor to ensure tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. It encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations.

In a statement, the governorate said the complex will include a hotel, a hospital, a sports and health center, sports halls, a chain of restaurants and shops, nightclubs, multi-playgrounds, swimming pools and an educational cultural center to convey the experiences of older persons in all fields.

The statement added Red Sea's getting share of accessible tourism would contribute to increasing tourism inflow, pointing to the increase in the number of persons with disabilities in the world, and in their demand for travel and tourism.

The profit, which will be made from this kind of tourism, will be great, as it is supposed to motivate the investors in the tourism sector to draw their attention towards attracting this class of people.
11/8/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. Embassy congratulates Egypt on Watfa discovery]]>
U.S. Embassy to Cairo congratulations Egypt on the exciting discovery of an ancient gymnasium

Egypt's antiquities ministry says archaeologists have discovered remnants of an ancient gymnasium dating back about 2,300 years from the Hellenistic period.

The discovery was made by a German-Egyptian mission at the site of Watfa in Fayoum governorate, about 50 miles southwest of the capital.

Discovery of an ancient gymnasium in Watfa

Watfa is one of the old villages that was established by Ptolemies and featured 1,200 inhabitants, one third of which were Greek-speaking residents.

Ayman Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, says the gymnasium consists of a large meeting hall once adorned with statues, a dining hall, a courtyard and a nearly 200-meter-long racetrack.

Cornelia Roemer, head of the mission, says the discovery clearly shows the impact of Greek life in Egypt, not only in Alexandria, but also in the countryside.

Discovery of an ancient gymnasium in Watfa

Cornelia Römer led the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) on the mission. She explained in a released statement from the Ministry of Antiquities that the gymnasium was a private place established by rich people who wanted their villages to feature Greek architecture.

She added that the upper class of that community at the time who spoke Greek were trained in sports and engaged in philosophical discussions in the gymnasium. These gymnasiums were also found throughout the entire Hellenistic world, such as Athens in Greece, Pergamon and Miletus in Asia Minor, and Pompeii in Italy.

According to Römer, Alexander the Great made Egypt part of the Hellenistic world.
The area of Watfa has been witnessing excavations and surveys conducted by the German Archaeological Institute since 2010.]]>
11/7/2017 10:24:24 PM
<![CDATA[Uber bullish on Africa despite opposition from local taxi firms]]>
Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business.

“We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters.

“Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is because there is such deficiency in public transport ... that talks to the latent need, the pent-up demand for citizens to travel more within cities,” he added.

Spratt said Uber was talking to governments, regulatory authorities and metered taxi associations across the continent to address grievances that have seen some of its contract drivers attacked from Kenya to South Africa.

“We realize that we need to work with cities and the regulatory framework to help build out ride-sharing regulation,” he said on the sidelines of an African telecommunications conference.

Uber, which operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa, has around 15 million drivers globally and is struggling to meet demand in Africa for drivers to become contractors, Spratt said.

The service, which launched in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, is looking to new markets in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mauritius and the wider southern African region, but has not yet taken a decision on where it will go next, he said.]]>
11/7/2017 5:45:36 PM
<![CDATA[East meets West as Louvre Abu Dhabi opens in the Gulf]]>
Surrounded by water from three sides, the museum houses 600 artworks it has acquired, alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions, in its 23 permanent galleries. The artists range from Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso and Cy Twombly.

French President Emmanuel Macron will be the guest of honor at the opening, along with other heads of state.

“It is a lot more than just a museum. It is a center of peace, acceptance, tolerance and education,” Mohamed al-Mubarak, chairman of the department of culture and tourism in Abu Dhabi, told Reuters.

Permanent installations include a sculpture by Auguste Rodin, an enormous bronze tree with mirrored branches called “leaves of light” by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone and three engravings on stone walls bearing historic texts from the region by Jenny Holzer, an American neo-conceptual artist.

And there are priceless pieces. They include a statue of the Sphinx dating back to the 6th century B.C., 13 fragments of a frieze that reveals Surah al Hashr from the Holy Quran and a marble bust of Alexander the Great.

Among the paintings is one by Leonardo DaVinci, done between 1495 and 1499 and called La Belle Ferronniere, or Portrait of an Unknown Woman, which was recently restored and is on loan from the original Musee du Louvre in Paris.

The Abu Dhabi museum was set up under a 2007 inter-governmental agreement between Paris and Abu Dhabi. Originally slated to open in 2012, it was delayed by the global financial crisis and then by low oil prices, which led the United Arab Emirates to rein in spending.

Louvre Abu Dhabi has partnered with museums and cultural institutions in the Arab world, who will lend 28 significant works. Among them are an 8,000-year-old, two-headed figure called the Ain Ghazal statue from Jordan, some 400 silver dirham coins from Oman and a pre-historic stone tool from Saudi Arabia.

Having invested over $1 billion in the museum, Abu Dhabi is hoping culture will attract tourists. Two more museums, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum, are planned around the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the Saadiyat Cultural District that already hosts art fairs, exhibitions and performances.

“Culture is the element that will distinguish us from others,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, director-general of the emirate’s Department of Culture & Tourism. “We will attract a different kind of traveler.”

The entrance ticket to the museum is 60 dirhams ($16.30) with all 5,000 tickets sold out for the opening day.]]>
11/7/2017 5:43:31 PM
<![CDATA[France’s chef of the year is Jean Sulpice, says Gault & Millau]]>
Jean Sulpice won the coveted award a year after taking over L’Auberge du Père Bise, a century-old hotel on the shores of Lake Annecy which has played host to the likes of Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and Richard Nixon.

Gault & Millau’s owner Côme de Chérisey praised Sulpice for his lightning rise through the rarefied world of French cuisine.

“He is working his way up a high mountain pass,” he said.

On his website, Sulpice describes his food as being “filled with the riches of the mountains” where he grew up.

His menu gives pride of place to regional products, such as venison, brown trout and Beaufort cheese.

Sulpice ran a two-star Michelin restaurant in Val Thorens ski resort – Europe’s highest – before snapping up the property on Lake Annecy, 100 kilometres to the north, in 2016.

After a facelift costing several million euros, the stately Auberge reopened to the public in May.

Among the other winners of Gault & Millau’s 2018 awards were 32-year-old Cédric Grolet of the five-star Le Meurice hotel in Paris, named the country’s top pastry chef.

Born in the Loire region to a truck driver father and hairdresser mother, Grolet has gained a huge following on Instagram for his colourful, fruity creations.

Gault & Millau publishes an annual guide of 3,800 eateries across France, over two-thirds of which offer dishes costing under 30 euros (HK$270).

It is less well-known than the Michelin guide, whose stars are seen as a sort of culinary holy grail.]]>
11/7/2017 5:41:54 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism in Egypt vs in Spain ]]>
Egypt has taken smart steps in its approach to activate tourism, including decreasing the cost of tours to make its destinations more competitive and desirable, which negatively affects the Balearic Islands, the most important tourist attraction in Spain.

Spanish press released that tourism to the Balearic Islands is being negatively affected and decreasing gradually, as the British and German markets are dedicated to Egypt due its low cost in comparison to other destinations.

On the other hand, Egypt possesses a number of adorable islands that are able to attract more and more tourists from all over the world, not only British and German tourists. Pharaoh’s Island, an attractive site located off the cost of Taba, has been used as an outpost since the pharaonic age. Elephantine Island at the border of Nubia is a historical island that was used by ancient Egyptians as a defensive line. And El Nabatat Island in Aswan has a botanical garden on it.

Pharaoh’s Island - Mix Pexil website

El Nabatat Island - Mix Pexil website
11/7/2017 3:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 9: holy family in Egypt - Islamic Cairo ]]>
The holy family left Heliopolis for the area near Port Said street, a famous street in Bab el-Shereya district of Cairo. Walking through one alley to another, we finally found a metal detector and realized we arrived at the complex of churches and monasteries holding the Virgin Mary church of Zuweila, saint George monastery for nuns, and the Virgin Mary monastery for nuns.

1: Edited map of the holy family’s flight into Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority

We entered the church, as a man in civilian clothes stopped us and inquired about our cameras. We showed him our press IDs, but he asked for a permit signed by the Minister of Interior Affairs himself. We thought he was only joking, and asked him to meet the priest serving the church. He answered he had left minutes ago and would not be back that day. After some negotiations, he asked us to come back at 6:00 p.m. to meet the priest and agreed to give us his phone number to call him and get his permission.

Reverend Matthias answered our call in a friendly way, saying that the guard, Mr. Fayez, is only keen on preserving the church’s security.

We went again on the appointment given to us and reverend Matthias welcomed us before opening the doors of the church.

He told us that this church was blessed by a visit from the holy family, through al-Khaleeg al-Masry (the Egyptian gulf) street, which was once a small canal off the River Nile. It is unknown how long they stayed here.

Reverend Matthias took us to his office and made us tea, and told us that the story of this old church began in the fourth century A.D. He said, “there was a rich Copt called Al-Hakeem Zayloun, who chose this area to build a church in the fourth century to commemorate the holy family’s visit. It was called ‘Virgin Mary Dissolver of Iron Church,’ which is a reference to a miracle that occurred to saint Matthias when the virgin was alive, it is believed.

2 (1)
2: Ancient silver candle lamps at Virgin Mary church in Zuweila Alley, Cairo – Ashraf Fawzy

He emphasized that, in the past, churches used to be given names of miracles. This miracle of dissolving iron took place in Anatolia, where saint Matthias was preaching Christianity. When he was imprisoned, the virgin prayed to God to save him, so the iron locks dissolved and he escaped.

Reverend Matthias took us on a tour in the church, which is below ground level. He opened the gate to the church, a gate to history. We felt like we were in a Fatimid mosque, and could hear the groundwater streaming as it surrounds the church from all directions. You can smell the scent of incense that priests burn during every prayer and, in your mind, the past and the present become one.

The church was full of ancient icons and chandeliers with Fatimid architecture style. The Ministry of Antiquities is giving this church special attention; it is one of the few churches in Islamic Cairo. Reverend Matthias told us that it used to be the seat of the Coptic pope for more than three centuries, that is, it used to play the role of Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Abbasiya today.

3: A man at the icon of Egyptian saint Demiana in Virgin Mary church of Zuweila Alley, Cairo – Ashraf Fawzy

Reverend Matthias pointed out that the church was subjected to a number of attacks in the Fatimid era, and that the worst was in 1113 A.D.

In the church cloister, there were marble and stone pillars, each adorned with a crown at the top. These pillars were built in different eras and are witness to all the civilizations of Egypt. Some were Pharaonic, others Greek, Roman, Coptic (adorned with crosses and pigeons), and others were Islamic. A copper cross hung down from the ceiling called “the True Cross,” and you could see a statue of Jesus crucified on it, and symbols of the four Bibles.

4: Relics at Virgin Mary church in Zuweila Alley, Cairo – Ashraf Fawzy

In addition, the church is home to the belongings of popes who served their time there, and the Ministry of Antiquities is responsible for preserving them.

We continued our tour in the church. Like all areas visited by the holy family, it has a well of fresh water. Pastors built it as a shrine for Mary, where visitors would pray and light their candles.

Matthias drew the curtains of the sanctuary, revealing what looks like the direction of the Muslim qiblah, the direction which Muslims face when they pray. He indicated that Muslim architecture influenced the architectural style of the church. The workers who built Barsbay mosque in al-Gamaliya district in Cairo were the same as those who built the church; hence, the strong resemblance.

In the middle of our tour, we heard the voices of women glorifying the virgin, “Bless you Mary, the virtuous, and the sublime. Bless you Mary, the strong and the faithful.” The women were the nuns of Saint Mary and Abu-Sefein church, who were beginning their noon prayer. We heard their voices from the upper-level church, with a balcony that overlooks the Mary Dissolver of Iron church.

We thanked Reverend Matthias for the tour and left to the nearby Virgin Mary monastery for nuns. I knocked the door and a doorman opened, leading me to the reverend mother responsible for receiving guests that day. She refused to be photographed and did not tell her name, as nuns usually turn down media appearances.

She told me that the monastery is open because the church is ancient and therefore cannot be closed. The monastery has a letter “U” design, where the church is in the middle, and beneath it, there is the Mary, Dissolver of Iron church where we heard the nuns prayers, and the nuns’ residence is on the other side.

The nun told us that the monastery recently built in the area blessed by the holy family used to be a hall annexed to the church, but was then turned into a monastery for nuns. She refused to tell the number of nuns living there, but said they do handiwork, like embroidery and handicrafts. As for land cultivation and leather crafting, they are done at another branch of the monastery in Nubariya town, Beheira governorate.

The reverend mother said, “a nun’s day begins at 4 a.m., with the midnight vigil, then each tends to her work. They pray the morning mass at 6 a.m. and at noon, they also have group prayer.”

“We put the girls aspiring to be nuns through tests for years before we decide that they join us in the monastery. Girls at first visit the monastery regularly but go back to their parents’ homes, and then a girl becomes a nun only when we decide she is ready for this path, as she cannot change her mind later.”

The nun turned around, looked at the icon of Mary on the wall and said she felt happy whenever she prayed.

We left the small monastery and headed to Abu-Serga church in Masr El-Qadima district, perhaps the most famous church in Egypt.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep.8: Holy Family in Egypt – Virgin’s Mary Tree in Heliopolis

Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/7/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[China urges France to protect Chinese tourists after group of 40 robbed]]>
Attacks on Chinese, Japanese and Korean tourists are relatively frequent in the French capital, as robbers believe they carry large sums in cash and their luggage is stuffed with expensive products.

Four men targeted the Chinese travelers in the parking lot of their hotel in the Val-de-Marne suburb southeast of Paris on Thursday, on their return from a city tour, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing French media.

The assailants stole nine bags thought to be filled with luxury goods, it said on Sunday.

China’s embassy in France had contacted police and told them to “crack the case”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news briefing, adding that Chinese visitors should be alert to the security situation.

“We will urge French police to crack this case as soon as they can and bring the criminals to justice, and take even more effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in France,” Hua said.

She said the tour group had already returned to China, and the case was still being investigated.

In August 2016, 27 Chinese tourists were assaulted by six men who boarded a bus that was to take them to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.

Paris is on track this year to welcome more tourists than ever before, the city’s tourist board said in August, a recovery from a lull following Islamist attacks in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

Chinese travelers spent $261 billion overseas last year, making them a key demographic for retailers and hotel chains around the world.

But growth in Chinese outbound tourism is slowing, with attacks in Europe, instability on the Korean peninsula and political uncertainty in the United States prompting some Chinese to opt instead for domestic trips.]]>
11/6/2017 9:46:32 PM
<![CDATA[WYF guests dress in Hatshepsut, Tutankhamun costumes ]]>
WYF is Egypt’s first international youth event set to run until November 10, bringing together 3,000 youth represented by 60 delegations from across the world.

In the main square leading to the conference hall hosting WYF activities, the organizers of the youth program adopted the idea of taking pictures dressed in traditional costumes of the famed Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun and the ancient Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.

"Welcome from the land of the pharaohs," said Maria, a delegate from Ecuador, dressed in the pharaohs costume who participated in the forum through online registration. Making many friends with other participants in her first hours in Sharm el-Sheikh, Maria praised the warm reception she received from the descendants of the pharaohs.

Irrespective of their nationalities, the WYF unified youth coming from across the globe as one community. Hassan, a participant from the Palestinian delegation, took a picture dressed in the Palestinian shoal and raising the Palestinian flag with his Egyptian friend, Ahmed, donning the costumes of the pharaohs.

Earlier, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called on young people to set aside their differences and added that clashes and conflicts take place in the world as a result of some people’s sense of superiority due to their religion, culture or race.

“Acceptance is not necessarily adopting other religions or doctrines, however, we all have to accept each other and communicate rather than clash,” Sisi added.

Women from African delegations were also keen to take photographs dressed in their traditional costumes: wide colorful gowns, dresses and headscarves. Influenced by queen Hatshepsut, Katya, from Namibia, decided to wear a dress for the queen who ruled Egypt and reached the heart of Africa.

“My message [to you] is accept and respect others regardless of religion and culture; a clash is a possibility, but communication is a must,” said Sisi addressing the youth during “the Deference of Cultures and Civilizations” session at the WYF.
Photo of Youth dressed in Pharaohs' costumes file photo
11/6/2017 7:45:54 PM
<![CDATA[Louvre Abu Dhabi gears up for launch]]>
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to attend the Wednesday inauguration on his first visit to the United Arab Emirates since taking office in May.

For the next 10 years, 13 of France’s top museums will lend works to the UAE at their discretion and for a maximum of two years each.

The museum currently has some 300 pieces on loan, including an 1887 self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronniere”.

The oil-rich emirate, which has made no secret of its push on soft power, has also spent years quietly building its own permanent collection.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is displaying more than 250 works of art from the Emirati collection, including Edouard Manet’s “The Gypsy” and works by Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian and Turkey’s Osman Hamdi Bey.

– ‘More universal than Louvre’ –

The UAE government is promoting the museum as the first of its kind, a 23-gallery “museum city in the sea” on Saadiyat Island off the Abu Dhabi coast.

Some five percent of the museum is dedicated to contemporary and modern art, including a monumental piece by China’s Ai Weiwei.

The main focus, however, is on world history and religions.

Among the exhibits are a sixth century Koran, a gothic Bible and a Yemeni Torah facing each other, open at verses carrying the same message.

Jack Lang, who was France’s culture minister when the Louvre in Paris received its controversial pyramid, said the Abu Dhabi museum would be “much more universal than the Louvre in Paris”.

“It is a chance to open the idea of a museum to different continents and different civilisations,” he said.

“It joins the art of the Louvre (and) the Musee d’Orsay, in a space that is much more open and less separated.”

The opening comes a decade after France and the UAE agreed to a 30-year partnership initially reported to be worth $1.1 billion, including nearly half a billion dollars for the rights to the Louvre brand alone.

Emirati and French officials declined to disclose the final cost of the project.

The museum design, by France’s Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, conjures up the image of an Arab medina as seen through the eyes of a contemporary cinematographer.

A silver-toned dome with perforated arabesque patterns appears to float over the white museum galleries, creating what Nouvel describes as a “rain of light”.

To reach the ground, each ray of light must cross eight layers of perforations, creating a constantly shifting pattern that mimics the shadows cast by palm trees or the roof of a traditional Arab market.

– Climate control, counter-terrorism –

Authorities have taken serious measures to protect the art from the heat during transport and storage, in a country where summer temperatures soar well above 40 degrees Celsius (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit).

The art is also guarded by Emirati forces in coordination with French experts including civil defence and terrorism security forces.

The museum initially sparked heated debate in France, where criticism erupted in the early years of the project over the sale of a French name to an Arab state.

Questions of labour rights have also hung over the project, linked to the overall status of migrant workers in the Gulf.

Notably, Human Rights Watch has raised the alarm around conditions for migrant workers employed to build the museum.

It documented rights violations connected with the museum in 2015, after the UAE introduced improved labour rights laws.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first of three museums to open its doors to the public on Saadiyat Island, where the UAE plans to launch the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, designed by Frank Gehry, and the Norman Foster-designed Zayed National Museum.

A spokesperson for the Guggenheim in New York told AFP a contractor had not yet been selected for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and that construction was still on hold.]]>
11/6/2017 1:22:03 PM
<![CDATA[Ep.8: Holy Family in Egypt – Virgin’s Mary Tree in Heliopolis]]>Virgin Mary washed her garments, sprinkling the used water on the ground, from which a balsam tree, now known as Virgin’s Tree, sprouted and continues to receive visitors to this day.

Edited map of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt - Egypt Tourism Authority

We got off the subway at the Matariya station and asked a passerby about the tree. The ancient tree is a tourist attraction and lies under the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Ministry. We followed the directions and bought tickets to visit the tree.

The area was surrounded by a wall on which verses praising the Virgin from the Mariam surah (chapter) in the Quran and others from the Holy Bible were engraved, paving the way to her sacred tree. As we kept walking, we saw a small statue of Mary in her blue garments, leading up to another mural showing Mary and Joseph the Carpenter bathing Child Christ near the ancient well where the family settled.

The well is still full of water. It was surrounded by a family of women, whose modest appearance indicates they come from the Delta region. The mother was wearing an embellished abaya and had her hair covered. She and her daughter, Marian, were trying to reach into the well where water looked unsanitary, while they chanted, “bless you Mary, bless you lady of light.” Around the well, there was something akin to a cave, and an official there told us it was recently built to preserve this holy place.

The women, who had come for the Virgin’s blessings, left the well and headed towards the tree. A small circular fence surrounded the tree. There was the trunk of the original tree, which shaded the Holy Family, and two other trees, which people planted to memorialize the mother tree.

Marian, who was trying to reach into the well, put her hand on the tree and prayed that Mary gives her a child, as the tree has a reputation among visitors to bless women with children.

Latin words and letters were carved on the tree itself. Near the tree, there was a “mini-museum,” which exhibited antiquities from the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. One of those items was a stone said to have been used by the Virgin to bathe the Child Christ.
We left the tree and searched for the nearest church. It was in a nearby street called Al-Balsam Street; the church was called the Church of Virgin Mary. Reverend Barsoum Shaker, who has been serving the Church since 1992, welcomed us and told us the story of the tree. He said the Virgin blessed this area, and that the tree and the well Mary drank from where she washed her garments are the only areas known to have been crossed by the Holy Family in el-Matariya and Heliopolis.

“All streets around the tree have names related to Mary,” said the Reverend, adding that, “we are in Al-Balsam street, and there is another one called Al-Balsan street, which also means ‘balsam’.” “There is a third street called Shagaret Mariam (Mary’s Tree) and a fourth called Be’r Mariam (Mary’s well). Even Muslims built a mosque and called it Shagaret Mariam Mosque (mosque of Mary’s tree).”

Reverend Barsoum said that the original tree had withered long ago, but priests serving in Heliopolis and Matariya have been planting shrubs from the original tree to sprout smaller trees, so that it continues to bless Egypt.

The Reverend also told us that French soldiers during their invasion of Egypt (1798 – 1801) tried to cut the tree, but it bled, so they only engraved their names on it.
We left the tree and its stories and headed to Al-Gamaliya, where Coptic history hides behind Fatimid Cairo’s minarets.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/6/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Dive British shipwreck in Sharm el-Sheikh while at World Youth Forum]]>
Interestingly, many shipwrecks in the Red Sea are considered to be the most sought out diving centers.The British shipwreck named Thistlegorm in Sharm el-Sheikh is a clear example of a great diving place.

British shipwreck in Sharm el-Sheikh – official Website

Thistlegorm is a British armed merchant Navy ship, which sank on October 6, 1941 near Ras Muhammad in the Red Sea.It was discovered in the early fifties by Jacques Coutseau.

Shipwrecks under the Red Sea – official Website

The ship is split into two sections with significant amount of debris in between.At this point the route you choose to take depends on whether you have planned to dive the wreck or explore the deck area. Above hold no.3 is the funnel and curved blast roof, as well as the torn deck from the explosion. Heading towards midships you will reach the bridge superstructure, which makes a nice swim-through to the forward holds on the deck.

British shipwreck in Sharm el-Sheikh – official Website

Its accessible depth and the fact that it is relatively intact make Thistlegorm one of the most popular diving sites in the world.]]>
11/6/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Swim with the Pharaohs at Cleo Park ]]>
Water park between pyramids – official Website

Cleo Park has a lot of replicated pharaonic statues and a miniature of the Giza Pyramids. Between these replicas four main water games are found which are the Toddler Pool, the Young Pharaoh’s Oasis, the Nile Spring Cruise, Cleopatra Path, and Nile Adventure River.

Games at Cleo Park – official Website

Every attraction serves a purpose. The Toddle Pool is where children can play with soft foam toys water jets, while the Yooung Pharaoh’s Oasis is full of water slides. The Nile Spring Cruise takes you on a tour through the lazy river around the park.

Water games at Cleo Park –official website

The Cleopatra Path has artificial waves that are heated in the winter. The Nile Adventurer River is a thrill ride for adventure seekers.

Surely you will experience a unique water game there.
11/6/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump Stirs Debate Over Utah National Monuments]]>
On one side, Native American groups and environmentalists expressed anger and are ready to sue the U.S. government. On the other, conservative-leaning residents welcomed the decision, seeing it as a reversal of government overreach and a boost for traditional industries like drilling, mining and grazing.

But the tensions reflect a broader national debate over how to manage America’s vast open spaces. Since taking office, Trump has promised to increase development on federal lands.

"The polarization is so complete that no one is migrating to the center," said Steve Simpson, who owns a cafe and trading post in Bluff, where pro-monument signs are posted along the main street.

In late October, Trump informed Utah lawmakers of his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments after a review he had launched of 27 monuments created by past presidents that placed vast tracts off-limits to business.

It was an opening salvo in a fight over the powers of the Antiquities Act, a century-old law that allows presidents to create national monuments without Congress, but which Trump has said was abused by past administrations.

Weeks before leaving office, former President Barack Obama created the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears monument, a territory bigger than Delaware named for its iconic twin buttes, at the behest of Native American tribes, but over the objections of Republican politicians and business groups.

The 1.88 million acre Grand Escalante was created by former President Bill Clinton in 1996.

Trump is expected to formally announce the decisions to reduce the size of the monuments during a trip to Utah in December. Details of the proposed new boundaries have not yet been released.

In San Juan County, where Bears Ears looms as a central feature, Trump’s decision to shrink the monument drew a mixed response.

"It’s a fool’s errand," said Simpson, the café owner in Bluff. "They are taking actions that will result in years of litigation and will ultimately fail."

Simpson said he believed the monument could be a good thing for the county by drawing tourists and outdoorsmen. Since the monument has become a political issue, visits to the area have surged, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Dashelle Holliday, a nurse who lives in Blanding, some 25 miles north of Bluff, disagreed. She welcomed Trump’s decision, saying the monument was too big.

"I’m excited to see a monument that does contain the small pieces that we need to protect, and allows us to keep using (the land) like we’ve been using it," she said.

She, like other opponents of the monument, worries the monument will hinder local business, including her family's gravel company which leases pits on Bears Ears, and replace them with a service economy for tourism.

"People here have worked to keep this a small town with small town values," she said.
Still, she agreed, Trump’s decision will not close the issue. "I think it’s the battle, not the war," she said.

A number of groups have promised to sue the Trump administration as soon as it takes official action, including the Navajo Nation – one of the five tribes that had urged the creation of the monument in order to preserve Native American sacred and historic sites.

"We have a complaint drafted," said Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch, who said the area was packed with tribal pottery, Puebloan architecture and old Navajo dwellings. She said the Navajo wrote two letters to the Trump administration since September seeking meetings but heard nothing back.

Elvira Begay, a Navajo from Cahone Mesa, said she was upset at Trump's decision. Bears Ears "is sacred to the Navajo," she said. "There's history there we believe in." ]]>
11/5/2017 10:03:03 AM
<![CDATA[Check Sharm el-Sheikh's historical side while at World Youth Forum]]>
1-King Tut Museum in Genena Mall City:
Located in the resort town’s Genena City mall, the museum includes around 130 replicated artifacts of King Tut’s jewelry, crown and golden mask, as well as sculptures demonstrate much about the young prince’s life.
The museum was inaugurated under auspices of Ministry of Antiquities and all collections there are copied from the original pieces in the Egyptian Museum.
King Tut Museum– Museum website

2-The Heavenly Cathedral :
A holy place in the city, the cathedral was built in 2010 in the Hay ElNor district in Sharm El-Sheikh City. The Coptic cathedral or heavenly cathedral as it is known for, was perched on a hilltop, it conjoins a painted ceiling and walls that illustrate stories from Bible and lives of the saints.
Coptic Cathedral – Max Pexil Website

3-Papyrus Museum:
Located in El-Souk Elkadeem in Sharm El-Sheikh, it is a gate to the world of papyrus.
This museum is proves how ancient Egyptians were the pioneers of papyrus manufacturing as it holds a number of papyrus letters, as well as pieces that tell more about Pharonic God, habits and traditions.
Papyrus Museum – Wikimedia Website

The papyrus museum is not only a museum but also gift store of papyrus pieces for sale there as it has a corner for selling many papyrus pieces copied from the original one in a way allowing guests to take a souvenir for their friends or for themselves as a reminder about their great visit to Sharm El Sheikh.
11/5/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Cairo Airport grants WYF participants free visa entry]]>
Free visa entry aims to facilitate procedures for foreign delegations participating in the forum, official sources at Cairo Airport said.

A total of 30 participants from Abu Dhabi arrived at the airport on Friday.

