<![CDATA[rss-Travel]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Travel]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Luxor as you have never seen before ]]>
So, we made an inspirational plan for enjoying every inch of Luxor.


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Luxor Temple – Reuters

First, Luxor is 670 kilometers from Cairo. You can go on a journey by train through the desert, which will take about nine to 11 hours. Travelling by plane will take around one and a half hours.

As far as accommodation, there are various kinds of five-star hotels, cruises, local hotels, and rental apartments. The selection is up to you.


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Kebash Road – Reuters

Luxor conjoins one third of the world’s monuments, such as the Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple and the Valley of Kings. So, don’t miss a visit to a wonderful place like this.

In Luxor, you are able to enjoy riding air balloons and visiting the Holy Lake. There are other things to do, too. You can go sightseeing to the monuments and temples, in addition to walking through Al-Kebash Road, which links between the temples.


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Holy Lake - Reuters

Surely, Luxor is an impressive monumental city that you will never forget!
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10/17/2017 11:43:24 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Latvia discuss plans to operate flights to Riga in 2018]]>
In a statement, the Latvian diplomat said that there are many undiscovered tourist destinations in Latvia, including wonderland of medieval castles, pristine forests and centuries-old buildings in all sorts of styles.

The Egyptian travel agencies are currently preparing visitor orientation programs, Sulca said, adding that the embassy extended an invitation to these agencies to visit Latvia, Europe’s Best Kept Secret.]]>
10/17/2017 11:38:09 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Montazah Palace is sightseeing twist between past and present]]>
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Victorian Bridge – Best Places Of Egypt Face Book Page

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Al-Montazah Palace – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Pagfe

Al-Montazah Palace is surrounded by lush gardens with a Victorian bridge that takes you to a sandy cove and to a small island of Pylons.

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Luxury hotel at Al-Montazah Palace – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

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Semi-private beach of Al-Montazah Palace – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

The slamalek phase of the palace, where male guests were traditionally received, was turned into a luxury hotel with several restaurants and picnic places, along with semi-private beaches.

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Al-Montazah Palace – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

In the past, this palace was constructed to serve the royal family, but now it is available for all. ]]>
10/17/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[EasyJet, Lufthansa make offers for parts of Alitalia]]>
The news will spark disappointment in Italy, which wants to sell Alitalia in one package to avoid mass job losses.

The Lufthansa Group said it was after "only parts" of the global traffic network and European and domestic point-to-point business of the national carrier, which it would use to establish a "NewAlitalia".

EasyJet said it too was interested "in certain assets of a restructured Alitalia", without providing details.

The budget airline said there was no certainty that any transaction would proceed.?

The struggling Italian carrier received a boost Friday when Rome said it would add 300 million euros ($355 million) to a bridging loan package and extend its deadline for finding a buyer.

But the Lufthansa and easyJet offers left trade unions cold.

"Today was supposed to be a decisive day for Alitalia's future," the UGL union's secretary Paolo Capone said.

"However as one could expect, in a market of sharks, the offers made are underbids which will have a negative impact on the future employment of its workers," he added.

Alitalia, struggling to compete with low-cost rivals, went into administration at the start of May after staff rejected job and salary cuts as part of a two-billion-euro rescue plan.

In May, Rome said it would provide a 600-million-euro loan to keep the carrier's planes in the air for around six months, staving off liquidation of the flagship airline.

Irish no-frills carrier Ryanair expressed early interest but two weeks ago said it was dropping the idea as it struggles with the fallout from thousands of cancellations of its own flights owing to a pilots' shortage.

If no Alitalia buyer ultimately materialises, the administrators will wind up the airline.]]>
10/17/2017 2:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[British tourism, media delegation visits Egypt]]>
The team, comprising the chairman of Abercrombie and Kent UK and the heads of other British tour operators, will visit Luxor and Aswan.

They will inspect touristic destinations in order to deliver a positive message about Egypt to the British people.

Their trip is organized in cooperation with Abercrombie and Kent Egypt.

The UK Embassy in Cairo organized a meeting for the delegation to promote British tourism to Egypt.

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10/16/2017 8:59:55 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. Embassy in Cairo restarts registration for Green Card Lottery]]>
The embassy published on its official Facebook page, “Due to technical issues, the registration period for the DV-2019 is being restarted. Based on our current information, the new registration period for the Diversity Visa 2019 application will open on October 18, 2017 at 6 p.m. Cairo time, and will close on November 22, 2017.


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10/16/2017 5:08:54 PM
<![CDATA[French amb. visits tourist sites in Assuit]]>
Director of the regional authority for tourism promotion Osman al Husseini along with other tourist officials in Assiut accompanied the minister during the tour.

Assiut Governor Yasser el Disoky said that the governorate possesses several archeological and tourist sites that represent various civilizations topped by Virgin Mary Monastery of Mount Assiut which is included within the path of the holy family journey in Egypt.

The French ambassador met on Wednesday with Assiut governor to tackle investment opportunities in it as well as reviewing a number of national projects.
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10/16/2017 4:44:23 PM
<![CDATA[In the rough - China closes Wanda golf courses in chilly northeast]]>
Fusong county in China’s cold northeastern Jilin province shut the courses at Wanda’s Changbaishan International Resort, a statement on the local government’s website dated Oct. 13 shows.

China has been cracking down on golf in recent years, amid a sweeping anti-corruption drive under President Xi Jinping, as tales of officials’ high living, including extravagant banquets and expensive rounds on the golf course, stirred public anger.

The Fusong government said it had on Oct. 9 ordered the resort to cease operations at its golf courses. The resort has two courses: an 18-hole course designed by golf star Jack Nicklaus and a 36-hole golf course.

Dalian Wanda declined to comment.

The Changbaishan resort is a 23 billion yuan (£2.6 billion) development near the border of North Korea.

A worker at the resort, who asked not to be named as she was not permitted to speak to the media, said she was unaware of the closure order, but that the courses had closed anyway in October because of the start of the winter season.

In January, China’s state planner said it had ordered the closure of more than 100 golf courses in a multi-year campaign launched in 2011 to tackle illegal development in the sector.

Golf has also been added to a list of Communist Party disciplinary violations, and is often cited in cases of graft.

The Wanda closures come just ahead of a sensitive five-yearly Party Congress in Beijing that starts this week. Xi is looking to consolidate power and to reinforce Party principles within state-owned and private corporations before the meet.

This year, China has been urging local firms to be cautious about offshore deals. Beijing’s crackdown on showy overseas ventures and high-profile empire builders has drawn in several corporations such as Wanda, HNA Group, Anbang Insurance Group [ANBANG.UL]and Fosun International (0656.HK).

Wanda, headed by billionaire magnate Wang Jianlin, has been one of the country’s most prolific dealmakers, controlling or owning stakes in U.S. cinema chain AMC as well as high-flying Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

But it dialled back some of its ambitions earlier this year, announcing plans to sell most of its tourism projects and hotels in the country to Sunac China (1918.HK) and Guangzhou R&F Properties (2777.HK) for around $9 billion (£6.7 billion).

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10/16/2017 2:39:46 PM
<![CDATA[Beijing proudly unveils mega-airport due to open in 2019]]>
Representatives showed off the sprawling skeleton of “Beijing New Airport”, which is made up of 1.6 million cubic metres of concrete, 52,000 tonnes of steel and spans a total 47 sq km, including runways.

It is expected to serve an initial 45 million passengers a year with an eventual capacity of 100 million, putting it on par with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“Lined up together there’s roughly 5km of gates,” said project spokesman Zhu Wenxin. “It’s a shining example of China’s national production capacity.”

Updates on the airport come as the ruling Communist Party is set to open its 19th congress later this week, a twice-a-decade leadership event where Xi will consolidate power and emphasise successful projects and policy from his first five years.

The project, which broke ground in 2014, is one of the region’s largest infrastructure investments under Xi’s rule, which has been plagued by fears of slowing economic growth, offset slightly by a construction spree.

China has sought to boost its profile as both an aviation hub and a manufacturer in recent years. The country’s first home-grown passenger jet, the C919, lifted off on its maiden flight in May, edging into a multibillion-dollar market currently dominated by Boeing Co and Airbus SE.

Situated 67 km south of Beijing, the airport technically falls in neighbouring Hebei province, though it will eventually constitute its own development zone.

It will relieve pressure on Beijing’s existing international airport, to the northeast of Beijing and currently the world’s second largest by passenger volume, which opened a new terminal worth US$3.6 billion in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Summer Olympics.

The existing airport will continue to operate major international flights, though a third smaller domestic airport in the city’s south will close in coming years.

Two of China’s three major airlines, China Eastern Airlines Corp and China Southern Airlines Co, will relocate to the airport on completion, accounting for roughly four-fifths of the new airport’s total traffic.

The airport will be connected to Beijing by a high-speed train with a top speed of 350 km an hour, as well as an inter-city train and a major expressway.

Original plans for the airport were made by French airports operator Aeroports de Paris, though third-party improvements to the original version make the final design “wholly domestic”, said Zhu.

“It’s like a large flower, but made of steel,” said one construction worker on the site, who declined to share his name because he was not authorised to speak to press.


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10/16/2017 2:38:13 PM
<![CDATA[Kinshasa named as worst megacity for get-ahead women in poll]]>
The Thomson Reuters Foundation asked 380 experts on women’s issues in 19 megacities several questions, including if women in their city had access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services such as bank accounts and loans.

On economic opportunities Kinshasa came out as the worst of the megacities - all of which have populations of more than 10 million - followed by Cairo and Karachi. By contrast London was named as the best, followed by Shanghai.

Experts said most women in Kinshasa work in small, informal businesses or agriculture - sectors often cut off from banking - and many live on the city outskirts without electricity and roads, making it hard to travel to banks.

“These two sectors - small businesses and agriculture - occupy more than 80 percent of women but these are risky activities according to financial institutions,” said Scolastique Mahindo, a representative of U.N. Women in Congo.

Figures from a 2014 World Bank survey found less than a quarter of women in Africa’s second largest country use financial services, compared with four in 10 men.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCE

Girls often miss out on education due to forced marriage, child labour and poverty, with only six in 10 girls completing primary school, compared to eight out of 10 boys, UNICEF says.

Wanet Amba of the National Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises of Congo (FENAPEC) said access to financial services tended to require administrative procedures and legal documents that are out-of-reach for many women in Kinshasa.

But some women, such as Magalie Mbombo, get around this by being part of a local savings and loans association.

Mbombo has worked as a market trader for almost two decades without ever dealing with a bank and her business has thrived.

Common across Africa, such cooperative schemes - which see members put in money and take turns to claim the pot - allow people who cannot obtain credit to finance their projects.

“If I save $1,000 in a bank, I will not even get $100 in interest,” Mbombo said. “I have seen some traders flee the market because they could not afford to pay back their credit.”

Once such schemes reach a certain size, they can attract the eye of microfinance institutions, which give small loans to the poor, along with financial services such as savings accounts, training and peer support, which particularly benefits women.

“We owe our expansion to the women who succeeded in small businesses and have become today’s big traders,” said Mamie Kalonda, head of FINCA Congo, the country’s largest microfinance institution with about 400,000 members, most of them women.

Yet persuading women to invest their hard-earned cash is a challenge as Congo’s deepening economic crisis bites hard, said Rosine Nzumba, manager of a women-run cooperative in Kinshasa.

“The poor financial inclusion of women in Kinshasa is a result of poverty,” said Nzumba.

The government says it is trying to get more women involved in the economy, setting up a microfinance fund in 2013 and recently a financial education program.

Yet with 98 percent of Congo’s money in the hands of individuals rather than in the banking system, such efforts will take time, said central bank governor Déogratias Mutombo.

“It must be corrected by changing (this) behaviour (of hoarding money),” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The survey was conducted online and by phone between June 1 and July 28, with 20 experts questioned in all 19 cities. The results were based on a minimum of 15 experts in each city..

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10/16/2017 2:17:55 PM
<![CDATA[Status from sand at Sand City Hurghada ]]>
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Sphinx – Official Website

Sand city Hurghada will take you on a journey through different ages. It is a blend between two different concepts named historical art and wonderland art.

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Napleon statue – Official Website

Historical art is about 22 sand sculptures and 6 reliefs representing legends and military leaders, while the wonderland art is about 22 sculptures and 11 reliefs of Walt Disney animated characters.

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Alexander The Great - Official Website

It is the one and only museum of its kind in Africa and the Middle East.It was built in seven months using 11.00m3 of sand 4000 tone of water.

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Spider Man -Official Website

The city has a section for family outing to enjoy shopping square, coffee area, and kid’s playground where they can learn how to sculpture the sand.

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walt Disney Character - Official Website

Do not miss an ultimate pleasure in discovering the first open air sand museum in Hurghada.

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Cleopatra - Official Website
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10/16/2017 2:00:58 PM
<![CDATA[Bangkok hotels fully booked ahead of funeral of revered Thai king]]>
The funeral of King Bhumibol, who died on October 13 last year after seven decades on the throne, will run for five days next week, with most events centring on the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang, a public square in the historic quarter.

About 250,000 mourners are expected to attend the funeral, which will feature gold-tipped pavilions built for the occasion, and October 26, the day of the cremation, has been declared a national holiday.

“Many Thais wishing to attend the cremation feel it would be more convenient having a place to stay nearby, so most hotels have been booked out already,” Supawan Tanomkieatipume, president of the Thai Hotels Association, told Reuters.

A Reuters survey of three hotels on the Khao San Road, the main artery of the Banglamphu backpacker area, found no rooms were available.

“We are fully booked during the royal cremation,” said Preechaya Amngeun, 23, a guest services agent at the Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai, part of French hotel group Accor.

“Around 80 per cent of the guests we have are Thais. The other 20 per cent are foreign tourists.”

Thailand’s tourism industry, which accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, has been a rare bright spot for an economy that has struggled since a 2014 coup. It has weathered political turbulence and a major natural disaster over the past decade.
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10/16/2017 1:50:34 PM
<![CDATA[Winter season is very promising for Egyptian tourism]]>
After the number of tourists to Egypt increased notably during the last summer season in comparison to the summer season of 2016, it is expected that Egyptian tourism will continue recovering.

Ali Okda, manager of a travel company and the Egyptian representative of the German Company FTI, has revealed that booking rates are great.

He added that the number of flights to Egypt organized by his company increased from 70 flights to 144 in November, as the company aims to increase the number of tourists traveling to Egypt from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France.

He noted that Hurghada has the highest number of flights, with 102 flights to the city each week.

Okda also predicted that flights between Moscow and Cairo will be resumed by the end of October,

according to statements by Russian officials

, assuring that the stability of the political scene in Egypt has helped greatly in improving the status of tourism.

On the other hand, 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, noting that more and more nationalities are becoming attracted to cultural tourism, such as Italians and Scandinavians, as a result of the efforts exerted by travel companies in advertising traveling to Upper Egypt.

Othman also announced that flights from Japan, Paris and Spain will be returning by the end of October, in addition to an increase in German flights to Luxor. He further noted that Thomas Cook will be resuming flights to Egypt from London and Manchester by the end of November.]]>
10/16/2017 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to receive 8th Boeing jet from USA]]>
The eighth Boeing B737-800 NG airplane from the 737 Max family will arrive to Cairo in a couple of days, as part of a deal for nine airplanes that EgyptAir had purchased to join its fleet.

The delegation includes experts in different fields; they will be responsible for the final checks, trial voyage and will finish the receiving procedures.

This is the 65th airplane added to the six-year-old fleet according to a drawn replacement and renewal plan.

The airplane is a number 25 from a model that is considered the bestselling in the 737 Boeing families. The 737 delivers superior reliability, fuel efficiency and high-value return operators required in today's competitive market, according to Boeing’s official website.

The aircraft is part of a $864 million deal between EgyptAir and Boeing. It 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.
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10/16/2017 11:30:56 AM
<![CDATA[Stay tuned for unmatched Grand Egyptian Museum]]>
The Ministry of State for Planning and Follow-up and administrative reformation has announced that the plan of the financial year 2017/2018 sets the Grand Egyptian Museum project as one of its most vital projects during this year.

The museum is expected to be an enormous tourist attraction as it displays monuments which date back to the prehistoric age passing by Ancient Egypt and through to the Greek and Roman eras. The museum also exclusively displays the treasures of King Tutankhamun.

The ministry had announced through its Facebook page that the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to have a partial opening by the end of 2018, stating that the museum’s foundation stone was put back in 2002, while construction started in 2012.

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1- Top view of museum - Grand Egyptian Museum official Facebook Page


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2- Construction of museum - Grand Egyptian Museum official Facebook Page
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10/16/2017 6:13:09 AM
<![CDATA[Italian exhibition present ‘Me, Egypt and Nuba’]]>
An Italian exhibition debuted a 3D promotional documentary movie about Egypt and Nuba Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to the Italian newspaper SanRemo.

The movie was mainly showcased to entice Italian tourists to visit Egypt in the near future.

The documentary was screened to give the impression of walking inside the sites.
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Nuba Exibition - CC

According to SanRemo, the movie expected audience and fans who are passionate about photography, travelling to distant places and treasures will surely be amazed by the marvelous scenic views, which Marco Andrighetto; the Italian photographer, spared no effort to collect while being in Egypt and especially Nuba from 2006 to 2016.

Along the journey, spectators are taken to visit and enjoy some of the most attractive sites.

The journey starts with Cairo and the most visited temples throughout Egypt at Dendera.

Then it goes through the Valley of Kings; ranking atop of Italian tourists most attractive destinations, and continues to the Coptic necropolis at Kharga’s Oasis.
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Pyramids - CC
Accompanied by aharmonious music background, the thousand wonders sentimental journey shows Egypt’sbreathtaking white desert where zoomorphic and anthropomorphic silhouettes carved in limestone rock by pharaonic sculptors.

After crossing Siwa village and seeing ancient Berber culture, visitors are forwarded to Nuba, the ancient kingdom of Kush, where 3D images continue to give the impression of traveling to very distant sites.
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Hatshpsut Temple - CC
Promotional videos and documentarieshave acted as key factors promoting tourism. Egypt has recently won the World Tourism Organization Prize participating with a promotional film titled "This is Egypt." It is an eighty second film that featured mesmerizing scenes of unique tourist attractions in Egypt, highlighting the diverse range of tourist activities available in Egypt and the different types of tourism in Egypt that can be enjoyed; including cultural, leisure and marine tourism.

“This is Egypt" was chosen as Best Tourism Promotion by the Golden City Gate Award, on the sidelines of the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin (ITB) held last March. ]]>
10/15/2017 10:30:23 PM
<![CDATA[Low Profile Museums in Abdeen Palace ]]>
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Weapon museum – Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Tea Palace – Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Weapon Pavilion - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

Once you enter through a huge gate. You will find a hall divided into two gardens and two open air museums called the Palace Tea museum. It is on the right side where the royal family sat to drink tea. The Music Museum is where the royal family listened to music.

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Medal museum - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Silverware museum - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Silver pavilion - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Silver tool - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

The Weapon museum is the first museum you will see which comprises samples of weapons used in the kingdom. There are also weapons from all over world and the first and second World War.

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Painting of English – French War - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Solider Uniform - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Medals at abdeen Palace - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

The Royal Fishing Museum includes all fishing tools the royal family used. The Silver Ware Museum give us background about silver accessories that the royal family used.

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Royal Pavilion - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Gun at weapon museum - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Statue of Mohamed Ali Family - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

On the other side, the Medal Museum comprises all royal medals and the queens’ accessories. There were gifts from kings across the world on the same floor of the Presidential Museum. There are also presidential souvenir gifts to Egypt at the time the kingdom became a republic.

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Napleon BonPart statue at weapon museum - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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- Macquett of Maka and Kaaba at Presidential Museum- Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Gift from Tanzania President at Presidential museum - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Kuwait wall macquett at Presidential museum - Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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Pharaonic Boat at Presidential museum- Credited to Photographer Mohamed Mamdouh El-Shenawy

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10/15/2017 6:36:19 PM
<![CDATA[Ramy Ashour promotes Egyptian tourism ]]>
The authority’s slogan for the promotion campaign will be on Ashour’s sportswear during international tournaments, Dameery added.

A press conference will be held on Tuesday to announce more details.

“Egypt is full of many champions and celebrities… they represent the best of Egypt in every field,” Dameery said.

Ashour participated in nearly 15 competitions around the world. He plays roughly five to seven matches annually, Dameery noted; adding that the squash player expressed his willingness to participate with the Egyptian delegations in world tourist exhibitions to promote Egypt.

The 30-year-old player was named the Junior World Champion in 2004 and 2006.]]>
10/15/2017 4:16:44 PM
<![CDATA[Number of German, English tourists to be doubled ]]>
German and English tourism companies declared that the flight bookings to Egypt will double starting November.

The number of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam are witnessing a notable increase; reaching 10 flights, 102 flights and 26 flights per week respectively in the coming season.

The Egyptian stability, on both the political and security levels, led to an increasing flow of tourism from Germany, Switzerland, France, and Austria.

The international travel agency Thomas Cook announced that the number of English tourists booking to visit all cities of Egypt increased; except for Sharm El-Sheikh, due to the ban imposed by the British government after the crash of the Russian plane in October 2015.

Egyptian tourism faced a couple of setbacks over the past period; one of which was the Russian airplane incident in October 2015. Since then, Egypt has recovered gracefully and is back on the right track. Furthermore, Egypt is expecting the number of visitors to reach 8 million this year, compared to last year’s 4.5 million, Thomas Cook added.

Travel Quotidiano predicts that the income from tourism to Egypt will reach $6 billion by the end of 2017, compared to $3.4 billion last year, despite the current halting of Russian flights to Egypt since the 2015 incident.
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10/15/2017 3:03:36 PM
<![CDATA[St Helena’s isolation ends as air link opens]]>
Around 100 islanders came out to the airport to watch the historic landing of the Embraer 190 jet which came from Johannesburg.

On the tarmac, some 60 incoming passengers were welcomed by the island’s smiling governor, Lisa Phillips.

“It is connecting us to the world and it is opening us to the world,” said Niall O’Keeffe, in charge of economic development on the island.

St Helena, with just over 4,000 residents known as “Saints”, is best known as the rocky outcrop where French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte saw out his final days.

After five years of construction, controversy and embarrassing delays due to high winds, the airport built at a cost of £285 million (RM1.5 billion) finally opened for business.

“It will bring in tourists and we will be able to get a better standard of living,” said Phillips.

The volcanic tropical island itself measures just 122 square kilometres (47 square miles) and is located almost exactly halfway between Africa and South America.

Its isolated location meant it was chosen as a place of exile for those who suffered defeat at the hands of the British, with Napoleon held there from 1815 until his death in 1821.

Several thousand Boer prisoners of war were also detained there at the start of the 20th century.

Until yesterday, St Helena was one of the world’s most inaccessible locations.

It has been only reachable by sea, a five-day voyage from Cape Town aboard a Royal Mail vessel that chugs along at a speed of just 15 knots (28 kilometres an hour).

Every three weeks, the RMS St Helena has been the islanders’ link to the outside world, bringing a cargo of food, post, visitors and vehicles.

Major engineering challenge

The new flight route, via Windhoek in Namibia, makes the island reachable by air from South Africa in just six hours.

The airport has been a colossal civil engineering challenge.

The island had no suitable flat surface to construct the necessary 1,950 metre-long airstrip.

Engineers were forced to chip away a mountain peak and fill in a valley to create enough of an even surface.

The runway is located on a breathtaking mountain just 300 metres from the sea.

Because of high winds, Comair abandoned plans to operate the route with a Boeing 737, paving the way for AirLink’s smaller Embraer 190 jet.

High winds setback

The winds meant that the airport could not be opened in 2016 as originally planned with a ribbon-cutting by Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son.

The conditions made take-offs and landings much more difficult than expected and just weeks before the scheduled ceremony, it was cancelled and the airport became practically unused.

After more than a year of test flights and studies, the decision was taken to use the Embraer 190.

The island will be served by a weekly service from Johannesburg costing about £800 return. The average salary on St Helena is just £7,280.

“It’s more expensive that a flight to London” from South Africa, said Jacqui Wilson, who saved up to take the “historic” flight.

But on the personal side people are just so glad there is an airport.

“Now we will be able to go home more often. Our family and friends will be able to visit, which is very great,” said Catherine Man, the only veterinarian on the island.

It is also hoped that the air link will help reduce the island’s dependence on aid from London which cost the British taxpayer £53.5 million in 2015 alone.

When the RMS St Helena is retired from service next year, the island will become almost completely dependent on its airport.

But with its Napoleonic heritage, rare birds and exotic plant life, hopes are high that the island will become a nirvana for curious travellers. — AFP]]>
10/15/2017 2:23:36 PM
<![CDATA[Weeklong Mawlid in Tanta comes to an end ]]> 1-_Egyptian_touch_sayed_badawy_shrine_-_Copy
Egyptians praying in Mosque of El-Sayed El-Badawi – Egypt Today website
From inside his mosque, hundreds of Sufis gathered to celebrate his birth by reciting prayers and invoking the 99 names of God, with some of them trying to touch his tomb, praying that God answers their prayers through the blessings bestowed upon the Sufi saint.
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Egyptian celebrating birth of El-Sayed El-Badawi – Egypt Today website
Many Muslims consider this visit as a religious ritual, while others partake merely for the festivities, which included Sufi concerts, magic shows, and fire twirlers.
This event also has trade value, as many vendors stand around the mosque selling Islamic books, prayer beads, musk and perfumes, toys, and sweets.
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El-Sayed El-Badawi Mosque – Egypt Today website ]]>
10/15/2017 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mountaineer Reinhold Messner, and the art of not getting killed]]>
That he has lived to tell those tales, is mainly down to luck, he says.

Now 73 years old with an unruly mop of grey hair and a full beard, the man who counts German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a walking buddy says he is always in pursuit of the next challenge.

"Life is about daring to carry out your ideas," he told AFP in an interview at this week's Frankfurt book fair.

"And for me, it always comes back to the wilderness, nature, mountains."

One of the best-known living mountaineers, Messner became the first person to climb Mount Everest solo and without the help of bottled oxygen in 1980.

He also became, in 1986, the first the scale the world's 14 summits over 8,000 metres (26,000 feet), again without supplemental oxygen.

Along the way, he has pioneered an extreme style of mountaineering known as alpinism, where climbers aim to reach the top with as little material and outside help as possible.

"We were the first generation to say: we don't need all that," recalls Messner, who grew up in South Tyrol and started climbing at the age of five.

But it is an art that is increasingly getting lost, he says, dismissing today's climbers who rely on sherpas and ready-made routes to reach the peak.

"The true alpinist doesn't want any infrastructure, he wants to go into the wild.

"And the odds of getting killed there are relatively high. And most people are sensible enough not to want that," he laughs.

"But the art of not getting killed is only an art if there's a chance you could die," he adds. "If I rule out the chance of getting killed in advance, the whole thing becomes a game, or tourism or consumerism."

Tragedy
Messner's own exploits have not been spared from tragedy.

In 1970, his brother Guenther died as they were descending Pakistan's "killer mountain" Nanga Parbat in bad weather. Messner himself lost seven toes to frostbite.

His brother's death prompted one of the most infamous rows in mountaineering history, which haunted Messner for decades.

Other members in the expedition accused him of leaving his brother behind near the summit in a bid to become the first to ascend the mountain from one side and descent from the other.

Mount Everest
Mount Everest is considered one of the toughest mountains to climb
It wasn't until 2005 that Messner said he felt vindicated, when Guenther's remains were recovered close to where he always insisted his brother had died in an avalanche.

His daring feats have become the stuff of legend, but Messner -- who has a history of falling out with teammates and preferring to climb alone -- says he has experienced plenty of failures along the way too.

"Around half of the top alpinists have died climbing," he said.

"Of course if I'm careful and turn back more often than the others, I can increase my chances of survival. But if I hadn't been lucky a few times, I wouldn't be here."

Walking with Merkel
Messner later moved on to different challenges, crossing the Gobi Desert and Antarctica, and claims that he discovered that the Yeti, also known as the "Abominable Snowman", was just a bear.

A celebrity in his home country, he then went into politics. Running as an independent, he served as a member of the European Parliament for five years from 1999, sitting with the Greens.

Messner, who is married and has four children, then went on to found a series of mountain-top museums to raise awareness about conservation.

He is also a prolific writer and was in Frankfurt to present his latest book "Wild", chronicling the true story of an ill-fated 1916 Antarctic expedition.

He still climbs mountains today, though no longer the behemoths of the past.

A longtime friend of Merkel, he regularly accompanies Europe's most powerful woman on walks during her summer holidays in the Alps.

"She's an incredibly tough woman. She has no time for training... but she has a tenaciousness that I very much admire. And she has no vanity."

Today, Messner spends his time making films and talks excitedly about his current one, which is set in Kenya and tells the story of two climbers who run into trouble and are faced with life-altering dilemmas.

"I want to observe how people act in a very difficult situation," he says.

After a lifetime of seeking out the next frontier, he believes filmmaking will be his final project.

"I figure I need about five years to learn how to do this right, then another five years to make good movies. After that, I know I won't have any more energy left."

He says he has always known when the time was right to move on to the next chapter.

"I was always at my best when I was learning, when I was curious. When I had yet to see past the next horizon."]]>
10/15/2017 10:21:10 AM
<![CDATA[Roma to promote tourism to Egypt ]]>
This campaign will be the sponsor of the match between Napoli and Roma played on Saturday, using the match as an excellent platform to internationally promote tourism to Egypt.

The Italian player of Egyptian origins, Stephan Sha'arawy, will be the featured model of this campaign, as he will hand out the awards to the winners, giving them the chance to travel to Sharm El-Sheikh, Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam and Marsa Matrouh.

The Italian promotional campaign is hanging banners all around the Italian stadium about the best Egyptian cities, presenting a promotional video about Egypt on the main four mega-screens in the stadium.

For more publicity, promotional campaigns will be broadcasted on Italian television channels, such as Sky Clacio, a channel that has more than 5 million subscribers, and also on the official Italian club’s television Roma TV. ]]>
10/14/2017 10:48:08 PM
<![CDATA[Roma Club chooses Egypt as official tourism partner]]>
According to its announcement, the partnership will begin with the kick-off in the match between Roma and Napoli on Saturday. The announcement will have advertising displayed on the LED hoardings around the pitch at Stadio Olimpico.

The agreement will last for the whole season and will see the club supporting and promoting Egypt and its tourist activities, as well as organizing shared initiatives involving the general public and the media.

Roma will publicize the partnership using advertising space at Stadio Olimpico and across its digital and social-media platforms.

For its part, the Egyptian Tourist Organization director Emad Fathy Abdalla stated that, “we’re delighted to be teaming up with one of the biggest and most successful football clubs in Italy.”

"The partnership will allow Italian visitors who choose Egypt as a holiday destination to enjoy and get to know the country in more detail as they discover its historical, artistic and natural wonders,” he added.
]]>
10/14/2017 3:03:47 PM
<![CDATA[India eyes Lanka airport]]>
Sri Lanka's civil aviation minister, Nimal Siripala, said the country had been looking for alternative investors in the Hambantota area, where China has built a seaport and is in discussions to build an investment zone and a refinery.

"It was during this time India came up with a proposal," Siripala said. "They were ready for a joint venture with the Airport and Aviation Services Limited," he said, referring to the state-run company that runs Sri Lanka's main airport in the capital Colombo and the one in the south, in Mattala.

Hambantota sits near one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, aimed at building trade and transport links across Asia and beyond to Europe.

China runs the seaport with a 99-year lease and was planning to expand its footprint in the area with the refinery, which would be Sri Lanka's largest, and an investment zone of about 6,000 hectares (15,000 acres). Beijing's projects, backed by loans extended by the Chinese government and initiated by a previous Sri Lankan government, have faced widespread opposition.

Local residents facing eviction to make way for the projects have staged numerous protests. Other critics say the Sri Lankan regime signed up for unnecessary and loss-making projects, pushing the country into long-term indebtedness.

India has offered to set up a joint venture with Sri Lanka to manage and expand facilities at the loss-making Mattala airport, which sits adjacent to the Hambantota seaport, according to Siripala and an Indian government source, who requested anonymity.

There was no immediate response from the Indian foreign ministry to a request for comment on the airport deal.

The initial investment would be $293 million, of which India will provide 70 per cent on a 40-year lease, according to a Sri Lankan cabinet paper reviewed by Reuters that details the Indian plan to make the airport viable.

The airport, built at a cost of $253 million by China, which also provided $230 million of funding, gets one flight a day, from Dubai, and has been dubbed the world's emptiest airport for its long, empty corridors.

The Indian government source said India had proposed establishing a flying school and a maintenance hub at Mattala to boost airport revenues while it builds up traffic. There are also hopes the airport could be a destination for Indian tourists. "We are trying for a large integration of the Sri Lankan and Indian eco-systems, we want to boost tourism in our two countries," the source said.

China said it was not aware Sri Lanka was considering allowing India to manage the airport. China also put in a bid to operate the facility, but the two sides failed to agree on financial terms. "China hopes the relevant country does more to play a constructive role in increasing mutual trust and cooperation between nations in the region and promoting regional peace, stability and development," the Chinese foreign ministry said in response to an email request for comment.]]>
10/14/2017 11:09:10 AM
<![CDATA[Dark skies and chest pain as California fires spew smoke 100 miles]]>
Wind-driven smoke and soot forced coastal San Franciscans to breathe air as dirty as parts of Beijing on Thursday and Friday. School districts far away from the fire zone urged parents to keep children with respiratory illnesses at home and at least one university canceled classes.

"I have asthma and allergies, and my chest really hurts," said Beatriz Lerma, a white face mask over her mouth and nose in a clinic at an evacuation center in Petaluma, west of the fires.

Since the deadly fires began amid hurricane-force winds on Sunday night, the air has turned unhealthy or hazardous not only in hard-hit Sonoma and Napa counties, where the worst fires are burning, but locations 50 miles away or more, said Melanie Turner, a spokeswoman for the California Air Resources Board.

Moving with the wind, the bad air brings eerie daytime gray to far-flung communities and turns the sun orange.

"The smoke is moving around and it's changing all the time," Turner said.

Concern over air quality prompted so much traffic on a government website that tracks it, AirNow.gov, that it crashed intermittently Thursday and Friday.

The poor air is just one strain on the region's already stretched health care system.

The Kaiser Permanente medical center that serves Sonoma County has been closed since Monday along with its pharmacy, and throughout the Northern San Francisco Bay Area, doctors who have lost their own homes to fires are still caring for patients in evacuation centers.

The Kaiser Permanente organization, a national non-profit medical provider, said Friday it was increasing its supplies of respiratory medications in Northern California and reaching out to families with young children and others at risk for breathing ailments.

Firefighters faced more dry, windy conditions on Friday that could whip up wildfires in Northern California that have killed at least 32 people and left hundreds missing in the heart of wine country.

The most lethal wildfires in California's history have killed people while they slept in their beds and prompted authorities to order thousands of residents from their homes.

Paramedics said children and others with respiratory problems suffered from shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and nausea, and local fire departments and others brought oxygen tanks to evacuation centers to ease the suffering.

State assemblyman Jim Wood and his staff delivered about 200 specialized face masks used to protect against smoke and other particulates in the air, a spokeswoman said.

"A lot of the people having respiratory problems have weaker immune systems, like children or elderly patients," said Megan Teutschel, a paramedic who was volunteering at the Petaluma evacuation center clinic. ]]>
10/14/2017 7:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[India eyes airport in Sri Lanka, near Chinese Belt]]>
Sri Lanka’s civil aviation minister, Nimal Siripala, said the country had been looking for alternative investors in the Hambantota area, where China has built a seaport and is in discussions to build an investment zone and a refinery.

“It was during this time India came up with a proposal,” Siripala said Monday. “They were ready for a joint venture with the Airport and Aviation Services Limited,” he said, referring to the state-run company that runs Sri Lanka’s main airport in the capital Colombo and the one in the south, in Mattala.

The town of Hambantota sits near one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, aimed at building trade and transport links across Asia and beyond to Europe.

China runs the seaport with a 99-year lease and was planning to expand its footprint in the area with the refinery, which would be Sri Lanka’s largest, and an investment zone of about 6,000 hectares (15,000 acres).

Beijing’s projects, backed by loans extended by the Chinese government and initiated by a previous Sri Lankan government, have faced widespread opposition in Sri Lanka.

Local residents facing eviction to make way for the projects have staged numerous protests. Other critics say the Sri Lankan government signed up for unnecessary and loss-making projects, pushing the country into long-term indebtedness.