More than 3,000 invited guests from various categories of participants, including heads of states, international youth leadership figures, influential youth models from different fields, international personalities and youth groups from all over the world, will discuss four major themes: global youth issues, sustainable development, technology and entrepreneurship, and issues of civilizations and cultures.

The seven-day gathering will witness the participation of official youth representatives over 18 years old, leaders of various youth networks, head of states, media figures and around 250 young Egyptian expats.

The WYF sends a message of peace, prosperity, harmony and love to the entire world.

The WYF program is comprised of four themes, namely, global youth issues, the role of young people in confronting these issues, climate change and illegal migration and refugees.

The global youth issues theme will include a discussion on terrorism, while the second theme will focus on sustainable development, technology and entrepreneurship.]]>
11/4/2017 11:02:01 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian FM in constant contact with its South Africa on missing Egyptian expatriate ]]>
"I hope we will be able to do it," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said at a ceremony to receive the airline's 100th A380, saying that negotiating teams were working on it.

Emirates is the world's biggest customer of the A380, having ordered 142 of the planes and Sheikh Ahmed said he wanted to see the plane continuing.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said he hoped Airbus would deliver "at least" the remaining 42 to Emirates.

Despite sluggish sales calling the future of the A380 into question, Enders said he believed Airbus would be producing the jumbo jets 10 years from now and was working on sales campaigns.

"I'm not sure I will let John Leahy retire without at least one more significant A380 order," Enders said, in reference to the departing sales chief of Airbus.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Airbus has embarked on a fresh search for a sales chief to take over from Leahy as the aerospace group seeks a clean break from turmoil over investigations into the use of middlemen.

Enders dismissed recent reports that the French government wants more political influence over Airbus management.

"There is nobody who is seriously considering reintroducing government controls in Airbus," he said.

Like rival Etihad, Emirates is currently facing a tough business environment, with overcapacity, an oil-price related drop in business travel and temporary restrictions on travel to the United States.

Emirates is working more closely with budget airline flydubai, on matters such as network planning, schedules and frequent flyer programmes.

Al-Maktoum said the partnership so far had been excellent, with a good number of passengers moving between the two. ]]>
11/4/2017 8:46:48 PM
<![CDATA[Ep. 8: Holy Family in Egypt – St. Macarius Monastery ]]>
Edited map of the Holy Family’s route in Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority

We were surrounded by colorful flowers and fruitful palm trees producing yellow dates. We were met by Reverend Marcarius El-Macari, who told us that monasticism started here in the fourth century A.D. by Saint Macarius the Great, who left his cave in Wadi el-Natrun when a large number of monks came to the area.

Reverend Marcarius told us that the monastery is home to 140 monks, and monastic life requires them to worship God and work. This is why they have been farming the area surrounding the monastery. There are different crops cultivated, like mangoes, bananas, dates and olives. There are also fish, cows and poultry.

Inside one of St. Mararius’ ancient churches – Ahmed Hindy

The reverend told us that the revenue from selling these crops sustains their living. They also use the revenues to help poor families in Upper Egypt. He said, “Our day starts at 4 a.m. with the midnight prayer, and then each monk starts his work. We take some rest for two hours at noon, and then continue work. We pray in the evening, and our day ends early, because we wake up at dawn.”

“As for the monastery, it has three ancient churches. The first is called Macarius the Great Church. The middle sanctuary in it dates back to the 7th century A.D., and it has a side sanctuary that goes back to the 9th century A.D. This church is home to the remains of two messengers, not only in Christianity, but in all religions. The first is John the Baptist, whom Muslims call Yahya son of Zakaria, and Elisha, mentioned in the Quran as Al-Yasa.”

The remains of John the Baptist and Elisha are claimed to be at St. Macarius Monastery in Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

The church keeps their remains in metal tubes. Their remains were once in Jerusalem, but were transferred to the monastery in the 10th century A.D. The reverend also said that the church is home to the remains of the three “Macariuses”, that is, three saints named Maqqar. They are Macarius the Great, the founder of monasticism in the 4th century; Macarius of Alexandria, a 5th century saint; and Macarius the Bishop.

The reverend then took us to the 49 Martyrs Church. The church was founded to commemorate 49 monks who were killed as they defended the church from Berber raids. The reverend said, “When they raided the monastery, some monks escaped, and others took shelter in the fort. However, these monks faced up to death bravely.” He also said that one of the visitors saw a vision where angels were placing flower garlands on their bodies. This church was built by the end of the 18th century, though they were killed in the 5th century.

An ancient church in St. Macarius Monastery – Ahmed Hindy

The reverend took us to another church built to commemorate another martyr – Saint Abaskhiron the Soldier. The church has a unique, high dome and goes back to the 19th century. Next to it, we could see the ancient fort and table, which we saw in every monastery in Wadi el-Natrun.

Reverend Marcarius then told us that the most important thing about the monastery is not the buildings, despite their historical significance. However, the question is, “Is God enough?” he asked. He then continued, “We monks came to the world and will leave it without a wife, children, a career or a social life, but yes, God is enough. God’s love fills the heart, soul and body.”

A church from the outside at St. Macarius Monastery – Ahmed Hindy

The reverend emphasized that the monks in this monastery try to follow the footsteps of their Father Matta el-Meskeen, who was the bishop of this monastery from 1969 until he passed away in 2006. He said that the most important aspect of his thought was his belief in solemn monasticism. Monks should not be preoccupied the external world, but should focus on the life of prayer and fasting they left the world for, according to Father Macarius.

We met another monk who had a pen in his pocket like the one Reverend Marcarius had, and this is something peculiar to the monks in this monastery, which indicates their preoccupation with gaining knowledge. Their monastery is the largest monastery in the field of publication and translation. It has a large printing house that publishes the works of their mentor, Matta El-Meskeen and his students. We asked the monk, who preferred to remain anonymous, about the journey of the Holy Family and if they came here.

A man at an icon at St. Macarius Monastery – Ahmed Hindy

He asked us to turn off the recorder because what he is about to say does not represent the church’s official opinion. He asserted that there is no proper evidence that the Holy Family came here. The church only cites some historical narratives in this regard – most importantly, the writings of Pope Theophilus, the 23rd pope of the Coptic Church.

We left the monastery of the knowledgeable monks and continued our journey, but this time in Cairo. We are going to the places where there is material proof that the Virgin Mary passed by.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 7: Holy Family in Egypt – Prophecies of Syrians in Natrun

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/4/2017 2:50:21 AM
<![CDATA[Emirates aims to place A380 order at Dubai airshow]]>
“I hope we will be able to do it,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said at a ceremony to receive the airline’s 100th A380, saying that negotiating teams were working on it.

Emirates is the world’s biggest customer of the A380, having ordered 142 of the planes and Sheikh Ahmed said he wanted to see the plane continuing.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said he hoped Airbus would deliver “at least” the remaining 42 to Emirates.

Despite sluggish sales calling the future of the A380 into question, Enders said he believed Airbus would be producing the jumbo jets 10 years from now and was working on sales campaigns.

“I‘m not sure I will let John Leahy retire without at least one more significant A380 order,” Enders said, in reference to the departing sales chief of Airbus.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Airbus has embarked on a fresh search for a sales chief to take over from Leahy as the aerospace group seeks a clean break from turmoil over investigations into the use of middlemen.

Enders dismissed recent reports that the French government wants more political influence over Airbus management.

“There is nobody who is seriously considering reintroducing government controls in Airbus,” he said.

Like rival Etihad, Emirates is currently facing a tough business environment, with overcapacity, an oil-price related drop in business travel and temporary restrictions on travel to the United States.]]>
11/3/2017 3:27:02 PM
<![CDATA[900 tourists arrive at Safaga, Sharm el Sheikh harbors]]>
Youssef added that Sharm el Sheikh Port also witnessed the arrival of a ship with 181 tourists from different countries on board.]]>
11/3/2017 1:17:10 PM
<![CDATA[Travel in style: These are the world’s most ‘elegant’ cities]]>
Overall, the top-ranked cities are all world class destinations and boast a thriving fashion scene, culturally and historically significant architecture, high tourism desirability, and the wow factor. “It’s not just the people, but the cities themselves, with their unique architecture and cultural landscapes, that make a destination elegant,” reads the report.

The secret is that elegance can be achieved with a simple flick of a €2 scarf, a picnic in a beautiful, clean park, and a glass of good quality red wine,” the report continues. “Elegance is a question of taste, attitude, and always showing your best side.”]]>
11/2/2017 3:04:37 PM
<![CDATA[Ep. 7: Holy Family in Egypt – Prophecies of Syrians in Natrun ]]>
Edited map of the holy family’s route in Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority

Although it is unconfirmed whether the Holy Family crossed that area, the complex of monasteries at Wadi el-Natrun are some of the oldest in the world, possessing unique art and architecture, as well as rich history and culture. El-Suryan Monastery is included in the Vatican’s recently announced pilgrimage list.

Edited map of the Holy Family’s route in Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority
We parked our car at the gate of the monastery and passed through the portal built within the ancient walls of the monastery. We saw a group of workers doing restoration work. We went to the information desk, and then met with Reverend Sergius el-Suryani, an older monk who keeps an icon of the Virgin Mary on his desk.

He welcomed us and ordered us tea, and asked us cordially how we were doing. We noticed a photograph of a man in a turban on the wall, and Father Sergius told us it is an image of Ibrahim el-Gohary, a generous Christian statesman who built dozens of churches and monasteries during the time of Mohamed Ali Pasha.

Next to this photo, there was another of Father Faltaous el-Suryani, the most famous monk in the monastery in the modern age, who passed away a few years ago. He was famous for his miracles.

The monk told us an anecdote from his brother’s life, saying that a Coptic doctor accidentally hit a passerby with his car and was sentenced to a long time in prison. He visited Father Faltaous, who told him he would only pay a LE 500 fine. The doctor could not believe him. However, Father Faltaous ended up being right. He then asked the doctor to buy him kebab, though he would not be able to eat meat, as he was too old to chew it. Instead, he gave it to poor people who visited him in the guest house of the monastery.

The phone rang, interrupting the reverend’s stories about Father Faltaous. He told us that Reverend Timon el-Suryani was waiting for us outside the ancient church and would take us on a tour inside the monastery.

4: A woman helping a child lighting a candle at el-Suryan Monastery in Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

Reverend Timon told us the story of monastic life in this monastery. He said that a group of Orthodox Syrian monks had heard about the flourishing monastic life in this desert. They wanted to belong to the first school of monasticism in Egypt, so they came to Egypt in the 5th century A.D. and lived a monastic life with their Egyptian brothers. They stayed there until the 16th century A.D. as generation after generation would adopt the life of monasticism.

Saint Pishoy was the first one to live in Wadi el-Natrun, said Reverend Timon as he headed to the cave where the Father of Monks lived in this area. In front of the cave, a yellow light illuminates a sign that reads “Saint Pishoy’s Cave”. The Reverend told us that Saint Pishoy was a third-generation monk. We ducked to enter the cave, which is divided into two sections; the first was the place where he received other monks, and the second was his monastic cell where he isolated himself to pray to God and talk to Him. In this small cave in the mountain, dozens of visitors have written their hopes and dreams on scraps of paper. Reverend Timon said that Saint Pishoy taught approximately 5,000 monks, who lived over the span of 100 years in that cave.

3: Messages left at St. Pishoy’s cave at el-Suryan Monastery in Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

We entered the cave and Reverend Timon took us to a long, ancient table that dates back to the 4th century. We saw this same table in different monasteries in Wadi el-Natrun. However, the Monastery of el-Suryan put paper sculptures of monks around it.
Reverend Timon told us that monks used to isolate themselves all week long, and on Saturday and Sunday, they would gather and sit on the ancient mastabah (bench) to eat together and read the Bible and some pages from “Bustan Al-Ruhban” (The Monks’ Garden). There were metal utensils covered with sand on, and visitors would come and go as they ponder the monks’ lives in the desert.

2: The ancient table where monks used to eat in el-Suryan Monastery at Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

We passed by caves in the monastery until we got to the ancient church. Reverend Timon opened the wooden door, and it was as if he opened the door to a magical world of art, history and religion. Once we stepped into the ancient church, we felt like we were dreaming. The church was built according to a vision, where Saint Youhannes Kama, one of the saints of the monastery, saw the Virgin Mary.

In the vision, she gave him three gold dinars to build this church. This is depicted in the most famous icon in the church, painted on an old wooden shrine surrounded by crosses from all directions. Reverend Timon continued the story behind the church, saying that after Saint Youhannes Kama saw the Virgin, she disappeared, and he saw an angel in his cave 3 kilometers away. Once he left the cave, it collapsed immediately.

This is when Saint Youhannes realized that the Virgin did not want him to build the church in his cave. He walked until he reached the current location of the church, where he found a group of Syrian monks living their monastic life, so he joined them.

Reverend Timon stood in front of the Door of Prophecies, a wooden door surrounded with frescoes and murals. Next to it, there were inscriptions in Syriac.

The Door of Prophecies at el-Suryan Monastery in Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

However, the inscriptions on the door are the most extraordinary thing we saw in that church. The door is divided into six sections adorned with ivory. Each section tells a part of the history of Christianity, and even predicts the future of the religion.

In the first section, there are icons depicting the twelve apostles, who preached Christianity all over the world. The second section is about the second generation of Christians, and the Suryans drew small crosses. Reverend Timon explained to us that Christianity was slowly spreading back then due to persecution.

In the third section, the crosses are bigger and are surrounded by circles. Reverend Timon explained that they signify the continued persecution of Christians in those times. In the fifth section, the cross looked clear. Reverend Timon said that this section depicts the times when Christianity flourished with monasticism, which started in the 4th century and became solid in the 5th century.

Reverend Timon then asked us what we think the symbol in the sixth section indicates, and we said it is the symbol of Nazism. He then told us that Suryans predicted that this symbol would change the history of the world. During that period, the Council of Chalcedon was held, separating churches and leading to division between them. The shape of the cross we could see clearly in the fifth section was changed to a less clear one. In the sixth section, the cross looks a lot smaller, indicating the current state of “prevalent atheism”. As for the last section of the door, the cross then emerges clearly, which indicates Christ’s resurrection at the end of times according to the Christian faith, said Reverend Timon.

There were frescoes and colorful paintings on the walls of the monastery, each depicting a story, refuting a heresy or telling a tale from the long history of Christianity. Beneath every mural, there is another one. On each wall, there are three layers of colorful frescoes painted by successive generations of monks who lived in the monastery, according to Reverend Timon.

1: Father Timon explaining the history of frescoes at el-Suryan Monastery in Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

Reverend Timon took us back to the church cloister and showed us Ephrem the Syrian’s tree, a giant tree enclosed in a special compartment, with its branches towering over the compartment ceiling. It is also surrounded with metal utensils and potteryware, which date back to the 18th century.

The Reverend told us that Saint Ephrem the Syrian planted his stick in the soil, and Saint Pishoy’s disciples watered it. The stick then became a tree more than 1,700 years ago, as a witness to the encounter between Saint Ephrem and Saint Pishoy in this monastery. Next to the tree, there are old monastic cells. The Reverend told us they are currently occupied by new monks who try the original monastic life of asceticism and austerity.

Before leaving, Reverend Timon told us the story of Al-Hamra Spring, which is seven kilometers away from the monastery. It is believed that the Holy Family stopped at that area. The story is that there was a salty lake that Christ wanted to drink from, but the Virgin Mary stopped him. He then only put his finger in the water and a spring of fresh drinking water began to stream in the middle of the salty waters.

We said goodbye to the gracious reverend and left the monastery to go to our appointment in Macarius Monastery in the Scetis Desert, the last monastery in our trip in Wadi el-Natrun.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 7: Holy Family in Egypt – Prophecies of Syrians in Natrun

EP. 6: holy family visits Wadi el-Naturn, founds monasticism

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/2/2017 10:28:36 AM
<![CDATA[Celebrate Siwa’s festivals next week]]>
The first one is the Tourism Festival that will be held in Gebel Dakrur, which is a renowned mountain located about 3km east of Siwa Oasis, from November 5-7.

Thousands of Siwans will gather to celebrate the date of harvest , renew friendships and settle quarrels, and all Siwans gather to eat at the huge feast , no matter what their financial or social status. All are intertwined with Sufism, as they form a circle and join together in “dhikr”, or the remembrance of God.

The second, is the Third Date Palm Festival in Siwa, which is an implemented program to promote the date sector through the development of supply chains, with a focus on the transfer and application of modern technologies.

After the success of the first 2015 and second 2016 festivals, Siwa will witness the third this year from November 15-18, in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

It will include the Khalifa International Prize for Palm and Agricultural innovation in the presence of strategic partners United Nations Economic Development Organization and Siwa City Council. Many aimed activities will take place, including a scientific symposium, Egyptian date competition according to ten different categories, and hosting four major dates exporters, along with folklore segments from the city of Siwa.

Siwa is one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces, located about 560 km from Cairo and stretching over 25m below sea level. It includes many palm trees that were meticulously grown between mud-brick homes and also has a number of crystal clear springs, lakes and rivers as a way for villagers to 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.

Siwa Oasis – Max pexil Website

Water spring in Siwa – Max Pexil Website

Desert sand of Siwa – Wikimedia Website

Siwa Oasis hot spring –Wikimedia website

Palm tree in Siwa – Wikimedia website

Date palm harvest in Siwa- Wikimedia Website
11/2/2017 10:10:56 AM
<![CDATA[First international Zumba Nile Cruise kicks off Sunday]]>
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 event is held in collaboration with Zumba® Fitness program, which brings together Zumba fans and instructors from 185 countries worldwide.

GLAM Nile Cruise welcome party kicks off at Conrad Cairo Hotel on Sunday, followed by five days of dance and workouts on the banks of the Nile between Luxor & Aswan, as well as sightseeing and a Nubian themed party.

The event aims to promote Egyptian tourism through the wide fans base of the international instructors, including Benjamin Richard from France, Eleni from Greece, Italian Francesca Maria and American Catherine Chimelu.

For further details, check

Glam Nile Cruise

Egyptian band Massar Egbari released a special song for the event:

11/1/2017 2:36:05 PM
<![CDATA[Climbing Australia's giant red rock Uluru banned]]>
Scrambling up the symbol of the Outback, also known as Ayers Rock, is seen by many tourists as a must-do on their visit to Australia.

But they do so against the wishes of the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu, to whom the site is sacred.

At a meeting of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board, made up of traditional owners and National Park representatives, a unanimous decision was made to ban the activity.

It will come into force in October 2019.

"This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu together to feel proud about; to realise, of course it´s the right thing to close it," board chairman Sammy Wilson said.

Speaking to state broadcaster ABC after the decision, he added that the site was not a "theme park".

"Some people in tourism and government for example might have been saying we need to keep it open but it's not their law that lies in this land," he said.

"It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland."

The rock's traditional Aboriginal owners' connection to the site dates back tens of thousands of years and it has great spiritual and cultural significance to them.

Wilson urged tourists to respect the ruling.

"If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don´t enter or climb it, I respect it," he said in the statement.

"It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity."

Park authorities have long looked to close the climb permanently. It is currently left up to visitors to decide whether to tackle the sandstone monolith, which soars 348 metres (1,148 feet).

About 300,000 people visit each year and, while there are no official figures on how many climb, their numbers are reported to have declined significantly.

Tackling Uluru's sandstone slopes is not an easy exercise and there have been numerous deaths over the years on the rock, where summer temperatures often hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).]]>
11/1/2017 11:08:09 AM
<![CDATA[Singapore opens new, high-tech airport terminal]]>
Terminal 4, built at a cost of Sg$985 million (US$723 million), will have an annual capacity of 16 million people and is aimed at coping with an expected increase in passenger numbers through one of Asia’s top travel hubs.

It is packed with new technology, meaning passengers should in theory be able to check in and board without having to talk to airport staff.

On its first day of operations, more than 100 passengers arrived in the morning to take the inaugural service out, a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.

But not everyone managed to get to grips with the self check-in machines, forcing travellers to use counters manned by airport staff instead.

“I think it?ll take a while for people and systems to get used to it,” Loh K Ling, who tried to use two self-service machines before giving up and going to a manned counter, told AFP.

At the boarding gate, several travellers also had trouble getting used to the facial scanning technology and were redirected to manned counters.

Changi, often voted the world’s best airport, is among hubs worldwide rolling out new technology as the fight intensifies for long-haul travellers.

Along with hubs such as Hong Kong and Dubai, Singapore is scrambling to attract the growing army of travellers — on trips such as Australia to Europe — who can choose the routing of their journeys.

A growing number of mainland Chinese are also visiting Southeast Asia, and there is competition between Singapore and other local hubs, such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, to attract the new passengers.]]>
11/1/2017 11:02:22 AM
<![CDATA[Amsterdam bans controversial 'beer-bikes']]>
As from Wednesday "the beer bicycle may be banned from the city centre to stop it from being a nuisance", the Amsterdam District Court said in a statement.

"The court agrees with the city council that the combination of traffic disruptions, anti-social behaviour and the busy city centre justifies a ban," it added.

Beer bicycles have become a popular way - especially for tourists celebrating group events, such as stag parties - to travel around Amsterdam.

The contraption is actually a small cart fitted out with a number of bicycle seats arranged around a bar table and which is then powered by patrons, as they pedal along the inner city's historic canals.

But beer bicycles have become a huge headache, even for Amsterdammers who are known for their tolerance.

Last year some 6,000 residents, many of them living in the inner city handed the council a petition to have it banned, calling it a "terrible phenomenon". "Our city's become a giant attraction park," one resident told the NOS newscaster at the time.

Amsterdam's late mayor, Eberhard van der Laan agreed and instituted a ban the bikes, but was taken to court last year by four beer bicycle operators, who accused the city of "imposing on people's freedom".

At the time, judges struck down the mayor's request, saying it was not properly motivated.

In Tuesday's ruling, however, the judges agreed that problems caused by the beer bike including shouting, public drunkenness and lewd behaviour such as urinating in public were causes for the beer bike to be no more.

Amsterdam in recent years have been looking at ways to tame the yearly deluge of some 17 million tourists, which is threatening to swamp the city.

Once a small fishing village, Amsterdam in the 16th and 17th centuries grew into a major trading hub, but now has become a victim of its own success.

Every year the flow of sightseers flocking to the city's 165 canals grows by some five per cent as the result of an impressive marketing campaign.

But for the city's 830,000 residents, tourist numbers threaten to become a major annoyance.]]>
11/1/2017 10:57:34 AM
<![CDATA[Indonesia's Sept foreign tourist arrivals rise 12.7 pct y/y]]>
That compares with a 24.77 percent annual increase in August.

In September, the total number of foreign visitors, including those passing through Indonesia’s borders from neighbouring countries and foreign workers with permits for less than one year, was 1.21 million, up 20.47 percent from a year earlier.

11/1/2017 10:50:32 AM
<![CDATA[Cairo on top 10 trending destinations list]]>
It comes as no surprise that Egypt in general and Cairo came in as one of the best touristic spots in the world. CNN network announced days ago that Egypt is one of the most important touristic places worldwide. In addition, many more places in Egypt are internationally classified as among the best places in the world, like Blue Hole in Dahab.

The Hitlist-based survey uncovered travel destinations that are ranked highly by millennials as desirable cities and locations frequently highlighted by a large number of users. This list is as follows:
1. Liverpool, England
2.Bordeaux, France
3. Düsseldorf, Germany
4. Glasgow, Scotland
5. Cambridge, Massachusetts
6. Portland, Oregon
7. Ann Arbor, Michigan
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Phuket, Thailand
10. Naples, Italy

Surely, we are so proud to read that Cairo owns a place on a list like this. That said, Cairo is the only country from the Africa and the Middle East region that tourists are interested in, according to the survey.

Being the massive, busy capital that is is, Cairo is still able to give a good image to the world about the importance and value of Egypt.

11/1/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 6: Holy Family visits Wadi el-Naturn, monasticism founded]]>
Edited map of the holy family’s route in Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority

We first visited the Virgin Mary church in the Paromeos monastery, which has recently been included in the Vatican's pilgrimage list. The road to the monastery was bumpy, but it got better as we approached it. In the distance, we could see the monastery’s lighthouse and large crosses. We took a paved road to the left, parked the car, and turned to cross the small, ancient gate to the monastery. Women, children, and men were coming and going through the gate as they arrived from different Delta governorates in search of blessings.

Hieromonk Cyril el-Parameosi was waiting for us in his simple black monastic garment, short beard and friendly smile. He welcomed us and shook our hands as he held his cross to bless us with it.

Before he started talking about the world of monastic life in Wadi el-Natrun, Father Cyril said “welcome to our monastery, our home. This is the Paromeos Monastery, and the word ‘Paromeos’ means ‘that which belongs to the Romans.’ The monastery was built in the 4th century A.D. The name goes back to the brothers Maximus and Domatius, sons of a Roman king, who became monks in the monastery. It was built by Saint Macarius the Elder, also known as al-Anba Makkar (Bishop Makkar), as part of a monastic movement that began in Egypt in the 4th century A.D. led by Saint Anthony the Great, the first monk in history.”

Monasticism was founded in Egypt and spread all over the world. At the time, there were two monastic areas: one in the east, between the Red Sea Mountains (the Monastery of Saint Anthony and the Monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite) and one in the west (the Paromeos Monastery, the Monastery of Saint Pishoy, the Monastery of Saint Macarius and the Monastery of el-Suryan; Paromeos Monastery is the oldest).

When a Copt becomes a monk, they renounce the name they were born with and are given a new name. Monasticism is like death in this world, and a rebirth of a new life with God. Father Cyril was born with a different name, but the Abbot named him after the famous saint. “El-Paramoesi” is to indicate he belongs to the monastery to which he dedicated his life.

Icons leading to the altar of one of Parameos Monastery’s churches – Ahmed Hindy

Father Cyril stood before the ancient fence around the monastery which was built in the 10th century A.D. The fence was covered with woodwork made by the monks in the monastery, crosses, and icons of saints with verses from the Holy Bible. The fence was built at the order of Pope Cyril of Alexandria as a form of defense against Berber raids. Berber tribes raided monasteries in the fifth century for food and drinks. However, the fence has no religious foundation, said the monk.

Frequent raids compelled monks to be careful and cautious. In each monastery, there is a fort to which they retreat from the external world.

Father Cyril, who is responsible for welcoming guests at the monastery, had previously studied architecture and oversees all restoration projects at the monastery. He indicated that Wadi El Natrun used to be called “sekhet hemat” in hieroglyphic, which means “salt valley.” Ancient Egyptians used to extract the needed salt for mummification from this area. In addition, he pointed out that there is no proof that the holy family passed through this area except for the homily that pope Theophilus I, the 23rd pope of the Coptic Church, left. He asserted that the holy family crossed this area but did not specify how long they resided in it. This was before the construction of the monasteries, which were later built in dedication to the holy family.

“In the 4th century A.D., saint Macarius came here to live as a monk, a life of constant prayer and meditation. It was a life fully lived for God. He was followed by a group of other monks who lived with him. When there was not enough room for all of them, he left the monastery and went to another area in the Natrun desert. The cave where he lived became what is the Macarius monastery today,” said Father Cyril.

“Monastic life in the past was different from our life today,” he explained. “Monasteries in the past used to be closed. No visits or any communication with the outside world. Today, we welcome everyday hundreds of visitors who seek the blessings of the monastery’s saints. However, the essence of monasticism remains unchanged.”

Parameos monastery in Wadi el-Natrun – Ahmed Hindy

“Monasticism used to be ‘eremitic’ in the past. Each monk used to live in a cave in the mountains called a ‘monastic cell.’ Later, each group of monks used to live in convents. Those who lived in a convent used to come from the same area. Egyptian regions back then used to speak different languages, so monks could not live with other monks they could not communicate with,” Father Cyril said. “There used to be an abbot in every convent who would teach his students about monasticism and its rituals.”

“Today, to a great extent,” Father Cyril said, “monasticism is not eremitic. Monks live in communities, which is the tradition saint Pachomius established. As a monk in Dendera, saint Pachomius established the tradition of monks living together in groups, or cenobia, where they work together, share food and exchange services.” He indicated that monasticism involves handwork. Some monks farm, while others do woodwork and other kinds of handwork.

Father Cyril took us on a tour of the churches of the monastery. He goes back in time to 1876 as he spoke to us about Mar Youhana church, which was built by pope Kyrollis VI. He was one of the monastery’s monks and used to carry the name ‘Youhana’ as a monk. He built a church under his name over the ruins of an older church that had collapsed.

The church used to be called Saints Abib and Apollo and it was built by Ibrahim El-Gohary. We heard the name Ibrahim El-Gohary frequently throughout the tour. That man lived back in the time of the French expeditions. He used to work as a scribe for a Mamluk prince but then rose to the position of chief scribe. He was a generous and benevolent man who donated a lot and built churches and monasteries all over the country.

There is a palace next to the church that was built in 1911. It is the pope’s residence in the monastery when he visits. There is a wooden engraving pinned on the wall of the palace inscribed by a monk which says, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” It is a verse from the bible referring to Jesus Christ.


Father Cyril led us from the church to the ancient area in the monastery through a desert road. We feel like we moved from one era to a completely different one. He points upwards to al-mat’ama (eatery), which is a room a monk occupies. The monk is called a bawab (attendant), and he would let down a long rope attached to a basket full of food for any hungry passerby. Next to the steps leading up to the mat’ama (restaurant), there was a large hole similar to a well. He told us this was a furnace where monks burned gypsum for construction.

We continue our tour. Our guide showed us the fort from the outside. The fort is accessed through a set of stairs and over a bridge. It was built in the seventh century. This is where monks used to hide from Berber raids. We went on to check the antiquated table, located in a small hallway. We had to bend down to get into it through a passageway. Monks and the abbot used to sit around the table to eat. A monk would read them pages from “Bustan Al-Ruhban” (the Monks’ Garden), the primary reference of Christian monasticism. Father Cyril said that the table dates back to the ninth century A.D., and the walls of the room used to be adorned with frescoes that have now disappeared.

We entered the ancient church in the monastery after leaving our shoes at the door. The church is divided into three sections; each called a “choir.” The first choir, the closest one to the altar is called the clergy choir, where Christians get ready for the holy communion. The second choir was for new Christian converts, who sat down and listened to exhortations and sermons. The third was for pagans who wanted to embrace Christianity. The church is home to the remains of saint Moses the Black.

Father Cyril told us the story of the saint’s life, recounting that he used to be a thief, but he searched for God, and when he found him, he gave up his old way of life with all his sins. He was killed while defending the monastery against a Berber raid.

In front of the church sanctuary, our guide drew open curtains embroidered with the icon of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus. It is as if he opened the gates of history. We see the door to the ancient sanctuary, which dates back to the Fatimid era. It is a wooden door adorned with crosses and Christian engravings and decorations. Although they are Christian, they belong to an era famous for Islamic art.

A man asks for blessings at the remains of saints Maximus and Domatius at Parameos monastery – Ahmed Hindy

On the walls, we saw frescoes and ancient drawings. The monk told us they consist of three layers. Whenever one layer is removed, another emerges. Artists used to come to the monastery to draw these frescoes throughout the ages. The colorful murals depict the journey of the holy family, moments in the life of Christ and other portraits of saints.

Our tour ended in Paromeos monastery. Father Cyril insisted that we have lunch, so he took us to the monastery guest house and offered us food made by monks for visitors. They offered us fava beans, bread baked in the monastery, eggs and meat. Before leaving, he gave us a book on the monastery and a wooden tablet with the word “Allah,” made by monks. Then we said goodbye.

We left Paromeos monastery and headed to the nearby monastery of Saint Pishoy. This monastery is home to the pope’s residence, where he stays for three days every week. It has a gate separate from the venerable monastery. As for the ancient insides of the church, you can enter it through its small gate and start your tour among the ancient churches, which look like the Paromeos churches to a great extent. This monastery also has an ancient fort, a table and a furnace. There is also a high fence. The monastery was raided five times by Berbers which did not leave the monastery in its original condition, as Hegumen Sarabamon and bishop Pishoy told us.

In the modern age, this monastery is known to be the residence of popes. The monastery is home to pope Shenouda’s shrine (where he was buried). Monks turned it into a museum of the belongings of popes in the modern age. In the pope’s shrine, his black monastic garments are hung from the ceiling in a small museum of his belongings. In this small museum, we could also see messages from his followers asking for his blessing. In the background, we could hear recordings of the pope as he preached his followers. The monastery played recordings of his most popular sermons. We could also see his books and valuable writings.

When you leave the shrine, you see saint Pishoy’s church, which was subject to many raids and natural disasters. It is the largest church in Wadi El Natrun. Berbers raided it in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. It was also reconstructed due to damage caused by a white ant infestation in pope Benjamin’s time.

The shrine of late pope Shenouda III at Anba Peshoy monastery of Wadi el-Natrun – Samy Wahib

In the monastery’s cloister, you see its ancient fence which goes back to the fourth century A.D. To your left, you will also see an old car in a steel cage. It is pope Shenouda’s car, and the monastery is keeping it as a relic.

We quickly left the monastery of saint Pishoy, as we try to catch up with our appointment in el-Suryan monastery nearby before sunset.

Translated by Heba Fadel

Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

11/1/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Viking to launch cruise from Luxor to Aswan ]]>
Viking, which currently operates a fleet of 62 vessels, offers scenic cruising along the rivers and oceans of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Egypt, China and Southeast Asia.

The 12-day cruise allows guests to experience Egypt’s cultural treasures, starting from a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo where they will visit iconic sites including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.

Then, guests will visit Luxor and Aswan before boarding Viking Ra for an-eight day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River from Luxor to Aswan featuring privileged access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, and a visit to a colorful Nubian village.

“Egypt is one of the most intriguing countries in the world, and it remains a top destination for many of our guests,” said Chairman of Viking Cruises Torstein Hagen.

As part of its schedule in 2019, Viking will launch seven new river ships besides operating an existing fleet of 69 river vessels.]]>
11/1/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[The Colored canyon in Nuweiba is a real natural wonder ]]>
Stop your car at the mouth of the canyon and start descending the canyon’s rocky layers where you will notice many of the rocks covered in a chalk like powder. After twenty minutes you will have to walk across a dry riverbed to touch the natural colorful canyon, then experience the smooth rocks that appear soft and billowy.

The colorful rocky canyon comes as a result of receding tides from the red sea. The rocks of the area formed millions of years ago as a result of water eroding sandstone and limestone. Minerals have also shaped and formatted over millions of years. There is great evidence to support that Egypt is one of many countries that has oxidized rocky minerals that have formed millions of years ago.

The canyon is 800 m long with twin palm trees which give its hikers a little shelter for a minute. The weather atop the canyon is sunny.

Although Colored Canyon lies in the limestone mountain chain named “El-Tih” where it is said that Moses was lost for 40 years. It is considered to be one of the best known places in south Sinai according to one visitors named Tarek from Cairo. He said, “You have to go there if you are visiting Nuweiba or Dahab, the place is heavenly and the rocks are really colored (try to visit in October or November).” He rated the canyon on Trip Advisor Website with 4.5 stars.

Colored Canyon trip is usually a part of a tourist program organized between Septembers to May. Color Canyon program starts in the morning and continues to nearby canyons also. Travelers can spend time there taking photos, hiking, climbing the canyon, and enjoying the sunset at one of Nuweiba beaches, according to Kareem Samy , the founder of Hiking Club. Hiking Club is an online club that organizes seasonal trips. In order to tour the Colored Canyon, the agency or the tour guide must extract a permit from Egyptian authorities.

Photo 1 Colored Canyon in Nuweiba – Max pexil Website

Photo 2 Colored rocky mountain – Max Pexil Website

Photo3 Colored rocky mountain – Wikimedia Website

Photo 4 Rocky formation of the mountain –Wikimedia website

5-_touritst_hiking_colored_canyon (2)
Photo 5 Tourists hiking the Colored Canyon – Wikimedia website
11/1/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[In Halloween, here are Egypt’s most famous haunted places]]>
Baron Empian’s Palace:

Baron Palace - Hoba offendum - Wikimedia commons

Located in Heliopolis, a breathtaking beautiful Indian-inspired structure in the morning but once night falls, the building shows its other facade. Whenever the subject of haunted houses comes up in Egypt, the Baron's Palace is the first place that comes to mind.

The palace belonged originally to a Belgian Baron named Empain who wanted to build the most beautiful structure in Egypt, a miracle of architecture which would stand as a symbol for magnificence. Alas, the building now stands as a symbol of fear and evil.

It is said that a lady of the house, the Baron’s sister or his wife, has fallen or was pushed from the palace’s tower for unknown reasons. After the Baron’s death in the late 1920s, no one seemed interested in claiming the palace. Witnesses have claimed seeing fires break out from the building’s windows and then disappear, and hearing the angry voices of the baron and the lady of the palace arguing and screaming. The lights of the house have been said to go on and off at random times while the palace is empty.

In the 90s the palace’s evil reputation spread wide, and attracted reckless young men and women, who were believed to be Satan worshipers, to practice black magic and blood rituals there.

Since 2009, the palace has belonged to the Ministry of State of Antiquities and there are plans to re-open it for visitors as a museum.

Tiring building’s attic:

Tiring building 1925 - Ziad – flickr

Located in the middle of Ataba, Tiring building was one of the oldest clothes malls in Egypt, with a distinct design of a dome topped by four statues of men holding a globe on their backs in an atlas like position. Years went by and the building which was named “the building of Jews” as its residents were mainly Jewish Egyptians, turned gradually into a messy place. The residents and owners left and in their stead came traders and clothes' merchants who turned most apartments into storage places; however, one room stayed untouched… the attic.

Said to be sealed with chains and locks, right under the dome is a room believed to have been a hanging room with a loose noose right in the middle and a great space underneath it. No one knows many details about the hanging room, and no one seems to dare open it.

Said Halim Pasha Palace or Champollion palace:

Champolion palace - Fadyhesham0 - Wikimedia commons

More than a hundred years old, the palace is located in down town Cairo. While it is abandoned and forgotten right now, it was built originally by Mohammed Ali’s grandson Said Halim Pasha for his wife who, for unknown reasons, refused to live in it. Halim Pasha then gave the palace to the Ministry of Education which turned it into a school for a while before the palace was claimed by the government and abandoned. The palace looks quite scary whether in daylight or darkness.
Roshdy buildings:

Roshdy Street’s haunted building

If you ever visit Roshdy Street in Alexandria, you will pass by a 50 year-old building covered in grey vehicle exhaust and the main entrance of which is sealed shot with a wall of red bricks, as a sign of warning; do not come close or try to enter.

The story goes that a construction worker fell down to his certain death while working on the building after the owners had an argument leading one of them to put a curse on the building. Another narrative says that the building had an Italian owner, who just after finishing it, drowned with his children while on a fishing trip which led his wife to sell the building and leave the country.

It was also said that one day at dawn neighbors woke up to the screams of a resident of the building, before they saw him throwing himself from the window of the last floor. Another pair of residents, a newlywed couple woke up to find the taps leaking blood and their belongings thrown out in the street, while others heard screams of excruciating pain and agony at night.

Dahab’s Blue Hole:

Dahab Blue Hole 2005 - Nowic - Wikimedia commons

While it may look gorgeous and it certainly attracts many of the world’s professional divers, challenging them to explore its mysteries, the Blue Hole is merely a death trap. It is said that while trying to navigate through the hole and cross its “Arch,” which makes divers feel as if they are in an underwater palace; over a hundred divers have met their death. These are their memorials.

EGYPT Dahab Blue Hole memorials - D T G - Wikimedia commons

One of the latest deaths at the Blue Hole was that of

Stephen Keenan

, a professional free diver, when he rushed to the rescue of another free diver but lost his life. His body was found in the distance.

Technical diver passing under the Arch of Dahab Blue Hole in 2009 - Tommi Salminen via Wikimedia Commons

Sycamore trees:

Branches of sycamore tree - Occidentalis - Hagerty Ryan, USFWS - Pixnio

Wherever this infamous tree is located, passersby pick up the pace. This comes from some old Egyptian superstitions around the tree as some say that you can hear whispers coming from the tree but whenever you look around, there is nothing there but darkness cast by the tree's intertwined thick branches. The tree was mentioned in many children's tales associated with evil and dark spirits.

10/31/2017 5:43:52 PM
<![CDATA[Majid Al Futtaim to finance $380m Abu Dhabi mall through debt, equity]]>
Majid Al Futtaim is a Dubai-based holding company but also owns and operates shopping centres in the Middle East and North Africa. It is building a mall in Abu Dhabi under its City Center brand in a joint venture with privately owned Al Jazira Sports & Cultural Club, Abu Dhabi.

“The financing will be a combination of debt and equity equally by both partners,” Ghaith Shocair, chief executive, Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim, told reporters after a ground breaking ceremony.

He declined to elaborate.

City Centre Abu Dhabi will have 153 retail outlets including a Carrefour hypermarket and Vox cinemas, he said.

The mall is expected to open in 2021.

Asked about prospects for another big mall in Abu Dhabi, which has at least six big malls and some smaller ones, Shocair said Majid Al Futtaim saw demand as Abu Dhabi’s population grows and as tourists flock into the emirate.

Abu Dhabi’s population is about 1.26 million and is expected to rise to 1.3 million by 2021, he said.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions in industry, tourism and infrastructure to diversify its economy away from oil.
10/31/2017 5:00:19 PM
<![CDATA[Historic Jewish quarter of Marrakesh sees revival]]>
“You’re now entering the last synagogue in the mellah,” the walled Jewish quarter in the heart of the ochre city, Isaac Ohayon says as he enthusiastically guides tourists in the courtyard of the Lazama synagogue.

“Many visitors come from Israel — you wouldn’t believe the demand!” adds the jovial 63-year-old hardware shop owner.

This place of worship and study was built originally in 1492 during the Inquisition when the Jews were driven out of Spain.

Known as the “synagogue of the exiles”, it hosted generations of young Berbers who converted to Judaism and were sent from villages in the region to learn the Torah, before finally being deserted in the 1960s.

In classrooms now transformed into a museum, fading colour photographs tell the story of a now-dispersed community, with many having left for France, North America and especially Israel.

The caption on one sepia shot of an old man sitting by a pile of trunks says it all: “They are travelling towards a dream they have prayed for for more than 2,000 years.”

Rebecca is now in her fifties and grew up in Paris, but she has “great nostalgia” for Morocco and returns as often as she can.

“The Jewish Agency began recruiting the poorest in the 1950s and then everyone left after independence (from France), at the time of King Hassan II’s policy of Arabisation,” she says.

The Jewish Agency of Israel is a semi-official organisation that oversees immigration to the country.

‘The last young Jew’

Before the wave of departures, Morocco hosted North Africa’s largest Jewish community, estimated at between 250,000 and 300,000 people.

There are fewer than 3,000 left, according to unofficial figures.

Marrakesh at the foot of the Atlas mountain range was home to more than 50,000 Jews, according to a 1947 census.

Now, 70 years later, around 100 are thought to remain, many of them extremely elderly.

Jewish-owned homes inside the mellah were sold to Muslim families of modest means, and the walls of the district were eroded by time.

“Sometimes we can’t get even 10 men together for prayers,” says one woman worshipper at the old synagogue, preferring to remain anonymous.

But at celebrations marking the end of the festival of Sukkot, which commemorates the Jewish journey through the Sinai after their exodus from Egypt, and the Simchat Torah holiday, the place is buzzing with song, dance and traditional dishes.

The worshipper says she has “never seen so many people” there.

Jacob Assayag, 26, proudly calls himself “the last young Jew in Marrakesh”.

“Since the quarter was restored, there have been more and more tourists,” says the restaurateur and singer.

A restoration project begun just over two years ago has already seen €17.5 million (RM86 million) spent.

Ferblantiers Square, a large pedestrian area near the spice souk lined with benches and palm trees where tourist buses gather, also benefited from the revamp.

Twenty years ago, the quarter was renamed “Salaam (‘peace’ in Arabic)”, but this year saw its original “El Mellah” name restored on the orders of King Mohamed VI “to preserve its historic memory” and develop tourism.

A sensitive topic

The streets with their ochre facades once more bear their names on plaques in Hebrew: The synagogue, for example, is on Talmud Torah Street.

There is much to see inside the mellah.

Camera-toting tourists snap vigorously at shopfronts and the carved wooden doorways of houses in the quarter.

“Many people come every year from Israel for the (Jewish) holidays, and this year has seen even more, maybe 50,000,” says Israeli tourist guide David, leading a group from Tel Aviv via Malaga in Spain on an eight-day trip.

“I feel at home in Morocco because I was born here,” adds the 56-year-old from the port of Ashdod just north of the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip.

His parents left Marrakesh in the 1960s, when David was just four years old, “because they were Zionists”.

Ohayon says visitors from the Jewish state are often bowled over by Marrakesh.

“Moroccan Jews can’t forget their homeland and Israelis who come here for the first time find the spirit of tolerance here almost unbelievable when they themselves live under constant tension,” he says.

Officially, Morocco has neither diplomatic nor economic ties with Israel, as this is a sensitive topic. Just two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties with the Jewish state.

But in reality, there are few obstacles to both business and tourism.

Moroccan media reports say commercial exchanges between the two countries this year have amounted to more than four million dollars a month.

The kingdom, seen as a safe destination, recorded a more than 10 percent rise in tourist arrivals between January and August this year over 2016, with eight million visitors. — AFP]]>
10/31/2017 4:50:09 PM
<![CDATA[Four Seasons European ski destination hotel]]>
The Canadian luxury hospitality group and the Rothschild family have joined forces to bring a new very-high-end offer to the Megève hotel scene. With it, Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild will be boosting the profile of the ski resort in France’s Haute Savoie region, which their family founded in 1920 with the creation of the Société Française des Hôtels de Montagne.

Already heading the resort’s Chalet du Mont d’Arbois (five stars) and the Ferme du Golf, the new generation of the Rothschild family now hopes to bring fresh momentum to the ski resort with the new Four Seasons Hotel Megève.
Competition is fierce in the French Alps, where the Haute-Savoie and Savoie regions are going head-to-head in a battle for the luxury market. The Barrière group opened its first ski hotel last year in Courchevel, where the Capezzone family also overhauled its Le Kilimanjaro hotel, which is now the K2 Altitude.

With the support of the Four Seasons group, the Rothschild family intends to ensure Megève is a prime destination for luxury travel with a new 55-room hotel, including 14 suites. This will be the resort’s first hotel to offer direct access to the Mont d’Arbois slopes. In fact, nothing will be too much for the clients of this luxury establishment, which will offer “ski safaris” by helicopter, with links to Courchevel, Val d’Isère, Méribel and Val Thorens. The new establishment hopes to attract an international clientele, with visitors from the USA, Russia, the UK, Switzerland and France.

The Four Seasons Hôtel Megève will have the largest spa in the French Alps. The 900 sq. m spa will feature ten treatment rooms ready to pamper guests, while the indoor pool will have massage jets and counter-current swimming.

Finally, the luxury establishment also hopes to carve out a place in in the region’s gastronomic microcosm, where Michelin-starred eateries abound. Competitors include Yannick Alléno at the Cheval Blanc (Courchevel), the Meilleur chefs in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville and Emmanuel Renaut’s Flocons de Sel in Megève. For the occasion, the Rothschilds are moving their two-Michelin-starred restaurant “Le 1920” from the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois to the new hotel. Chef Julien Gatillon will stay in command in the kitchen. The Rothschilds will also be shaking up the traditional food scene with the resort’s first-ever Japanese restaurant “Kaito.]]>
10/31/2017 11:37:13 AM
<![CDATA[Singapore opens new, high-tech airport terminal]]>
Terminal 4, built at a cost of Sg$985 million (US$723 million), will have an annual capacity of 16 million people and is aimed at coping with an expected increase in passenger numbers through one of Asia's top travel hubs.

It is packed with new technology, meaning passengers should in theory be able to check in and board without having to talk to airport staff.

On its first day of operations, more than 100 passengers arrived in the morning to take the inaugural service out, a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.

But not everyone managed to get to grips with the self check-in machines, forcing travellers to use counters manned by airport staff instead.

"I think it´ll take a while for people and systems to get used to it," Loh K Ling, who tried to use two self-service machines before giving up and going to a manned counter, told AFP.

At the boarding gate, several travellers also had trouble getting used to the facial scanning technology and were redirected to manned counters.

Changi, often voted the world's best airport, is among hubs worldwide rolling out new technology as the fight intensifies for long-haul travellers.

Along with hubs such as Hong Kong and Dubai, Singapore is scrambling to attract the growing army of travellers -- on trips such as Australia to Europe -- who can choose the routing of their journeys.

A growing number of mainland Chinese are also visiting Southeast Asia, and there is competition between Singapore and other local hubs, such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, to attract the new passengers. ]]>
10/31/2017 11:29:39 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 5: Holy Family in Egypt - Christ leaves ‘footprint’ on Xois rock]]>
A few minutes later, we were able to see the walls of the ancient church. Like most churches, it was secured by the police. We were kindly received by Father Mathew Morris.

“Sakha is unlike all the cities that Jesus visited with his mother,” Morris said, explaining that the name is derived from a Coptic phrase that means “the heel of Christ”.

Christ is believed to have struck wells in the towns and villages he visited. Some of these wells dried up, while some keep flowing to this day and are sites for receiving blessings. Here in Sakha, the child Christ placed his footprint on a rock, from which a well sprang, and his footprint lasts until today, according to Coptic tradition.

Father Morris at the rock that has “Christ’s footprint” – Mohamed Suleiman

The rock is 60-centimeter long and 15-centimeter wide. The priest took it in his hands and pointed to the little footprint. The rock was of a sandy yellow color, while the footprint was brownish.

Father Morris said the church was built on the site of an older monastery, which was known as the Baptism Monastery, and was teaming with monks up to the end of the 13th century. When the monastery was demolished, the monks disappeared, yet they wrote the words “God is one” on the rock before leaving it behind to make it easily distinguishable from other rocks. The rock was hidden for many years over fears of being stolen. It was rediscovered in 1984, when Anba Beshoy announced its authenticity.

The Coptic Church believes Christ left his footprint on this rock in the church of Sakha – Mohamed Suleiman

In addition to the rock, the church also contains a monumental icon that was drawn by the painter Anstas the Roman, a man whose name would be mentioned again and again from then on in the history of the Coptic Church. He was a Roman painter who came from Jerusalem to draw icons, and left numerous relics that date back to the 5th century.

“God is one” carved in Arabic on the other side of the rock on which Christ is believed to have left his footprint in the church of Sakha – coptichistory.org

Every year on the first of June, the Coptic Church celebrates the memory of the arrival of the Holy Family to Egypt. The church of Sakha celebrates it by organizing a huge spiritual “moulid” that is attended by a large number Christians and Muslims. The celebration includes beautiful singing of hymns, uttering trills of joy, and touching Christ’s footprint for blessings. It is known that one of the practices of the Coptic Church is keeping the relics of saints in special, candlelit rooms where people can touch them for blessings.

“Christ’s footprint” on a rock in the church of Sakha – Mohamed Suleiman

The historic churches in Egypt’s Nile Delta are not included in the Vatican’s list of pilgrimage sites in Egypt, be it Musturud, Semannud or Sakha. These churches are far apart, so they cannot be visited in a single day, and they are located in busy rural areas surrounded by farmland.

Although these towns do not include major tourist attractions, they reveal the original image of Egypt’s countryside in terms of farming habits, traditional clothes, and the immense importance of the Nile River to the farmers, and they provide an opportunity to interact with the kind, friendly locals. It would especially be quite an experience to visit during one of the moulids held by the historical churches of these towns. A moulid is a huge event that celebrates a Christian or Muslim figure and is attended by the followers of the two religions.

The next stop of the Holy Family would be in Wadi el-Natrun, where a complex of beautiful monastries with full monastic life has been included on the Vatican’s list.

Translated by Heba Fadel
Additional reporting by Hanan Fayed

Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

10/31/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Japanese ambassador: Tokyo-Egypt flights rebounds Egyptian tourism ]]>
One Japanese travel agency organizes weekly flight between Japan and Egypt as an initiative to strengthen Egyptian-Japanese relations. After many incidents and terror attacks Japanese tourism decreased since 2010, the ambassador told the press.

These flight are synchronized with Giza Pyramids and Egyptian museum development workshops that start on Monday. They aim to redefine the touristic interests and to raise tourist rates to the highest level.

This Egyptian-Japanese workshop first began in 2009 and it was expected to end in 2013. Due to the political turmoil however the project was postponed. The workshop will take place in the presence of the Japanese ambassador in Egypt, the minister of antiquities Khaled El- Anany, and Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass.

This movement is a major push for tourism in both Egypt and Japan.

Japanese Embassy in Egypt – Embassy website

Japanese tourism in Egypt – Five Photos website
10/31/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt named among best winter sun destinations]]>
Condé Nast Traveler, a travel magazine, published a list of the best destinations where one can enjoy short-haul sunshine at a beach, desert or oasis. The list contains 31 countries from several regions around the world, including the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

As for Egypt, one can enjoy the warm atmosphere in Hurghada, Ageeba and all Red Sea resorts, where there are crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches and coral reefs.

Red Sea - CC Via Wikimedia

The Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza Beach Resort Marsa Alam - Mathias Apitz - Flickr

Ageeba: a miraculous place

Ageeba – Mediterranean coast - Egypt - Aya Gallab – Wikimedia commons

Siwa is a perfect destination for medical treatment tourism because of its therapeutic sand baths and salt lakes. It is also a place for entertainment, as there is sandboarding, camping and more.

Siwa's Salt Lake – Best places of Egypt Face Book Page

Sand Dunes at Great Sea of Sand, Siwa Oasis - Monika Sleszynska ]]>
10/30/2017 8:07:20 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt is safe, secure for tourism: German ambassador ]]>
This came during the press conference held at Menufia University as a part of the "Germany Festival in the Nile Delta", organized by the German embassy in Cairo and several German organizations, from October 29 to November 2.

The festival includes numerous cultural, scientific and information events in four governorates, namely Mansoura, Shebin El Kom, Damanhur and Alexandria.

Georg Luy stated that Germany and Egypt enjoy close economic relations, especially in the area of trade. In 2016, bilateral trade reached €16 billion ($18.6 billion).

The ambassador asserted that Egypt and its military forces exert great efforts in confronting the terrorism threatening the entire region, adding that there are many countries confronting terrorism, such as Germany, France and England.

For his part, Menoufia Governor Hisham Abdel Basset received the ambassador and his delegation at his office and discussed several matters, including enhancing the bilateral relations between the two countries.

In addition to the German embassy, several German institutions are taking part in the event, including Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Goethe Institute in Cairo and Alexandria, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), and KfW Development Bank, in addition to German schools and the German University in Cairo.

With the Germany Festival in the Nile Delta, the participating organizations aim to present themselves outside Cairo, enabling citizens to obtain information about Germany and the activities of German organizations in Egypt.
10/30/2017 5:26:20 PM
<![CDATA[Ep. 4: Holy Family embraced in Sebennytos, leaves kneading trough]]>
Edited map of the route of the Holy Family in Egypt – Egypt Tourism Authority

We arrived at the ancient Virgin Mary Church, also known as St. Abanoub, in the heart of a busy marketplace.

Virgin Mary Church in Sammanud – Mahmoud Fakhry

Sebennytos, which is now part of Gharbia governorate, was the seat of the 30th Egyptian Dynasty. The Holy Family is believed to have stayed in the town for 17 days.

Wall-reliefs of Nectanebo II (left) and of Nectanebo I (right) 30th Dynasty in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo in 2005, originally from Sebennytos – Neithsabes via Wikimedia Commons

Wooden benches and a marble board that reads “This is the bowl in which Virgin Mary kneaded her dough” were placed in the church’s main yard.

Wooden benches in the Sammanud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

The bowl was placed in the outer yard of the church on a marble pole and was enclosed in a glass case.

The kneading trough in which Virgin Mary is believed to have kneaded dough in Sammanud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

Visitors sitting in the church yard were mostly young directors of the church services or servants who were waiting for a meeting or who had just finished praying. Hymns from inside the church could be heard in the yard, where children were playing. Meanwhile, a deacon wearing a white tunic with red stripes was singing a Coptic melody.

A corridor in the Virgin Mary Church of Sammanud – Mahmoud Fakhry

The wooden door of the church looked old and was decorated with small crosses all over, and on the opposite side we saw the altar and iconostas of the old church. As people prayed, we heard a lot of “have mercy on us” from worshippers.

A woman and a man at a door inside the church of Sammanud – Mahmoud Fakhry

Children in front of an icon of Virgin Mary and Child Christ in the church of Samannud – Mahmoud Fakhry

Elderly women at the church of Samanud – Mahmoud Fakhry

Icons at the church of Samannud – Mahmoud Fakhry

Father Abanoub, Archpriest of Virgin Mary Church, had been busy in the Sunday mass prayer. The church was completely full, and we arrived towards the end of the mass in time for the Eucharistic meal.