India has offered to set up a joint venture with Sri Lanka to manage and expand facilities at the loss-making Mattala airport, which sits adjacent to the Hambantota seaport, according to Siripala and an Indian government source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

There was no immediate response from the Indian foreign ministry to a request for comment on the airport deal.

The initial investment would be $293 million, of which India will provide 70 percent on a 40-year lease, according to a Sri Lankan cabinet paper reviewed by Reuters that details the Indian plan to make the airport viable.

The airport, built at a cost of $253 million by China, which also provided $230 million of funding, gets one flight a day, from Dubai, and has been dubbed the world’s emptiest airport for its long, empty corridors.

The Indian government source said India had proposed establishing a flying school and a maintenance hub at Mattala to boost airport revenues while it builds up traffic. There are also hopes the airport could be a destination for Indian tourists.

“We are trying for a large integration of the Sri Lankan and Indian eco-systems, we want to boost tourism in our two countries,” the source said.

China said it was not aware that Sri Lanka was considering allowing India to manage the airport. China also put in a bid to operate the facility, but the two sides failed to agree on financial terms.

“China hopes the relevant country does more to play a constructive role in increasing mutual trust and cooperation between nations in the region and promoting regional peace, stability and development,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in response to an email request for comment.

OLD BONDS

India and Sri Lanka have centuries-old ethnic and cultural bonds, but these frayed amid New Delhi’s support for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority during the island’s 26-year civil war, which ended in 2009.

China was among the first countries that stepped in to help in the post-war reconstruction of Sri Lanka, building roads, power stations and ports.

By 2014, Chinese navy submarines were also docking in Colombo, raising alarm in New Delhi and prompting a push by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to claw back influence in the region.

The Indian source said New Delhi would allow Sri Lanka to determine the size of the Indian stake in the airport venture and whether it would involve state or private companies.

However, some opposition groups are concerned that turning to India is equally fraught with risk.

Dullas Alahapperuma, an opposition member of parliament, said the government was making a mistake by handing over national assets to China and India in Hambantota.

“In the end, there could be dangerous consequences,” he said.

On Tuesday, police detained three opposition MPs protesting in Hambantota against the airport lease plan. The three included Namal Rajapaksa, the son of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president who signed the construction deal with China.

Siripala, the aviation minister, said any deal to give India the right to manage the airport was purely commercial and would not compromise Sri Lanka’s security interests.]]>
10/13/2017 12:56:31 PM
<![CDATA[Thousands of penguin chicks starve in Antarctica]]>
French scientists, supported by WWF, have been studying a colony of 18,000 pairs of Adelie penguins in East Antarctica since 2010 and discovered only two chicks survived the most recent breeding season in early 2017.

They attributed the disaster to extensive sea ice late in the summer, meaning the adult penguins had to travel further to find food, with the chicks dying as they waited.

Yan Ropert-Coudert, senior penguin scientist at Dumont D´Urville research station, adjacent to the colony, said the region was impacted by environmental changes linked to the breakup of the Mertz glacier.

"The conditions are set for this to happen more frequently due to the breaking of the Mertz glacier in 2010 that changed the configuration of the stretch of sea in front of the colony," he told AFP.

"But there are other factors needed to have a zero year: a mix of temperature, wind direction and strength, no opening of polynya in front of the colony."

A polynya is an area of unfrozen sea within an ice pack.

He added that the coming season seemed to be better for the birds in terms of sea ice "but we never know how it will turn unfortunately".

Surviving mostly on a diet of krill -- a small shrimp-like crustacean -- Adelie penguins, slick and efficient swimmers, have been generally faring well in East Antarctica.

But they have been declining in the Antarctic region more generally where climate change has taken its toll, with shifting ice reducing habitat while warming seas affect their prey.

Four years ago, the same colony, which numbered 20,196 pairs at the time, failed to produce a single chick.

Heavy sea ice, combined with unusually warm weather and rain followed by a rapid drop in temperature, resulted in them becoming saturated and freezing to death.

News of the penguin's problems came ahead of an annual meeting next week in Hobart of the 25-member Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Last year CCAMLR agreed to create the world's largest marine sanctuary covering more than 1.55 million square kilometres (600,000 square miles) -- roughly the size of Britain, Germany and France combined -- in the Ross Sea area of Antarctica.

But time ran out on a second proposed protected area in East Antarctica, covering another one million square kilometre zone, where the penguins died.

Hopes are high it will get the green light this time with WWF's head of polar programmes Rod Downie saying it would help secure the future for Adelie penguins.

"The risk of opening up this area to exploratory krill fisheries, which would compete with the Adelie penguins for food as they recover from two catastrophic breeding failures in four years, is unthinkable," he said.]]>
10/13/2017 12:55:45 PM
<![CDATA[Airbnb targets business travelers to France]]>
Airbnb For Business was launched in 2015 for companies looking for new and cheaper ways to accommodate staff on business trips and for Airbnb to keep up its rapid expansion.

Business travel is growing faster than leisure travel and corporate customers now account for some 15 percent of rental nights booked on Airbnb. The goal is to lift that ratio to 30 percent by 2020.

“We think there are very good prospects for Airbnb in business travel and France is definitely a market we are looking at,” Jon Liebtag, Airbnb’s head of business travel for EMEA told Reuters, mentioning Germany and Britain too.

In France last year the number of stays booked on Airbnb by business travelers grew four-fold.

With over 400,000 listings, France is Airbnb’s second largest market after the United States, and Paris, the most visited city in the world, is its biggest single market, with 65,000 homes listed.

AMBITIONS UNCHECKED

Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb, which matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests, has become a mainstay for holidaymakers.

Liebtag, who moved from San Francisco to London in April to spearhead the European push, was in Paris on Thursday to meet potential corporate clients.

“Right now we focus mostly on Paris but we will expand elsewhere in France,” he said.

Initial corporate clients include tech-focused groups like BlablaCar, Europe’s biggest ride-sharing start-up, but Airbnb is seeing larger more established firms joining, such as Morgan Stanley and Ernst & Young.

Worldwide, business travel spending reached $1.3 trillion in 2016 and is estimated to grow by 6.1 percent in 2018 and 7 percent in 2019 and 2020, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

In France, business-travel spending was $38.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $56.2 billion in 2021.

Airbnb has launched “Business Travel Ready”, through which users can select accommodation which fulfill requirements such as Wi-Fi, 24-hour check-in and a laptop-ready workspace.

NOT ALL PLAIN SAILING

The firm has clashed with hoteliers and authorities in cities from New York to Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris which in some cases are limiting short-term rentals. Critics accuse it of exacerbating housing shortages and driving out lower-income residents.

Its push into business travel may attract further ire from traditional hotel groups, which see Airbnb as unfair competition. Some 48 percent of bookings at hotels in France are for business travel in France. That ratio is as high as 60 percent for AccorHotel, Europe’s largest hotelier.

Liebtag played down those concerns.

“I do not look at hotels as a competition for this type of travel. We are not going after the road warriors who are traveling 100 days a year,” he said.

An estimated 60 percent of Airbnb customers are tech-savvy “millennials”.

“Business travel is the loneliest type of travel away from your family and friends. You want to feel at home and the ability to live like a local,” Liebtag said.

Privately-held Airbnb raised $1 billion in its latest round of funding in March, valuing the company at $31 billion. The company which operates in more than 65,000 cities worldwide turned profitable in the second quarter of 2016]]>
10/13/2017 11:45:00 AM
<![CDATA[California wildfires threaten wine country tourism lifeblood]]>
At the Inn on First bed and breakfast in the famous wine town of Napa, co-owner Jamie Cherry was encouraging callers to postpone rather than cancel visits, as wildfires burned largely unchecked across the region.

“People are cancelling as far as November already,” Cherry said. “It’s going to be devastating in terms of financial loss for everybody.”

The fast-moving fires have killed at least 26 people and left hundreds missing in an area less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco.

With hundreds of wineries, expensive restaurants and bucolic rolling scenery, the wine country of Sonoma and Napa counties is a major draw for visitors. Limousines and buses clog parking lots at weekends as visitors sip Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignons in towns known for their mix of rural and cosmopolitan vibes.

Now, with at least 13 burned wineries, shuttered tasting rooms and thick smoke in the air from nearly two dozen fires that have charred more than 190,000 acres across the state, it is unclear how quickly the region can lure back tourists.

“WE‘D GO BACK”

Napa Valley welcomed 3.5 million visitors last year, with overnight guests spending on average $402 per day, according to Visit Napa Valley, the region’s tourism marketing group.

“There is a good amount of infrastructure that has burned down, homes have burned down, wineries have burned. There are restaurants that are not going to open quickly,” said Clay Gregory of Visit Napa Valley.

On Thursday, tasting rooms remained closed and the famous Napa Valley Wine Train, which ferries tourists through the vineyards, said it planned to reopen on Sunday.

Dozens of limousines and tour buses, their polish dulled by a film of ash, sat in a parking lot and warehouse on the outskirts of Napa. The company’s owner, Michael Graham, said the business had just hit peak demand of 100 reservations a day, but since the fires that had slumped to two.

Graham remains hopeful, however, citing tourism’s quick recovery after the 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa in 2014: “People were out wine-tasting the same day.”

Graham said the region was still largely intact, with vast swathes of countryside untouched by fire.

“It’s just smoky. As soon as they get this contained it will be back to business as usual,” he said.

Others agreed the effect of the fires on tourism would be short-lived.

Roseanne Rosen has fond memories of the trip with her husband to wine country that she just finished ahead of the fires. The couple from Kansas City has been coming for the last decade and has no plans to abandon that tradition.

“It’s one of our favorite destinations and I don’t see that changing,” Rosen said by telephone. “Once people are open and ready for business, we’d go back in an instant.”]]>
10/13/2017 11:44:03 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptians students, U.S. universities meet at College Fair]]>
Both AMIDEAST and the U.S. embassy will have booths presenting their programs to the students at the College Fair, where a series of workshops will be held on applying to universities and a U.S. Visa.

Detailed information on exchange programs, Bachelors and Master’s Degrees in the U.S. will be accessible. The College Fair will be held again on Saturday in Alexandria at Steigenberg Cecil hotel in Raml area.

The represented schools include NYU Tandon School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Virginia Tech Universities and others.
]]>
10/13/2017 9:33:22 AM
<![CDATA[Civil Aviation cadres trained on air safety by IATA]]>
International experts in the field of air safety are delivering five courses comprising the diploma over three months, ending in December, according to a Thursday statement by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Employees at Egypt Air and private Egyptian airliners attended the first course, which was about the Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) standards of air safety. The remaining courses will discuss monitoring and inspection.

Head of the Civil Aviation Authority, Hany Salama, said the authority prioritizes strengthening the expertise of its employees to achieve the highest international standards of air safety.

]]>
10/13/2017 9:22:29 AM
<![CDATA[Weekly flights from Denmark, Italy to Sharm, Marsa Alam]]>
The airliner will make the regular trip from Billund to Sharm el-Sheikh and from Milan to Marsa Alam. Both Red Sea resorts are famous for crystal clear water and rich marine life, on top of being warmer destinations in the winter.

Air Cairo flew 250,000 tourists from January to September this year in 200 flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam airports in the framework of a strategy with the Civil Aviation Ministry and the International Air Transport Association, said Yasser el-Ramly, head of the company, in a Thursday statement.
]]>
10/13/2017 1:24:43 AM
<![CDATA[Lufthansa spreads wings by snapping up parts of Air Berlin]]>
Lufthansa plans to use the Air Berlin assets to quickly expand its Eurowings budget business. News of the deal pushed Lufthansa shares up more than 3 percent to their highest level in nearly 17 years.

Air Berlin, which has struggled to turn a profit over the last decade, filed for insolvency on Aug. 15, and a government loan has kept its planes aloft while its administrator negotiated with prospective buyers for parts of the business.

Lufthansa has agreed to acquire Air Berlin’s Austrian leisure travel airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline and 20 additional aircraft, Air Berlin said in a statement.

“This contract provides new opportunities for jobs for a large part of our workforce. But we can only really breathe again when the EU Commission approves the deal,” Air Berlin Chief Executive Thomas Winkelmann said.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said earlier he expected the European Union to approve the transaction by the end of 2017.

However, Ryanair (RYA.I), which has previously called the talks a “stitch-up”, said it would be referring the matter to the EU competition authority in due course.

Andreas Mundt, head of the German cartel office, said the Commission would take a close look at the deal and that the German authorities would follow the process closely.

Talks to sell some of Air Berlin’s remaining assets to Britain’s easyJet (EZJ.L) and other bidders are continuing, Air Berlin said, without providing details.

EasyJet, which has a base at Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport, has been discussing acquiring 27 to 30 planes. Air Berlin previously said others, such as Thomas Cook’s (TCG.L) Condor, could pick up some parts of the business.

EasyJet declined to comment on the progress of talks on Thursday.

BIG INVESTMENTS

Lufthansa CEO Spohr told a German paper earlier that his airline would be investing around 1.5 billion euros in total as a result of the Air Berlin deal.

That sum includes investment in new planes, for which the board freed up 1 billion euros of funds last month, the purchase price and the costs of taking on new staff.

Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest carrier, will cease operating flights this month, capping a turbulent summer for European carriers.

Italy’s national airline Alitalia [CAITLA.UL] is in administration and seeking investors too, British leisure airline Monarch collapsed at the start of this month.

Lufthansa’s Spohr said on Thursday while he was not interested in the Italian carrier in its current shape he would be interested in talks to create a new Alitalia.

Shares in Lufthansa were up 2.8 percent at 25.25 euros, the top gainer in Germany’s DAX market index <0#.GDAXI> by 1505 GMT.

Analysts at Bernstein Research raised their rating on Lufthansa’s shares to “outperform” from “market-perform”, saying they expected a deal with Air Berlin to add around 70 to 90 million euros to annual operating profits at Eurowings in the medium term.

HSBC analysts lifted their target share price to 29 euros from 25 euros, citing the imminent agreement with Air Berlin, a new multi-year labor deal with pilots announced this week and a positive trading performance this year.]]>
10/12/2017 9:07:24 PM
<![CDATA[Germany extends passport controls on Austrian border, flights from Greece]]>
The European Commission last month offered initial backing to a Franco-German proposal to allow more permanent border checks within the bloc’s Schengen free-travel zone.

Germany notified the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the President of the European Parliament and the interior ministers of the EU-Schengen states about its decision in a letter on Wednesday.

The commission allowed Germany to control its border with Austria in 2015 after a surge of refugees and migrants began arriving in western Europe. The temporary permission was due to expire on Nov. 11.

Immigration will be a key issue in coalition talks by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the environmentalist Greens.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere justified Germany’s move given continued security concerns, and said a complete return to free travel within the Schengen area was contingent on an improvement in the overall situation.

Germany was hit by five Islamist attacks in 2016, including one in December on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people.

“We are working hard on this, all member states, the EU Commission and the EU Council, but there is still a long way to go,” de Maiziere said in a statement.

Border controls also apply to flights to Germany from Greece, which was the gateway for thousands of migrants from Iraq and Syria.

Ministry data on Wednesday showed that 140,000 asylum seekers have registered in Germany since the beginning of 2017.]]>
10/12/2017 9:01:55 PM
<![CDATA[WH Smith's profits boosted by sales growth at travel stores]]>
WH Smith said trading profit at its more than 750 outlets at travel hubs, including railway stations and motorway service areas, rose 10.3 percent to 96 million pounds and now makes up over 60 percent of its trading profit.

Trading profit at its high street outlets was flat at 62 million pounds.

The final dividend was increased by 10 percent to take the year’s total payout to 48.2p a share.

However, shares in the company were down 2.6 percent at 2016 pence at 0725 GMT, having risen more than 45 percent so far this year.

The company’s travel business has been expanding internationally. It announced the win of six units in both Rome airports, adding another country to its mainland European presence of Alicante and Dusseldorf.

At home travel business sales over the summer also benefited from a sharp rise in the number of foreigners visiting Britain.

Official data showed that tourist numbers hit a record in July adding to evidence that the weak pound has made tourism a big beneficiary of last year’s Brexit vote. ($1 = 0.7544 pounds)]]>
10/12/2017 8:55:31 PM
<![CDATA[Airbnb targets business travelers to France]]>
Airbnb For Business was launched in 2015 for companies looking for new and cheaper ways to accommodate staff on business trips and for Airbnb to keep up its rapid expansion.

Business travel is growing faster than leisure travel and corporate customers now account for some 15 percent of rental nights booked on Airbnb. The goal is to lift that ratio to 30 percent by 2020.

“We think there are very good prospects for Airbnb in business travel and France is definitely a market we are looking at,” Jon Liebtag, Airbnb’s head of business travel for EMEA told Reuters, mentioning Germany and Britain too.

In France last year the number of stays booked on Airbnb by business travelers grew four-fold.

With over 400,000 listings, France is Airbnb’s second largest market after the United States, and Paris, the most visited city in the world, is its biggest single market, with 65,000 homes listed.

AMBITIONS UNCHECKED

Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb, which matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests, has become a mainstay for holidaymakers.

Liebtag, who moved from San Francisco to London in April to spearhead the European push, was in Paris on Thursday to meet potential corporate clients.

“Right now we focus mostly on Paris but we will expand elsewhere in France,” he said.

Initial corporate clients include tech-focused groups like BlablaCar, Europe’s biggest ride-sharing start-up, but Airbnb is seeing larger more established firms joining, such as Morgan Stanley and Ernst & Young.

Worldwide, business travel spending reached $1.3 trillion in 2016 and is estimated to grow by 6.1 percent in 2018 and 7 percent in 2019 and 2020, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

In France, business-travel spending was $38.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $56.2 billion in 2021.

Airbnb has launched “Business Travel Ready”, through which users can select accommodation which fulfill requirements such as Wi-Fi, 24-hour check-in and a laptop-ready workspace.

NOT ALL PLAIN SAILING

The firm has clashed with hoteliers and authorities in cities from New York to Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris which in some cases are limiting short-term rentals. Critics accuse it of exacerbating housing shortages and driving out lower-income residents.

Its push into business travel may attract further ire from traditional hotel groups, which see Airbnb as unfair competition. Some 48 percent of bookings at hotels in France are for business travel in France. That ratio is as high as 60 percent for AccorHotel, Europe’s largest hotelier.

Liebtag played down those concerns.

“I do not look at hotels as a competition for this type of travel. We are not going after the road warriors who are traveling 100 days a year,” he said.

An estimated 60 percent of Airbnb customers are tech-savvy “millennials”.