Worshippers lighting candles at the church of Samannud – Mahmoud Fakhry

The priest and his assistant stood in the middle in front of the altar, one of them was carrying the bread, the other the wine, whereas women who covered their hair with small head scarves walked forward to receive the Eucharistic meal, i.e. the body of Christ – or the sacrifice, symbolized by the bread, and his blood, symbolized by the wine.

Local worshippers at the Samannud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

This ritual is known as the Eucharistic secret, and is one of the seven secrets of the Coptic Church. The mass ended and the crowd dispersed, and some of the visitors made their way to the well, which stretches 52 meters to the ground.

We followed one of the church servants who lead us to the well, which he said was struck open by Jesus during his 17-day stay in Sebennytos, in the same spot on which the church was later built.

Father Abanoub of the Samannud church at the sacred well – Mahmoud Fakhry

The well largely resembled the one in Musturud. Jesus struck the ground and wells have since flown from where his feet landed. We drew close to the well only to find that it had been closed by a metal lock, and that small taps branched out of it so that the church can serve the well’s water to Muslim and Coptic visitors.

The well believed to have been struck open by Christ at Samannud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

“The Holy Family received great welcoming and warm greeting here,” said Father Abanoub, “and this warm reception was given to them because Jesus used his gift of bringing the dead back to life. As Jesus took his steps into the city, he saw a dead man and brought him back to life, so the people of the city were pleased and gave Mary a large marble kneading trough in which she kneaded bread for her son, her fiancé and for Salome, their old companion.”

A woman drinking from well’s water from a tap at Samannud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

“The church was able to keep the kneading trough safe to this day,” added Father Abanoub as he walked towards the glass-encased bowl, and then he proceeded to tell the story of the church which dates back to the fifth century A.D. and was built in the place of an older church. He noted that the altar and iconostas are ancient monuments and date back to 550 A.D.

An ancient bell at Samannud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

Ostrich eggs at Samannud Church – Mahmoud Fakhry 16 – An ancient bell at Samannud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

The church holds the remains of St. Abanoub, a 12-year old boy who was tortured to death by the Romans in Egypt, as well as 8,000 Egyptians who were killed by the Romans for converting to Christianity. According to Father Abanoub, they were killed in one day.

The pulpit at Samannud church – Mahmoud Fakhry

The next episode would be in Xois, the modern-day Sakha town of Kafr el-Sheikh governorate, which was once an island surrounded by the Sebennytic and Phatnitic branches of the ancient River Nile. Neither Sebennytos nor Xois are included in the eight locations in Egypt which the Vatican has recently announced as official Christian pilgrimage sites.

Translated by Heba Fadel
Additional reporting by Hanan Fayed

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

10/30/2017 1:48:01 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Airlines to operate first Baghdad flight in 27 years]]>
The airline, also known as Saudia, will depart from the Red Sea city of Jeddah barely two weeks after Saudi budget carrier flynas made the first commercial flight from Riyadh to Baghdad since 1990.

“Saudi Arabian Airlines will inaugurate regular flights between the kingdom and Iraq after an interruption of 27 years,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday.

“The resumption of flights is in line with growing ties between the two brotherly countries.”

Flights between Iraq and Saudi Arabia were suspended in August 1990 after former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein ordered his troops into neighbouring Kuwait.

After years of tense relations, ties between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority Iraq have begun looking up in recent months.

Earlier this month Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi King Salman held the first meeting of the joint Saudi-Iraqi coordination council, which is aimed at upgrading strategic ties.

Iraq is seeking economic benefits from closer ties with Riyadh as both countries suffer from a protracted oil slump.

Saudi Arabia is also seeking to counter Iranian influence in Iraq.

Private carrier flynas, in which Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal holds a 34-per-cent stake, also plans to expand its routes from Saudi airports to major cities across Iraq.

10/30/2017 11:13:55 AM
<![CDATA[Air Cairo starts flights from Milano to Sharm El-Sheikh]]>
Commercial director of Air Cairo Essam Azab said the plane will arrive at Sharm El-Sheikh Airport in the middle of the night with more than 120 tourists on board, pointing out that there is a demand of Italians to visit the city, where the occupancy rate currently exceeds 70%.

The company will start its regular weekly flights from Milano to Marsa Alam from December 3 for the first time after a two-year hiatus, he added.

Azab stated that the current season will witness an increase in the number of Italian tourists, mentioning that Marsa Alam is the preferred destination for the Italian tourist followed by Sharm El-Sheikh.

He revealed that the company's plan in the summer of 2018 depends on the expansion of the market and flights from central Italy. He expected that there will be more than four flights per week.

10/30/2017 1:17:23 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-Japanese workshop to discuss developing Pyramids area]]>Pyramids area.

The workshop will be lead by Hisham El Demery, head of ETA, and attended by Yehia Rashed, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Antiquities Khalil al-Anani and the Japanese ambassador Takehiro Kagawa. In addition, the Giza governor Kamal Al-Daly and archaeologist and former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawas will also attend.

This workshop follows an earlier

meeting which was held last week.

They discussed the latest developments of the project to improve the Giza pyramids area and its results. The meeting was attended by Rashed, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali, Minister of Antiquities Khalil al-Anani and a number of parliamentarians.

During the meeting the minister of tourism assured that this project will have impressive positive effects on the area and developments will also affect the Sound and Light Show positively, which will attract more tourists to the area. The project also aims to socially reform the area and those who work in it, assuring that their demands will be met concerning veterinary care for the horses and camels of the area.
10/30/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Look how international super stars promote tourism to Egypt]]>
1- Morgaan Freeman:


Morgan Freeman– National Geographic website
A distinguished actor, the 78 year-old visited Egypt in October 2015 to immerse himself in the Egyptian culture and tradition as a part of a screening for a National Geographic documentary.

Although his visit was part of his job, his visit still promotes the country.

2- Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi came to Egypt in February 2017 as a part of the promotional campaign Tour n Cure aimed at promoting medical tourism in Egypt.

3- Forest Whitaker

Patrick Kleuverit – Five Photos

The renowned American actor and director came to Egypt in September 2017 to attend El-Gouna film Festival. He won a career achievement award, and during his short visit he visited several historical places.

4- Patrick Kluivert

The Dutch footballer arrived in Egypt Saturday. He visited the Sphinx and pyramids of Giza. During his private tour he expressed his admiration of the prominence and grace of the pyramids and ancient Egyptian civilization.
10/29/2017 7:18:50 PM
<![CDATA[171 Ukrainian tourists arrive at Marsa Alam airport]]>
Three flights a week will be operated through the new air route, he added.

The new air route comes as part of the airport’s efforts to revive the tourism movement and open up new air routes for the south of the Red Sea, he noted.]]>
10/29/2017 6:28:29 PM
<![CDATA[After Mexico quakes, Day of the Dead parade honors rescuers]]>
More than 700 performers prepared for months for the colorful afternoon procession along more than 4 miles (7 km) of the expansive Paseo de la Reforma.

The two destructive earthquakes in September prompted some late changes to the program.

A raised fist constructed out of hard hats and pick-axes led the way in the parade, greeted by cheers and applause from thousands of onlookers.

Just behind, a group in fluorescent aid-worker vests marched with fists in the air - a tribute to the rescuers who made the gesture to demand silence as they listened for survivors in the rubble from the second quake, on Sept. 19, which toppled dozens of buildings and killed nearly 230 people in the capital.

But the strongest earthquakes in more than three decades did not diminish a centuries-old Mexican celebration. Participants and onlookers alike painted their faces as colorful skulls, many in the style of Mexico’s iconic skeleton figure known as “La Catrina.”

“For us as a society it was something very violent that moved our conscience,” said Ramon Marquez, 51, wearing an orange t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase #fuerzamorelos (Be strong Morelos) referring to one of the areas affected in the quake.

“The parade could be a distraction, a way of escaping.”

Sponsored by Mexico’s tourism and culture ministries, the parade was triple the size of last year’s maiden effort, inspired by a Day of the Dead parade featured in the opening sequence of the 2015 James Bond film “Spectre.”

Three young women wore La Catrina-style face paint, large feathered hats and 1900s-style dresses that they said had been used in “Spectre.”

This year’s festivities took on a new feeling of solidarity after Mexico´s deadly earthquake, they said.

“We’re not only here to celebrate and dance, but also when there’s a disastrous situation we come together to help,” Violeta Canella Juarez, 31, said.

Some 200,000 people attended last year, and local media reported at least 300,000 people at Saturday’s parade.

The parade concluded with mariachi musicians belting out Mexican folk songs from a float covered with flowers and colored paper like the boats that cruise the canals in the south of the city. Women dressed in wedding gowns danced with their grooms, both with faces painted as skulls.

Although Mexicans typically celebrate Day of the Dead on Nov. 2 in town plazas, homes and cemeteries, the Bond film’s popularity prompted Mexico City officials to put on a carnivalesque spectacle. Even so, the event’s organizers say the parade is not about emulating a Hollywood production.

“The point of this parade is to celebrate life,” said Anima founder and Artistic Director Alejandra Gonzalez Anaya. “It’s to put on the radar of Mexicans an important tradition ... so we feel proud of showing something so important from Mexico to the world.”]]>
10/29/2017 11:41:56 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir resumes flights to Japan on Sunday]]>
The Boeing 777-300ER, which is designed to accommodate more than 300 passengers, will be the aircrafts flying to Tokyo.

Many states have suspended flights to Egypt, following political incidents, including the two consecutive revolutions in 2011 and 2013.

After almost two years of travel suspension, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a press conference last September that Moscow will resume flights with Egypt this fall.
10/29/2017 10:42:50 AM
<![CDATA[Cuba to make it easier for Cuban Americans to visit]]>
"The U.S. government closes, and Cuba opens," Rodriguez told a meeting of pro-Havana Cuban Americans in Washington.

He said Cuban citizens in the United States would no longer need to have a special review of their Cuban passports to rehabilitate them before traveling to the island.

Rodriguez said that procedure had become more difficult due to staff shortages at the Cuban embassy after the U.S. government expelled 15 Cuban diplomats this month due to the dispute over the mystery attacks on U.S. personnel in Cuba.

"It's unacceptable and immoral, from the point of view of the Cuban government, for people to be harmed by a difference between governments," he said.

While the United States has not formally accused Cuba of carrying out what it says are attacks that have caused hearing loss and cognitive issues in its diplomats, President Donald Trump said last week Havana was responsible.

Cuban government officials accused Trump this week of slandering their country.

Tension over the alleged attacks, some of which involved high-pitched sounds, came after Trump said in June he wanted to partially roll back the historic detente between the United States and Cuba, ordering tighter restrictions on travel and trade. These have yet to be unveiled

Rodriguez said Cuba was making it easier for the children of Cubans in the United States to attain Cuban nationality and allowing Cuban Americans to travel to the country on cruise ships that embark at two ports on Cuba.

Havana will also allow some Cubans who left the country illegally to return, he said.

There are roughly two million Cubans or Americans of Cuban origin in the United States. ]]>
10/29/2017 5:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Here is the upcoming fortune of Safaga ]]>
The governor of the Red Sea governorate confirmed that there is cooperation with the Minister of Investment for planning many projects to promote tourism. These will be discussed in the upcoming economic conference in Hurghada in January 2018.

Safaga – Pixel Photos
Among 40 projects for LE 60 billion, there will be a new free zone near the logistic region in Safaga and a new therapeutic tourism center. There will also be a regional touristic center and around 13 tourist villages in the middle of Safaga.

The town is popular for its therapeutic properties, where you can take a dip in a sulfur bath with warm sand and mineral water. The spa helps with the recovery from skin disease and rheumatic diseases.

Safaga beaches – Zoover
Safaga gained a valuable place on the medical tourist map because of its shore’s black sand, moderate climate, and year-round sunshine. These attributes make Safaga the best place for the treatment of heart, kidney and liver diseases.

Safaga Shore –Zoover
Go for natural treatment out of any chemicals at Safaga! ]]>
10/29/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Italian tourists land in Sharm el-Sheikh via Air Cairo]]>
He added that the company will organize weekly flights from Milano to Marsa Alam starting December 3. Those flights will be the first flights to Marsa Alam after being banned for the last two years, according to the manager’s press interview.

Marsa Alam City – Pixel website
Air Cairo’s commercial manager stated that Italian tourists are increasingly dedicated to Marsa Alam as their first destination, followed by Sharm El-Sheikh. This information shows the future of the company’s schedule of flights for the upcoming summer in 2018.]]>
10/28/2017 8:01:38 PM
<![CDATA[EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud ]]>
The journey of the Holy Family in Egypt - Edited picture from Egypt Tourism Authority

We walked through security scanners and the police securing the church searched our bags. Meanwhile, church boy scouts at the gate took us to father Abdel Maseih Baseet, the priest of the church.

The historical church lies in a small alley in Musturud, a blue-collar district in Qalyubia that is about 13 kilometers away from Cairo. It was the holy family’s third stop in Egypt, and it is where Mary bathed and washed the clothes of Jesus Christ, according to the Coptic tradition.

Not all tattoos in Musturud are religious. This man is getting an elaborate tattoo of a skull in August 2016 – Hassan Mohamed

They are believed to have stayed in the cavern, next to the well, for about two months. The body of the church crumbled and was restored a few times in its long history, but the cavern and the well have remained intact. The main iconostasis is now 743 years old, Baseet said.

We were immersed in the aroma of incense being burned in all corners of the church, and after the mass, the priest was spraying worshippers with blessed water.

The echoing hymns of Mariam’s name, an Arabic variation of Mary, were most emotional. Worshippers repeated the hymns after a female and male choir members - “Mariam, your name is dear to me. You heal me with your intercession. Your heart is full of compassion.”

A man carrying a goat during the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin in Musturud in August 2016 – Hassan Mohamed

Visitors lit candles at the icon of Virgin Mary, and sometimes at the icon of St. George.

The church includes the cavern where the holy family stayed after having arrived from Bubastis, now known as the Tell Basta archeological town. The ancient well from which Christ drank as a child is also well preserved.

Ancient icons and depictions of Christ and his mother at the church reveal high quality art. The church was built around the cavern and well in the 12th century. The church is held dear in the Coptic tradition and books throughout centuries.

A girl gets out of the cavern in Musturud in August 2016 – Hassan Mohamed

In the past, many of those who visited Jerusalem completed their pilgrimage at the church of Musturud.

In front of the icon of St. George, a mother and father held their child, begging the saints to heal him from an illness. “Shillah, oh Virgin, shillah, oh mother of light,” pleads the mother. “Shillah” is an Arabic term used by Egyptian Muslims and Christians that can be translated as “give us something for the sake of God.”

Outside of the church, we met a man who had vowed to distribute cards of Mary in her blue dress, opening her arms to the people and giving them love and light, and another of her holding Christ and promising salvation and redemption.

Lighting candles in the cavern of Musturud church in August 2016 – Hassan Mohamed

In a side passageway next to the church, visitors take short, wet stairs to the sacred well. Volunteers gave out plastic bags filled with fresh well water, and there were also taps supplying the same water.

The well is rectangular; its lower part is domed in the Byzantine-style; domed and surrounded by thick walls. The upper part was built in the late 19th century during the papacy of Cyril V.

Below the well is another shrine that we reached on a small, ancient staircase. The shadows of the candles in front of the old icons and the smell of incense captured our senses.

Plastic bags of blessed water in Musturud church in August 2016 – Hassan Mohamed

Notably, the Assumption of the Virgin is celebrated by millions of Christians and Muslims alike at the church every August in a festive event called “moulid.”

Moulids in Egypt celebrate the birth of iconic Islamic or Christian figures and are attended by the followers of the two religions, although more of the followers of one religion attend their respective moulid.

Muslim men and women, including ones with headscarves, were in the church of Musturud to see the ancient shrines or in search for blessings. At the end of the day, Muslims deeply respect Mary and Christ, and the ancestors of many Muslim Egyptians were essentially once Christian.

The ancient well at Virgin Mary Church of Musturud in August 2016 – Hassan Mohamed

The holy family’s next stop would be northeast of Musturud to land in Sebennytos, now known as Sammanud. Neither are included in the eight locations in Egypt which the Vatican has recently announced as official Christian pilgrimage sites.

This story was in part originally written in during the Assumption of the Virgin celebrations in August 2016

Additional reporting by Hanan Fayed

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

10/28/2017 9:22:24 AM
<![CDATA[Thomas Cook resumes flights to Hurghada over growing British demand]]>
According to the famous firm, this discussion came as a result of the rapid growth of holiday demand in Hurghada city, Red Sea governorate, which witnessed a 113% increase for the winter of 2017.

“Egypt has proven popular this summer and bookings remain strong for the winter period,” Thomas Cook's managing director in the UK, Chris Mottershead, said.

The announced flights will be from Birmingham and Gatwick to Marsa Alam, Egypt, according to Birmingham mail Friday.

August 2017, Egyptian Foreign Minister Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zaid issued statement after a meeting held between Foreign Ministry Sameh Shoukry and Alistair Burt, a British Conservative Party politician, affirming that the volume of British tourism increased 60 percent over last year’s.

Also, in a short interview with DMC television channel last September, British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said there are about 40 weekly direct flights between Egypt and the UK.
10/28/2017 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[The Pyramids should top your bucket list]]>
1- Giza Pyramids – CC via Wikimedia Commons/Tawakol54

The website highlighted 21 sites from the 1,073 global destinations chosen by UNESCO officials this year on the organization’s World Heritage List. This year, the list had many great locations, such as Japan's Ogasawara Islands, France's Palace of Versailles, the United States' Yellowstone National Park, China’s Danxia and Australia's Fraser Island. But The Pyramids made it as The Daily Mail's top pick, as they represent "a masterpiece of human creative genius."

2- Sphinx -BlueMix - Pixabay

Giza's Pyramids are not only considered a miracle in the history of civilizations, but also in the history of architecture, as they are the only remaining wonder of the ancient world that stood the test of time, having kept the title of the tallest structures in the world for over 3,800 years.]]>
10/27/2017 4:01:18 PM
<![CDATA[BA owner sees jump in yearly profits on healthy demand]]>British Airways parent group IAG on Friday forecast a 20-percent jump in operating profit this year thanks to rising demand and falling costs.

IAG said in a statement that its underlying operating profit -- stripping out exceptional items and fluctuations in fuel prices and exchange rates -- was expected to hit 3.0 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in 2017.

That was up from 2.5 billion euros in 2016.

While some European airlines, including Air Berlin, Alitalia and Monarch, collapsed this year, IAG became the latest carrier after Lufthansa to announce a sunnier outlook.

The Anglo-Spanish group had previously only forecast that 2017 operating profit would see a double-digit percentage improvement without specifying further.

IAG added Friday that third-quarter profits were boosted by a good performance on Spanish and South American markets, as well as lower fuel costs.

?We're reporting another strong quarter," said chief executive, Willie Walsh.

"All our companies performed well. Passenger unit revenue was up 2.2 percent at constant currency boosted by improvements in the Spanish and Latin American markets.

"Our commercial performance was good despite underlying disruption from severe weather and terrorism."

In the period from July to September, operating profit before exceptional items jumped nearly 21 percent to 1.455 billion euros and net profit rose 7.5 percent to 1.0 billion euros.

IAG's new long-haul low cost airline, LEVEL, launched in March 2017 and contributed a "positive" trading performance. Barcelona-based LEVEL flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Argentine capital Buenos Aires and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

As well as British Airways, IAG also owns low-cost Spanish airlines Vueling and Iberia, and the Ireland's Aer Lingus.

The group's four main airlines carried 31.3 million passengers in the third quarter, up 1.3 percent on last year.

Fuel costs before exceptional items for the period fell 8.4 percent thanks to weaker jet fuel prices and the use of more efficient aircraft. Revenue increased by two percent to 6.6 billion euros.

Earlier this year, British Airways had suffered three days of flight disruption due to a computer power failure, sparking cancellations that affected 75,000 passengers.

IAG confirmed on Friday that this would cost it about 65 million euros.]]>
10/27/2017 2:58:40 PM
<![CDATA[Miss Universe enjoys an afternoon with the Pharaohs ]]>
The French Mittenaere posted a picture on Instagram cheerfully jumping in front of the pyramids and wrote "This afternoon was amazing ... learning more about the Egyptian civilization, the pyramids. It is so interesting can't wait for tomorrow to see something new!"

She also posted a couple of other pictures, one of which while enjoying a camel ride.

Sun makes things grow ... Le soleil fait pousser les choses ...

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

Ready for a road trip ? 🐪 #speed #egypt #desert

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

Mittenaere has been in Egypt for nearly a week and has just returned from a visit to Alexandria, where she enjoyed an afternoon by the Mediterranean. During a press conference. attended by the organizer of the 2017 Miss Egypt competition Huda Aboud, Mittenaere expressed her excitement to finally visit Egypt.

Alexandrie ... ( je vous laisse à vos jeux de mots ahah ) 💙 #blueafternoon #alexandria #egypt

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

10/27/2017 2:26:57 PM
<![CDATA[New Orleans gave birth to Fats Domino - and rock 'n' roll]]>
Domino, who died Tuesday at age 89, embodied "The Big Easy" on the Mississippi River like perhaps no other musician since jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong.

Despite his fame, he proudly livetin the working-class Lower Ninth Ward, returning after the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and would generally end his concerts with a festive "When the Saints Go Marching In," the city's unofficial anthem.

Raised listening to the boogie-woogie pianists who packed New Orleans clubs, Domino became one of the top-selling acts of the 1950s and rivaled Elvis Presley as the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

But the self-effacing Domino once said: "Everybody started calling my music rock 'n' roll. But it wasn't anything but the same rhythm and blues I'd been playing down in New Orleans."

The city remains one of the foremost musical cities in the United States, a must-visit destination for aspiring jazz artists and whose tourism industry counts on the bustling jazz clubs of Bourbon Street.

Yet in a music scene dominated by large personalities, Domino's death also marked an era's end. His death came two years after another giant of New Orleans music, R&B composer Allen Toussaint, died at age 77 while touring Spain.

Mourners gathered Wednesday night outside Domino's modest home, lighting candles but also, in distinct New Orleans celebratory fashion, singing his music to the beat of tambourines.

"I guess you could say he put the G in gumbo," said Lamar Smith Jr., 64, a longtime friend of Domino and owner of a Creole-style chicken wing shop, referring to the city's signature spicy stew.

Smith, who hung a portrait of Domino alongside Presley at the makeshift memorial, said the pianist like Armstrong had managed to transcend racial lines through music.

Smith remembered how the rocker would treat all children when the ice-cream truck passed by.

"He was so humble and never let stardom get in the way," Smith said. "He could have lived anywhere but there is something about our culture in New Orleans -- the flavor, the food, the Southern hospitality -- that he said you couldn't get anywhere else."

- Mix of cultures -

The port city owes its rich musical heritage to its vibrant cultural mix. Founded by the French and ruled by Spain, the city has soaked in influences from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and more recently Asia.

Music has always been integral to the city, which was the opera capital of the United States in the 1800s and by the end of the 19th century became the birthplace of jazz.

Domino's piano owed a debt to the blues, which came from African Americans in the Deep South, while his songs' horn arrangements by Dave Bartholomew brought in Cuban and other Caribbean influences, said David Kunian, the music curator at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

"I think his entire musical persona and everything he did was about New Orleans and rooted in New Orleans," Kunian said.

Kunian said that rock pianists today from Elton John to Lady Gaga could all be seen as legacies of Domino's arrangements.

"They're much better than just this, but from a certain perspective you can look at The Beatles and say they were a Fats Domino cover band," he said.

While no New Orleans artist today has such overwhelming influence, the city still has its share of world-famous musicians.

Top names in jazz include many with roots in New Orleans such as Terence Blanchard, Irvin Mayfield and Kermit Ruffins.

"The world lost an incredible New Orleans legend," Mayfield tweeted.

Dr. John may be stylistically the closest New Orleans inheritor of Domino, while the city has also produced R&B singers The Neville Brothers and old-style pop pianist Harry Connick, Jr.

New Orleans has also set off a more recent cultural phenomenon in bounce, the energetic subset of hip-hop known for its raw sexuality including the buttock-thrusting dance style of twerking.

New Orleans still retains its influence "but it comes in more subtle ways," Kunian said.

"There is great rock 'n' roll here. It's not necessarily that you will listen to it and say, 'That's New Orleans,' but it's all informed by the New Orleans aesthetic."]]>
10/27/2017 1:21:49 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian nature reserves with gorgeous beaches]]>30 nature reserves and protectorates which vary between geological structures, national parks and natural and cultural sites. Each is gorgeous in its own way but those reserves which are connected to a body of water are just almost magical! Here is a list of some of the most stunning nature reserves connected to a body of water in Egypt:

The archipelago of the Qulaan Islands, Red Sea, Egypt – CC via Wikimedia commons/ Andrea Piroddi
Ras Mohammed protectorate: Located at the confluence of the Gulf of Suez and Aqaba, 12 kilometers from Sharm el-Sheikh. The eastern edge of Ras Mohammed is a 250 meter-long rocky wall where the coral reefs are located. Ras Mohammed's reefs are surrounded by all its marine aspects, forming a unique formation that has a significant impact on the formation of natural life in the region.

Ras Mohammed Underwater | by Michela Simoncini- via Flickr
Ashtum El Gamil protectorate: Located on the coastal road between Port Said and Damietta, seven kilometers west of Port Said. It stretches over 35 square kilometers, while Tennis Island alone is eight square kilometers. The protectorate’s climate is moderate in the summer and warm in the winter with rain on the coastal areas. It is also considered a main stop for migratory bird species seeking food and rest during the long migration in the spring and fall seasons.

Ashtum Al Gamil Protectorate - Mohamed Kamal Wikimedia commons
Ras Shaitan protectorate:This is a piece of heaven on Egyptian land that you really should pay a visit to, but before you go, here is everything you need to know about it. It takes around six hours from Cairo. The trip is not expensive, especially if you take your own car or rent a minivan with a group.

Ras Shaitan Beach - Egypt’s best Hang out Places - Facebook
Wadi Qulaan protectorate: A unique quiet resort town south of Marsa Alam on the Red Sea. Qulaan boasts vast tracts of large mangrove trees growing in the salty water among 140 other types of plants that host many of the endemic birds and give the area a breathtaking scenery.

Wadi Qulaan – CC via Wikimedia commons/ Maha Helmy
Lake Borolos protectorate:One of Egypt’s most gorgeous travel destination. It is one of Egypt’s rare natural protectorates. It has 28 islands separated by great distances inhabited by a number of families and fishermen.

Lake Borolos – Egypt Today ]]>
10/27/2017 12:52:30 PM
<![CDATA[Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt]]>
Edited map of the Holy Family's journey in Egypt - Egypt Tourism Authority

Egypt Today drove agricultural roads in the Delta city of Zagazig, 80 kilometers from Cairo, until we reached the sign “Tel Basta.” Behind the sign lied the town, known in ancient times as Bubastis, which means “the house of Bastet,” ancient Egypt’s cat goddess. There, Child Christ asked his mother for water.

A general view of a part of Tell Basta – Egypt Today archive

Pharaonic relics lied all over vast grassland, but the gate to the area was locked. Gunfire was heard from afar. A police training facility is located nearby and has been the reason for little tourist turnout to the place.

A view of Tell Basta – Egypt Today archive

In 2005, millions of pounds were spent to develop Tell Basta; a museum, a library, and a movie theater were built. However, the police resisted relocating their facility, and red tape delayed the opening of the area to visitors.

A statue at Tell Basta – Egypt Today archive

The good news is that there are further development efforts to fence and light the area of around 120 feddans in a prelude to open it in the upcoming months, head of the Project Sector of the Antiquities Ministry Wa’adallah Aboul Ela said in a July statement.

Double statue of Ramses II and Ptah, Tell Basta, Egypt in 2001 - Ronal Unger via Wikimedia Commons

San al-Hagar, whose ancient name is Tanis, is another archaeological town about 80 kilometers from Zagazig. The 22nd-dynasty Bubastis and the 20th-dynasty Tanis host the majority of Lower Egypt’s relics in breathtaking scenes of how such ancient artifacts survived. Still, one cannot escape imagining the deafening noise and dust clouds that accompanied the fall of obelisks and statues weighing tons to the ground, as well as what made them fall.

A statue of Ramses II at Tanis – Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Coptic narrative, Bubastis idols were spontaneously destroyed at the arrival of Child Christ from Farama, east of Port Said. Under a leafy tree, Mary, Christ and St. Joseph sat down after local in Bubastis refused to give them water. Joseph struck the ground, and a water spring streamed upwards, and it was later turned into a well.

A well in Tell Basta, believed to have been struck by St. Joseph – Egypt Today archive

A well in Tell Basta, believed to have been struck by St. Joseph – Egypt Today archive

No church in modern Tell Basta exists to mark the stay of the Holy Family. It is not one of the eight locations the Vatican recently announced as part of Christian pilgrimage in Egypt.

Relics at Tell Basta in 2006 - Einsamer Schutze via Wikimedia Commons

Ruins at Tell Basta in 2006 - Einsamer Schutze via Wikimedia Commons

In the Holy Family’s third stop in Musturud, a town in Greater Cairo that is administratively a part of Qalyubia governorate, a church was built to immortalize the stay Child Christ.

Head of a colossal statue of Amenemhat III near an Egyptian woman, found in Tell Basta by Édouard Naville in 1887-1889. Today, the statue is in the British Museum - Édouard Naville via Creative Commons

The next episode is on the 12th-century Church of the Holy Virgin in Musturud, a church built over a miraculous well and one that annually celebrates the “Assumption of the Virgin.”

Additional reporting by Hanan Fayed

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past

10/27/2017 12:06:21 AM
<![CDATA[Italy plies visitors with wine in bid to boost tourism]]>Eating lunch in Italy's Bolgheri wine country, it is not hard to understand why the number of international visitors to this bucolic corner of Tuscany has doubled in five years."People have always come in the summer for the beaches," says Riccardo Binda, cutting into a succulently tender slice of Florentine steak, grilled over embers.

"Now we're getting visitors all year round. It's something new that has developed as the reputation of Bolgheri's wine has grown."

Seven reasons autumn is the best time to visit Italy

Binda is the general manager of the local consortium of winemakers in an area known for its production of high-quality Bordeaux-style reds.

Sourced from eighth-generation master butcher Dario Cecchini and hung for 100 days, the T-bone he is eating is a popular choice.

On a sunny October afternoon, the Osteria Magona is packed and abuzz with the mingling murmurs of quiet foodie contentment and wine-fuelled chat in English, French, German and Japanese.
It's a scene to gladden the heart of Dario Franceschini, Italy's culture and tourism minister, as he prepares the accounts on what is expected to be a record year for tourism.

Tourists in Bolgheri - AFP
Tourists in Bolgheri - AFP
The sector accounts for around 10 percent of the country's GDP and has become a significant engine of growth for an economy emerging from years of stagnation.

A bumper summer season saw a 16 percent surge in the total number of visits to the country's long coastlines, with the number of overseas customers up a little more than five percent.

Record numbers of people visited Italy this summer

But with just over 52 million foreign visitors in 2016, according to the UN's World Tourism Organization, Italy still lags behind its comparable neighbours France, with 82 million visitors last year, and Spain with 75 million.

The minister is also acutely aware that much of the recent growth in tourism can be attributed to terrorism-related security concerns that have diverted holidaymakers from Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey.

Against that backdrop, authorities are looking to bolster year-round arrivals and target visitors in search of more than a sun tan.

Wine tasting at Bogheri's wine museum - AFP
Wine tasting at Bogheri's wine museum - AFP
Foreign directors have been brought in to revamp some of the country's major museums and art galleries, while a major upgrade of the Francigena pilgrim's route reflects an effort to draw in more hikers and cyclists.

But according to designer and entrepreneur Franco Malenotti, the country is not making the most of its celebrated wines and rich culinary heritage.

"Enogastronomic (food and wine) tourism is a big new trend," Malenotti told AFP, citing research that points to a major surge in Asian and Latin American foodies heading for Europe in the next few years.

Italy's wine industry fears Brexit woes

"Italy should be in the avant-garde in this sector. But it's not. Why? Because we have done almost nothing to foster and promote it."

Malenotti's eclectic career has included designing Batman and other Hollywood costumes as well as owning the cult fashion label Belstaff.

His latest venture is a "World Wine Town", an accommodation and restaurant complex constructed around a recently opened museum dedicated to the story of Bolgheri's wines and designed by Oscar-winning cinema set designer Dante Ferretti.

Bolgheri's wine museum - AFP women
Bolgheri's wine museum - AFP
With more than 1,000 wines on tap, Malenotti is banking on the complex drawing in people like German couple Susann and Rainer Schmidt.

"You want to taste and try the wines, but also to learn something," says Susann, glass in hand after a stroll round an exhibition in which holograms of famous winemakers such as Piero Antinori and Nicolo Incisa della Rocchetta recount their roles in making Bolgheri's reputation.

The Tuscan festival that celebrates vintage cycling and wine

Malenotti was inspired by the example of Bordeaux's Cite du Vin.

"Whatever product you are selling, you need a back story. It is called storytelling and it is very important in marketing," he said.

"After coming here the majority of tourists go on to visit the wineries. In places like the Napa Valley (in the US), estates get more than half their sales from the cellar door, here in Bolgheri it is only five percent. That shows how much there is still to do."

Franco Malenotti - AFP
Franco Malenotti - AFP
As well as keeping restaurateurs busy, booming wine tourism has also impacted the local economy by creating a new demand for accommodation that the traditional hotel sector has yet to meet.

In Castagneto, the village closest to the museum, Malenotti estimates that three quarters of the properties are partly or fully available to rent on Airbnb-style platforms.

"It is a very disruptive trend, but not necessarily a bad one: the people really live in the area, buy stuff at the shop downstairs, eat out.

'Tourism is killing Venice, but it's also the only key to survival'

"And already there are service companies springing up offering to do the check-ins and check-outs, the cleaning and the laundry for these kind of rentals."

The wine town project will be completed over the next year with the opening of a school for sommeliers.

"It is what people are looking for," said Malenotti. "Once vacations were about going to a disco, relaxing, having fun.

"Now culture and well-being are the things driving today's tourism. So Italy should really be leading the world."
Wine on tap at Bolgheri's wine museum - AFP
Wine on tap at Bolgheri's wine museum - AFP ]]>
10/26/2017 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Fun meets guns at North Korean resort]]>
He is rebuilding the city of 360,000 people and wants to turn it into a billion-dollar tourist hotspot. At the same time, he has launched nearly 40 missiles from the area, as part of his accelerated tests of North Korea's nuclear deterrent.

"It may sound crazy to outsiders to fire missiles from a place he wants to develop economically, but that's how Kim Jong Un runs his country," said Lim Eul-chul, an expert on the North Korean economy at Kyungnam University in South Korea.

A family builds a sandcastle at Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, North Korea.
A family builds a sandcastle at Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, North Korea.
This combination of tourism and nuclear weapons is emblematic of Kim Jong Un's strategy for survival, say researchers and people familiar with the project.

* Kiwi skier offers glimpse into North Korea's luxury Masikryong Ski Resort

* What it's really like to travel in North Korea

* From the skies, North Korea's capital Pyongyang

North Korea's development plans for Wonsan have mushroomed since they were first announced in 2014. According to one brochure targeted at foreign investors, the Wonsan Special Tourist Zone includes approximately 140 historical relics, 10 sand beaches, 680 tourist attractions, four mineral springs, several bathing resorts and natural lakes and "more than 3.3 million tons of mud with therapeutic properties for neuralgia and colitis".

People swim at Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, North Korea.
People swim at Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, North Korea.
The projects that Kim is inviting investors to help build include a $US7.3 million (NZ$10.63 million) department store, a $US197 million city centre development, and a $US123 million golf course (including a $US62.5 million fee to lease the land).

Earlier this year Kim sent 16 of his officials to Spain to get ideas for Wonsan. They visited Marina d'Or, one of the Mediterranean country's biggest holiday complexes, and the Terra Mitica (Mythical Land) theme park in Benidorm. Terra Mitica caters to fans "of extreme sensations", according to its website.

"They saw such places with their own eyes and filmed some of them," said a spokesman at the North Korean embassy in Madrid. Both parks confirmed the visits; a spokeswoman for Terra Mitica said the North Koreans were impressed by its themes including the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome.

A performance troupe entertain in Wonsan, North Korea.
A performance troupe entertain in Wonsan, North Korea.
No major foreign partner has said they will back Kim's Wonsan projects. The zone's new airport, completed in 2015, has yet to open to international flights. America recently banned its citizens from visiting North Korea. International sanctions now ban all joint ventures with the state.

Even so, the plan is strategically vital for Kim, say former North Korean diplomats. When he came to power in 2011, he inherited a society officially run by the military but whose people survived largely on black market dealings. On paper, North Korea is a state-run economy; but in fact, seven in 10 North Koreans depend on private trade to live, according to Thae Yong Ho, North Korea's former deputy ambassador in London, who staged a high-profile defection with his family in 2016.

Kim is perceived by outsiders as all powerful, but North Korea's free marketeers make him more vulnerable than he seems, Thae told Reuters. The leader is looking for a way to harness both military and market forces to survive.

People enjoy artists performing at a seasdie concert in Wonsan, North Korea.
People enjoy artists performing at a seasdie concert in Wonsan, North Korea.
Nuclear weapons are one part of his answer - because Kim hopes they will cost less to maintain than North Korea's conventional heavy weapons. Projects like Wonsan are the other part. He wants to cut the share of funding he gives to the military and allocate more money to the civilian economy.

"Kim Jong Un knows that he can only control society and guarantee his long leadership if his role and influence in the economy is increased," said Thae.

North Korea wants to attract more than one million tourists every year in the near term and around five million to 10 million tourists "in the foreseeable future," the Wonsan brochures say. The Wonsan Zone Development Corporation, the North Korean state body which oversees the project, did not respond to requests for comment.

There are no up-to-date statistics on current visitors to North Korea. China said more than 237,000 Chinese visited in 2012 but it stopped publishing the statistics in 2013. For comparison, eight million Chinese visited South Korea in 2016.

The Korea Maritime Institute, a think-tank in the South, estimates that tourism generates about $US44 million in annual revenue for North Korea - about 0.8 percent of the country's GDP. About 80 per cent of all North Korea's foreign tourists are Chinese, it says. Westerners and Russians make up the rest.

The Wonsan brochures are welcoming. "Officials and residents of this zone have a good understanding of tourism and are friendly towards tourists," one says.

For Kim's security forces, though, Wonsan is about more than fun in the sun.

Kim brought his top military brass to Wonsan in 2014. On the white sandy beach of his palace compound, he ordered his highest admirals to strip into bathing costumes and, as a test of their ability, swim 10 km around the bay, state TV showed. It filmed him at a desk on the sand, shaded by a white parasol.

In April this year, Kim used the beach near Wonsan's new airport to unleash an artillery drill described by state media as the country's largest ever. In it, "300 large-calibre self-propelled guns" opened fire at a white target painted on a small island 3 km away.

The bombardment, broadcast on state TV, turned that island into a dusty moonscape.]]>
10/26/2017 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Hilton results top estimates as business travel remains robust]]>
Hilton, which owns hotel chain Waldorf Astoria, said it now expects adjusted earnings of $1.87 to $1.91 per share, up from its previous forecast of $1.78 to $1.85 per share.

Business travel is on the rise on improved business sentiment following Donald Trump’s election as president in November.

Expectations of pro-business measures like tax cuts and simpler regulations from Trump have lifted Wall Street to record highs since his election.

Hilton, which owns 14 brands of hotels and resorts, said it expects RevPAR, a key measure of revenue, to grow 1-3 percent in 2018. RevPAR is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

Net income attributable to Hilton stockholders was $179 million, or 55 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

The company’s net income in the year-ago quarter was $187 million, or 57 cents per share, reflecting $103 million from discontinued operations.

Excluding items, Hilton earned 56 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue rose to $2.35 billion from $1.87 billion.

Analysts on average had expected quarterly earnings of 50 cents per share and revenue of $2.28 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.]]>
10/26/2017 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Southwest revenue misses estimate on lower fares]]>
Southwest’s shares were marginally down at $56.90 in premarket trading on Thursday.

While Southwest flew more people during the quarter ended Sept. 30, fares on average declined 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

Competition for the business of budget-conscious passengers has increased in recent months, with carriers trimming fares by slashing built-in amenities, a method that has helped low-cost carriers succeed.

Both Southwest and rival Spirit Airlines Inc (SAVE.O) have built reputations on offering threadbare fares at much lower prices than the larger, legacy U.S. carriers.

Bigger rival United Airlines (UAL.N) gave an underwhelming fourth-quarter forecast, while Alaska Air Group Inc (ALK.N) also reported a decline in average fare.

Spirit Airlines Inc (SAVE.O) called the quarter “challenging” and reported a drop in average fares and total unit revenue - a metric that compares ticket sales with flight capacity.

Southwest’s operating revenue, hurt by cancellations of 5,000 flights due to the recent hurricanes and earthquakes, rose 2.6 percent to $5.27 billion, but missed analysts’ estimates of $5.31 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Major U.S. airlines were forced to cancel thousands of flights because of recent hurricanes.

However, Southwest said it was encouraged by the rebound in passenger booking trends in Houston and Florida, which were particularly hit hard by the hurricanes, and added that “travel demand remains solid” overall.

Southwest said it expects fourth-quarter unit revenue to be in the range of “up slightly to up 1.5 percent” compared with last year.

“Given the growing fear since comments about the revenue environment from United and Alaska Airlines, we believe the positive RASM guidance will offset the higher unit cost guidance,” Cowen & Co analyst Helane Becker wrote in a note.

The airline expects costs, excluding fuel and other expenses, to be flat to up 1.5 percent in the current quarter.

Southwest said its unit revenue for the third quarter fell 0.5 percent. Net income rose to $503 million, or 84 cents per share.

Excluding items, the company earned 88 cents a share, edging past analysts’ estimates of 87 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.]]>
10/26/2017 7:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[American Airlines third-quarter profit beats Street, shares rise]]>
For the current fourth quarter, American said it expects revenue per available seat mile, a closely watched metric that compares sales to flight capacity, to rise between 2.5 percent and 4.5 percent from a year ago.

Shares rose 3.1 percent to $52.60.

American’s operating expenses swelled by 5.3 percent to $9.6 billion, primarily from increases in the cost of fuel and labor, which have caused expenses to spike across the industry.

Earlier this year, American, the top U.S. airline in terms of passenger traffic, said it had offered an unexpected mid-contract pay increase to its pilots and flight attendants, which will cost the airline an additional $230 million for 2017 and $350 million for 2018 and 2019.

The pretax margin, excluding special items, is forecast between 4.5 percent and 6.5 percent for the period.

Earlier this month, smaller rival Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) reported a better-than-expected profit as disruptions caused by Atlantic hurricanes cost the airline less than investors had feared.

American said it canceled nearly 8,000 flights due to the hurricanes, reducing pretax earnings by about $75 million.

“Despite the significant operational challenges posed by three hurricanes, our team delivered solid financial results,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said in a statement.

Net income fell by 15 percent to $624 million, or $1.28 per share, from $737 million, or $1.40 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, American earned $1.42 per share.

Operating revenue rose to $10.88 billion from $10.59 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected quarterly profit of $1.40 per share on revenue of $10.88 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.]]>
10/26/2017 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Saving Indonesia's birds-of-paradise one village at a time]]>
The tourists are in luck, their patience is rewarded: Perched on the branch of a tall tree near the remote village of Malagufuk, a red king bird-of-paradise can be seen darting between the leaves.

Agricultural plantations, touted as a means to improve economic opportunities, are rapidly expanding in Papua. But some villagers and conservationists warn this will result in forests being destroyed and the birds that inhabit them driven to the brink of extinction.

Birds-of-paradise numbers were already dwindling in Papua as they are poached, killed and used for decoration. Authorities have since banned the sale of the species but there is still a thriving illegal trade because international demand is high.

Authorities have banned the sale of birds-of-paradise, but this has not done much to dent the illegal trade, because demand is high.

"Nowadays the threat is not just wildlife hunting, but illegal logging. The conversion of forests to palm oil and cocoa plantations is the biggest threat," bird guide Charles Roring told AFP.

Indonesia's rainforests are home to 41 birds-of-paradise species, according to Roring, 37 of which can be found in the jungles of Papua.

They range from the lesser bird-of-paradise, known for its yellow and white flank plumes, to the twelve-wired bird-of-paradise, recognisable by the filaments that extend from its tail.

Admired for their striking colours and elaborate courtship rituals, the birds have a long history of being trapped and traded as ornaments.

They captivated Europeans after 16th century explorers returned with skins that had been dried, truncated of their legs and mounted to sticks; while their colourful feathers are still popular additions to traditional Papuan tribal decorations, such as headdresses.

Serene Chng, a programme officer at environmental NGO Traffic, said the wild birds are smuggled to other parts of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. "Law enforcement capacity is very limited," she explained.

"Challenges include demand from consumers, corruption, poor surveillance, as well as lack of support from non-enforcement agencies that could help like airlines, shippers, courier services and airports," Chng added.


In Sorong, one of the largest cities in Indonesia's West Papua province, a souvenir vendor told AFP traditional headbands made with feathers could fetch as much as 1.5 million rupiah (S$150).

Papua is home to one-third of Indonesia's remaining rainforests but they are being chopped down at a rapid rate.

Palm oil companies started operating near Malagufuk village about three years ago, according to environmentalist Max Binur, from NGO Belantara Sorong.

Binur, who knew residents were worried the companies would destroy the surrounding forests and their traditional village life, proposed a solution he believed would protect the birds and forest.

He helped turn Malagufuk into an ecovillage where residents now work as guides or provide accommodation for visitors.

Up to 20 tourists visit each month to see the birds-of-paradise, as well as other bird species such as the Cassowary and Hornbill.

Visitors must trek two hours through the jungle to reach a remote settlement of stilt houses that has limited electricity.

"It sounded like a good ecotourism tour we could do. My mother is into birds and we were familiar with the birds-of-paradise from watching documentaries," German tourist Lisa von Rabenau said.

Binur is planning to launch similar ecovillage ventures across Papua and hopes tourism will lead to conservation of the world-famous birds and benefit locals.

He explained: "Tourists can bring in a bit of their money so the villagers can afford to nurture their families, send their kids to school, buy clothes and with this they will be conscious to save the nature."]]>
10/26/2017 2:00:04 PM
<![CDATA['Halal travel': Increase in travel spending by Muslims to boom Islamic tourism]]>
Halal travel has grown in recently, with airports, restaurants and hotels seeking to provide Muslim-friendly facilities and services, such as prayer rooms and halal food outlets.

Fazal Bahardeen, chief executive of Islamic travel specialist HalalTrip, which carried out the study with Mastercard, said older Muslims typically travel in large families once a year while young Muslims, aged 20 to 36, take multiple trips.

“Travel within this young generation of Muslims is booming as consumers with more disposable income seek more exotic experiences and far-flung destinations than their parents,” said Fazal.

“Their per trip expenditure could be lower than the earlier generation but since they make multiple trips per year, their overall expenditure is higher.”

Fazal said that within the next five to 10 years, many Muslims would be entering the stage of their lives where they earn, spend and travel the most.

Spending on travel during 2016 for young Muslims was at around $55 billion, while the total Muslim travel segment was worth $156 billion, he added.

The figures are expected to increase respectively to $100 billion by 2025 and $300 billion by 2026, the study said.

The research comes at a time when more countries are eyeing a share of the burgeoning Muslim travel market.

Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey are the biggest source of young Muslim travellers in the Islamic world, it said.

A growing number of young Muslims from Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population, Egypt and Kazakhstan are also travelling more frequently, it added.]]>
10/26/2017 1:57:45 PM
<![CDATA[Bike sharing helps Johannesburg township commuters beat the traffic]]>
But with heavy traffic slowing down the 5-kilometre commute he’s found a new way to work: A pioneering township bike rental scheme.

“I use the bike because I don’t want to waste my time sitting in a slow-moving bus,” said the 28-year-old. That he gets fitter – and saves money – is just a bonus, he said.

“The good thing about cycling is that I get to places faster. When people are stuck in traffic I ride past them,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ndlovu, a salesman at a private firm in Sandton is one of about 100 residents of densely populated Alexandra who now rent bikes each day to commute to work or school, said Jeffrey Mulaudzi, the 27-year-old bicycle evangelist who runs the bike-sharing scheme.

“The initial idea was to help students who had to travel long distances of up to 8km to school,” Mulaudzi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But now a range of residents are saving up to 30 percent of their monthly travel costs by cycling to work instead of cramming themselves in buses, he said.


Johannesburg, with its hilly terrain, heavy traffic congestion, sometimes aggressive drivers and reputation for crime, is not an obvious choice for a cycle scheme.

According to South Africa’s 2014 National Household Travel Survey, shared minibus taxis are the main means of transport for 42 percent of households in Johannesburg, with private cars, buses and trains making up much of the rest of the city’s transport.

But Johannesburg also has some of the world’s best weather. And as officials put more infrastructure in place to make cycling safer – including new pedestrian and cycle bridges over highways– cycling at least short distances is now becoming more attractive, Mulaudzi said.

The entrepreneur, who grew up poor in Alexandra, has since 2010 run bike tours of the township for tourists. But in 2014 he launched his broader bike rental scheme, offering cycle rentals for two rand ($0.15) per trip.

Bike sharing makes sense for the township of half a million residents, he said, not just because the cost of a bicycle is beyond the reach of some residents but because most people have too little space in their homes – many of them barely more than shacks – to safely store a bike.

Keeping bikes safe at their destination, he said, is usually not a problem because most users have places to lock them up at work or school.

He rents the cycles without taking any deposit, he said, banking on the community trust and goodwill his project has built up – and on the willingness of the township’s gangs to confront thieves.

“Chances are very slim for the bikes to be stolen. Even if someone steals it we can easily track it down” he said.

He hopes eventually to earn enough to insure all the bicycles, however, he said.


Lethabile Thembu, a student in Alexandra who pedals to school in Johannesburg’s Randburg area each day, said commuting by bike lets her enjoy the fresh air – and gets her to class early.

“I don’t regret cycling to school because it keeps me fitter, every single day,” she said.

She said riding to school, rather than taking a minibus, saves her mother about 200 rand ($14) each month.

Mulaudzi said not everyone manages Johannesburg’s hills on the cycles. Plenty, he said, push the bikes up hills and then ride back down.

David Du Preez, chairman of Johannesburg Urban Cycling Association, said cycling is a smart way for many people in the city to get around, particularly if their home or destination is off major commuter lines.

“A cycling journey may be shorter than a (minibus) taxi if a commuter’s destination is off the taxi route and the last mile element is a long walk,” he said.

But heavy traffic, speeding drivers, construction zones and other threats remain challenges, he said – though new cycle-friendly infrastructure is helping.

“We want to make Johannesburg a cycle-friendly city by promoting cycling infrastructure, so that people view cycling as a valid way of commuting,” he said.]]>
10/26/2017 1:56:39 PM
<![CDATA[3 tourist ships arrive to Safaga, Hurghada ports]]>
A Maltese ship arrived to Safaga port coming from Alexandria port carrying 1,811 tourists from different nationalities, he said.

The port also received a ship coming from Sharm el Sheikh carrying 668 tourists going sightseeing in Luxor and Aswan, he added.

Hurghada port received a ship carrying 86 tourists from different nationalities coming from Sokhna port, said he.]]>
10/26/2017 11:37:00 AM
<![CDATA[ Unlikely Egyptian winter getaways ]]>
Rain has a way of making everything more beautiful.

Your go-tos in the winter:
1- Alexandria:
Alexandria is known for its popularity in the summer, but have you ever experienced it in the winter?

Alexandria library – Quora

In winter, it turns into a calm and enjoyable city. People are working or going to schools and the streets and traffic is reduced in half, which enables you to freely visit Qaitbay Citadel along the clear blue Mediterranean Sea. You can walk across Stainly Bridge safely; even the homemade ice cream never melts when the sun is out.

Stainly Bridge – Quora

The sun shining on Alexandria – Quora

2- El-Alamein:

El-Alamein lies 106 kilometers west of Alexandria, and is the most notable coastal city. It is marks the day the Allied forces of World War II gained a decisive victory over the Axis forces. That war is commemorated at the war museum.

Al-Alamein City – Quora

It has the best climate in the world with the calmest, clearest blue waters.

War Museum – Quora

3- Saint Catherine Monastery

A whole different kind of winter is waiting for you at this holy land that holds both culture and nature at 120 kilometers from Nuweiba.

One day is not enough. You will need a week at least to fully saturate in the marvel of the beauty there.

Saint Catherine Mountain –Snow in the city of St. Catherine - Zoltan Matrahazi via Wikimedia Commons

You can climb the mountain at dawn; revive the historical moment Moses spoke to God and received the Ten Commandments’ plates. Do not forget to visit the monastery in the morning, too.

Let your soul discover what this unique region offers.

4- Wadi El -Gemal:

It is known as the Valley of the Camels and lies to the south of Marsa Alam; this area is rich and full of different species of animals and birds with many ecological habitats.

“The Wadi El Gemal acts to channel any water from the mountains towards the coastline but some is trapped underground which is a key factor supporting the area's vibrant ecosystem,” according to Marsa Alam’s website.

Wadi El Gemal – Five Photos Website

You can live the Bedouin life, habits, traditions, and you can visit the Roman town with camels and observe rare species.

Wadi El-Gemal was designated a National Park by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency in 2003, according to Marsa Alam’s website. ]]>
10/26/2017 11:32:40 AM
<![CDATA[Floating meal over Red Sea ]]>
Tunnel Under The Sea
When you visit On Deck restaurant, you will be fascinated by watching the fish swimming below the waves, and you will be offered various seafood dishes of your choice, such as shrimp and lobster.

Over View At Hurghada Grand Acqurium
The restaurant is quite large, and it was pretty noisy. The kitchen is exposed to the seating area, which is nice. Due to the size, there are a lot of staff (servers, bus boys, runners, etc.) running around constantly.

Exhibtion In Hurghada Grand Aquarium
This glamorous dining experience only costs from LE 200 ($11.2) to LE 400 ($14). Don’t miss a luxurious meal like this.

Royal Museum In Alexandria
Tourists Enjoy Visiting In The Grand Qauarium ]]>
10/26/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[All about papyrus in Sharm el-Sheikh’s Papyrus Museum]]>
The Papyrus Museum is located in Genena City Mall in Sharm el-Sheikh. It is decorated in a modern style, but takes you to older times, as it displays papyrus cards, invitations and letters, which date back to the Pharaonic ages that illustrate Pharaonic habits and traditions, along with depictions of kings and queens. The museum also includes the intriguing history of papyrus making.

Papyrus Museum – website
Moreover, there is a corner for selling papyrus copies of the original pieces at reasonable prices – a chance for tourists to buy souvenirs for their friends or a simple reminder of their visit to Egypt.]]>
10/26/2017 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ep. 1: Holy Family in Egypt - Pelusium ruins reveal war-torn past]]>
Edited map of the Holy Family's journey in Egypt - Egypt Tourism Authority
An overview of Farama (Pelusium) – Orient & Mediterranee
Pelusium: Ruins of an ancient city and historical pillars
"The ancient Farama disappeared. It constituted the north-eastern borders of Egypt. It was crossed by the Holy Family and was the gateway to Egypt for many invaders,” Tareq al-Husseini, director of the Port Said Antiquities Authority, told Egypt Today.

Ruins at Farama (Pelusium) – Egypt Today archieve
The Holy Family was seemingly unable to stay in the city for long, being a dangerous border area at the time. It is not included in the eight Egyptian locations on the Vatican’s pilgrimage list.

The remains of a tower at Farama – Sohag governorate official website
However, standing in Farama amid the ruins is humbling. The city witnessed major historical events and was once a military road for the Romans and others, as well as a busy port.

Ruins at Farama – Egypt Today archive
At Tell el-Farama (Hill of Farama) lie ruins of a fortress and the remains of ancient pillars in the desert, as well as marble columns given the name “Roman Theater.” It is almost identical to the Roman Theater in Kom El Dekka, Alexandria.

Ruins of the amphitheater at Pelusium – Archeology.org
There are a number of necropolises, what is believed to be the remains of a hippodrome, fish tanks, a harbor wall, Roman baths with mosaic floors dating to the third century, and the remains of a church dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries, according to a feature by archeologist Krzysztof A. Grzymski on archeology.org.

Second and third-century BC graves - Archeology.org
Brick pillar bases may be remains of a hippodrome - Archeology.org
Tanks may have served for production of salted fish - Sohag governorate official website
Roman baths – Sohag governorate official website
Ruins of a Byzantine church at Tell Makhzan, near Farama – Sohag governorate official website
Remains of a Roman fortress – Sohag governorate official website
It is unknown whether that particular church is related to the route of the Holy Family.