“Business travel is the loneliest type of travel away from your family and friends. You want to feel at home and the ability to live like a local,” Liebtag said.

Privately-held Airbnb raised $1 billion in its latest round of funding in March, valuing the company at $31 billion. The company which operates in more than 65,000 cities worldwide turned profitable in the second quarter of 2016.]]>
10/12/2017 8:48:02 PM
<![CDATA[Australian hotel group Mantra rolls out the carpet for Accor's $920 million bid]]>
AccorHotels has been on an acquisition spree that, in part, aims to support chief executive Sebastien Bazin’s goal of adding businesses that can complement its core hotel operations and offer more control of hotel distribution.

This latest deal would give the combined group about 50,000 rooms - roughly 11 percent of Australia’s hotel market, according to IBISWorld statistics.

Accor is offering A$3.96 per share, a 23 percent premium to Mantra’s last trade before the bid was initially announced on Monday. The offer price is more than double Mantra’s A$1.80 issue price when it listed in 2014.

Bazin said in a statement that the takeover would “underpin our long-term growth in the Asia-Pacific region”.

Accor, the world’s fifth largest hotel group with more than 540,000 rooms worldwide, has made expansion in the Asia Pacific region among its priorities, and it also wants to focus on building and acquiring luxury, lifestyle and resort hotels.

Last year, it expanded by 80,000 rooms, around half through acquisition and half through organic growth.

Shares in Sydney-listed Mantra rose 0.3 percent to around A$3.88, showing investor support for the deal but also some uncertainty about the possibility it may meet regulatory hurdles.

“It’s within the bounds of fairness, given what the shares have done recently,” said Noel Webster, a portfolio manager at BT Investment Management, Mantra’s largest shareholder.

“Our first reaction would be not to block it.”

The merger needed clearance from the Foreign Investment Review Board and antitrust regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Mantra said.

The ACCC expected the companies to file a “detailed submission” about the deal shortly, a spokesman said. The regulator previously said it would review any deal to decide whether to open a formal investigation.

ACCOR‘S RESTRUCTURING PLANS

The transaction would be the second-biggest in Australia’s hotel sector, and the largest buyout of an Australian entity by French interests, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Deutsche Bank, which has a ‘buy’ rating on Accor, said the deal fitted Accor’s general strategy and increased the likelihood of Accor concluding a sale of its so-called ‘Booster’ group of non-core assets, which is set to bring in around 4 billion euros.

“Australia is one of the largest markets for Accor outside Europe,” Deutsche said in a research note. “This deal would be in line with the Accor strategy to consolidate market share in markets where the company benefits or may benefit from scale.”

Gregoire Laverne, fund manager at Paris-based Roche Brune Asset Management, said the Mantra deal would strengthen Accor’s presence in Australia.

Laverne also said he had sold off Accor shares in March due to a “lack of visibility” over Accor’s restructuring plans. Accor shares were down 0.6 percent in mid-session trading.

The number of visitors to Australia surged 9 percent in the past financial year to hit a record 7.9 million while spending by international visitors climbed to $40.6 billion - also a record.

Mantra Chairman Peter Bush said in a statement the company’s board was recommending the deal to shareholders, having concluded that the “sale of the company at a significant premium to market is an attractive outcome”.

If approved, the merger could put pressure on Australia’s third-largest hotel company, Marriott International (MAR.O). Marriott Australia and New Zealand Vice President Sean Hunt declined to comment.

]]>
10/12/2017 8:44:10 PM
<![CDATA[Thailand cuts 2017 tourist arrivals forecast to 33-34 million: minister]]>
“Right now Thailand has welcomed 27 million already this year so I think for the whole year we should get 33 to 34 [million],” tourism minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told reporters.

She did not give a reason for the projecting a lower number.

The smaller number would still be a record for Thailand, which welcomed 32.6 million foreign visitors in 2016, with the largest group coming from China.

Tourist arrivals so far this year are 5.6 percent above the same period of 2016, with 7.63 million out of the total of 26.9 million coming from China, Kobkarn said.

The ministry said Thailand attracted far more tourists from China during its just-ended “Golden Week” holiday than a year earlier.

A ministry document said that 251,120 Chinese visitors arrived during Oct. 1-9, a 69 percent increase from a year earlier.

Revenue generated by them during the period was 12.53 billion baht ($378.55 million), or 76 percent higher than last year, the ministry said.

“We’re still the number one destination for Chinese tourists and many others, so our revenue still constantly grows,” Kobkarn told reporters.

Thailand is heavily dependent on tourism, which accounts for around 12 percent of the economy.

Tourism was hurt by political turmoil and a coup in 2014 and by widespread floods in 2011, but the industry recovered quickly.]]>
10/12/2017 8:36:43 PM
<![CDATA[Country of the month: Russia]]>
If you have been always meaning to visit Russia, the time might have finally come.

Russia is the biggest country in the world! Stretching over 17 million kilometer square, insuring that the Eurasian country shares borders with 14 countries, which is more neighbors than any other country. With one of the richest natural surroundings and histories in the world, formally the Soviet Union and before that the headquarters of many empires which thought to rule the world, Russia has just too much to offer:

The nature: you can only imagine how much diversity a country that huge embraces, with natural sites of all types including numerous UNESCO protected sites such as Lake Baikal in Siberia and so many national parks and protectorates.

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1- Russia - 12019 - Pixabay

The art: if you are an art lover, Moscow can guarantee you an experience of a life time, for ballet lovers there is the globally acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet Theatre. And if you are a spectator of the fine arts you cannot miss out on the Pushkin Museum and its vast collection of Russian masterpieces. As for the book worms, the place is practically a paradise on Earth, you have: Tolstoy’s estate, Chekhov’s country house, Dostoevsky’s apartment and much more!

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2- The Pietà (Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts) - Cons Ph - Wikimedia commons

The history and architecture: Moscow and Saint Petersburg are covered with buildings that are astonishingly colorful as if they came out of a fairytale, in Moscow, such as Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Saint Basil's Cathedral and generally the rest of the Red Square Amusement Palace in the Kremlin. In Saint Petersburg you will find Peter and Paul Fortress museum, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, and Saint Michael's Castle.

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3- Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo by DEZALB - Good Free Photos

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4- St.Petersburg Russia White Night – Victorgrigas

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5- St.Petersburg Russia Summer Palace - Victorgrigas - Wikimedia Commons

Transportation: the Moscow Metro is not merely an efficient way to travel through the crowded city but it is also a feast for the eyes, with spectacular breathtaking designs which you can stare at for hours. But before anything keep in mind that Russia is not the nicest country in the world and you might actually be robbed so always be careful, pay attention to your personal belongings and try to learn some basic Russian or stay in touch with someone who knows it while moving through the streets or mains of transportations.

When and How to get to Russia?

If you are intending to visit Russia during the 2018, we prefer you go during the Fifa World Cup tournament in June/July. In that case you would need to submit and application for a free Fifa Fan ID (

from here

), which grants you a Visa-free access to the country, facilitates many of your movements within the country, allow you to enter the stadiums to watch the games, travel free of charge between the cities which host the tournament, using the specified trains and public transportations during match days.

Just remember to keep your passport with you at all times and get the tickets printed into your passport at the Russian embassy before leaving. Another reason to go to Russia in June/July is that you obviously do not want to be there in the winter, these months are warmer and you can have much more fun outside.

In case you are going to attend the matches go to Fifa’s

website

to book the tickets (the second phase for purchasing is between the 16th and 28th of November and the third phase is between the 5th of December and the 31st of January).

According to Fifa’s website match tickets will cost (for non-Russians) at least $105(LE1851) per match, while the final match’s ticket will cost $1110 (LE19570).

One thing to keep in mind is that there are no direct flights between Cairo and Moscow at the moment, so make sure to find suitable round-trip tickets, which costs average $800 (LE14095) for a 3 day trip in June 2018, according to CheapOair.
]]>
10/12/2017 10:12:55 AM
<![CDATA[Emirates willing to cooperate with rival UAE airline Etihad]]>
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines speaks at the 2016 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Dublin, Ireland June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Based in the United Arab Emirates, Emirates and Etihad have been competing fiercely to build global networks around their respective hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi rather than working together, even as they battled overcapacity, security concerns and a fall in regional business travel.

“I think there is value to be had working more closely with them,” Clark told Reuters by phone, adding there might be concerns from regulators in some foreign markets.

“There are many areas that the airlines could work together on like procurement. But we have to go the first jump first to understand what it is we could do and I‘m simply the manager of one of the businesses,” he said.

“It is my superiors who have to make that call, not me.”

When asked if the pair could pursue a merger along the lines of Europe’s Air France and KLM, Clark said: “I don’t think that will be the case but it is not my call really. It is whatever (the shareholders) may do in the future.”

Emirates is owned by the Dubai government while Etihad is owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

Etihad, which has been hit hard by loss-making investments in European carriers Air Berlin and Alitalia, last month said it would appoint Britain’s top defense buyer, Tony Douglas, as its new CEO from January as the airline rethinks its aggressive global expansion strategy.

Etihad could not immediately comment on possible cooperation with Emirates.

EMIRATES ORDER PLANS

Emirates, a bigger airline than Etihad, is the largest customer for the Airbus SE A380 that has had its production rate cut due to a lack of sales.

Clark said an order for more of the superjumbo aircraft was under consideration, adding that any A380 order would help replace 25 A380s due to be retired in the middle 2020s.

He did not give any details on the order volume or whether a deal would be signed at the Dubai Airshow next month.

“Airbus would love us to do that but we’ve got a few things to sort out first so I‘m not sure that we’ll get there for the airshow,” he said.

The airline is separately looking at the Airbus A350 and the Boeing Co 787 to meet its needs in the 250-300 seat market, Clark said, after having told Aviation Week only last month that a planned order was “off the table for now”.

In 2014, Emirates canceled an order for 70 A350s.

Clark said the Emirates procurement and operational groups were engaging with both manufacturers about a potential order.

“I don’t want to focus on the Dubai Airshow,” he said of the timing. “The important thing is to get the right deal for the company at the time that suits us, not driven by a guillotine of the middle of November.”

]]>
10/11/2017 1:31:12 PM
<![CDATA[Luxor atop of Egyptian touristic cities]]>
In full swing, Luxor governorate continues its intensive preparations for the new 2017/2018 winter season, which is expected to be the best among the seasons following the 25th of January revolution. Over the past weeks, Luxor started paving all the roads and routes to welcome and receive tourists, equipping the temples with all services and supporting visitors with special needs.

Mohamed Othman, member of the Tourism Marketing Committee in Luxor, said that the early winter season this October witnesses a fruitful promising beginning. It commenced with a sizable turnout and attendance of visitors to various temples and tombs on the West and East Banks. Othman deemed October as a good harbinger for a better season than there has been since 2010.

According to Othman, there are several factors that need to be taken into account to ensure a very strong season. First of all, there must be intensive flights to open the Asian markets, which have largely substituted and covered the weakness of the European market.

"Egypt Airlines has successfully resolved the issue of the direct Japanese flights to Osaka, but up to date, it is unable to substitute Qatari Airlines and fly five flights a week from Asia, which is heavily concentrated in the Indian and Chinese markets. Most of these markets fond of cultural tourism still find it difficult to reach Egypt after the Qatari flights stopped,” Othman revealed to Youm7 newspaper.

Othman added that French flights are approved to resume by this October, which will guarantee large flocks of tourists flowing to Luxor. He demanded a quick return of Cairo-Luxor Nile cruises, as well as furnishing the main ports, which attract the French tourists.
]]>
10/11/2017 9:30:32 AM
<![CDATA[Siwa's salt lakes: beautiful and healing]]>

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Siwa's Salt Lake – Best places of Egypt Face Book Page


The lake is four meters in depth, but you cannot drown in it due to the heavy capacity of this water, as there is a large amount of natural salt mixed in it.


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Tibtah Mountain – Best places of Egypt – Face Book Page


At Al-Tibtah Mountain you can enjoy the natural beauty and swimming in crystal clear water safely, as well as get a natural medical treatment for the eyes, skin and sinuses.


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Tibtah Salty Lake – Best Places of Egypt


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Siwa Resident looking at Salty Lake – Best Places of Egypt


Siwis traditionally utilize this salt in building homes and shaping their tools and also lamps, believed to produce healing energy with the heat of the light source.


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A visitors swimming in the lake – The Hiking Club Egypt Facebook page


Siwa will celebrate its annual Tourism Festival Nov. 5, as well as its Dates Festival Nov. 22. While there, do not miss the unique salty experience.
]]>
10/11/2017 9:28:54 AM
<![CDATA[Play With Dolphins at Dolphin World in Hurghada ]]>

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Dolphin World – The Best places of Egypt Face book page

This place presents dolphin shows, sea lions, well-trained Walruses, and an organized dancing show in the water in amazing scenery that attracts children and adults.


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Children Park – The Best places of Egypt Face book page


Dolphin World Show is open every day until 3:00 p.m., but for one hour you can rest in the park taking photos with dolphins.


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People Watching The Show – The best Places of Egypt


There are also cafés and restaurants that make for a wonderful family outing.


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Dolphin Show – The Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page


The show tickets cost LE 150 ($8) for adults and LE 75 ($4.2) for children.]]>
10/11/2017 9:18:38 AM
<![CDATA[Thomas Cook promotes Hurghada]]>
Thomas Cook posted an Oct. 1 video on Facebook promoting tourism in Egypt by featuring the marvelous places it offers to visitors. The video shows Hurghada as an alternative tourist center over Sharm El-Sheikh, as the U.K. has not lifted the direct flight ban to the latter since late 2015.



The video shows the beauty of the Red Sea with its coral reefs and crystal clear water where around 1,200 aquatic species dwell.]]>
10/11/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Here is how you can get tickets for 2018 World Cup]]>
Egypt Today offers you a guide on how you can get tickets to attend matches in Russia next year.

Tickets will be sold in two phases, with more than 1.5 million tickets requested till now.

Photo_1

Phase 1

The first stage is a random selection draw, which runs from the September 14 to October 12, 2017. Ticket applicants may apply at any time during the selection draw sales period. Earlier submissions will not be preferred and do not have better chances of success than later submissions.

If demand for tickets exceeds the available inventory for a given match and/or ticket category, then random selection draws will take place to determine which ticket applicants will be allocated tickets. All successful, partially and unsuccessful ticket applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications.

Notification of successful applications will be made by November 16, 2017.

After the first stage has taken place and the successful ticket applications have been determined, the second stage opens up, in which they will be able to purchase the remaining tickets on a first-come, first-served basis from November 16, 2017 to November 28, 2017.

Phase 2

On December 1, the final draw for the World Cup will take place and all the football fans will know where all the participating teams will be playing.

The first stage will be again a ticket application collection period with applications to be submitted from December 5, 2017 until January 31, 2018. Tickets will be issued to applicants through a random selection draw.

The second stage runs from March 13 until April 3, 2018. Tickets will be issued to applicants on first-come, first-served basis.

Last minute sale

In the last minute sales phase from April 18, 2018 up until the final match day of the competition, the remaining tickets will be available to all customers online and from a date to be defined up until the final match day of the competition.

To attend matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, you need to obtain a “Fan ID”. You can apply for your Fan ID after receiving your ticket confirmation email following the conclusion of the random selection draw sales period.

A Fan ID is a personalized spectator`s ID card that each spectator must have in order to enter the stadium during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

You can submit an application for a Fan ID only after the FIFA approves your application for the match ticket purchasing.

Foreign citizens can enter the Russian Federation with a Fan ID visa-free.

A Fan ID entitles you to travel free in the special trains between the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and in public transportation in the host cities during the match days.

A Fan ID is issued and delivered free. You can submit an application for a Fan ID issue on this website after the FIFA approves your application for the match ticket purchasing.

Visit:

Https://www.fan-id.ru



FIFA has split the tickets into four categories. The fourth category is reserved for Russian residents. The other categories are available for purchase through online ticket sale.

Here is a summary of the categories and prices:

Photo_2

Opening Match
Category 1 – $550 / Category 2 – $390 / Category 3 – $220

Group Stage
Category 1 – $210 / Category 2 – $165 /Category 3 – $105

Round of 16
Category 1 – $245 / Category 2 – $185 / Category 3 – $115

Quarter Finals
Category 1 – $365 / Category 2 – $255 / Category 3 – $175

Semi Finals
Category 1 – $750 / Category 2 – $480 / Category 3 – $285

Third-place Playoff
Category 1 – $365 / Category 2 – $255 / Category 3 – $175

Final
Category 1 – $1100 / Category 2 – $710 / Category 3 – $455

Apply [

Here

]
]]>
10/11/2017 12:37:24 AM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir celebrates 100% September flight regularity ratio]]>
The company, founded in 2002 as a subsidiary of EgyptAir Holding Company, provides aircraft maintenance services in the Middle East and Africa; it proudly provides a set of services that include line maintenance, base maintenance and engine workshops, it offers engineering services as well.

The celebration was attended by EgyptAir chairman Safwat Musallam and EgyptAir Maintenance and Engineering chairman Abu Taleb Tawfik.

Musallam affirmed that the celebration is deemed an appreciation to the strenuous efforts exerted by the technical and maintenance staff and its keenness to achieve such remarkable achievement.

Musallam also shed the light on EgyptAir’s technical staff’s constant concern of achieving the highest rates of steadiness while maintaining low occurrence of technical difficulties as possible, which reflects a positive image about EgyptAir worldwide.

For his part, chairman of the maintenance subsidiary, Tawfik, expressed his appreciation to the company’s staff for their continuous keenness to double their efforts in order to achieve such positive results in comparison with competitors. He also highlighted the staff’s adherence to the highest quality and safety standards that are set by international regulations.

The technical staff also expressed its gratitude for the amount of solicitude that EgyptAir’s management shows to its staff. The staff also affirmed that such care has its positive impact on employees who share a common goal, which to attract more clients and keep pace with state-of-the-art maintenance technologies.

31wf31ftr31
EgyptAir Maintenance and Engineering Co.'s staff gathers to celebrate achieving 100% flight regularity ratio during September 2017 – Press photo
]]>
10/10/2017 10:39:16 PM
<![CDATA[Vietnam Airlines, Air France sign deal to boost routes]]>
The deal, to take effect from November 1, could see destinations in Vietnam increase to 20 from three today, and destinations in France and the rest of Europe soar to around 70 from the current 14, according to Patrick Roux, senior vice president of Air France-KLM.

The stronger cooperation, which will include coordinated flight schedules, will give the French carrier a foothold in a region already well-served by other large airlines.

Air travel has boomed in Southeast Asia in recent years, with Vietnam -- and its rapidly-rising middle class -- emerging as a bright spot.

Domestic passenger numbers surged to 28 million last year from 12 million in 2012, according to the Centre for Aviation.

Vietnamese travellers are also increasingly flying abroad, both within the Asia-Pacific and to destinations in Europe.

Vietnam Airlines said the joint venture would allow airports in both France and Vietnam to become key transit hubs.

Vietnam has become a popular destination for international visitors, as well as a jumping-off point for regional travel.

More than 10 million foreigners travelled to Vietnam last year, a 26 percent increase from the year before. That included more than one million from western European countries, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

But some warned that the country could struggle to establish itself as a key transit hub for the region.

"Vietnam Airlines doesn't quite have the penetration into the market that other regional carriers do," said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at Flightglobal.

Air France was the first western airline to serve Vietnam in 1930, when it was known as Air Orient. The inaugural trip took three days and made 18 stops.

The first direct flight between Vietnam and Paris was launched in 2003. Vietnam Airlines and Air France now between them carry an average of 400,000 passengers annually between the countries.

Japan's ANA Holdings has an 8.8 percent stake in Vietnam Airlines while the government owns the majority.

Air France CEO Franck Terner said his airline has no plans to buy a stake in the Vietnamese carrier.]]>
10/10/2017 9:07:57 PM
<![CDATA[Evolable Asia to fully acquire Osaka-based travel company]]>
* Says it plans to acquire 34.4 percent voting power in Osaka-based travel company (target company) on Oct. 10, at an undisclosed price

* Says it plans to acquire remaining voting power in target company via stock swap on Nov. 6

* Says it will hold 100 percent voting power in target company after share acquisition and stock swap]]>
10/10/2017 8:59:35 PM
<![CDATA[BRIEF-Evolable Asia to fully acquire Osaka-based travel company]]>
Says it plans to acquire remaining voting power in target company via stock swap on Nov. 6

Says it will hold 100 percent voting power in target company after share acquisition and stock swap

Source text in Japanese: goo.gl/zYaa4L

Further company coverage: (Beijing Headline News)
]]>
10/10/2017 1:06:28 PM
<![CDATA[This Venetian landmark reopens to the public for the first time in 500 years]]>
After 500 years of being reserved exclusively for the use of politicians and Italian royalty, a monumental landmark in Venice’s Piazza San Marco will reopen to the public as an exhibition space that will host art installations, events, seminars and humanitarian projects.

British architect Sir David Chipperfield will spearhead the multimillion dollar renovations to restore the decaying Procuratie Vecchie, the oldest of three buildings that border the piazza. The Procuratie Vecchie was built in the 16th century and dominates the north side of the square. At 152 m (500 ft) long, it’s also the longest building in Venice.

For nearly two centuries, the building served as the headquarters of one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, Generali Group, which will be financing the massive restoration project. Over the next few years, Chipperfield will breathe new life into the palace, transforming the space into a public venue for art exhibition and installations.

Mauritius is not just for honeymooners. Here are 5 reasons to visit the island with your family

Here’s the best of architectural photographs at the Arcaid Awards. See pics
The monument will also be home to a new social equality initiative The Humanity Safety Net which, among other projects, will support refugee start-ups. The building is expected to open in 2020.

The city of Venice receives about 60,000 visitors a day. The announcement follows on the heels of another development in Italy’s tourism industry. For the first time in decades, visitors will be able to climb to the top of Rome’s Colosseum and take in the views 120 feet (37m) above ground as of November 1.

During its Gladiator days, the highest levels were reserved for the lowliest members of society, far from the bloody and gruesome battles raging below.]]>
10/10/2017 12:56:54 PM
<![CDATA[Let’s talk green with Slovenia]]>
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Slovenia– STP Website
photo_2_-_Green_ares_of_Slovenia
Green areas of Slovenia – STP Website
The national tourist organization in Slovenia (Slovenian Tourist Board) runs with the international organization Green Destination in taking Slovenian green labels and destinations to higher levels and to be assessed by international standards. In addition, the Slovenian national program (Slovenia Green) worked a lot on improving and evaluating Slovenia as one of the leading countries in sustainable tourism by promoting the Slovenian green scheme and destinations.

photo_3_waterfalls_in_slovenia
Waterfalls in Slovenia – STP Website
photo_4_-_green_parks
Green Parks in Slovenia – STP Website
Slovenia is a country in central Europe known for its mountains, ski resorts and lakes, but recently it has become one of the most green areas and water-rich countries in Europe, as it connects around 23 green Slovenian destinations, 14 Slovenian green service providers and four Slovenian green parks.
Photo_5_-_Family_adventure_at_slovenia
Family Adventure in Slovenia- STP Website
]]>
10/10/2017 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Come see African animals in Egypt ]]>
The Park resembles a forest wherever you walk inside. You will see monkeys jump freely in front of you and ostriches walking around you.

In the middle of the park, there is an artificial river with small fish swimming, in addition to small islands where animals live.

The dark cave invites visiting predatory birds and animals. Some animals are in glass boxes as a kind of protection for visitors against these animals.

The park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is also a car to take you on a tour through the park for LE 500 ($28.4).

Photo_1_ostriches_in_African_Park
Ostriches in African Park– Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

Photo_2_animals_in_Africano_Park
Animals in African Park – Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

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Photo 3 Birds in African Park – Best Places Of Egypt Face Book Page

Photo_5_African_Park_In_Egypt
African Park - Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

Photo_6_Monkeys_in_African_Park
Monkeys in African Park – Best Places Of Egypt
]]>
10/10/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Villa Belle Epoque builds boutique hotel culture in Egypt ]]>
This hotel is an old villa built in 1907. It was opened as a hotel in March 2009. There you can find an intimate accommodation with customized hospitality in a magical location. The hotel is located 12 kilometers from center Cairo in Maadi. They allow you to get a sophisticated and relaxed taste of the capital.

The villa hotel rooms are double suites and triple rooms with a historic garden view. From outside the balconies, there are shaded patios and luminous conservatories that serve as dining rooms.

Villa Belle Epoque is the key to all the beauty in Egypt.

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Villa pool view – Website

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Villa salon – Website

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Suit rooms of Villa – website

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Restaurants of Villa – website
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10/10/2017 2:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Japanese airport dogged by runaway poodle]]>
The fully-grown dog escaped at Tokyo's Haneda airport while cargo crews were loading its cage onto a Japan Airlines flight bound for Naha in Okinawa around 8:50 am, airport police said.

It appeared to enjoy its brief taste of freedom, dashing across a runway and sniffing around in grassy areas.

But officials had to close one of four runways for a total of six minutes, causing delays for 14 flights, said a police spokesman.

In the end the poodle's owner had to come out to catch the pet about 40 minutes later.]]>
10/9/2017 2:50:10 PM
<![CDATA[Thai air safety upgrade opens up growing China, Korea, Japan markets]]>
Thailand was downgraded in June 2015 after its regulator missed a deadline to resolve significant safety concerns, meaning that airlines were unable to add further international routes, though they could continue to operate routine flights.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said the ICAO had made the decision after a meeting on Friday. The Montreal-based U.N. agency was not immediately available for comment, but the red flag which appeared against Thailand on its website had disappeared.

“Although lifting the red flag is a significant turning point for her aviation industry, Thailand as well as CAAT need to carry on their missions to improve the aviation safety standards,” the CAAT said on its website.

AIRLINE SHARES JUMP

Shares in Thai Airways climbed nearly 8 percent on the news before falling back to trade at over 5 percent higher. Shares in Asia Aviation, which operates as Thai Air Asia, rose as much as 5 percent and later traded up nearly 4 percent. Shares in airport operator Airports of Thailand rose over 2 percent.

The biggest beneficiaries would be smaller carriers, such as Thai AirAsia X, NokScoot and Thai Lion, said Corrine Png, the CEO of Singapore-based transport research firm Crucial Perspective.

“The ICAO downgrade had seriously impeded these new entrants’ growth to lucrative markets such as Japan and South Korea,” she said. “These airlines can now grow more aggressively. This would, however, imply increased competition for Thai Airways when they expand.”

Thai AirAsia X CEO Nadda Buranasiri said his airline was studying new routes, including to Hokkaido in Japan, after the red flag was lifted.

“We will likely increase routes and frequencies for China, South Korea, and Japan,” he told Reuters on Monday, adding Thai AirAsia X now hoped to add three to four aircraft to its fleet next year.

Nok Airlines PCL Vice Chairman Patee Sarasin said new routes would be added as slots became available.

Thai Airways lacks enough aircraft to take advantage of the situation and expects rivals will boost routes to other Asian countries, said a source at the national carrier who declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media. Thai Airways declined to comment.

U.S. YET TO UPGRADE

CAAT director general Chula Sukmanop told a news conference that he expected Thailand would regain a Category One status from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which also downgraded Thailand in 2015. The FAA downgrade meant Thai carriers could not start new routes to the United States.

The CAAT said its aim was to be at “the world’s forefront” in safety and reach the global average in each safety category. Actions were still needed to address findings of an ICAO inspection in January 2015 and an audit in July, it said.

ICAO’s red flag was based on its audit of the regulatory body, rather than individual airlines. Some major Thai airlines, including Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion and NokScoot, have passed the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit, a benchmark for global safety management in airlines.

Aviation safety is particularly important for Thailand given that tourism accounts for around 12 percent of its economy, the second largest in Asia.

The countries which still have red flags against them are Djibouti, Eritrea, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan and Malawi, according to the ICAO list.]]>
10/9/2017 11:53:40 AM
<![CDATA[Accor in $920 million Mantra bid as Australia tourist boom stokes hotel demand]]>
Accor, already the biggest hotelier in Australia, offered A$3.96 a share, or a 23 percent premium to Mantra’s closing price on Friday. The total offer is worth A$4.02 per share if a six-cent final dividend paid in 2017 is included, Mantra said in a statement.

“They haven’t lowballed it, that’s for sure,” said Anthony Porto, portfolio manager at Martin Currie Australia, which owns a stake in Mantra.

A deal would be the second-largest in Australia’s hotel sector, but the industry is quite fragmented and shares in Sydney-listed Mantra surged 17 percent on Monday as investors bet the deal would have a fair shot at gaining regulatory clearance.

Mantra said it was allowing Accor to conduct due diligence “to determine if a transaction can be agreed and recommended unanimously by the Mantra board.” An Accor spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Accor’s bid comes as the country’s hoteliers rush to build extra rooms to meet growing demand. The number of visitors to Australia surged 9 percent in the past financial year to hit a record 7.9 million while spending by international visitors climbed to $40.6 billion - also a record.

Visits from Chinese tourists - who tend to make longer trips and spend more - jumped 10 percent and visitor numbers from Europe and the United States also rose.

Porto said there was potentially a lot of savings to be gained from the deal as the firms’ back office and booking systems could be combined and Accor would benefit from having swallowed its biggest rival. But he also noted the industry faced tough competition from disruptive newcomers such as Airbnb.

A pedestrian stands next to a sign bearing the logo of the Mantra Group Ltd on the wall of a hotel in central Sydney, Australia, October 9, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray
Together, Accor and Mantra would own over 300 hotels and about 50,000 rooms. That would give them roughly 11 percent of Australia’s hotel market, according to IBISWorld statistics.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said any decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on whether to sign off on the deal would depend on how it views the make-up of the sector.

“It’s a difficult one to make a call on because the ACCC could take a narrow or broad definition to competition, for example, is Airbnb included in the competitive landscape?,” he said.

The ACCC said it was aware of the offer but has yet to determine whether to scrutinize it.]]>
10/9/2017 11:45:28 AM
<![CDATA[Abydos Temple, standing in the face of time]]>
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1- Abydos Facade – Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Roland Unger


Abydos is one of the temples that still stands since the Ancient Egyptians. The temple is located in the town of Al-Balyana, south of Sohag governorate, on the west bank of the Nile and 12 kilometers from Al-Balyana’s south-west.

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2- Egypt – Abydos – Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection


The temple was the main temple for worshiping Osiris, the god of the afterlife, death, life, and resurrection. The temple is famous for its many tombs and graves, which date back to the kings of the First and Second Dynasty.

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3- List of Kings - Temple of Seti I – Abydos – Courtesy of Wikimedia Common/Steve F-E-Cameron


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4- Egypt - Temple of Seti I, Abydos – Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection
]]>
10/9/2017 1:47:53 AM
<![CDATA['We'll be here another 40 years', top tour operator TUI tells Greece]]>
Tourism is a pillar of Greece’s economy, accounting for about a fifth of annual output of 180 billion euros and a fifth of jobs. Visitors, led by Britons and Germans, have increased by about 50 percent since the crisis began eight years ago.

“We have been here for 40 years and we will be here for another 40,” TUI CEO Friedrich Joussen told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “I see a greater future for tourism in Greece.”

As well as expanding its asset base of 32 hotels and adding cruise port destinations, TUI was ready to join in efforts to extend the tourist season beyond the summer, Joussen said.

“It is a great opportunity for us. We will grow our business,” in the hotel and cruise port sector, Joussen said.

“Infrastructure is the fuel for the overall prosperity of the economy and society ... the investments here will definitely pay off.”

Greece signed up to its first international bailout in 2010. Its third rescue package expires next year and the country needs foreign investment to help drive the economic recovery and job creation it will need to ensure it become financially self-sufficient.

Its tourism revenues fell 7 percent last year as a financial squeeze across Europe slashed holiday prices and average stays, but arrivals including cruise passengers rose to 28 million. TUI said that this year its Greece-bound customer base rose 9 percent to 2.5 million.

Greek authorities have spoken for years about extending the tourist season, but the country would have to implement reforms to attract tourists, including TUI customers.

“We need some sort of a masterplan for certain destinations,” Joussen said.

“....If you want to open (the island of) Crete for a couple more months, we can open Crete ...But if shops are closed and restaurants are closed because the season is over, then the customer might come one time, but not a second one.”

Currently, many Greek tourism businesses work only during the high summer season.

]]>
10/8/2017 4:08:58 PM
<![CDATA[Chinese tourists vacationing at home up 12 percent: state media]]>
The number of holidaymakers at home on the sixth day of the national day holiday - one of the world’s biggest mass movements of people - rose 12.3 percent from a year ago, Xinhua said.

Tourism revenue generated on Friday totaled 54.6 billion yuan, up 15.1 percent from the same period a year ago, it said.

A cooling economy means holidaymakers in the world’s second-largest economy, who spent $261 billion overseas last year, have stayed closer to home this year, providing a boon for domestic tourism operators.

People will start to return home this weekend, adding pressure to the country’s air, road and railway transport systems.

On Oct. 1, the first day of the holiday, 15.03 million trips were made by train, an all-time high, Xinhua said. This year’s national day holiday was extended by one day due to the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Oct. 4.]]>
10/8/2017 4:02:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ban lift on Sharm flights can save UK airlines: British MPs ]]>
The CEO of Monarch Andrew Swaffield told BBC that "flights were being squeezed into a smaller number of destinations and a 25 percent reduction in ticket prices on our routes created a massive economic challenge for our short-haul network."

There have been bans on flights to certain holiday destinations in Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey due to terror attacks. Thus, Monarch had to switch to other destinations facing a fierce competition as the other airlines have been competitive with their prices, causing Monarch to significantly lower its fares.

As the Sun reported, the company earned £100 million ($130 million) less last year, although it recorded a 14 percent increase in the number of passengers. According to the Telegraph, losses in the airline’s annual sales have hit £150 million, and the company posted a pre-tax loss of £291 million in from January to October 2016.

The company’s losses came one year after the crash of a St Petersburg-bound aircraft in October 2015 in Sinai, after departing from Sharm El-Sheikh airport. Authorities in some countries, including the United Kingdom and Russia, called the crash a terrorist attack. This attack led countries to doubt Egypt’s airport security measures and ban flights to Sharm El-Sheikh.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt, chaired by Jonathan Lord MP and Stephen Timms MP, called for removing the ban on UK flights into Sharm El-Sheikh airport, saying that "If we do not want to hear of further similar stories, it is vital that the flight ban be lifted as soon as possible.”

In August, the group questioned the delay in lifting the ban after the measures Egypt had taken to secure its airports. A private firm, which has been trained by British aviation experts, was hired by Egyptian authorities to run security at Sharm El-Sheikh airport.

Monarch’s flights were halted on Monday leaving thousands of stranded passengers outside the United Kingdom. Also, thousands of future bookings have been cancelled. ]]>
10/8/2017 3:15:33 PM
<![CDATA[El Sahaba Mosque moves to correct religious discourse]]>
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photo1- El Sahaba Mosque, Sharm El-Sheikh – Sinai website

Tourists of different cultures and nationalities who happen to be in Sharm el-Sheikh feel free to request logical answers to their questions about Islam in el-Sahaba Mosque.

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photo2- El Sahaba Mosque, Sharm El-Sheikh –Best Places Egypt Facebook page

The Ministry of Endowments inaugurated in the now-famous mosque in March 2017 in the Old Market area of Sharm El-Sheikh. It has since become an important tourist center.

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Photo3 El Sahaba Mosque, Sharm El-Sheikh – Reuters

The mosque is 35-meter high and can host around 3,000 worshipers. It also sits on a vast piece of land with a large fountain in the front. The mosque has two minarets that are 70-meter high.

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Photo4 El Sahaba Mosque in the Old Market – Sinai website

El-Sahaba Mosque is under the supervision of the Ministry of Endowments and the Islamic Research Academy of Al-Azhar.

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Photo5 Opening of El Sahaba Mosque, Sharm El-Sheikh – Reuters ]]>
10/8/2017 11:17:47 AM
<![CDATA[King Tut Museum In Sharm El Sheikh ]]>
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Photo 1 King Tut Museum – Museum website

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Photo 2 Statues in King Tut Museum – Museum website

It conjoins around 130 replicated artifacts of his jewelry, golden mask, sculptures and many pictures that showcase the life of King Tut.

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Photo 3 King Tut statue – Museum website

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Photo 4 The museum decoration – Museum website

Also, there are a lot of photographs and documents showing the opening of Tut’s cemetery and 135 pieces in the integrated museum that was inaugurated under the auspices of the Ministry of Antiquities.

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Photo 5 Artifacts in King Tut Museum – Museum website

This museum is one of a kind in Sharm El-Sheikh and occupies the basement of Genena City Mall.