Gatehouse to Pelusium's sixth-century AD fortress - Archeology.org
It is the site of the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BC, where Emperor Cambyses II of Persia invaded Egypt. According to the fanciful Macedonian general and author Polyaenus, Cambyses II used cats and other sacred animals in the frontline, an act that deterred Egyptians from fighting. Meanwhile, Greek historian Herodotus reported that skulls of the fighting soldiers were scattered on Pelusium’s land.
Ruins at Farama – Sohag governorate official website
Ruins at Farama – Egypt Today archieve
In 333 BC, Pelusium welcomed Alexander the Great, and in 48 BC, Pompey was killed there after his defeat at the hands of Julius Caesar.

Ruins at Farama – Egypt Today archive
Ruins at Farama – Egypt Today archive
A total of 1,117 years after the birth of Christ, who is believed to have fled to Egypt as a toddler, Baldwin I, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, destroyed and looted Pelusium. But he also died of food poisoning after eating local fish from a branch of the River Nile that once flew in the city, and was only able to reach Arish in his attempt to return to Jerusalem.
Ruins at Farama – Egypt Today archive

In 1991, archeologists embarked on a project to excavate the area, as the government had announced a plan to dig a waterway across North Sinai to fertilize the desert. Although both projects have stopped since 2010, Farama proved to be quite a promising archeological site.
Ruins at Farama – Egypt Today archive
Additional reporting by Sara Allam

Ep. 2: Holy Family in Egypt’s ‘cat house’ met with grain of salt

EP. 3: Holy family in Egypt – Mary bathes Christ in Musturud

10/26/2017 12:05:00 AM
<![CDATA[LE 7M for Blue Hole development ]]>
Blue Hole - Guardian

Blue Hole is one of the best diving spots in southeast Sinai. It conjoins a large number of wonderful coral reefs and rare kinds of colorful fish that attract many professional divers to witness the challenge beneath this crystal water, according to a press statement from the general manager of South Sinai National Parks.

Blue Hole in the Red Sea Reuters

There is a 56-meter arch that leads to open water. It seems shallow, but in reality its depth stretches over 10 kilometers under the sea. There is also a 200-kilometer extension with a shallow opening to the sea, around 6 meters deep with another hole that opens to the heart of the sea.

Blue Hole in the Red Sea Reuters

It is classified as one of the most deadly diving sites in the world, as it is reported that around 40 divers have died since 1980, according to Egyptian authorities, due to its depth and dangerous tunnel.

Red Sea Blue Hole Coral Reef

The Blue Hole in its original state is a cave under the Red Sea formulated throughout the years as a result shooting stars crashing on the planet. It was avoided by Bedouin tribes living in this area, but discovered by Israeli divers in 1968.

Although it is dangerous, Blue Hole is one of the renowned diving places.
10/26/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Austrian Ambassador fully ready to activate tourism to Egypt]]>
During the meeting, features of the increased cooperation between the two countries were discussed. They discussed the field of tourism, and the increase of direct flights from Austria to Egyptian touristic cities, such as Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.

Also, an agreement entailing consultancy from Austrian specialists in the field of public health to raise the efficiency of Egyptian workers in the hospitality sector was discussed. As well as a number of joint events between the two countries like festivals and food competitions in the presence of food and cooking specialists from Austria.

The Austrian ambassador expressed his pleasure with this meeting and his full readiness to cooperate with the Egyptian Tourism Ministry. He predicts that the number of tourist arrivals from Austria to Egypt will reach its peak as in 2010 and even higher. ]]>
10/25/2017 6:41:04 PM
<![CDATA[Italy plies visitors with wine as it eyes tourism catch-up]]>
"People have always come in the summer for the beaches," says Riccardo Binda, cutting into a succulently tender slice of Florentine steak,grilled over embers.

"Now we're getting visitors all year round. It's something new that has developed as the reputation of Bolgheri's wine has grown."

Binda is the general manager of the local consortium of winemakers in an area known for its production of high-quality Bordeaux-style reds.

Sourced from eighth generation master butcher Dario Cecchini and hung for 100 days, the T-bone he is eating is a popular choice.

On a sunny October afternoon, the Osteria Magona is packed and abuzz with the mingling murmurs of quiet foodie contentment and wine-fuelled chat in English, French, German and Japanese.

It's a scene to gladden the heart of Dario Franceschini, Italy's culture and tourism minister, as he prepares the accounts on what is expected to be a record year for tourism.

The sector accounts for around 10 percent of the country's GDP and has become a significant engine of growth for an economy emerging from years of stagnation.

A bumper summer season saw a 16 percent surge in the total number of visits to the country's long coastlines, with the number of overseas customers up a little more than five percent.

- World Wine Town -

But with just over 52 million foreign visitors in 2016, according to the UN's World Tourism Organization, Italy still lags behind its comparable neighbours France, with 82 million visitors last year, and Spain with 75 million.

The minister is also acutely aware that much of the recent growth in tourism can be attributed to terrorism-related security concerns that have diverted holidaymakers from Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey.

Against that backdrop, authorities are looking to bolster year-round arrivals and target visitors in search of more than a sun tan.

Foreign directors have been brought in to revamp some of the country's major museums and art galleries, while a major upgrade of the Francigena pilgrim's route reflects an effort to draw in more hikers and cyclists.

But according to designer and entrepreneur Franco Malenotti, the country is not making the most of its celebrated wines and rich culinary heritage.

"Enogastronomic (food and wine) tourism is a big new trend," Malenotti told AFP, citing research that points to a major surge in Asian and Latin American foodies heading for Europe in the next few years.

"Italy should be in the avant-garde in this sector. But it's not. Why? Because we have done almost nothing to foster and promote it."

Malenotti's eclectic career has included designing Batman and other Hollywood costumes as well as owning the cult fashion label Belstaff.

His latest venture is a "World Wine Town", an accommodation and restaurant complex constructed around a recently opened museum dedicated to the story of Bolgheri's wines and designed by Oscar-winning cinema set designer Dante Ferretti.

- Airbnb boom -

With more than 1,000 wines on tap, Malenotti is banking on the complex drawing in people like German couple Susann and Rainer Schmidt.

"You want to taste and try the wines, but also to learn something," says Susann, glass in hand after a stroll round an exhibition in which holograms of famous winemakers such as Piero Antinori and Nicolo Incisa della Rocchetta recount their roles in making Bolgheri's reputation.

Malenotti was inspired by the example of Bordeaux's Cite du Vin.

"Whatever product you are selling, you need a back story. It is called storytelling and it is very important in marketing," he said.

"After coming here the majority of tourists go on to visit the wineries. In places like the Napa Valley (in the US), estates get more than half their sales from the cellar door, here in Bolgheri it is only five percent. That shows how much there is still to do."

As well as keeping restaurateurs busy, booming wine tourism has also impacted the local economy by creating a new demand for accommodation that the traditional hotel sector has yet to meet.

In Castagneto, the village closest to the museum, Malenotti estimates that three quarters of the properties are partly or fully available to rent on Airbnb-style platforms.

10/25/2017 11:47:07 AM
<![CDATA[Miss Universe shares beauty of Egypt with her fans]]>
She stated in a press conference with Huda Aboud, the organizer of the 2017 Miss Egypt competition, that she is eager to visit as many of Egypt’s historical sites as she can, such as the pyramids of Giza and Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria.

Miss Universe 2016 delivers a speech at the press conference held on the occasion of her current week-long visit to Egypt - Karim Abdel Aziz

During her stay, Mittenaere shared a few pictures from Egypt with her 1.2 million fans on her Instagram account, letting them know how excited she is and how much fun she is having:

Excited before landing in Cairo

Hello from Cairo 🇪🇬 !! Bonjour du Caire !! #egypt #justlanded #excited

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

From Alexandria

Alexandrie ... ( je vous laisse à vos jeux de mots ahah ) 💙 #blueafternoon #alexandria #egypt

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

Before her press conference

Mirror mirror ... I'm ready for the press conference ✨ #egypt #press #firstday

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

During her stay

Une soirée parfaite au consulat général de France 🇫🇷 je me sens comme à la maison 💙❤️ #likehome #french #egypt #Alexandria

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

10/25/2017 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Cairo Scooter Club a real image of Egyptian youth ]]>
These Egyptian youth are racing against all bad circumstances and think creatively to save their effort, money and petrol by using scooters as a means of transportation instead of cars. They operate by moving in groups all over different governorates to make their message effective.

Number of scooters on Egyptian streets – Scooter Club Facebook page

They also organized an event to travel with scooters and walk around cities freely at any time as a message to others, communicating how Egypt is secure and how much it conjoins a lot of worthy places to visit.

The event they organized included the Suez governorate. They walked in a racing group through the desert road until they arrived at the Suez Governor building, where they ended their race.

Group of youth riding scooters – Facebook page
10/25/2017 9:22:05 AM
<![CDATA[International tourism conference kicks off in Alexandria]]>
The conference that kicked off activities Tuesday was held under the theme of a vision for sustainable development of the hospitality and heritage tourism entrepreneurship in the country.

On Wednesday, ministers of tourism, antiquities and higher education will take part in the conference.

Representatives of international and Arab travel and media agencies are scheduled to take part in the event.]]>
10/25/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[et series in the footsteps of the Holy Family]]>
Where the Holy Family went, every step turned into a church, and every burrow and cave into a monastery. Egypt is the heir of this immense heritage of churches and monasteries and preserved it from one generation to the next.

Joseph leads the trip... The Holy Family decides to escape

When Christ was born, King Herod ordered the murder of all the children of Jerusalem, fearing that one of them will inherit his power. The angel appeared to Joseph the Carpenter, and told him in a dream to take the boy and his mother and flee to Egypt, where he shall stay until he is told to leave.

On a small donkey, Mary put her luggage and carried her child in her hands, while Joseph had preceded her on another donkey, and the old Salome at the end of the convoy, each carrying his little luggage.

The convoy crosses the desert of Bethlehem, heading towards the land of Egypt. The Holy Synaxarion says that the Holy Family took a route that was not part of the trade routes between Egypt and Palestine at the time, in fear of Herod's oppression in this flight of escape.

The Rafah desert does not have any traces that can be relied on as indication that the Holy Family stayed there, so the journey in Egypt begins from Farama (Pelusium), east of Port Said. Stay tuned for a story in pictures from Farama as the first stop in Egypt Today's journey.

10/25/2017 12:11:08 AM
<![CDATA[Walk safely on 6th of October walkway ]]>
The walkway is the longest in Egypt and was a gift by large local companies to promote development in Egypt. According to the Ministry of Housing it is intended as a gateway for all residents to enjoy walking in their neighborhood away from traffic. This project is part of a wider national project to renovate residential communities in a similar fashion, the ministry added.

The walkway connects fast food spots, beverage kiosks and adorable green areas along the track, illuminated with spotlights to brighten the area at night. The road is also designed according to international standards to usefully exploit large spaces of land.
6th October foot path – Best places of Egypt Face Book Page

6th October midnight – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

6th October foot path – The Best places of Egypt – Face Book Page
10/25/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[ACAC probes bolstering Arab civil aviation security system]]>
The three-day event is due to ratify a proposed list that comprises a number of Arab experts in the domain of aviation security, in addition to issuing a host of resolutions and recommendations to support the joint Arab action in this vital area, a member of the Egyptian delegation, Medhat el Desoky, told MENA.]]>
10/24/2017 11:02:00 PM
<![CDATA[Eurowings to withdraw Austria's Niki brand]]>
Lufthansa signed a 210 million euro ($247 million) deal this month to take over insolvent Air Berlin’s Niki and LG Walter units, plus some short-haul planes, to cement its position as Germany’s biggest carrier and expand its Eurowings budget brand.

Eurowings aims to sell flights on current Niki routes under its own brand as soon as antitrust proceedings are completed, Eurowings Chief Executive Thorsten Dirks told journalists in Vienna, adding that he hoped for approval by year-end.

Dirks, who is also a Lufthansa board member, said Lufthansa would apply for regulatory clearance at the European Commission early next month.

Austrian competition authorities have said they will voice concerns in Brussels because they believe Lufthansa, which also owns Austrian Airlines, would be too dominant in Vienna if it also owned Niki.

The German cartel office has said it expects the Commission to take a close look and that it would follow the process closely.

Dirks expects the Commission’s approval to be subject to conditions. “This can mean that we will have to return slots or reduce capacity on certain routes,” he said.

Leisure travel airline Niki, which flies 21 A320 family jets and employs 840 staff, will continue operating as an independent unit fulfilling current collective agreements, Dirks said.

He refused to give any details regarding future route planning as it would depend on the European Commission’s conditions.

Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August and is being carved up among several buyers. Family-owned Zeitfracht agreed a deal to buy Air Berlin’s cargo marketing platform Leisure Cargo for an undisclosed price on Tuesday.

With the Air Berlin deal, Eurowings’ workforce will increase to about 10,000 people from 7,000, Lufthansa has said. Eurowings hopes for a revenue boost of more than 1 billion euros.]]>
10/24/2017 8:32:12 PM
<![CDATA[President of Mauritius impressed by visiting Pyramids]]>
She made a tour of the Pyramids area on the sidelines of her official visit to Egypt to discuss joint issues and develop relations between Egypt and Mauritius.

Head of the archaeological area of Pyramids Ashraf Mohey received Gurib, as she was briefed on the history of the Pyramids and took pictures. She expressed her happiness with the sound and light show in the area.
President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib at a Pyramid entrance, in a company of Head of the archaeological area of Pyramids Ashraf Mohey - Egypt Today
10/24/2017 8:07:20 PM
<![CDATA[A bird’s eye view of El Sokhna ]]>
El Sokhna’s cable car is the first in Egypt to take you on a wonderful adventure from Porto Sokhna to the summit of the highest mountain there, where you will amazed by a gorgeous view of the sea and mountains with an overview of the whole region.

It is located in Porto Sokhna at a restaurant named “Fish Basket”. There, you can take the cable car for a one-kilometer trip that lasts about 10 minutes.

You and your children can enjoy for this trip every day from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket prices are LE 85 ($4.77$) for adults and 42 LE ($ 2.44) for children.

El Sokhna Telepherique - Best places Of Egypt Face Book Page

Entrance of El-Sokhna telephrique – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

Telephrique at El-Sokhna Mountain – Best Places of Egypt – Face Book Page

El-Sokhna telephrique – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page
10/24/2017 4:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[British, German tourists flock to Hurghada, Marsa Alam ]]>
Marsa Alam airport received around 2,016 passengers from Gatwick to Marsa Alam, while Hurghada airport received about 60 percent of Germany’s flow of tourists to Egypt.

Thomas Cook organizes two weekly tours from Gatwick and Birmingham on an Airbus 321.

This movement indicates that tourism in Egypt has significantly recovered, followed by an increase in job opportunities at hotels and resorts by the coming winter.

Marsa Alam Coral fees – Reuters

Although German tourists form the largest segment of European tourism to Egypt, recently Marsa Alam became a popular destination for British tourists.

Marsa Alam is a famous resort town on the Red Sea in Egypt. It is popular for its clear beaches, sea turtles, dugongs, coral reefs and other marine life. It occupies a virgin stretch of the Red Sea coastline near the tropic of cancer.

German Tourist in Egypt – Reuters

South of the town there is Wadi El Gemal National Park with a surrounding desert, reefs, and islands.

Hurghada Beach – Reuters
10/24/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Experience Kokopelli event in Siwa]]>
Participants will head to Siwa to enjoy the cool morning breeze, go hiking in the sandy mountains and go sand boarding in the Great Sand Sea. By sunset, you will be floating in a hot water spring.

Your trip is not over yet, as you can participate in the harvest festival, eat Siwan “fettah” for lunch, and visit the mountains of the death tombs,exposing yourself to the Siwan culture and lifestyle.You also have to spend time at the sunset at Fantas Lake or your trip will not be complete.

At Siwa, you will spend two nights in the hotel and one night camping in the Great Sand Sea for LE 2,650 ($150), including transportation, accommodation, guides and registration.

Hiking Club is an Egyptian club aimed at bringing a diverse group of people together and offering various activities, including hiking, scrambling, and sand boarding.

Siwa is a daydream desert isolated in the heart of Egypt’s Western Desert and set among thick palm groves and walled gardens with numerous fresh water springs that catch your eyes. You might have to think hard before leaving it.

Photo 1 People hiking the mountain- event Facebook page

Photo 2 Hiking mountain – event Facebook page

Photo climbing the mountain- event Facebook page

3-Siwa Oasis – Siwa official website

4- Palm grooves – Siwa official website
10/24/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Philippines launches ‘Bring Home A Friend’ campaign in the Middle East]]>
As the press release stated "based on the 2015 report of the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 9.1 million overseas Filipinos. More than three million reside in the U.S. while more than two million are based in the Middle East."

Secretary of the Department of Travel Wanda Tulfo-Teo was responsible for resuming the BHAF program, which was created in 1994 to help promote tourism through every citizen of Philippines who travels to another country. Teo stated, “we would like to close the year strongly for the tourism industry in terms of visitor arrivals and carry the momentum into the coming year.” The program started on October 15 and is scheduled to end by the April 15, 2018.

The campaign was launched at a glamorous event, which was held at Boracay Club, Asiana Hotel Dubai and was attended by Philippines Ambassador to the UAE Constancio Vingno Jr, Consul General Paul Raymond Cortes, campaign partners, Filipino executives, international fashion designers, Travel Trade Industry partners, and media personalities.

The Department of Tourism offers a variety of prizes to sponsors who succeed in bringing their foreign friends and family over to Philippines. The prizes include "a condominium from Megaworld Corporation, a brand new Toyota Vios, and a PHP200,000 gift certificate at Duty-Free Philippines while their foreign guests can win round-trip international flight tickets and tour packages to Palawan, Cebu, and Davao," according to a press release.

To become a sponsor, Filipino citizens in the country or overseas should register via the website


or through booths, which will soon be set up at selected international airports in the Philippines.

The press release added that "the PDOT aims to achieve 7 million tourists by the end of 2017 and pro-actively developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the Middle East to capture a sizeable percentage of its high-yield tourist market."]]>
10/23/2017 11:17:48 PM
<![CDATA[German tourist arrivals in Turkey seen rising 15-20 percent in 2018]]>
German visitors to Turkey fell sharply last year, mainly due to security concerns following a series of militant attacks and a failed military coup and as growing tension between Berlin and Ankara caused deep strains in diplomatic ties.

“Current bookings show a strong increase in German tourists visiting Turkey. We may see a 15-20 percent growth in 2018 according to early reservations,” Frenzel told Reuters at the weekend during a tourism event in southern Turkey’s Antalya.

The pricing of Turkish holiday packages are quite competitive when compared to other destinations helping people to come back to Turkey, Frenzel said.

Any increase in foreign visitors could help the long-suffering lira currency, which has been hit by a drop-off in tourism, as well as security concerns.

The number of German visitors to Turkey tumbled 30 percent to 3.89 million in 2016 from 5.58 million a year earlier, according to tourism ministry data. In the first eight months of 2017, the number of German visitors fell to 2.5 million from 2.7 million the previous year.

Germany has criticised mass arrests in Turkey in an ongoing security crackdown following last year’s failed military coup, refused to extradite people Turkey says were involved in the putsch and demanded the release of around a dozen German or Turkish-German citizens arrested in recent months.

President Tayyip Erdogan accused Berlin of “Nazi-like” tactics in March when it prevented Turkish ministers speaking at expatriate rallies in Germany. Ankara is determined to press on with its efforts to join the European Union despite tensions with the bloc and its particularly heavyweight member Germany.

Last week, European leaders agreed to explore cuts in Turkey’s pre-accession funds upon German leader Angela Merkel’s call in response to what she described as “unacceptable” Turkish behaviour on human rights.
10/23/2017 1:55:40 PM
<![CDATA[Cyprus struggles to manage waste as tourist numbers soar]]>
With more visitors heading to Cyprus than ever, the Mediterranean island’s waste disposal system is under pressure, despite efforts to cut landfill use and encourage recycling, waste management and tourism, experts say.

Panicos Michael, manager of the five-star Alion Beach Hotel in Ayia Napa, said the rising number of visitors raised major issues.

“I think that this will be a big challenge for the island in general to cope with the increased amount of waste that’s going to be produced,” he said.

Cyprus — seen as a regional safe spot shielded from the unrest that has hit other popular Mediterranean destinations — hosted a record 3.2 million visitors last year and looks set to top that by eight per cent in 2017, official figures show.

In response, authorities and tourism executives are backing efforts to separate waste and send as much as possible away from landfill sites and towards recycling.

Cyprus landfilled some 79 per cent of its municipal waste in 2013, according to the latest figure available on Eurostat, far above the European Union average of just 28 per cent.

Michael said his hotel had cut landfill output per guest by half since it introduced waste separation in 2003.

The hotel divides glass, paper, plastic, metal, drinks cartons and other categories for recycling.

The Ayia Napa municipality aims to offer organic waste collection from hotels by spring 2018.

It has also installed recycling bins in visitor hotspots such as the waterfront directly below the Alion Beach Hotel.

Russian holidaymaker Helen Mikhaylenko, who works for an industrial equipment importer in Moscow, praised the scheme.

“People drink a lot of beer and they should divide,” the 23-year-old said in English, wearing sunglasses and a black bikini.

“It’s a very good idea because rubbish is one of the global problems and it is solved in Ayia Napa.”

Tourism and waste management experts say waste output per person in Cyprus is heavily inflated by tourist arrivals.

Kyriakos Parpounas of Green Dot, a waste management firm that deals with the vast majority of recycling in Cyprus, said tourists’ waste output was equivalent to adding 300,000 permanent residents to the country’s 866,000 population.

Cyprus has much improved its waste management since 2005, when Green Dot was founded in response to a new European Union law demanding better sorting and recycling, he said.

Green Dot has run a series of school and media campaigns encouraging Cypriots to “reduce, re-use and recycle”.

But the country still only recycles 19 per cent of its waste, far lower than the European average of 44 per cent.

“We began from scratch, there was no infrastructure,” Parpounas said. “There was no sorting on the island. There was no sorting culture at all.”

He was speaking at one of two Green Dot sorting warehouses in Cyprus.

On a bleak industrial estate on the outskirts of Nicosia, it handles around half the island’s recycling, some 12 tonnes a day.

A digger shovelled mountains of refuse into a container where a rumbling conveyor belt heaved the waste into a warehouse nextdoor.

Around 15 workers stood at the belt, sorting plastic bottles and drinks cans and cardboard scraps into separate bins.

Warehouse manager Andreas Andreou said a fifth of the supposedly recyclable waste arriving at the plant still had to go to landfill because non-recyclable waste crept in.

The day before, workers had even found a dead dog.

Parpounas said more efforts were needed if the country was to meet the EU target of recycling half of its municipal waste by 2020.

“We are missing a lot of important tools that would actually drive people and create the culture of sorting,” he said.

‘Good business sense’

Green Dot presented a list of 10 demands to the government when it was set up in 2005.

Some 12 years later, seven have yet to be fulfilled, Parpounas said.

In particular, he urged the government to introduce a “pay as you throw” scheme to encourage sorting, and to introduce a landfill tax.

Environment department director Costas Hadjipanayiotou said the government was working to push people to recycle more but that the proportion of waste going to landfill was still “a huge number”.

“Cyprus is landfilling so much waste because... we are still late in establishing the appropriate infrastructure and cultivating the culture, but also the infrastructure is not in place,” he said.

Tourism officials say recycling efforts make economic sense.

Philippos Drousiotis, of the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative, said both hotels and guests had welcomed efforts such as cutting use of plastic bottles.

“The sustainable tourist is good for business,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to reduce their costs.”

Muscovite holidaymaker Kate Tsurkanova, standing next to a beach near the centre of Ayia Napa, said she was pleased tourists could now separate their rubbish for recycling.

“It’s perfect, actually I have just started doing it myself in Russia,” she said. “I wish there were more bins like that everywhere.” — AFP

10/23/2017 1:45:29 PM
<![CDATA[Miss Universe 2016 arrives in Cairo]]>
During her stay in Cairo, Mittenaere is scheduled to hold a press conference to announce the aim of her visit to Egypt and her itinerary.

The French Embassy in Cairo will host a charity gala under the title of "Egypte terre d'espoir" in Luxor.

She won the 65th Miss Universe pageant that was held on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines.

10/23/2017 11:58:55 AM
<![CDATA[How Egyptian tourism bodes 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. Total revenues achieved in 2016 amounted to $2.7 billion.

Tourists at Sharm El Sheikh Airport - photo by Fayza Marsal

The official attributed the increase to a surge in visitors from Germany and Ukraine and said that Europeans made up 75 percent of visitors while Arabs accounted for 20 percent.

Tourism Expert Essam Ali said that giving due concern to alternative markets has reflected positively on the number of tourists visiting the country this year.

He said that German tourism came first, followed by various nationalities including China, India, Czech Republic and Hungary, among others.

He added that the spending rate of tourists has increased during the last period, reaching $85 per day.

Tourists at Sharm El Sheikh Airport - photo by Fayza Marsal

The improvement comes despite of the ongoing UK and Russian ban on flights to the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, in place since November 2015, when a Russian airliner was downed over Sinai killing all 224 people on board.

Since then, Egypt has been investing heavily in airport security and implementing tighter security measures at airports.

Though Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that Russian experts had positively assessed one of the terminals at Cairo Airport and that the Egyptian side had made considerable efforts to toughen security measures, he did not say when air travel would resume, according to the TASS Russian news agency.

Tourists at Sharm El Sheikh Airport - photo by Fayza Marsal

Vacationers who went to Sharm el-Sheikh during the summer holidays told Business Today magazine that security at the airport was beefed up and that they were thoroughly searched by highly trained personnel. They also referred to the updated and new security machines installed at the airport.

Though tourism has picked up, it still needs the travel bans to be lifted to bounce back.
“Sharm el-Sheikh has been seeing a growing number of European tourists this year,” said one owner of a shop in the Red Sea resort.

He said that the increase in the number of European and Arab tourists this year had helped mitigate the negative effect of the Russian and UK ban.

Nevertheless, he hoped for the two countries to lift the ban as Russia and the UK account for 75 percent and 20 percent of tourists coming to Sharm el-Sheikh, respectively.

More European tourists visited Egypt this year. A recent report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) showed that Europe sent the largest number of tourists to Egypt in July, with around 418,000 visiting the country.

The number of Ukrainian and Polish tourists visiting Egypt also jumped 120 per cent in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period last year, Tourism Development Authority (TDA) head Hisham Al-Demiri said last month, citing data from the Ukrainian and Polish governments.

He said that the number of Ukrainian tourists amounted to more than 400,000 tourists until last August.

The surge in the number of polish tourists has prompted Polish tour operators to request that Egypt reopens its tourism office in Warsaw to cater to rising demand for flights from the Polish capital. Operators have reportedly said they would work on increasing bookings during the upcoming winter and summer seasons.

Tourists at Sharm El Sheikh Airport - photo by Fayza Marsal

The TDA is planning to launch a winter tourism promotion campaign in Europe this month, according to Demiri, which will run until January 2018 and target markets such as the UK, Poland, Ukraine and Germany.

The TDA has further teamed up with CNN international to launch a promotional campaign to promote Egypt’s tourist sites to tourists from around the world.

Recently, the country’s “This is Egypt” promotional campaign has won Best Tourism Promotional Video in the Middle East at the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in China, beating out 63 other contestants.

The improved situation was reflected in the findings of Colliers International’s, a real-estate company, latest report on the Egyptian hospitality market during the second quarter of 2017.

It showed that occupancy rates in Egypt’s major tourist cities increased in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period of 2016.

The report said that occupancy rates in Sharm el-Sheikh increased in the second quarter of 2017 due to an increase from both the domestic and Arab markets and the lifting of the travel ban from key European countries. It expects this trend to continue over the course of the year.

Cairo also saw a four percent increase in occupancy rates in the second quarter of 2017, the report said.

Tourists at Sharm El Sheikh Airport - photo by Fayza Marsal

Another report by the WTO has named Egypt the world’s second-fastest growing tourist destination for 2017.

The report said that the country had witnessed a 51 percent spike in international tourist arrivals this year and was on course to welcome nearly eight million holidaymakers in 2017, though this is still below the peak of 2010.

The government has been exerting considerable efforts recently to boost the vital sector and attract more tourists to Egypt.

During the recent BRICS summit meeting in China, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the resumption of air travel between Cairo and Moscow. Putin reportedly said he hoped this would happen soon.

The Chinese market is also targeted by the government. Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said earlier this month that negotiations were underway to put on three additional flights a week between Cairo and Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, in addition to increasing air traffic from China to the Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts.