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Photo 6 King Tut Museum – Museum website
]]>
10/8/2017 10:02:48 AM
<![CDATA[Expected agreement to boost tourism movement between Egypt, Italy:minister]]>
This came on the sidelines of the meeting held on Saturday with Bianchi in the presence of Egyptian Ambassador Hisham Badr.

In a press release, Rashed stressed the importance of the protocol that will contribute to boosting the incoming tourism from Italy.

Bianchi said that her country looks forward to cooperating with Egypt in the field of tourism, pointing out to the love of the Italian people to Egypt and their keenness on traveling to it for its cultural attraction sites.

Badr underlined that he will prepare the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and submit it to the Italian side.]]>
10/7/2017 5:45:38 PM
<![CDATA[1,400 Air Berlin workers to lose jobs:union]]>
Many of the cuts would hit the bankrupt airline's ground personnel and administration staff, whose contracts could end by the end of the month or in February 2018.

According to the document, Air Berlin could also soon stop operating, with only its subsidiary Niki continuing to fly.

The German airline triggered bankruptcy proceedings in August after losing a cash lifeline from its biggest shareholder Etihad Airways.

Lufthansa has emerged as the leading bidder for Air Berlin's assets, including valuable landing and takeoff slots at German airports.

The group has already bought or holds an option to buy some 20 Air Berlin aircraft that were leased to its low-cost Eurowings airline in recent months.

Air Berlin has some 8,600 employees, including part-time workers, according to DPA news agency.

Lufthansa has said it plans to hire up to 3,000 people for the expansion of Eurowings, anticipating an accelerated hiring process for Air Berlin workers.

But it does not guarantee them employment.

Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said in September that up to 80 percent of workers could find work with Lufthansa and British EasyJet, the remaining bidders for parts of the stricken business.

EasyJet has given him no information on whether it plans to recruit Air Berlin employees.

Negotiations with the two airlines are due to conclude on October 12.

Unions have criticised management for not keeping them informed of the progress of discussions.

In late September, one of Germany's most powerful unions Verdi urged Air Berlin and its potential buyers to establish a "bailout" for employees.

Verdi also urged the creation of a "transfer company" that would prepare laid-off workers for new employment by providing them professional assistance, qualification and job placement.

Technical details around winding up the carrier are to be thrashed out in the coming weeks and any final deal will need to be approved by European regulators.]]>
10/7/2017 5:10:28 PM
<![CDATA[New Administrative Capital decorates with opening Al Masah Capital Hotel]]>
Al Masah Capital is one of largest hotels in the world. Al Masah Resort is more than 10 acres, which contains a conference area, lakes, mosque, and trade mall with unique architectural designs.

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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


The hotel was built with the latest techniques, according to quality standards, and it is expected to be one of the most attractive projects for tourism and investments in the New Administrative Capital.

Under the direction of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Al Masah Capital Hotel is considered the first project to be finished in the New Administrative Capital.


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital

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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


Al Masah Capital is one of dozens of projects that were announced by Sisi in 2015. The new city will be the new administrative and financial capital of Egypt.

The total cost of the hotel ranges between EGP 700-900 million ($40-50 million).


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


The New Administrative Capital, which is located between Cairo and Suez, is a mega project that is expected to be approximately 168,000 acres in area and will comprise of several districts, such as a conference area, show exhibitions area, governmental neighborhood, residential district, sports city, central park and smart city.


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital



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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital



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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital


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Al Masah Capital Hotel in New Administrative Capital
]]>
10/7/2017 3:02:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt launches medical tourism campaign to eradicate hepatitis C]]>
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 programme, which has been promoted by football celebrities Lionel Messi and Dani Alves. For €5,900 or $8,000, European patients can spend a week in Egypt and tour the country at the same time they receive treatment for the virus.

“That includes everything flights, five-star accommodation, medical analysis, drugs,” said Mostafa El Sayed, managing director of Tour n' Cure. “It also includes three days of tourism.” Visitors can choose to spend their sightseeing days in Cairo, Luxor, or Sharm el-Sheikh.

Patients take the first few rounds of medication while in the country, then bring the remainder of the medication home with them. They do the final test with their local doctor to determine if they have been cured. If not, they will be treated again at no additional cost, but all of the roughly 200 foreigners who have taken part in the programme, so far, have had successful outcomes.

The weak spot in Tour n’ Cure, experts say, is not the treatment itself but rather that, firstly, a lot of people don’t see Egypt as a desirable vacation spot and, secondly, there are several reliable Indian pharmaceutical companies that not only manufacture the drugs but allow them to be ordered online.

“Tour n’ Cure is a bit weird in that it’s ‘come see the sites and get cured,’” said Charles Gore, president of the World Hepatitis Alliance. “Egypt is not the safest place, to be honest, at the moment. It’s an extremely illiberal regime.”

El Sayed said that the company realises that there are people who don’t want to travel to Egypt, so he set up a regional treatment hub in Moldova, which has already treated more than a dozen patients, and is looking at doing the same somewhere in Asia, likely Indonesia or Malaysia.

Sherine Helmy, CEO of Pharco, the company manufacturing the lion’s share of the generic drugs being used to treat the virus in Egypt, acknowledged that mail order is a good option for patients who don’t want to travel. He doesn’t see the companies providing that service as competitors, rather as fellow warriors in the fight to wipe out the virus.

“Last year we covered around 700,000 patients, but we are ready to produce in the millions,” he said. “Our plan is to cure 37 percent of patients worldwide by 2030.”

Shortcomings aside, the programme has been a lifesaver for people like documentary filmmaker and photographer Tim Coleman. He went through two unsuccessful rounds of interferon treatment in his native UK and had grown so weak from the disease that he could hardly work. Because of his previous failed treatments, he was low on the list to receive the drugs from the National Health Service, if he would have been able to get them at all. The only option available to him in England at that point was to pay the £120,000 the drugs cost in the UK.

“I had no energy, I had to get out of London and rest a lot,” the photographer and documentary filmmaker said. “I would go to Egypt to rest.”

It was during one of those visits that, while on an internal flight, Coleman saw an advertisement for Tour n’ Cure in the inflight magazine. He made the phone call as soon as he got to Cairo.

That was a year and a half ago. Today he is entirely virus free. “It is truly miraculous, what they’ve managed to do,” he said. “It’s such a success story. The whole thing is something the Egyptians can be really proud of.”]]>
10/7/2017 2:17:18 PM
<![CDATA[In Pics: Take tour in October war mastermind, late President Sadat home]]>
At the beginning of the tour, we found a simple wooden door that has withstood the time in solidity.

Once you pass through the wooden door into the home, you will find the old basin where the late leader Anwar Sadat performed the ritual ablution before praying behind the door.

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The old basin where the late president Anwar Sadat used to performed the ritual ablution before praying

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The old basin where the late leader Anwar Sadat used to performed the ritual ablution before praying

Sadat spent all his childhood in this home until he joined the Revolutionary Command Council; his father in law helped him to buy another home which later became Sadat Museum.

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Home of President Anwar Sadat
]]>
10/7/2017 1:00:50 PM
<![CDATA[A tour at biographical museums in Egypt ]]>
Ahmed Shawky Museum
From above the Nile Corniche in Giza, you will see the Ahmed Shawky Museum; it is the home of its namesake, a renowned poet, and was established in 1920. After his death, it was turned into a museum in honor of the great poet, to document all his memories and personal tools.

The museum comprises two levels along with the basement level; the first floor includes his library with all his notebooks, diaries, and books. There is also a smoking area on the opposite side. The first floor also conjoins another library, but that one is designated to visitors. Visitors are allowed to read any of Shawky’s books.

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Ahmed Shawky Museum – The Ministry of State for Administrative Reform

The second floor is contains Shawky’s bedroom, which has been preserved in its original until after his death. It still has the same style and paintings. His wife’s room is adjacent to his on the same floor.

For LE 10 ($0.5), you can transport yourself back to older times, in a house that preserves the life and memories of this iconic owner.


Mohamed Abdel-Wahab Museum

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Mohamed Abdel Wahab Oud – The Ministry of state for Administrative Reform

From the heart of Cairo, Mohamed Abdel-Wahab Museum opens its door for you. Located at 22 Ramses St, just before Al-Tawfiqiya, Downtown, the museum is in one of the most beautiful areas of Cairo.


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Mohamed Abdel Wahab Oud – The Ministry of state for Administrative Reform


The home of the composer, singer and Oud player, who sang and composed thousands, becomes the music lovers' appreciated museum. It is divided into two halls; the first one highlights the road from his childhood to his career in the world of art and music; while the second hall embraces his office, his furniture, and his most beloved Oud.

Um Kulthum Museum

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Um Kulthum Museum

This museum houses what is left behind by Egypt’s legendary singer, Um Kulthum. Her personal paraphernalia, an audio visual library of her great performances, and her shoes, jewelry and dresses are also exhibited there.

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Um Kulthum Museum










]]>
10/7/2017 12:12:15 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism Authority head meets top tour operators in UITM fair]]>
Ukraine is a very promising market for Egypt in tourism sector, Demery asserted during the meeting. He also underlined Egypt’s keenness on enhancing the tourism file.

He also pointed out at Pope Francis blessing to the Holy Family journey as well as Egypt’s efforts to put the Holy Family’s route in Egypt on the world map of religious tourism.

He also mentioned Egypt's efforts to activate issuing e-visas. He underlined the recent report issued by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in which Egypt was ranked as the world's second fastest growing tourist destination for 2017. ]]>
10/7/2017 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[7 historical cafés in Cairo that are proud of their stories]]>
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1 – Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz at a Cairo café – Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

In Egypt there are a lot of cultural cafés; some disappeared, while others have managed to maintain their original state. Below are seven cafés in Cairo that still carry their historical essence.

1 - Ali Baba café
The café was initially a bar owned by a Greek woman. An Egyptian bought it in 1968 and tunred it into a café that flourished in the 1970s and was attended by renowned intellectuals, including Naguib Mahfouz. Now, the first floor of the place is a restaurant, and the café lies on the second floor with a special corner overlooking Tahrir Square named after Mahfouz, where he used to sit.

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2 – Renowned author Naguib Mahfouz at Café Ali Baba overlooking Tahrir Square – John Green

2 - Ritz Café
This café witnessed many of the cultural meetings and discussions between a number of well-known writers and poets like Abbas al-Aqqad, Tawfik al-Hakeem and Mahmoud Sami al-Baroudy.

It is located in Kasr El Aini Street in front of Al-Ahli Bank.

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3 – Café Ritz – Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

3 - El-Fishawy Café
Its popularity began when French Emperor Napoleon drank his coffee there. Hundreds of years later, Egyptian Nobel laureate Nagiub Mahfouz chose El-Fishawy Café his favorite destination.

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4 – El-Fishawy Café - Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

The café has maintained its original state and location to this day.

4 - Café Riche
Riche café is a French-style café located in downtown Cairo. It attracted many activities though several political shifts, poets, and writers such as Naguib Mahfouz and Taha Hussein. It was owned different expats in Cairo since the beginning of the 20th century, and a French owner of the place, Pierre-Henry Ressigné, named it after another famous café in Paris. It was bought by Egyptian Mikhail Abdel Malak in 1960.

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5 – Café Riche – Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

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6 - Café Riche – Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

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7 – A picture of Nagiub Mahfouz and other intellectuals at Café Riche – Hany Maher

5 - El-Horreya Café and Bar

This café was built on the remains of the historic Egyptian officer Ahmed Ourabi, who led a mutiny in 1879 against the Anglo-French loyal Khedive Tewfik.

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8 – Cover of Horreya Café novel - File photo

6 - Souk al-Hamidiya
When Egypt and Syrian were united in one state from 1958 until 1961, a Syrian in Egypt founded the café on Falaki Street in downtown and named it after one of the most famous markets in Syria.

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9 - Souk al-Hamidiya Café - Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the most famous people who used to sit at the café were poet Amal Donkol, author Abdel Wahab Mutawe and the critic Farouk Abdel Qader, who held his seminars there every Sunday until he died in 2010.

7 - Orabi Café
Kamel Orabi, after whom the café in el-Geish Square is named, was a major “tough guy” in the Husainiya district in Cairo at the beginning of the 19th century. It gained its fame from the renowned writer Naguib Mahfouz, a Nobel laureate in literature, as he used to meet his old friends there, including renowned Egyptian actor Ahmed Mazhar.

8 - Al-Bosta Café
It is also called Mattatia Café, named after to the Italian engineer who designed some of the buildings around it. It is located between al-Mousky and al-Ataba districts.

Al-Bosta café was the starting point of the 1919 revolution, as it witnessed all the pre-revolution meetings organized by political activists like Saad Zaghloul. ]]>
10/7/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Activists condemn craze for wild animal selfies]]>
The charity World Animal Protection said in a report that Instagram has seen a 292 percent increase in wildlife selfies since 2014 around the world. Of these, more than 40 percent involved humans "hugging or inappropriately interacting with a wild animal."

Beaten into submission

World Animal Protection said, in the report released Tuesday, that the animals are captured and often battered to make them perform for tourism businesses.

"Behind the scenes, these animals are often beaten into submission, taken from their mothers as babies and secretly kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food that can have a long-term negative impact on their biology and behavior," the group said.

"All too often, to the unsuspecting tourist, the cruelty that makes these animals submissive and available is entirely invisible."

61 species listed as needing protection

The practice is rife in the Amazon region, with 61 percent of the species involved listed as needing international protection by the worldwide Convention on the Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES, according to the charity.

In the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus, for example, 18 tour companies said they offered opportunities on 94 percent of trips to "hold and touch wild animals as photo props." The most common selfie animal there is the pink river dolphin, then three-toed sloths, caimans, green anacondas and squirrel monkeys. "There is good reason to believe that most sloths being used for tourist selfies don't survive even six months of this treatment," the report said.

It listed examples of animals being kept in dire conditions for the selfie trade, including a manatee held in a small tank in front of a hotel and a giant anteater "manhandled and beaten" by its owner.

Keeping animals for tourist selfies is illegal

Roberto Cabral, coordinator for enforcement at the Brazilian environmental institute Ibama, told AFP that keeping animals for tourist selfies is illegal.

In comparison to the scale of illegal trafficking of animals, the problem is "minimal," he said.

However, he also pleaded with visitors not to support the trend. "The irony is that the tourist who usually takes photos with an animal is the same tourist who likes animals but is now contributing to that animal's distress," he said.]]>
10/6/2017 5:17:18 PM
<![CDATA[Vegas attack likely to cast temporary shadow on tourism]]>
The iconic Vegas Strip, lined with glitzy hotels, casinos and neon signs, still had a heavy police presence on Wednesday, a stark reminder of Sunday night’s tragedy — the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Some stores carried signs that read “Vegas Strong” and traffic was light.

“The attack should affect tourism badly in the short-term as the memories remain fresh and vivid in people’s minds,” said Federico Guerrero, an associate professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Neha Singh, an associate professor in hospitality management at California State Polytechnic University said there was no doubt the attack would affect the tourism industry which is vital for the city.

“News like this is devastating and plays on your mind specially for tourism and decisions that are based on discretionary spending,” she told AFP. “Any place that sees an event like this will see an impact of people not comfortable to travel there.”

Some 43 million people visit the so-called Sin City every year, contributing to the nearly $60 billion in economic activity generated by the tourism sector, according to a study by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis.

And Sunday’s attack, experts say, may turn away potential travellers concerned about safety or not keen on partying in a city still reeling from the carnage.

Hotels, meanwhile, will have to come up with new security protocols to reassure guests, given the ease with which the suspect behind the shooting — Stephen Paddock — managed to assemble his large arsenal of weapons in his suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel from which he carried out the carnage.

Several experts said while the attack may cast a somber mood on tourism in the coming months, it is not likely to affect conferences, 22,000 of which are held annually in the city and often booked years in advance.

They also pointed out that people are increasingly growing numb to such attacks which become less remarkable as they happen more and more frequently.

The city of Orlando, in Florida, where a gunman killed 49 people at a nightclub in 2016, enjoyed a record number of tourists that same year, for example.

The French capital Paris, which suffered from a series of terror attacks in 2015, is also on track to welcome a record number of visitors this year as tourists shakes off terror fears.

And Vegas is expected to rebound the same.

Paul Wurzer and his wife Sonia, both 36, flew into Las Vegas from their home in the suburbs of Minneapolis on Tuesday night and were enjoying the early morning sun dappling an outdoor dining area at fast food eatery Shake Shack, on the Strip.

“We woke up in the morning and she saw it on the news first, and came and said, ‘Oh my God, there’s this mass shooting in Vegas. Are all the flights going to be cancelled? Can we go?

Do we want to go still?’” said Paul.

“There were a lot of things going through our minds as far as being afraid to go.”

His wife said after talking it over, they decided “this might actually be the safest time to go because of increased police presence and security.”

Erick Fulps, a booking agent with Adventures International on the Las Vegas Strip, which arranges sightseeing and adventure tours, as well as shows, said he hasn’t seen much of a dip in business so far.

“The next day was still busy — it didn’t slow down, it was actually one of my busiest days. The day after was a little slow,” said the 47-year-old father-of-three, a Los Angeles native who has lived in Vegas for the last 27 years.

“People still came in to do tours, have fun...” he added. “It’s tragic what happened but they were still doing their vacation. Vegas doesn’t stop.”]]>
10/6/2017 5:09:39 PM
<![CDATA[From tourism to coffee, young Thais blend profit with social good]]>
Pai was sure it would be a hit with tour operators in Bangkok - but he was wrong. “They weren’t even interested to go and inspect the places,” he said.

That pushed the former engineer, now 34, to set up Local Alike, a travel consultancy that promotes sustainable tourism in 70 villages.

“I grew up in the same situation where there weren’t many economic opportunities, so it attracts me to work for the people,” said Pai, who lived with his grandparents in a village in northeast Thailand until he was eight while his parents traveled in search of laboring work.

A growing number of young Thai entrepreneurs like Pai are getting involved in activities that have traditionally been the domain of the government and development groups - from providing water in remote communities to helping coffee farmers earn a fair income.

This new generation of business owners believes running companies that invest in tackling social and environmental causes is a better way to help than relying on donors’ whims.

“There are so many problems in Thailand that need to be solved,” said Pai. “I see (this as) the new pattern of doing business - doing good while making money.”

Half of Local Alike’s business units are now financially sustainable and it runs a development fund that supports local projects, he said.

Thailand’s transformation to an upper-middle-income country in less than a generation has lifted millions out of poverty, but inequality and deprivation persist.

Over 80 percent of Thailand’s 7.1 million poor people live in rural areas, and an additional 6.7 million are just above the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

The Southeast Asian nation of 66 million also faces serious challenges of environmental degradation and resource depletion caused by mass tourism, pollution, generation of waste and intensive farming, experts say.

Aliza Napartivaumnuay, 34, grew up in Kolkata, Rome and Seattle before moving back to Bangkok. She spent nearly a decade working in the retail supply chain before co-founding Socialgiver more than two years ago.

The online business offers deals on leisure services, including hotel rooms, restaurant tables and spa packages. The proceeds fund social and green projects, such as reforestation, children’s education and hospital beds for poor patients.

The idea was not to set up a business that spoke only to people who already care about such issues.

“We wanted to create something more inclusive and approachable by offering services users are accustomed to spending on,” said Aliza.

CABBAGES AND CONDOMS

Many trace the birth of social enterprise in Thailand to the establishment in 1974 of Cabbages and Condoms, a successful Bangkok restaurant that funds sexual health education and provision.

But the concept only started gathering pace a few years ago, with incubators such as Change Fusion fostering start-ups.

Now there are businesses that enable blind children to learn using a special drawing board, or that train and employ people with disabilities. Others support widows and orphans affected by the conflict in southern Thailand, and use IT to help health professionals and charities develop mobile apps.

There are between 5,000 and 10,000 organizations in Thailand that fit the social enterprise model, said Nuttaphong Jaruwannaphong, director of the Thai Social Enterprise Office (TSEO).

Saks Rouypirom, 39, opened Broccoli Revolution, a trendy restaurant serving vegan, mostly organic food to help fund his non-profit Sati. Its projects include installing water filters in northern villages in partnership with U.S.-based Planet Water Foundation.

“Sati means ‘mindfulness’ so it’s about being mindful of problems and solutions,” said Saks, who buys mushrooms for his restaurant from a street-child shelter and kale from farmers to whom he has provided the seeds.

“Being a business owner, you can make a conscious decision to support these causes,” added Saks, who was born and raised in the United States.

NO PITY, PLEASE

Still, for all the excitement about their potential, social enterprises face multiple challenges in Thailand, including a lack of regulation and limited access to finance.

It was “very difficult” to get investors on board to set up Local Alike, when they were told they would not see all the profits, said Pai. He received support from Change Fusion and entered business competitions to win funding.

In Thailand, companies seeking certification as social enterprises cannot pay more than 30 percent of their profits in the form of shareholder dividends, said TSEO’s Nuttaphong.

When Ayu “Lee” Chuepa wanted to help coffee farmers in his community earn a fair income, he had a hard time convincing villagers to work with him due to his youth and inexperience.

“My mother said that is to be expected. So I asked, ‘If you weren’t my parents, would you have joined me?'. They said, ‘Of course not. Are you crazy?'” he recounted, laughing.

Things have since improved. The Stock Exchange of Thailand, for example, now has an online platform that promotes investment in social enterprises.

But the public perception that such businesses offer lower-quality products still needs to be tackled, experts say.

“Since the beginning, I didn’t want to sell our products by making people feel pity. I want them to buy because they’re good,” said Lee, who belongs to the Akha ethnic minority.

He is now building his third branch of Akha Ama Coffee, with help from architects at Jai Baan Studio, another social enterprise that uses local resources and nature in its designs.

Lee hopes the division between social and traditional businesses will fade with time. “I want everyone in the world to be a social entrepreneur, doing good,” he said.]]>
10/6/2017 3:56:12 PM
<![CDATA[Britain's easyJet reports record summer despite tough market]]>
It has been a tough few months for airlines, with rival Ryanair (RYA.I) coming under fire after rostering mess-up led to the cancellation of over 700,000 flights, and Britain’s Monarch collapsing this week, leaving thousands stranded.

EasyJet said on Friday it achieved record sales in the fourth quarter to the end of September, but added that pressure on fares would continue.

However, the insolvencies of Air Berlin (AB1.DE) and Alitalia have also led to a scramble for assets and raised the prospect of a reduction in capacity in European airlines that should help to ease that pressure.

“With Monarch’s failure, Air Berlin’s break up, Alitalia’s administration and Ryanair capacity cuts, we expect this confluence of positives must help easyJet pricing,” analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note.

EasyJet forecast headline profit before tax of 405 million to 410 million pounds ($530-536 million) for the year ended Sept. 30. It gave a range of 380-420 million pounds in July.

“The current turmoil in the sector provides easyJet with opportunities to capitalise on its strong customer proposition and grow and strengthen our positions in Europe’s leading airports still further,” said Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s outgoing chief executive.

PILOT LETTER

The update from easyJet came after Ryanair took new steps to appease crews by offering its pilots significant improvements in pay and conditions, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Ryanair has grown to become Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers thanks to a ruthless focus on costs that allows it to keep ticket prices low and fill its planes.

It expects to fly 129 million passengers this year, versus 80 million for easyJet’s last financial year.

However, the recent fiasco over the rostering of pilots has raised concerns that Ryanair’s costs may start to rise and its shares dipped 2 percent on Friday.

Chief Executive Michael O‘Leary sent a three-page letter to its pilots promising “significant improvements to your rosters, your pay, your basing, your contracts and your career progression over the next 12 months.”

Analysts say Ryanair’s pay is competitive at most of its bases, but pilots unions say conditions and job security have lagged rivals.

Ryanair last month said captains earned up to 180,000 euros ($210,000), while first officers earned up to 120,000 euros.

By comparison, easyJet first officers earn up to 58,000 pounds ($76,000) and captains up to 146,000 pounds.

PRICING PRESSURES

Despite the shake-up in Europe, easyJet highlighted continued pressure on fares and concerns over pricing its cashflow sent shares 3.5 percent lower to 1,238 pence after a strong rally last month.

Data from travel company Skyscanner showed that traffic and prices had both spiked since Ryanair and Monarch’s recent struggles, as customers seek to rebook trips at short notice.

EasyJet said though there would be “continued pressure on yields reflecting ongoing market capacity growth”, currently forecast at around 5 percent in the first quarter.

Credit Suisse cut its target price on the stock to 1,527p from 1583p, saying the new profit guidance was below their estimates even though it was above consensus.

Some analysts remained concerned by easyJet’s financial position, as well as uncertainty over the aviation market.

“We remain cautious on the trading environment, despite recent airline failures being likely to remove some capacity from the market,” analysts at Liberum said.

“easyJet’s negative free-cash flow and rising leverage are not adequately reflected in the current valuation.”]]>
10/6/2017 3:37:09 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Battlefield tour of 6th October War]]>
Ain Musa “Moses's water spring”

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Ain Musa stronghold – File Photo

This place is located about 20 kilometers to the southeast of the Suez Canal after passing through Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel to reach the Sinai Peninsula.

It was used by the Israeli army as a stronghold during their occupation of Sinai in 1967. The Israeli army built this checkpoint secretly under the ground along the Suez Canal to hide their weapons firing invisibly at Sinai and Suez Canal cities.

The Egyptian forces recaptured part of the occupied lands in October 1973 after fierce battles between the two sides.

After 44 years of war, the place, used as a shrine, remains distinctive with its mountains surrounded by desert. Visitors could take tours through the tunnels of the stronghold where weapons, operation rooms and some properties of Israeli soldiers were found.

Three kilometers to the North of Ain Musa is the Military Touristic Memorial created by the Egyptian army to commemorate their victory over the Israeli army.

It hosts some sections of the Bar Lev Defense line, which Israeli built to prevent the Egyptian army from entering Sinai, in addition to a number of weapons, tools, equipments, tanks, and photos that the Egyptians captured after the victory in 1973.

Port Said Military Museum


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Port Said Military Museum – YouTube


This museum brings back many memories of battles on the canal especially the tripartite aggression of France, Britain, and Israel on the city of Port Said. It is divided into three halls with toy soldiers, military tools, gun and Israeli tanks displayed to document the 1956 Suez Crisis, the 1967 and 1973 wars with Israel and the 6th of October War.

In its gardens, a few captured US tanks carrying the Star of David painted on them and an old collection of unexploded ordnance are on display.
The Port Said Museum was opened to the public in 1964, eight years after the victory against the tripartite aggression of 1956.




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October War Memorial – File Photo


The rifle-shaped memorial is located at the western bank of Suez Canal in Ismailia governorate at the left side of the passenger ferry. It has a perfect location as it overlooks Lake of Timsah (Crocodile Lake) and the historic houses in French style.

Inaugurated during the anniversary of the 6th October War in 1992, it has displays from the 6th of October Panorama in Heliopolis, Cairo.


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October War Memorial overlooks to Suez Canal – File Photo


The panorama includes scenes from the war, the plan to cross the Bar Lev line, armored vehicles and soldiers with signal weapons. The panorama also includes a photograph of a soldier from a medical service carrying the photo of the soldier Mohammed Abdel Atti who is said to have singlehandedly taken out 26 Israeli tanks.

A huge photograph of the first soldier raising the Egyptian flag on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal after the crossing is also on display.

Abu Atwa Tank Museum


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Museum tanks Abu Atwa – File Photo


The museum is located on both sides of the ancient road to Ismailia, where many battles took place between the Israeli forces and Egyptian People’s Defense Forces.

There are five Israeli tanks around the museum destroyed by Egyptian armed forces and People’s Defence Forces during a battle named Abu Atwa in 1973. During the war Israel had tried to cut off the Cairo-Ismailia road.

In addition, the museum includes a marble memorial on which the names of Egyptian soldiers killed in battles were engraved, as well as light weapons used by popular resistance.


Tabat el Shagra (High Ground tree-shaped)



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Tabat el Shagra (High Ground tree-shaped) – File Photo


Tabat el Shagra is located 10 kilometers from the Ismailia governorate.

It is a historic place where Israel constructed 18 fortified positions along the Bar Lev line enabling Israelis to monitor the western Suez Canal region. It was named as Tabat el Shagra (high ground tree-shaped) as this region is above sea level and has artillery roads shaped like tree branches. Egyptian forces seized it during the 1973 October War.

At the entrance of this historic place, a painting was found describing how the Egyptian forces could seize Israeli strongholds in the Bar Lev line including Tabat el Shagra region.
]]>
10/6/2017 10:14:14 AM
<![CDATA[Free entry to military museums, sites on October War anniversary]]>
The decision comes as part of the state’s celebrations of the historical anniversary as several other events are supposed to take place during the coming hours.

In an official statement, the Egyptian government said that giving Egyptians access to museums and sites affiliated to the military for free comes as kind of a “partnership” and “sharing” between the civilians and armed forces during this occasion.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, however, started the calibrations earlier Wednesday by placing flowers on the tombs of former Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Muhammad Anwar Al-Sadat.

Sisi also placed another wreath of roses on the “unknown soldier” tomb, as he was accompanied by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces; Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhy; Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al Assar; and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mahmoud Hijazi, as the national anthem was played.

Several senior state officials, commanders of the armed forces, and policemen, along with a number of leaders and heroes of the October War, attended the celebrations.
]]>
10/6/2017 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt to open Al Masah Hotel in New Administrative Capital]]>
A number of famous Arab and Egyptian singers will perform in the concert, mainly Tamer Hosny, Nancy Agram and Hussein Al Jassmi. The participating artists announced they will donate their contract fee for the Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Fund.

Al Masah Hotel, owned by the armed forces, was constructed by Orascom Construction in collaboration with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority. It was built on an area of 10 feddans and includes water and power facilities.

The total cost of the hotel ranges between 700-900 million EGP ($40-50 million).
The New Administrative Capital is a mega project that is expected to be approximately 168,000 feddans in area and will comprise several districts, such as a conference area, show exhibitions area, governmental neighborhood, residential district, sports city, central park and smart city.

The project aims to create a new capital city to house governmental ministries, foreign embassies and various governmental departments.



]]>
10/6/2017 1:47:59 AM
<![CDATA[Holy Family's Flight into Egypt to boost tourism: MP]]>
Sahar Talaat Mostafa, head of Parliament’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee, attended the Pope’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Talaat affirmed that reviving the path of the Holy Family's journey to Egypt will significantly boost and affect religious tourism to Egypt tremendously.

- What was your impression about attending the ceremony?

Let me begin by saying that I was thrilled and proud that I am participating at one of the most significant international events; it shed the light on the Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt.

- How to you feel about Egypt being the centre of this remarkable event?

The great thing about the event is that it was not a mere announcement of a religious pilgrimage, but also reflecting a civilized and cultural image about Egypt to the whole world. Moreover, it is a positive step to let Muslim and Christian Egyptians know more about the rich history of Egypt.

- How would the Ministry of Tourism prepare for the pilgrimage?

Well, organizing a religious pilgrimage to Egypt would take much effort and coordination; after a meeting with the Tourism Minister, it was agreed that a number of entities, governorates and government bodies such as the Ministry of Antiquities and the Ministry of Civil Aviation will participate in organizing the event while coordinating with the Tourism Ministry to ensure the success of the pilgrimage.

The pope’s blessing comes as a mandatory step in the process of initiating the Roman Catholic pilgrimage program to Egypt, which is set to launch next year.

The Flight into Egypt, as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, is a biblical event that marks when an angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream to advise him into fleeing to Egypt with Mary and infant Jesus; the event itself holds a unique iconic representation.

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.

The route of the pilgrimage passes 25 different places that have their significant meanings to the Holy Family during the escape from Herod the Great who sought to kill the newborn "King of the Jews" and led the infanticide known as the Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the child.

A statement from the Tourism Ministry said eight main locations have been chosen to be the key stops of the pilgrimage route.
]]>
10/6/2017 1:24:13 AM
<![CDATA[Hilton to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa over five years]]>
One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement.

There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation.

Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years.

“The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Hilton’s senior vice president for development in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Earlier this week, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts said it would open six new hotels on the continent by 2020.]]>
10/5/2017 6:43:30 PM
<![CDATA[Boeing-backed, electric-hybrid airliner set to hit market in 2022]]>
The first of several aircraft planned by Zunum Aero would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors.

Electric-vehicle batteries, such as those made by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and Panasonic Corp (6752.T), would power the motor. A supplemental gas engine and electrical generator would be used to give the plane a range of 700 miles, Matt Knapp, co-founder and chief aeronautic engineer of the Kirkland, Washington-based company, said in an interview.

Zunum has no commitment to Tesla or Panasonic.

A larger plane seating up to 50 passengers would follow at the end of the next decade, and the range of both would increase to about 1,000 miles as battery technology improves, Knapp said.

The planes eventually would fly solely on battery power, and are being designed to fly with one pilot and to eventually be remotely piloted, he added.

Several companies, including Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA), are working on intra-urban electric-powered self-flying cars.

Zunum does not expect to be the first to certify an electric-powered aircraft with regulators. It is aiming to fill a market for regional travel for airlines, where private jets and commercial jetliners are too costly for many to use.

“Airlines are very keen to know how to fly a shorter distance and make money on it,” Knapp said.

Recent advances in electric-vehicle and autonomous technology, along with lightweight electric motors and carbon composite airframes would reduce the cost of flying Zunum’s aircraft to about 8 cents per seat-mile, about one-fifth that of a small jet or turboprop plane, Knapp said.

“We’re getting airline pricing down on a small plane and doing it for short distances,” Knapp said. “That kind of aircraft doesn’t currently exist.”

Zunum announced plans for electric-hybrid aircraft in April, and revealed that Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures had invested in its initial round of venture funding. On Thursday it disclosed specifications and a timetable for the vehicle entering service.

Zunum says the plane would cruise at about 340 miles an hour and at altitudes of about 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) - slower and lower than jets.

The plane would cut travel time by allowing passengers to fly from thousands of regional airports, avoiding big hubs used by major airlines and airport security required for larger planes. About 96 percent of U.S. air traffic travels through 1 percent of its airports, Zunum said.

Current battery technology can only power the plane for about 100 miles so a gas-powered engine is used to generate electricity to power the motors for additional range.]]>
10/5/2017 6:42:00 PM
<![CDATA[Things to know before following the steps of the Holy Family in Egypt]]>

The initiative was met by nothing but blessings of Pope Francis

, Pope of the Vatican, as he remembered fondly

his visit to Egypt last April

, gifted the Egyptian tourism minister with an icon of the Holy Family in Egypt that he had blessed,

and gave his blessings to the initiative itself

in a mass held on Wednesday, embracing the Holy Family's journey through Egypt as an official Christian pilgrimage.

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The route of the Holy Family in Egypt - Egyptian Tourism Authority

The journey of the Holy Family took place after King Herod, Ruler of Judea, heard of prophecies by a group of wise men who announced that the next King of Jews is Jesus. Herod the great went on an infanticide in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, killing all male children in hopes of erasing the threat of the child who might later dethrone him. A massacre known today as the Massacre of the Innocents.

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Giotto di Bondone - No. 21 Scenes from the Life of Christ - 5. Massacre of the Innocents -The Yorck Project - Wikimedia commons

This led to the beginning of the Holy Family's Flight to Egypt where they would seek safety from the vicious ruler, after an angel warned Joseph the Carpenter in a dream to flee with Virgin Mary and her newborn Jesus. Leaving on a 25-stop-journey through Egypt, leaving a trail which will later on sprout with churches and monasteries. Starting from Gaza to North Sinai then passing through Wadi Al-Arish and Al-Farama (Pelusium) southeast the Nile Delta.

They then stopped at Al-Basta, where, according to Egyptian Travel Authority website, Jesus miraculously caused a water spring to well up from the ground. Moving on to Mostorod, 10 kilometers from Cairo where Virgin Mary bathed newborn Jesus, that is why this place is also known as Mahamaah which means the bathing place in Arabic. A 12th century church called "The Virgin Lady" still stands in that place. Feeling safer in Egypt, the Holy Family rested under a sycamore tree, known now as “Virgin Mary’s Tree” or "Mariam’s Tree" which is now a prominent attraction spot for religious tourists. According to English Ahram, the "Chrism" or the holy "Mayron oil" is still being extracted from the oil of that tree.

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The Virgin's Tree Traditionally, where Mary Rested During the Flight into Egypt (1897) - Underwood & Underwood - Wikimedia commons

The family's next stop was the Valley of Natrun (

Wadi Al-Natrun

), a place which, according to ETA's website, "was the monasticism’s first home in the world to practice chastity and meditating God."