The tourism authority in the Chinese Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region also signed an agreement with the Egyptian Tourism Authority early in September that should see both sides cooperate to boost tourism.

A similar agreement was signed between Egypt and Romania during Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to the country in August that will see both states promoting tourism to each other’s country.

Unlike other sectors, the devaluation of the Egyptian pound have had a positive impact on tourism as Egypt has now become a cheaper destination for many tourists around the world, which helped attract investments to the sector as well.

The UAE-based Emaar Hospitality Group, the hospitality and leisure subsidiary of Emaar Properties, has recently announced plans to develop a hotel, Vida Marassi Marina, in Marrasi resort on the Mediterranean coast.

The hotel marks the first project under the company’s Vida Hotels and Resorts brand in Egypt.

Meanwhile, the devaluation of the currency and the upswing in tourism has prompted the Hilton chain to plan to expand its number of hotels in Egypt to 30 from a current 17 over the next seven to 10 years, Vice President of Middle East Operations Mohab Ghali told Reuters in an interview last month.

He said that if things remained stable, Egypt could see pre-2011 levels of tourism in the 2018 winter season, with more revenues on the way because of the devaluation.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects an increase in tourism revenues from an estimated $4.4 billion by the end of fiscal year 2017/2018 to some $6.2 billion in 2018/2019, $8 billion in 2019/2020, $10.3 billion in 2020/2021 and $13.3 billion in 2021/2022.

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.

Tourists at Sharm El Sheikh Airport - photo by Fayza Marsal

Less than two weeks before the World Youth Forum scheduled to take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, the country witnessed a relative tourism boom nationwide, a final sign that the sector is truly recovering again.

With the beginning of the winter season, Luxor has seen the arrival of 225 tourists from France and Japan, while 170 tourists from Uzbekistan arrived to Sharm el-Sheikh. Aswan had the lion’s share this month as 3,500 tourists with several nationalities visited the governorate to witness the celebration of Sun Festival at Abu Simbel Temple.


The Aswan governorate held a celebration at Abu Simbel Temple in the presence of the Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani and the Minister of Culture Helmy al-Namnam, in addition to representatives of Italian and Swiss embassies amid wide media coverage by local and international news agencies and TV channels.

The governor of Aswan, Magdy Hegazy, said on the sidelines of the Sun Festival, that this celebration represents a strong starting point towards the return of tourism to its normal rates.
Tourists celebrate the sunbathing on the Ramses statue at the Temple of Abu Simbel - Press Photo

Hegazy added despite the recent terrorist attack that hit the country on Friday, the influx of tourists and Egyptians to witness this unique astronomical phenomenon reflects the high level of security and safety in the far south of Egypt in Abu Simbel city.

The governor asserted that the security forces strengthened its presence inside and outside the temple which assured the visitors of the safety measures in the area.
Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani confirmed in a public statement on Sunday that celebrating 200 years of discovering Abu Simbel in November will prove to the world that the country is safe.

The Sun Festival is a rare phenomenon that has been occurring for 33 centuries and has occurred today, lasting for 22 minutes, where the sun illuminated the Temple of Ramses II. This phenomenon occurs twice a year; on February 22 when ancient Egyptians celebrated the beginning of the agriculture and cultivation season, and on October 22 when ancients Egyptians celebrated the flooding season.


The International Airport of Luxor received on Sunday the first direct flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport in France, ending a several-year halt. The French flight was carrying 140 tourists on board, who will visit ancient monuments in Luxor in the coming days.

Tourists celebrate the sunbathing on the Ramses statue at the Temple of Abu Simbel - Press Photo

The Luxor airport also received the first direct flight from Narita International Airport in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, carrying 85 Japanese tourists on board. The direct flights coming from Tokyo Narita airport are expected to continue on a weekly basis until April 2018.

Mohamed Othman, a member of the marketing committee for Upper Egypt, stated that the winter season is quite promising for cultural tourism, assuring that the gradual increase of tourist numbers in Luxor and Aswan will hopefully exceed the 2010 peak eventually.

Othman added that there is a spike in numbers of Chinese and Indian tourists visiting Upper Egypt, expecting the numbers of Chinese tourists to have reached 300,000 by the end of 2017. He noted that more and more nationalities are becoming attracted to cultural tourism in Egypt, such as Italians and Scandinavians, as a result of the efforts exerted by travel companies in advertising tourism in Upper Egypt.

Sharm el-Sheikh

The Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport received Sunday the first direct flight coming from Uzbekistan carrying 170 tourists, including 22 representatives of tourism and travel agencies in Uzbekistan.

An official source at the Egyptian Tourism Authority in Sharm el-Sheikh said that another flight from Uzbekistan is scheduled to arrive at Sharm el-Sheikh by the end of this month. He added that the Red Sea resort city is expecting more flights from Uzbekistan being a new tourist market for Egyptian tour companies.

The authority has intensified its efforts recently to open new tourist markets such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan with the aim to compensate the tourism gap caused by the absence of Russian flights which accounted for about 60 percent of the total tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egyptian tourism was devastated after Russia, the top source of tourists visiting Egypt, suspended flights to and from Egypt following the disastrous downing of the Russian plane Metrojet's Airbus A321 in 2015 in Sinai.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to resume flights to Egypt this year during his meeting with President Sisi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in China.]]>
10/23/2017 1:07:08 AM
<![CDATA[Giza Pyramids keep casting its spell on visitors ]]>
The great Giza pyramids still rank atop of the world’s most visited seven wonders. They still keep on dazzling visitors and stand as the magnet that pulls viewers from different spots worldwide. The destination of tourists irrespective of the long distance they fly or the hectic trips they endure to arrive to Egypt.


Giza Pyramids have warmly received Cosgrove; the current Governor-General of Australia, and his spouse on Saturday. Heading to Egypt to mainly meet a number of Egyptian officials in his first visit since he ran in office, Cosgrove did not miss the opportunity of visiting the pyramids in Giza. Despite his tight schedule slated to discuss the bilateral Egyptian Affairs, Cosgrove was eager to enjoy a memorable experience when visiting the lands of the Pharaohs.


According to Ashraf Mohyi, Cosgrove has shown great interest in visiting sphinx. He was inquisitive and passionate about knowing how and why the pyramids were built and the number of workers who contributed in this huge immortal icon.

Excited as he was, Cosgrove was keen on taking pictures in every spot he visited;
namely, the pyramids, the panoramic area and sphinx. The Governor-General of Australia and his spouse expressed their passion for Ancient Egyptian civilization and historic attractions.

Giza pyramids have always been the world celebrities and the VIP main destination.

Earlier this month, the Hollywood star, founder and CEO of WPDI, and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, Forest Whitaker posted on his official Facebook account photos of him paying a visit to the Giza Pyramids in Egypt. “Such an inspiring moment today at the pyramids in Cairo #Egypt,” posted Whitaker, describing his visit. ]]>
10/23/2017 1:02:01 AM
<![CDATA[Overview: Royal Jewelry Museum]]>
jewelry in the museum - The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

The museum exhibits around 11,500 pieces of unique royal jewels, reliefs, gold pieces, diamonds, and watches worn and used by the Egyptian royal family's queens and princesses.

stunning boxes in the museum – The Best Places of Egypt Face Book

The museum is designed in the architectural European style, housed in a decorated villa that formally belonged to King Farouk’s first wife.

Royal accessories in the museum - The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

The museum is fascinating because it was the residence of an Egyptian queen. After her death it was turned into a presidential rest house until the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak issued a decree designating the palace a museum for the royal jewelry collection.

Royal Museum - The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

This glamorous place has been opened to the public since April 2010, after five years of renovation. The museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the tickets cost LE 10 ($0.57)

10/23/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Australia to tighten airport security further after foiled attack]]>
“These measures strengthen existing controls to ensure airport workers are authorized, properly identified and appropriately trained before entering secure airside areas,”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said in a statement Sunday.

“They may also be subject to security screening in the course of their duties.”

Airport security was tightened in July after police foiled “Islamic-inspired” plans for a bomb attack on an Emirates flight from Sydney.

Police said they arrested four men in city-wide raids on July 28 after one of them days earlier had allegedly tried to bring an improvised explosive device on to a flight. The device was not allowed aboard as it exceeded the baggage weight limit.

Extra screening of hand and checked luggage since the incident has led to some travel delays around the country.

“Some of the measures will be obvious to the public, some will not be,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the time.

The Council of Australian Governments earlier this month signed off on a facial biometric agreement to give state and federal police real-time access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver’s license images for criminal investigations including those involving suspected terrorists.

The prime minister denied the agreement was “Big Brother”-style mass surveillance, but the “logical next step”.

“The alternative is to not use the data at all,” he told the ABC’s AM program.

The infrastructure minister’s office did not respond Sunday when asked when the latest measures would take effect, but said they would be rolled out to “provide flexibility for airports to ensure continue to function efficiently and effectively”.]]>
10/22/2017 2:44:52 PM
<![CDATA[Sharm El-Sheikh receives 1st charter flight from Uzbekistan]]>
Representatives of travel agencies from the Asian country are among the visitors, said Islam Nabil, the head of the tourism promotion authority office in the resort city.

There will be another flight from Uzbekistan on October 30, said Nabil, expecting a surge in the number of Uzbek tourists visiting the city.

The first flight's passengers were welcomed upon arrival by officials of the tourism promotion agency, he noted.
10/22/2017 1:04:25 PM
<![CDATA[Thousands flock to hamlet with its idealised vision of Communist past]]>
While the Communist Party headed by supremo Xi Jinping prepared for its major congress this past week, Nanjie still clings firmly to Mao, while glossing over the turbulence and violence of his rule.

The village’s 3,700 residents wake up every morning to broadcasts praising Mao and start their work days with a hearty group rendition of “red” songs about the virtues of Communism.

Nanjie follows a retro model of collectively-owned enterprises and chirpy ideological indoctrination, appearing frozen in an era before market reforms transformed China into the world’s second largest economy.

Tourists take small red trams with names like “Moderate Prosperity” and “Chinese Dream” from the giant Mao statue in the town’s iconic “East is Red Square” to parks, factories and public housing blocks where residents share stories about the joys of collectivism.

But its brand of Communism looks set to make a comeback, attracting more than just tourists these days, with Xi recently telling top officials that the party “would lose its soul and direction” if it deviated from Marxism.

Even “Xi is asking everyone to study Chairman Mao”, said Wang Hongbin, who has been Nanjie’s party secretary since 1976 and will attend this week’s congress in Beijing.

Since taking power in 2012, Xi has pushed for more state control over the economy while Communist Party branches are being set up inside private enterprises for employees to study party ideology.

He has also dramatically increased ideological indoctrination in schools and the workplace and tightened media controls.

Recently, nostalgia seekers have been replaced by local officials and party members “coming to study the Nanjie spirit”, local journalist Lie Xiujuan said as she led visitors on a tour of the village’s botanical gardens, which feature a life-size replica of Mao’s childhood home.

In the 1980s, when most of China was sprinting away from Mao-era collectivism, Nanjie’s party secretary Wang doubled down.

He turned up the ideological volume and offered free housing, health care and food to residents working for a pittance at village-owned enterprises.

The moves found favour with the country’s leftists, but many people “didn’t understand Nanjie, didn’t support it or even criticised it”, Wang recently told state media.

Since the last party congress in 2012, however, “the central government’s voice has grown closer and closer to Nanjie’s way of doing things”.

Today, residents live in modest public apartments, identical right down to the furniture and flatscreen TVs.

“Everything is managed very well,” government employee Wang Chunju said as she sat in her community-provided flat, fidgeting with her iPhone.

The NAKA Island
But it is hard to tell how much is real and how much is a show for Nanjie’s more than 500,000 visitors a year.

A weekly newspaper publishes “positive” news alongside Mao quotes and stories.

At Nanjie’s instant noodle factory, local officials freely admitted to staging “everyday” performances of Communist “red” songs for the benefit of visiting reporters.

Nanjie’s economics are also more complicated than advertised.

The village may be a Communist collective, but much like China’s overall economy, its development is unequal and massively leveraged.

Shoppers at the village’s largest store can use a government-issued card to buy cabbage and onions, but they can also purchase gold jewellery or a carved wooden Mao, retailing for 16,900 yuan (B90,887).

Over 90% of the workers at Nanjie’s 26 cooperatives are recruited from outside the village and do not enjoy its benefits.

In 2008, an investigation by Southern Metropolis Daily revealed the village had taken out more than 1.6 billion yuan of bank loans due to what Wang described as “economic problems”.

China’s “leaders” ordered Henan to solve the issue, he said, and the debts were effectively forgiven.

Now the village “relies on the strength of its own enterprises to develop”, he said, adding that profits have grown by 24% year-on-year.

Although Wang and other government officials receive a monthly salary of only 250 yuan (B1,255), he previously owned almost 10% of the collectives’ holding company, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily report.

In 2014, the corporation underwent a change in shareholders, but the records have been sealed.

While officials said tourism makes only a small contribution to Nanjie’s economy, its image is an asset that earns it the support of top politicians, as well as the general public.

Outside Nanjie’s gates, a woman working at a liquor store admiringly explained the village’s fascination.

“They’re real Communists over there,” she said with a laugh. “I guess you could say the rest of us are capitalists.”]]>
10/22/2017 11:21:30 AM
<![CDATA[Pics: 3.5K tourists watch solar alignment at Abu Simbel Temple]]>
Some 2,000 tourists were Egyptians while the rest were foreigners. The phenomenon, which takes place twice a year on February 22 and October 22, was also attended by the Minister of Antiquities Khaled El Anany, the Minister of Culture Helmy al-Namnam, and delegates from the Swiss and Italian embassies. February 22 marks the coronation of King Ramses II, and October 22 marks his birthday.

Dozens of tourists watch solar alignment on at Abu Simbel Temple- Abdullah Salah

Aswan’s Governor Magdy Hegazy also announced that preparations are underway for an international ceremony to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Abu Simbel Temple. Hegazy added that screens have been installed in front of the temple to display the phenomenon for all tourists avoiding the packed temple.

All artistic events scheduled to be held on the sidelines of Abu Simbel’s Sun Festival were canceled after a terrorist attack targeted dozens of police personnel in Giza on Friday; announced the General Director of Abu Simbel Antiquities Department, Hossam Abboud, in a statement Saturday.

This year’s phenomenon of solar alignment marks Egypt's 200th anniversary of the discovery of the Abu Simbel temples by the Swiss oriental traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt on March 22, 1813.

Festival activities will be limited to watching the phenomenon of the solar alignment and opening the temple to foreign and Egyptian visitors, Abboud said in a statement to Egypt Today.

Celebrations were supposed to take place on Saturday and Sunday and were to include a number of folklore dancing shows in Abu Simbel’s square.

On Friday, dozens of police officers were killed and others injured while on the hunt for terrorists in Giza’s Al-Bahariya Oasis, security sources said. The sources added that the security forces headed to the oasis after receiving information that some terrorist elements were taking shelter there. Security forces clashed and exchanged fire with the terrorists; causing casualties on both sides.

Dozens of tourists watch solar alignment on at Abu Simbel Temple- Abdullah Salah

Dozens of tourists watch solar alignment on at Abu Simbel Temple- Abdullah Salah

Dozens of tourists watch solar alignment on at Abu Simbel Temple- Abdullah Salah ]]>
10/22/2017 11:18:14 AM
<![CDATA[Aswan ready for Ramses II solar alignment phenomenon Sunday]]>
The unique phenomenon will be screened on huge screens placed in the courtyard of the temple to be aired to the whole world, general director of Abu Simbel antiquities Hossam Aboud said on Saturday.

About 2,000 tourists are expected to gather at the 3,200-year-old temple to watch the dawn event, when the sun aligns with the temple.

Earlier in the day, Egyptian authorities canceled all festivities of the event in the wake of the Western Desert terrorist incident that killed 16 policemen Friday. ]]>
10/22/2017 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[‘Dreamliner’ to join EgyptAir fleet soon]]>
The Dreamliner is a long-haul, wide-bodied aircraft with a special, compact frame design that accommodates 210 to 330 passengers with glass windows that are more attractive than other aircraft windows.

Part of EgyptAir's delegation visit to Everett factory in USA - Press photo
A delegation from the EgyptAir team, currently in America, toured the world's largest Boeing aircraft manufacturing facility. The Everett factory is located in Seattle, Washington, and the delegation received an informative presentation on the “Dreamliner”.

Part of EgyptAir's delegation visit to Everett factory in USA - Press photo
On Saturday, EgyptAir received the eighth aircraft from Boeing’s New Generation 737-800. The plans were part of a nine-plane deal that EgyptAir had purchased to join its fleet.

Part of EgyptAir's delegation visit to Everett factory in USA - Press photo
EgyptAir and Boeing signed an $864-million deal that includes delivering nine airplanes to the Egyptian company by the end of 2017, according to the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram. Egypt received the first jet in December 2016. ]]>
10/21/2017 5:56:09 PM
<![CDATA[800,000 German tourists visited Egypt in Jan-Sept 2017: official]]>
This number is larger than that of last year and is close to the number of German tourists who visited Egypt during the peak year of 2010, he added.

Demeiry made the remarks on the sidelines of the inauguration of a workshop, set to run through Tuesday, involving 50 German tour operators in addition to German magazine “touristik aktuell” that is specialized in tourism.

The inauguration was attended by South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda, who welcomed German tour organizers to Sharm el Sheikh, which he said is a city of security, peace and good weather.

The governor also pointed to the World Youth Forum that will be held in November in Sharm el Sheikh, with about 3,000 youths from all over the world participating.

10/21/2017 3:16:38 PM
<![CDATA[Have a meal in a floating restaurant at Sharm El-Sheikh]]>
On Deck restaurant – Facebook page

Once you visit On Deck, you will be fascinated by watching the fish nearby and by the various sea dishes the restaurant offers. Pick your choice of main course between shrimps or lobster with a touch of pirate sauce added to give you an experience of which you would savor every single moment aboard a pirate boat.

overview of the restaurant – Facebook page

This glamorous dining experience will cost you only LE 200 ($11.2) to LE 400 ($14). Don’t miss a luxurious meal like this.
10/21/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Walk like an Egyptian through Manial Island]]>
The walk will be held on Friday, October 27, and it will cover around 3.5 km of the area. It is suitable for all visitors above the age of 10. For more details, make sure to visit the event’s Facebook page from here.

Walk like an Egyptian is an Egyptian tour guide initiative that was founded in 2013 with the aim of reviving tourism in Egypt and helping both locals and tourists explore the country’s hidden gems through unconventional ways, such as long walks.

From Walk like an Egyptian’s Facebook page
10/21/2017 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Minister of Tourism discusses developments of Al Haram area]]>
The meeting was attended by Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali, Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al Anani and a number of parliament members. The meeting discussed the latest updates of the project of developing Al Haram (the pyramids) area and the positive results of these developments.

During the meeting, which was attended by the head of the Camels and Horses Association and the association’s representatives, it was assured that all concerned parties of this project are fully committed and that none of those who work in Al Haram area will be harmed in any way as a result to these developments. The project’s main aim is social reformation and cares for the interest of all those who work in it, as it will be assured to meet their demands and offer veterinary care for the horses and camels of the area.

The Minister of Tourism also assured during the meeting, and according to a press release on Thursday, that this project will have a great effect in developing Al Haram area. He added that these developments will also affect the Sound and Light shows positively, which will attract more tourists to the area.
10/21/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt anticipates large wave of Italian tourists in 2018]]>
In coordination with the initiative, several promotion campaigns were launched in Italy. An Italian touristic exhibition titled "TTG," was held in Rimini, Italy. The exhibition showed a 3D documentary movie representing the most prominent touristic sites in Egypt.

Another promotional campaign featured the well-known Italian footballer, Stephan al-Sha'arwy, to boost tourism in Egypt through banners around the Italian stadium. A promotional video also displayed on the stadium's four mega screens.

The previous steps, taken by Italian government in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, are paving the way for Italian tourists to come back to Egypt.

The steps came in cooperation with the initiative launched by Pope Francis. The pope


earlier this month the process of initiating the Roman Catholic pilgrimage program to Egypt, which is set to launch next year.

“Egypt is a land where Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus, as well as many prophets lived; a land that has been blessed with the precious blood of martyrs spilt throughout the centuries,” Pope Francis said during his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope also recalled his Apostolic Journey to Egypt last April saying he has fond memories of the visit.

Pope Francis described Egypt as a land of cohabitation and hospitality. He added that it is a land that encountered histories and civilization; he also passed on his blessing on Egyptians and prayed for Egypt’s protection from all sorts of evil and terrorism.

Earlier this month, Rashid was meeting with tourism officials in Rome with the aim to promote the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt as a significant pilgrimage destination.]]>
10/20/2017 11:08:41 PM
<![CDATA[Yves Saint Laurent museum opens to the public in Marrakesh]]>
The museum's management said 1,000 people thronged through its exhibition halls in the first three hours to get a glimpse of some of Saint Laurent's most iconic creations as they went on display in the city that inspired him.

The opening comes just over a fortnight after another museum to the famed French couturier, who died in 2008, began working at the company's former headquarters in Paris.

The Moroccan project -- housed in a modernist building of traditional rose-coloured ochre bricks -- was a last labour of love for Saint Laurent's former business and life partner Pierre Berge, who died last month aged 86.

The pair fell in love with Marrakesh after first visiting in 1966 when the city was hothouse of bohemian freedom that drew artists and musicians from Allen Ginsberg to the Rolling Stones.

Saint Laurent's imagination was fired by the colour and vibrancy that he found in Morocco and he bought a villa in Marrakesh that looks set to be opened to the public next year.

"I owe to this country the audacity that has been mine ever since," a quotation by Saint Laurent projected onto one of the museum's walls read.

The 15-million euro ($18 million) museum -- paid for from the sale of the designer's spectacular art collection -- is located close to the lush Majorelle Garden that he and Berge took over and restored in the 1980s.

The museum's directors hope to attract some 300,000 visitors in the first year from the tourists that now throng the packed streets of modern Marrakesh.]]>
10/20/2017 7:30:56 PM
<![CDATA[US warns Americans about visiting Sudan over 'terror risks']]>
The US Department of State's warning comes just days after Washington lifted its 20-year-old trade embargo imposed on Khartoum, citing Sudan's increased cooperation with US intelligence agencies in combatting terrorism.

In a statement posted on the website of Washington's embassy in Khartoum, the US Department of State said that US citizens should avoid all travel to the five Darfur states, and to the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

It said Americans should also "consider carefully before planning travel to other areas of Sudan due to the risks of terrorism, armed conflict and violent crime".

"Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings and kidnappings," the advisory said.

"Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking can occur anywhere in Sudan, but are particularly prevalent in Darfur states."

The region of Darfur, and the two states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, have witnessed brutal fighting between Sudanese forces and rebels for years that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Washington's warning on Thursday comes just days after it lifted its trade embargo that was imposed on Khartoum in 1997.
10/20/2017 7:27:59 PM
<![CDATA[Uber opens up Paris travel database to help city planners]]>
The U.S. ride-hailing app collects huge amounts of data from the billions of trips taken by customers which it uses to improve its services and has recently started to make it available for a number of cities including Washington D.C., Sydney and Boston.

“We get asked all the time ‘Is there any way you can share more data? We’d love to see where people are traveling in our city’,” Adam Gromis, who is responsible for environmental sustainability at Uber, told Reuters.

The service, called Uber Movement, shows how long it takes to make a journey between two points in a city at different times of the day.

Uber is making the data available via a free website which can be accessed by anyone with an Uber account, but it is aimed particularly at city planners. (movement.uber.com)

To respect users’ privacy, Uber Movement uses only aggregated anonymised data.

Uber, which launched in Paris in 2011, has had a rocky relationship with regulators across Europe who have accused it of flouting their traditional licensing rules.

Protests by taxi drivers against the smartphone app turned violent in 2015 when Paris cabbies overturned cars and burned tyres.

Uber has suffered a tumultuous few months that led to former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick being forced out after a series of boardroom controversies and regulatory battles in a number of U.S. states and around the world.

Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has struck a less confrontational approach than his predecessor - particularly in London where Uber is challenging a decision by the transport regulator to strip it of its operating license in the city.

“As a technology company we can play a role in helping cities make data-driven decisions for the benefit of the environment and its citizens,” Alexandre Droulers, Uber’s general manager for new mobility in western Europe, said.

Transport planning usually relies on expensive household travel surveys which are conducted on average every 10 years in the Paris region, making Uber’s data a lot more up to date.
10/20/2017 7:18:52 PM
<![CDATA[Locals in trendy Lisbon face eviction with tourism and celebrity boom]]>
She has been unable to renew the lease on her 20-square-metre flat in the sought-after Alfama neighbourhood after it was bought by a company offering short-term rentals to tourists.

“I was born in Lisbon and raised in Lisbon, and now there’s just no place for me in Lisbon,” said da Cunha, who relies on a monthly government subsidy of €485 (RM2,421) to top up her earnings selling handicrafts to tourists.

“Poor people like us are now seen as vermin, vermin that have to be eliminated and pushed out of town.”

As Lisbon has transformed from a sleepy backwater to one of Europe’s hottest tourist destinations, critics say locals are being squeezed out of their own city by an international elite.

Pop singer Madonna and film stars Monica Belluci and Michael Fassbender are among a growing number of foreigners said to have bought property in Lisbon in the past year.

Rents have risen briskly as demand rises and landlords shift to lucrative short-term rental services like Airbnb.

Locals earning Portugal’s monthly minimum wage of €557 say they are being priced out of neighbourhoods that they have lived in for decades. Da Cunha, who was paying €220 a month, said she cannot afford anything on today’s market.

Most fashionable on earth

For 71-year-old António Melo, the choice to fight to stay in the Alfama apartment that he has rented for a decade was easy.

He cannot find a place near his doctor and other services in the historic district, with its narrow cobbled streets and pastel buildings, for anything close to the €277 a month he currently pays.

He is defying the eviction notices that started arriving after his building was bought by a tourist rental company.

“If things continue like this, pretty soon you won’t have a single Portuguese person living here,” he said, adding that souvenir shops hawking porcelain sardines and cork handbags have replaced local pharmacies, bakeries and grocery stores.

Portugal was named last month as Europe’s best destination for expatriates to live in 2017 and the world’s best for quality of life, in a survey published by social network InterNations.

House prices in Lisbon have risen by about 25 per cent since 2011, according to Confidencial Imobiliário, a company that tracks real estate data.

Patrícia Barão, who heads JLL real estate firm’s residential team in Lisbon, said the wave of foreign buyers is like nothing she has ever seen.

“Last year was our best year ever, and this year is on track to be even better,” she said, adding that six out of 10 of her clients were foreign, with Brazilians, French, Turks and Chinese topping the list of buyers from 43 nations.

Portugal’s real estate boom and tourists flocking to its sandy beaches and historical castles have helped drive recovery after an economic and debt crisis that started in 2010.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle,” said Hugo Ferreira, executive director of the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors.

“The stars aligned, and today Portugal is one of the most fashionable places on the planet.”

Colour and life

Lisbon old-timers say the property boom, fuelled by tax breaks for foreign investors, has displaced tens or hundreds of thousands of people in western Europe’s poorest country.

In an open letter to the government, the campaign group Morar em Lisboa or ‘Living in Lisbon’ said local communities that give colour and life to the city are on the verge of collapse and called for rent controls to be introduced.

It said speculation has been driven by a golden visa programme, which gives Portuguese residency to foreign buyers who spend at least €500,000 on real estate, allowing them to travel freely within Europe’s 26-country Schengen zone.

More than 4,400 foreigners, overwhelmingly Chinese investors, have acquired golden visas since in 2012, government data shows.

Portugal’s Socialist government created the position of Secretary of State of Housing in July, appointing Ana Pinho, an architect, who has expressed reservations about gentrification.

Pinho’s office declined an interview request but said she would soon unveil a new housing strategy.

Developers say foreign investors are doing Lisbon a service by renovating a huge number of dilapidated buildings which poorly remunerated landlords allowed to crumble.

But campaigners are urging the government to rethink reforms which abolished decades-old rent controls to stimulate the rental market.

“By pushing locals out, they’re killing the goose that lays the golden eggs,” said Luís Mendes, a geographer with the University of Lisbon, who supports Morar em Lisboa.

“Who’s going to want to come to a city that’s been completely stripped of the very character that drew the tourists and investors in the first place?” — Thomson Reuters Foundation
10/20/2017 7:15:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to celebrate 200th anniversary of Abu Simbel discovery]]>
He made the announcement during his opening of a photo gallery displaying stages of unearthing the Abu Simbel temples and the tomb of King Seti I at the headquarters of the Italian Cultural Center in Cairo.

Accompanied by Italian Ambassador to Egypt Giampaolo Cantinion, Anani asserted the strong relations binding the two countries in the archaeological field.

For his part, the Italian diplomat highlighted the historic role played by Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who managed to get access to the temples’ entrance and uncover the grave of King Seti I in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings.

Also,Cantinion said that cultural ties between Egypt and Italy are exceptional.

A bust of Belzoni will be unveiled in the November celebration.]]>
10/20/2017 5:15:31 PM
<![CDATA[Ticket to space with Kottamia Astronomical Observatory in Egypt ]]>
Kottomia Astronomical Observatory - The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page
This astronomical observatory telescope, which is described as the northern eye in Africa, enables you to see the stars and solar system. The telescope has a 2-ton, 74-inch mirror in the silvering room that is moved by a huge lift.

Kottomia Astronomical Observatory in center of Egypt – The Best Places of Egypt Face Book
There are specialists to illustrate to visitors how the telescope participated in observing the lunar surface and led to choosing the human landing site on the moon in the 1960s.

Solar Sysytem fro telescope lense - The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page
Kottamia Astronomical Observatory was established by English World Company to be one of the most famous telescopes in the world, in which you can visit space from the earth’s surface. All you have to do is buy a LE 250 ($14.17) ticket for this journey.
Telescope at night - The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page ]]>
10/20/2017 3:06:23 PM
<![CDATA[Go-go going as Chinese women fuel Thai tourism boom]]>
But last year for the first time, the country drew more women tourists than men as a surge in Chinese female visitors outweighed a longstanding distortion spurred by men drawn to the world’s “sex capital”.

The shift is welcome news for Thai authorities, who have tried to promote the country’s shopping, beaches and temples and to minimize the importance of sex tourism, which thrived after Thailand became an R&R hotspot for U.S. troops in the 1960s and 1970s.

Tourism ministry figures reviewed by Reuters showed 52 percent of more than 32 million visitors last year were women.

That compared to 48 percent in 2015 and only 42 percent in 2012. No earlier official data were available, but research from as far back as the 1980s shows a ratio of about 60 percent male to 40 percent female visitors.

“Not as many women visited Thailand because they thought we were a cheap destination with too much vice, but now more are coming, which means our image accommodates them,” Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told Reuters.

Tourism accounts for around 12 percent of Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy and is easily the fastest growing sector, particularly since a coup in 2014.

Hoping to attract more female tourists, the state’s Tourism Authority of Thailand started a “Women’s Journey” campaign last year, with a website and mobile application offering discounts for hotels, spas, malls, and restaurants.

But the biggest factor has been tourism from China, which has reshaped the industry around the world.

The number of Chinese visitors rose from nearly 12 percent of Thailand’s visitors in 2012 to 27 percent last year. The number of Chinese women visiting Thailand nearly quadrupled over the same period to more than 5.3 million.

“When Chinese men make a lot of money, they tend to take their wife, daughter, and mother to travel, making the ratio heavier on the female side,” said Virat Chatturaputpitak, vice president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

Major Chinese travel website Tuniu reported that 62 percent of its customers last year were women, Chinese media reported.


“I chose to come to Thailand because it’s close by, there are many flights, it’s cheap to travel and easy to get a visa,” said Man Na Zhang, 24, at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine, a favorite spot for Chinese tourists despite a deadly bombing in 2015.

Chinese female visitors, who get a tourist visa on arrival, also cited a simple tax rebate procedure on duty free goods as another drawcard as they snap up items such as cosmetics, bottled bird’s nest soup, vitamins and supplements.

Many stores in Bangkok’s shopping malls now accept Alipay, China’s giant online payment service. A Big C supermarket near the Erawan shrine buzzes with Chinese tourists who fill their trolleys with bulk packets Tom Yum Goong flavored instant noodles, crispy seaweed and dried squid snacks.

Businesses in tourist towns have started printing menus in Chinese and getting workers to learn the language to cater to Chinese tourists, who last year made up more than those from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa combined.

China’s recent “Golden Week” holiday brought 70 percent more Chinese visitors than last year, the tourism ministry said.

For nationalities that traditionally patronized Thailand’s sex industry, tourist numbers are still dominated by men - 68 percent of Japanese visitors, 58 percent of British and nearly 56 percent of American, Australian and German tourists.

But even for those countries, the balance has shifted more towards female tourists.

Although the sex industry is far from dead, local businesses complain fewer tourists were visiting areas such as Patpong and nearby Silom neighborhood.

“There are evidently fewer tourists, especially in the low season, when sales can go from tens of thousands of baht a day to nothing,” said Somkid Sangwong, a manager of a restaurant in a Silom alley next to Patpong, surrounded by neon-lit signs for bars blasting loud music and offering raunchy live shows.

Phadet Mesild, a board member of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, another popular spot for sex tourism, told Reuters the decline in demand had forced many venues in the island to close down.

Since 2014, Thailand’s military government has occasionally raided brothels, bars, and massage parlors in an effort to clean up the country’s image, but they have usually bounced back quickly.]]>
10/20/2017 2:48:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to host annual meeting of 99 women pilots organization]]>
The meeting, to be held under the auspices of Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy, comes within the framework of the political leadership's interest in women's role and their participation in various activities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a Friday statement.

The event also comes in recognition of the success made by Egyptian women in several fields, including civil aviation.

The Ninety-Nines is a non-profit organization that was established in 1929 in the US, with 99 female pilots having joined as members.

Nowadays, about 5,000 female pilots from all over the world are members of the organization. ]]>
10/20/2017 2:05:51 PM
<![CDATA[Ancient Turkish town prepares to vanish under floodwaters]]>
The Tigris River languidly flows through the historic centre of the town in southeast Turkey's Batman province, souvenir sellers offer their wares to a handful of tourists and the famous vista of minarets, the citadel and ruins of a bridge take the breath away.

But within the next few years, this scene is likely to be no more, with the historic centre of Hasankeyf set to vanish forever under the floodwaters from the Ilisu Dam project.

Turkish officials argue that the dam's hydroelectric power station will provide electricity and irrigation essential to the development of the Kurdish-dominated southeast.

The historic edifices will be moved in a hugely ambitious program that has parallels with the shifting of key archaeological sites from the Pharaonic era in Upper Egypt when the Aswan dam was built in the 1960s.

But some local residents fear the inundation of Hasankeyf will wreak untold damage on the region that will not be avoided purely by shifting the monuments to new areas.

"There is no going back," said Arif Ayhan, a member of the Association for Trade and Tourism in Hasankeyf.

"The people could have been listened to, at least, and not ignored," he added.

"People here feel passed over by the state. It's us who are the victims."

Bazaar trader Mehmet Emin Aydin said: "We will try to fight as long as we can, so that the beauty and history of this city will not be destroyed."

- 'Insufficient consultation' -

With the construction of the dam and hydroelectric plant now almost complete, the flooding process will begin on December 31 to create the lake that will eventually submerge Hasankeyf, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The drive to relocate historic monuments has already begun, with the authorities in May moving a 15th-century tomb on a wheeled platform from its location in the town to a new site two kilometres (1.2 miles) away in a painstaking five-hour journey.

The tomb of Zeynel Bey -- a key figure in the early Islamic Ak Koyunlu tribe, one of many fighting for supremacy in Anatolia before the rise of the Ottomans -- has been moved to the site of a planned open-air museum on the shore of the new lake.

Striking in its cylindrical structure, the tomb is topped by a dome and still has extremely unusual glazed tiling on its exterior walls.

Authorities plan to fill the new "archaeological park" with nine more monuments from Hasankeyf by the end of the year and hope it will become a major tourist attraction.

But the movement of the tomb has only exacerbated the worries of critics who fear that the dam project is being carried out with scant regard for the town's heritage.

Europa Nostra, a cultural heritage NGO, said the moving of the tomb had been "carried out with insufficient consultation with the local and scholarly communities" warned that similar monuments were "highly endangered".

"The foreseen flooding of Hasankeyf would destroy evidence for one of the oldest organised human settlements ever discovered," it said, adding that "we deeply deplore" the decision to build the dam.

Another controversy erupted in August when local activists posted footage showing Turkish engineers removing rocks from the cliff face overlooking Hasankeyf, alleging that dynamite had been used and historic caves damaged.

Mehmet Ali Aslan, a Batman province MP from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), chained himself to a rock to protest the demolition, saying "I could not believe my eyes" when he saw the footage.

But the province's governor, Ahmet Deniz, said the rocks had been removed because they posed a danger and categorically denied that dynamite had been used.

The construction of the Ilisu dam, which lies south of Hasankeyf in the Dargecit district of neighbouring Mardin province, was launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while he was prime minister in August 2006.

He said at the time that the project showed "the southeast is no longer neglected" and vowed it would bring "big gains" for locals.

The dam is part of Turkey's Southeast Anatolia Project, which aims to harness the power of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to revive a region whose development has been set back by the more than three-decade insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

The project has been shadowed by controversy from its inception.

In 2009, Swiss, Austrian and German export guarantee agencies withdrew a pledge for 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of loan guarantees, saying Ankara had failed to give reassurances on the protection of the environment and cultural heritage.

Turkey claimed that the decision was "political" and pressed ahead with the project using financing from domestic banks.

The issue in Hasankeyf is wrought with sensitivity, and French photographer Mathias Depardon was detained on May 8 while working on a report in Hasankeyf for National Geographic magazine.

He was released after a month in custody, but it was never clear if his detention was linked to the initial accusations of "propaganda for a terror group" -- a reference to outlawed Kurdish militants -- or his interest in Hasankeyf.

The state has vowed to rehouse those uprooted by the project, with 710 new homes built in the upper parts of the town. But this is scant consolation for some locals.

"I do not need anything from the state, just that they leave their hands off beautiful Hasankeyf," said local resident Ayvaz Tunc.

"I only ask that Hasankeyf remains as it is in all its splendour. I want the tourists to come, I want to live here. I do not want the city to be swallowed up under the waters."]]>
10/20/2017 11:11:31 AM
<![CDATA[Government calls for environmental protection law]]>
The law states a set of very specific rules that will assure the safety of nature reserves from any violation, and stipulates very strict punishments for those who violate them. As the law establishes a public authority for protectorates which manages nature reserves and supervise them, by setting the laws and environmental conditions to benefit from these reserves, and by giving it the right to establish contributing companies which help manage and protects the reserves.

The law specifically dictates the jurisdictions of the aforementioned authority which will be responsible for setting any rules and regulations necessary to allow actions and activities which are meant to prevent the violation or destruction of nature reserves or harm wild life, sea life, plant life or nature generally. The authority will have a chief executive who will be assigned by the president based on the recommendation of the concerned minister.
Coral reef in Ras Muhammad nature park - Wikimedia commons

As for the lands of reserves owned fully or partially by a person, under the law they will continue to own or benefit from that land as stated in their property contracts. The government retains the right to confiscate such lands and compensate its owners if its acquisition is done for the sake of the public good. Such acquisitions fall under law No. 10 for the year 1990 for expropriation for the common good. In such a case the concerned minister is to form a complaints committee to study the complaints which are issued as a consequence of this law.

As for the items concerned with preventing the violation of nature, the draft law sets strict sanctions for a number of crimes which could be committed against nature and to prevent them. The accused could face prison sentences ranging from five to seven years and a fine of no less than LE two million ($113,000) and no more than LE five million ($283,000), or one of these two sentences for any person who collects, possesses, transports or trades in fossils of any kind, or changes its appearance in anyway if it is within the nature reserve. Same goes for trading in wild animals or endangered plants, or growing them outside their natural habitats as stated by the executive regulations.]]>
10/20/2017 11:07:05 AM
<![CDATA[5,000 tourists visit Abu Simbel for solar phenomenon ]]>
As part of EgyptAir’s efforts to enhance tourism in Egypt, the company is organizing 50 additional flights to transfer tourists to Luxor to celebrate sun rays weaving through stones and glazing the statuettes of Ramses at Abu Simbel temple, said Chairman of the Holding Company for EgyptAir Safwat Muslim.

Ramses II built his temple at Abu Simbel so that the internal chamber would light up two times a year: once on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne on February 22 and once on his birthday on October 22.

Every year, crowds gather before sunrise in a celebration known as the sun festival to observe the stream of light gradually sneaking through the stones and lighting the statuettes of Ramses, Ra and Amun in the central chamber. However, Ptah’s statue, the goddess of darkness, remains in the dark even on these two days.

After observing the solar phenomenon, tourists participate in the dancing and singing shows presented in the festival.

Abu Simbel is the site of the two temples built by the Egyptian King Ramses II to impose his political clout and divine worship on ancient Nubians. On each side of the temple, two statues of the pharaoh are carved into a sandstone cliff overlooking the Nile’s second cataract.

The two temples were discovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1813 during his travel to Nuba.
10/19/2017 5:01:03 PM
<![CDATA[Catalonia independence push sparks tourism slump]]>
“The tourism sector is one of the most strongly affected by the instability,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told parliament last week as defended his government’s handling of the Catalan crisis.

Catalonia, with its capital Barcelona and Costa Brava beaches, is the Spanish region that most attracts foreign visitors.

More than 18 million visitors went in 2016, or a quarter of all foreigners who came to Spain.

But images of police beating would-be voters as they tried to stop the independence referendum and the massive street demonstrations in Barcelona that followed the vote had dampened visitors’ enthusiasm.

Catalonia’s tourism activity slumped by around 15 percent during the first two weeks of October compared to the same time last year, according to industry lobby group Exceltur.

Barcelona’s emblematic Las Ramblas boulevard was still packed with locals and tourists on Tuesday, who sat in the sun on outdoor terraces or drove by on open-top buses.

But local shop owners complain of a slump in activity.

“You feel it, there are less tourists since October 1. Our sales have dropped by about 25 percent, it’s very worrying,” Susana Garcia, 44, who runs a confectionery stand on the boulevard, told AFP.

“If you watch TV, and you see Barcelona and police hitting people, and people saying there is no democracy, would you go there?”

Travel warnings

Jose Luis Morais has noticed a similar drop in business at his nearby newspaper stand, but he thinks it has “more to do” with the jihadists attacks in Barcelona and the nearby resort of Cambrils in August that killed 16 people “than because of the political situation”.

Catalonia’s tourism activity dropped by around five percent in September in the wake of the attacks, according to Exceltur.

Just before the referendum several countries, including Germany, France and the United States, warned their citizens to be careful if they travelled to Catalonia.

Spanish airline Iberia and American Airlines allowed their passengers on flights to Barcelona to change their tickets for another destination if they wished for free.

A cruise ship which was due to dock in Barcelona on October 1, the day of the referendum, cancelled its stop in the city, a spokeswoman for the port of Barcelona said.

Another cruise ship delayed its stop in the city by a few days, she added.

Barcelona is one of the most popular stops for cruise ships in Europe. More than 800 cruise ships dock in the city every year.

With Catalan president Carles Puigdemont threatening to declare independence following the referendum, the impact on the tourism sector is likely to continue in the coming months.

Barcelona is a popular destination for French tourists when schools close for an annual holiday at the end of October but reservations for the period are down by 5-10 percent, a spokesman for travel firm eDreams Odigeo said.

Put the brakes

Reservations by all nationalities at hotels in Catalonia are down by around 20 percent until the end of the year, according to Exceltur.

It predicts the drop could reach up to 30 percent if the crisis continues, which would cost Catalonia 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in lost revenues.

Tourism sector companies have also “seriously put the brakes” on all investments in Catalonia until the end of 2017, Exceltur vice president Jose Luis Zoreda told a news conference on Tuesday.

Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Catalonia’s economic output and employs just over 400,000 people.

Exceltur warned the crisis could have “strong” effect on jobs if it continues.

The rest of Spain has not recorded a fall in reservations but the slowdown in Catalonia risks putting the brakes on a sector which has been booming and is key for the Spanish economy.

Spain’s government announced Monday it was cutting its forecast from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent economic growth next year, saying the political crisis in Catalonia was creating uncertainty.

10/19/2017 12:54:15 PM
<![CDATA[Taj Mahal spat is a towering political folly]]>
Travel and tourism is a lifeline to many countries, accounting for one-tenth of global GDP and jobs. India is about on par by these metrics but it has the potential to excel given fantastic temples, forts, and landscapes that range from backwater lagoons to the Himalayan peaks. A recent report by the World Economic Forum notes international arrivals to India amounted to just 9 million in 2016, compared to an average of 31.5 million for similarly sized economies.

Tourists to India on average spend $2,617 – one of the highest figures in the world. If India can fulfill its visitor potential, the upside would be worth as much as $32 billion in additional annual receipts. The WEF reckons that could create at least an additional 1 million jobs directly, and there would be many more supported by the wider industry.

Amitabh Kant, the head of government think-tank NITI Aayog and champion of the “Incredible India” marketing campaign, says tourism is the fastest way to create much-needed employment. That is easy to believe given that money spent by tourists typically circulates many times through the economy, and other job-creating initiatives - like turning India into a global manufacturing hub - will take longer to bear fruit.

Rather than politicians grumbling about history, India’s tourism industry – which depends on cooperation from individual states - needs more support in cutting red tape. Craig Smith, the head of Asia Pacific for Marriott, said earlier this month that it requires around 180 permits and an average of 7 years to build a hotel in India – compared to 2 years in Japan. India is full of other beautiful sights to see but bashing the Taj Mahal is, at essence, a disservice to the premier’s development mantra.
10/19/2017 12:50:08 PM
<![CDATA[Nile Air celebrates 1 millionth passenger of 2017]]>
Celebrating with the millionth passenger- Photo curtesy of Nile Air
In just a few years since its foundation in 2006, the company has grown substantially to become the highest ranked airline in the Arab world in terms of growth, according to air travel intelligence company OAG. Additionally, the company still hopes to grow even more, covering more ground domestically and internationally.

The one millionth passenger with Nile Air's CEO - Photo curtesy of Nile Air
In a press release on Sunday, Ahmed Ali, CEO of Nile Air, stated, "Welcoming our one millionth passenger onboard one of our flights this week is a testament to the continued contribution the airline is making to grow air transportation to, from and within Egypt.

Ahmed Ali, CEO of Nile Air Photo curtesy of Nile Air
We are proud to be Egypt’s leading private airline, with the vision to develop Egyptian aviation while driving economic growth through tourism, business and internal investments. We would also like to thank our clients who continue to travel on Nile Air, and we reaffirm our commitment to providing exceptional quality and service to both Egypt and our passengers.”

Staff and crew celebrating with Ahmed Ali, CEO of Nile Air -- Photo curtesy of Nile Air
Nile Air runs its operations fleet of modern Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft from Cairo International Airport and Alexandria’s Borg El Arab Airport, transporting its passengers to more than 20 destinations, with around 500 flights a month, both domestic and international.

Nile Air aircraft - Photo curtesy of Nile Air
Flight destinations within Egypt include Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor and Aswan, while international flights are provided to Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian Gulf and Southern Europe. ]]>
10/19/2017 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[National Geographic video – Fish war in Dahab’s Red Sea]]>Most puffer fish are highly toxic and usually escape from the jaws of an eel by expanding their size under the water.

Moray eels use their teeth to catch the deadly puffer fish, helping us to get rid of a poisonous type of fish.

The Red Sea in Dahab is really wild and mystic, as it is full of beautiful reefs, in addition to 20 interesting diving spots, with incredible depths of water that impress divers, who enjoy what they see happening beneath Dahab’s waters.

10/19/2017 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Tourism min. visits places related to Holy Family Route]]>
During his visit on Wednesday, the minister asserted his ministry's keenness on finalizing all arrangements for the first phase of the Holy Family Route.

He also had talks with the church's leaders to prepare a daily program for visiting pilgrims.

A delegation of the Vatican-related pilgrim agency (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi) is scheduled to visit Egypt in early December to get acquainted with the ancient Egyptian sites and places related to the journey of the Holy Family that will be included in the itineraries, the minister stressed.

Earlier this month, Rashid paid a three-day visit to the Vatican city, in which he met with Vatican Pope Francis who blessed the Holy Family journey in Egypt as an official Christian pilgrimage.

After Vatican Pope Francis’ move to bless the Holy Family journey in Egypt, they agreed to organize the first ever trip that will be included within the journey's path of the official Christian pilgrimage in May 2018.

10/18/2017 1:15:30 PM
<![CDATA[Travel company TUI plans extra flight capacity after Monarch failure]]>
Shares of leading travel companies and airlines rose after Monarch went bust, with investors betting that intense competition in the sector could ease.

At an event to announce TUI’s rebranding of its UK operation to TUI UK from Thomson, the company’s UK and Ireland Managing Director Nick Longman said it had already laid on extra flights and is looking to add more.

“There will be an opportunity to look at putting some new routes on to the market. We’ve already done that a little for this winter,” Longman told Reuters, adding that TUI is also looking at more routes for next summer.

Unlike British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) and budget airline easyJet (EZJ.L), TUI is not interested in acquiring Monarch slots at UK airports, Longman said, adding that extra capacity could be obtained from TUI’s existing slot base and by working with other airline partners.

Monarch fell victim to an intense price war in the airline sector after security concerns disrupted travel to the Middle East and North Africa and resulted in increased competition on popular destinations in the western Mediterranean.

TUI has said that it is looking at restoring holidays to Tunisia. All holidays there were halted after an Islamist attack on a resort in Sousse killed 30 Britons who had booked their holidays through TUI.

Rival Thomas Cook (TCG.L) has already restarted its Tunisian holidays after Britain changed its travel advice.

“If there is sufficient consumer demand ... then we will introduce a programme to Tunisia. We’ll possibly look at it for summer, but more likely it will be next winter,” Longman said.

Another destination that has been disrupted is the Carribean after a particularly violent hurricane season.

Longman said that while some ports, such as in Dominica, would be out of action into next year, he does not expect a long-term impact on travel to the region.

The rebranding exercise brings the end of a famnous British travel brand in Thomson, which was founded in 1965. Longman said that Thomson had a strong brand but has become outdated as travel habits have moved away from traditional package holidays towards city and long-haul breaks.

“Thomson conjures up great nostalgia for many people. But that can also be a bit limiting, and the types of holidays people want are changing,” he said.

10/18/2017 12:44:11 PM
<![CDATA[Panama to send immigration envoys to China as visa limits lifted]]>
Chinese visitors to Panama will now need an electronic visa stamped in a consulate instead of a restricted visa obtained through a lawyer to visit the country, part of measures the government hopes will promote tourism and investment.

The security and migration delegation will travel to China for the opening of the Panamanian consulate, though there was no exact date yet, said President Juan Carlos Varela.

In June, Panama established diplomatic ties with China, breaking with self-ruled Taiwan in a major victory for Beijing, the second most important customer of its key shipping canal.

10/18/2017 12:40:57 PM
<![CDATA[English Heritage staff reveal spookiest landmarks]]>
The spookiest for the company’s 1,800 staff was Bolsover Castle in central England, which is built on top of an ancient burial ground.

One staff member said she heard a scream which became louder as she walked away from the castle but when she rushed back she found no one there.

Security guards also said they were alarmed by unexplained lights and some staff said they saw the ghost of a little boy holding the hands of unknowing visitors.

The ghosts of a young boy and a woman have been seen in the ruins of Kenilworth Castle. Some employees said they also saw an antique cot rocking itself.

In Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight in southern England, ghostly apparitions are common.

The pale disembodied face of Elizabeth Ruffin, a young girl who drowned in a well on the site, has been spotted, as well as the “Grey Lady”, a phantom wearing a long cloak accompanied by four dogs.

In Pendennis Castle in Cornwall in southwest England, visitors reported hearing the piercing cries of a kitchen maid who fell to her death when the castle was under siege for six months in the 17th century.

Whitby Abbey in northern England, whose Gothic ruins inspired Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, has unexplained cold draughts, stock flying off the shelves and strange taps on the shoulder seemingly from no one.

At the home of Charles Darwin, the British 19th century naturalist, a staff member reported that a quill that lay on the desk suddenly started spinning and would not stop until she left the room. — AFP

10/18/2017 12:33:02 PM
<![CDATA[Promoting tourism through a ‘Selfie with Egypt’]]>1
with Fjord Bay, Taba

with Maadi Island, Cairo

Khater, 21 years old and a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Helwan University, stated in an interview for Egypt Today that he seeks, through his photography, to promote Egypt’s landmarks and gorgeous beaches and invite people to visit them.

with Planetarium Science Center

with Giza Pyramids

with Laila Murad’s Rock, Marsa Matrouh

Mostafa added that he was encouraged by Facebook groups and Instagram users, saying; “I’m trying to visit as many places in Egypt as I can and take selfies in them, then post them on my Instagram to let foreigners see that Egypt has many amazing places other than the Pyramids and Sphinx.”

with Alexandria

with the Nile
Mostafa Khater in Borg El Arab Stadium before the qualification match. ]]>
10/18/2017 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Middle East carriers’ fleet size to more than double by 2036]]>
The Middle East will need some 2,590 new aircraft by 2036 - Photo by Ahmed Moustafa, Egypt Today

The Middle East will need some 2,590 new aircraft by 2036, for replacement of 520 older generation aircraft, and 2,070 aircraft for growth, 730 are expected to remain in service over the period. This demand includes 1,080 for twin-aisle aircraft, with the same number of single-aisle aircraft (1,080), and 430 very large aircraft.

Overall, future demand for the Middle East’s fleet is valued at US$600 billion from a total market value US$5.3 trillion. The current orders from Middle East-based carriers stand at 1,319 aircraft, of which 687 are single-aisle, 409 twin-aisle and 162 very large aircraft.

Passenger traffic to, from, and within the Middle East will grow 5.9 percent annually until 2036, well above the global average of 4.4 percent. While traffic between traditional markets will grow at a steady rate, the highest growth is expected to be on routes to Latin America (8.5 percent per year to 2036). Global freight traffic will see an annual 3.8 percent increase to 2036. Freight traffic growth from the region is expected to be highest between the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, with 4.0 percent annual growth to 2036.

“Thanks to the A350, the A380 and also the A320 Family, most people around the world are just one flight away from the Middle East. The region’s proximity to the world’s population and growth markets has been a key in its aviation success and Airbus is proud to have been a partner in its development from day one,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

Today, 30 percent of the people in emerging markets such as India, China and some countries in ASEAN take a least one trip by air on average and by 2036 this will grow to just over 80 percent.

At present, there are 58 aviation mega-cities across the globe, accounting for more than a million daily long-haul passengers. By 2036, there will be 95 mega-cities, catering to 98 percent of the world’s long-haul services. The five mega cities existing today In the Middle will more than double to eleven over the next 20 years.

10/17/2017 9:38:34 PM
<![CDATA[ASPIRATIONS: Young Chinese seize the day, seize the hour]]>
For some, it’s a husband. For others, an apartment in a city. Still others are happy with a stable job, or travel and new experiences.

Wang Siyue, a product specialist at an internet education company:

“To be honest, how can I imagine what will happen in the next five years? You can make some plans but the world is unpredictable ... There’s a very good saying: the luck of man is in balance. It’s balanced. If you have good luck in the beginning, you’ll have less luck later on. I believe in fate.”

Hu Ruixin, a computer technician, talked about his dreams when he was in university:

“I had a 15-year-plan for myself. For the first five years, I’d open an advertising studio. In the next five years, I’d let the studio develop into a company. With five more years, I’d grow the company. But when I finally graduated from university and went into the world, I found this was hard to realize. There are too many restrictions and it’s difficult, so I gave up.”

“The most important thing in life is responsibility. I’ve got a child now and since becoming a parent feel that responsibility is really important.”

Zhang Weixuan, an assistant secretary at a software company, who recently managed to get Beijing residency - a coveted “hukou”:

“My China Dream is simple. I hope to establish myself in a big city. Last year I got my Beijing ‘hukou’, I successfully got it, and now I want to get married here and start my own family.”

“In my work field I hope to do well and in two years’ time, or even now, buy a small apartment. Then I can establish myself. I think that’d be pretty good.”

Click on the link for an interactive graphic on China's property prices - tmsnrt.rs/2d2rSnQ

Qi Jing, a township leader for the Communist Party Youth League, who grew up in Wuhan:

“I think now my dilemma is when you reach a certain age you have less and less opportunities. Especially as a woman, your choices at work, your choices between work and family, you have to face them. Then you’ll give up a lot of things. Maybe there’s something you wanted to do when you were young and thought ‘why not give it a shot?’ But what I feel now is I should slowly give them up, and focus on stability.”]]>
10/17/2017 8:38:43 PM