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The Flight into Egypt as illustrated by Gentile da Fabriano in 1423 - Petar Milošević - Wikimedia commons

Al-Matarya district and Al-Zaytoun are two other key stops of the Holy Family's journey; in Toman Bey Street, Al-Zaytoun, a church by the name "

The Virgin Mary

" still stands and some of the church visitors have been reporting sightings of the Virgin Lady appearing near the church's domes.

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Virgin Mary Church at Zaytoun - F50R2J - Wikimedia commons

Moving on to "Old Cairo" (Al-Fustaat), the Holy Family stayed for a short period of time in a cave, which was turned later into Abi Serja Church, inside the Roman Fortress of Babylon. After which they moved on to Al-Maadi district and stayed in the location which later turned into another "Virgin Mary" Church. Sailing a boat south the Nile stream, then crossing the east bank of the river, passing by

Minya

, where the Monastery of the Virgin on top of the Gabal Al-Kaf is now located. Gabal Al-Kaf which translates Mountain of the Palm is where Jesus is believed to have left an imprint of his palm on the stones of the mountain.

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Minya - Sondos Ahmed - Wikimedia commons

Continuing their journey through

Upper Egypt

, crossing back to the west side of the river to Assuit, where they stayed for six months, which is the longest period they spent in the same place during their journey through Egypt, that is where Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him that Herod the great was dead and it was safe to return to Palestine. Thus, after spending more than three years in Egypt, the Holy Family started their journey back, taking the same route to Palestine. The place where they stayed in Assuit is known now as Al-Qussia, where Al-Muharraq Monastery was later on built and still stands today.

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Addeir Al-Moharraq – Al-Qussia - Assiut - Egypt - Tour Mana Ali - Wikimedia commons

After being embraced by Pope Francis as a part of the Roman Catholic pilgrimage route, the route is expected to highly promote religious tourism in Egypt. Eight stops of the 25 were chosen to form the main stops of the pilgrimage route; the pilgrimage starts in the city of Al-Arish, North Sinai, crosses to the Eastern Delta of the Nile and reaches Wadi Al-Natroun, where a number of important Coptic monasteries lie, including St. Mary Church in Mostorod, Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church and the Garnos Monastery. ]]>
10/5/2017 6:29:12 PM
<![CDATA[International stars revive Egyptian tourism]]>CAIRO – 5 October 2017: Renowned Hollywood star Forest Whitaker has recently crowned an official visit to Egypt, to attend el Gouna festival, by visiting the Egyptian museum and sharing his photos as he marveled at the iconic pyramids, to document such “inspiring moment,” as he tweeted.



For almost six years, we had missed that enthusiasm and excitement of hosting our favorite celebrities and seeing their photos around the pyramids, between monumental temple pillars in Luxor, or even lounging at our beautiful, sunny beaches.

Egypt’s iconic monuments and paramount history have placed it on the top of most - if not all - international figures’ bucket lists, from the year one; Agatha Christie (1930s), Patricia NIXON and U.S. President Richard Nixon (1974), Louis Armstrong (1961), Muhammed Ali (1964 and 1986), Amitabh Bachchan (1991), Princess Diana (1992), Shakira (2007), Barack Obama (2009), Salma Hayek (2009), Paris Hilton (2010), Van Diesel (2011), and many more.


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Louis Armstrong visiting the Egyptian Pyramids


However, since the drawback that hit the tourism industry following the revolution, tourism revenues went down by over 70 percent and those A-list public figures seemed to have overcome their eagerness to visit our historical country. Although we saw Enrique Iglesias in 2014, Morgan Freeman and Yanni in 2015, it was not until earlier this year that Egypt seemed to have regained its popularity amongst famous international stars.


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


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



While Messi’s visit was organized by an Egyptian campaign, less than a month later, photos of the pyramids were once again trending all over social media, as Hollywood star Will Smith arrived for a visit with his family and shared his now famous selfies. admiring the “beauty” and “magnificence” of Egyptian monuments.



Only then, talks of an “undeclared” government plan, to attract A-list international stars to help boost Egyptian tourism, began spreading.

“In support of the incoming tourism to Egypt and to promote its historical attractions, the star and American actor Will Smith visited the Giza Pyramids with his family,” Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities stated on its official Facebook page.

Whether there was indeed a plan or not at that time does not matter much; either ways, Egypt has since regained its regal position amongst international celebrities; their visits constituting a strong boost for the tourism sector.

Shortly after, Egypt’s Tourism Development Authority announced a remarkable hike in tourism rates; giving credit to its promotional campaigns in Europe.

Early in April, Manchester United football legend Ryan Giggs visited Egypt as part of an UEFA tour; promising to return for a longer trip. “My trip in Cairo is a short one, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. What a trip it has been," he said during a press conference at Al-Ahram Beverage event. He visited the Pyramids and the Egyptian museum and promised to come back with his family.

Chairman of Egypt’s Tourism Authority, Hesham El-Demeiry, commented on the visit, stating that it was an "opportunity to prove that Egypt is coming back stronger than before," according to Al-Ahram national Newspaper.



The Ministry of Tourism has been capitalising on these visits to promote tourism and showcase the safety and security of the country, relying on the testimony of renowned stars. Their social media accounts, which are followed by millions around the world, have quickly become a genuinely growing promotional campaign.




]]>
10/5/2017 5:29:59 PM
<![CDATA[Back in time in Pharaonic Village]]>
Pharaonic Village is positioned in El Aazam، SaqiyetMekki, Giza, also open from 9:00 a:m. to 8:00 p.m.

Inside the Village, there is a Nile boat that will take you in a one way visit through the Nile among Pharaonic statues with a voice over played on sound system just to tell the story behind every status.

You will be amazed to see Egyptians act the Pharaonic life with all their activities Like farming, pottery manufacturing and riding war wheels.

The Nile boat will take you to the end where you enter to a temple conjoins a macket sampling all temples Pharos lived in especially the ones situated in Luxor and Aswan.
From outside the temple, you can go for a shopping but with a Pharaonic flavor as there is a market designed to occupy all antiques and bazar gifts.

At the front, there is a garden, café and a park for a children to give a space for entertainment aside of the historical visit.

With only LE 15 ticket ($0.8) you change your free time routine and go back in time to live with our ancestors.

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Tut Ankh Amoun Tomb – Pharaonic Village website

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Village temple– Best Places of Egypt Face Book Page

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Market Place of Village – Pharaonic Village website

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Art Space of The Village – Best Places Of Egypt Face Book Page ]]>
10/5/2017 11:15:33 AM
<![CDATA[Hisham el Demeiry meets Czech tour operators]]>
The visit comes as part of efforts exerted by the Tourism Promotion Authority to promote Egypt's tourism.

Demeiry said his meeting with the Czech tour operators has tackled measures taken by the Egyptian government to lure Czech tourists to visit Egypt.

The number of Czech tourists increased by 150 percent from January to August 2017, he said.]]>
10/5/2017 12:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Catholic pilgrimage to Egypt to initiate after Pope’s blessing]]>
Pope Francis on Wednesday organized a special greeting in Rome for a high-level Egyptian delegation led by Tourism Minister Yahya Rashid to promote a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt.

The pope’s blessing comes as a mandatory step in the process of initiating the Roman Catholic pilgrimage program to Egypt, which is set to launch next year.

The Flight into Egypt, as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, is a biblical event that marks when an angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream to advise him into fleeing to Egypt with Mary and infant Jesus; the event itself holds a unique iconic representation.

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The Flight into Egypt as illustrated by Gentile da Fabriano in 1423 – CC via Wikimedia Commons/PetarM
“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.

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received the Catholic pontiff at the presidential Ittihadya palace on April 28, 2017 as Pope Francis forged ahead with a two-day trip to Egypt – Press photo
Pope Francis visited Egypt on April as he met the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, and urged leaders of all religions to denounce violence and acts of terror committed under God’s name. During the visit, the Pope led a Holy Mass at the Air Defense Stadium in New Cairo.

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Pope Francis leading a holy mass at the Air Defense Stadium in New Cairo on April 29, 2017 – Press photo
The visit in April marked the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Egypt and the Holy See.

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.

Tourism Minister Rashid is in Rome to meet with tourism officials in Rome with the aim to promote the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt as a significant pilgrimage destination. The visit, according to Rashid, falls within the framework of Pope Francis’ earlier visit to Egypt and the promotion of religious tourism.

The route of the pilgrimage passes 25 different places that have their significant meanings to the Holy Family during the escape from Herod the Great who sought to kill the newborn "King of the Jews" and led the infanticide known as the Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the child.

A statement from the Tourism Ministry said eight main locations have been chosen to be the key stops of the pilgrimage route.

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Sir Peter Paul Rubens' Le Massacre des Innocents, photographed during the exhibition "L'Europe de Rubens" (The Europe of Rubens) in the Louvre-Lens – Wikimedia Commons/Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

The pilgrimage starts in the city of Al-Arish, North Sinai, crosses to the Eastern Delta of the Nile and reaches Wadi Al-Natroun, where a number important Coptic monasteries lie, including St. Mary Church in Mostorod, Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church and the Garnos Monastery.

Tourism Minister Rashid affirmed in a televised interview with the CBC satellite channel that the pilgrimage holds both political and economic significance, he also pointed out that the pilgrimage’s route embraced Jesus for four years.

Rashid also pointed out that this pilgrimage would play an important role in promoting religious tourism in Egypt.

Pope Francis became the first Roman Catholic Pontiff to visit Egypt since Pope John Paul II in 2000.]]>
10/4/2017 10:04:15 PM
<![CDATA[Tourists trickle back to Tunisia after 2015 militant attacks]]>
Nothing reminds holiday-makers of the day in June 2015 when an Islamic State militant shot dead 39 foreigners in this beach resort, triggering an exodus of tourists from the country and severely damaging its economy.

Now some of those tourist are coming back, thanks to a massive security presence and advertising abroad. Tourism revenues rose 21 percent to $851 million in the first nine months of 2017 compared with last year, central bank data shows.

The rise is helping the government weather an economic crisis as it prepares an austere budget and tax increases. The reforms were agreed with the International Monetary Fund in return for a new $350 million loan.

Westerners are still reluctant to come back, even though most countries have lifted travel warnings. But hotels have managed to fill rooms, mostly with Algerians and Russians - the latter avoiding Egypt since Islamic State downed a Russian plane in 2015.

"It's great here. Security is better than in Egypt," said Galina Rasputov, a holiday maker from Moscow. "I'll come back."

Rasputov was taking a break from the beach at the bar of the hotel where a Tunisian gunman trained in Libya opened fire with a Kalashnikov in 2015. The hotel was called Imperial Marhaba then; it reopened this summer after undergoing a facelift and changing its name to the Steigenberger Kantaoui Bay.

"We are fully booked," said Zohra Driss who owns this and other hotels in Sousse, a tourist beach town some 150 km (90 miles) south of the capital, Tunis. "Many are Russians but we also have Algerians, Germans."

SECURITY

Tourism accounts for about 8 percent of Tunisia's gross domestic product, provides thousands of jobs and is a key source of foreign currency, but it has struggled since two major attacks in 2015.

The first, at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, left 21 tourists dead. The Sousse attack killed 39, mostly British holiday-makers.

And risks remain. Jihadists are returning from Syria, Iraq and Libya after Islamic State lost most of its territory there.

But the number of foreign tourists rose by 23.4 percent to reach 5.366 million until September, compared with the same period last year. Officials hope 6.5 million will come in all 2017, which would be a return to the normal level.

The number of European visitors, however, rose by just 16.5 percent. Major tour operators like Thomas Cook have resumed bookings in select hotels, but the European tourists remain far below their pre-2015 levels.

That has left the industry relying on Algerians, whose numbers rose by 44 percent to 1.8 million until September. Almost half a million Russians also came.

"We seek to attract more tourists next year from new destinations like China and Canada while we will still focus on our traditional markets like UK and Germany," said Neji Ben Othman, director general of the tourism ministry.

Tunisia has increased security in Sousse and other tourist spots. Checkpoints were erected on the main roads and at hotels, ancient sites and airports. After police were criticised for a slow response to stop the hotel gunmen, security forces have cracked down on militants, dismantling dozens of cells.

With hotels resembling fortresses, many tourists book "all inclusive" tours that benefit chains and tour operators. But they stay indoors, leaving souvenir traders and cafes idle in the old city. Russians and Algerians, who come by car, also tend to spend less than Germans or Brits, the former clientele.

"Most come only to watch, like in a museum," said Lutfi Laoun, a vendor who sells traditional pottery. "I haven't had a single customer today."]]>
10/4/2017 5:59:40 PM
<![CDATA[UK Parliament urges lifting flight ban off Sharm El Sheikh]]>
The ban on UK flights was implemented after a Russian passenger plane was downed in October 2015, and even though Russia itself has expressed its content with the safety measures in Egyptian airports and declared its intentions to

resume flights to Egypt by winter

, the UK still upholds its ban on flights to the resort city Sharm El-Sheikh.

The group stated, “We, as a cross-Party group, have been calling for an end to the Sharm El-Sheikh travel ban since September 2016, following our visit and tour of the airport in July. The Egyptian government and hotel groups have spent over £20 million to ensure that Sharm El-Sheikh is now one of the safest airports in the Middle East and meets the demands laid out by the British government in 2015. A Department for Transport representative said in 2016 that the ‘conditions had been met to enable flights to resume.’ As these conditions have been met, there are no longer justifiable reasons for the ongoing ban. The Monarch’s collapse shows that the ban is not only having a devastating effect on the Egyptian economy, but also damaging the British economy.”

The statement came in a very sympathetic tone expressing their sadness over the fate of Monarch Airlines, and fearing the dangerous diplomatic consequences of the ban on the UK-Egyptian relations.

As the group added, “Monarch has traditionally been one of Egypt’s largest travel providers. Their CEO Andrew Swaffield has been quoted describing the travel ban as one of the ‘root causes’ of Monarch’s collapse. As Monarch's post-mortem begins, the ongoing ban on UK flights into Sharm El-Sheikh airport will rightly come under the spotlight. If we do not want to hear of further similar stories, it is vital that the flight ban be lifted as soon as possible.”
]]>
10/4/2017 5:55:15 PM
<![CDATA[Rome’s Colosseum opens top levels to public]]>
Seats on the fifth level of the amphitheatre were once reserved for ancient Roman society’s lowest commoner: the plebeian.

But the seats boasted a breathtaking view — not only of the gladiator battles far below, but of the heart of the empire.

“It is an incredible view of the Colosseum and Rome, which the visitor will remember as one of the most beautiful things he has seen in his life,” Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said at a media presentation yesterday.

Far below, tourists peering down into the maze of galleries in the monument’s belly appear as tiny specks, showing just how far away the commoners were from the arena floor, where terrified prisoners were forced to fight wild beasts.

Those squeezed together on wooden benches had a long way to climb to get to their seats — but the tickets were free. Once they were there spectators were protected by a large canvas from sudden downpours.

Visitors will have to book guided tours, which will take groups of a maximum of 25 people up into the gods level at a time.

They will start with an exceptionally well-preserved corridor between the second and third floors, where traces of the lavatories can still be seen, the Colosseum’s director Rossella Rea said.

There is also evidence of restorations to the walls following a fire sparked by lightning in 217 AD.

The tour will continue to the third floor, where the middle-classes sat, and on to the fourth, where merchants and traders enjoyed the famously grisly shows.

The first level, in blood-splattering distance to the action, was reserved for the emperor and his senators.

Completed in 80 AD, the Colosseum was the biggest amphitheatre built during the Roman empire.

Standing 48.5 metres (159 feet) high, it was capable of hosting 80,000 spectators for feasts of entertainment that encapsulated the brutality, hedonism and engineering genius that were among the defining features of ancient Rome.

The first phase of a major makeover of the venue was completed in July 2016, with a number of sections structurally strengthened and most of the remaining walls water-sprayed to remove centuries of encrusted dirt and grime.
]]>
10/4/2017 2:57:11 PM
<![CDATA[OECD calls for tourism to be more sustainable]]>
Tourism was one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world economy, and its potential remained very strong, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said in a statement.

In the 35 OECD countries, tourism contributed on average 4.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), 5.9 per cent of employment and 21.3 per cent of service exports, the OECD calculated.

Addressing a two-day high-level meeting of ministers, government officials and industry representatives in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said tourism was “a bright spot in a still sluggish global economy but the sector faces considerable challenges.”

In certain heavily-visited areas, for example, tourism had faced a backlash in public opinion due to its impact on the local population, culture and environment, Gurria said.

“Rethinking the tourism model involves improving the tourist’s experience, better managing the impacts of tourism, and encouraging positive spillover effects on the wider economy,” the OECD statement said.

“Tourism policy should ensure that it contributes to economic growth that is shared broadly across society and improves the well-being of citizens.”

According to the OECD, tourism could also serve as a tool to help protect natural areas, and had the potential to make “a major contribution” to the 2030 UN sustainable development agenda “by working to achieve more resource-efficient consumption and production patterns.”

tags: Travel , Tourism, OECD]]>
10/4/2017 2:49:56 PM
<![CDATA[Abandoned by tourists, Bali town counts cost of Indonesia volcano]]>
Business has slumped at many hotels, dive resorts and restaurants in towns around the volcano since authorities issue the highest alert level for Mount Agung last month.

An owner of a dive center in Amed, around 15 km (9 miles) from the volcano and just outside the official “danger zone”, said many of her guests had canceled.

“If (the situation) lasts for nine months or more... then we have no choice but to close down because we will have no money left to operate and pay the staff,” said Helene Rabate, a Spaniard who runs the center.

Cafes and restaurants were largely empty and few visitors were seen at the usually crowded dive centers of this seaside town.

The last time Agung erupted was in 1963, when more than 1,000 people were killed. Since then, tourism has transformed towns like Amed from sleepy fishing and agricultural villages.

Restaurant owner Wayan Widarti has seen a dramatic drop in customers.

“It could be worse than when the Bali bombing happened because there’s uncertainty on when (the eruption) is going to happen and how long we wait,” she said, referring to the 2002 nightclub bombing that killed 202 people and prompted a slump in visitors to the holiday island.

Jemeluk beach is seen some 15 km away from Mount Agung, a volcano on the highest alert level, in Amed on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
Bali, famous for its surf, beaches and temples, attracted nearly 5 million visitors last year - more than half the total number of foreign tourists to Indonesia.

Tourism, a cornerstone of Bali’s economy, is Indonesia’s fourth-biggest earner of foreign currency after natural resources like coal and palm oil.

Indonesian policy makers have been seeking to boost an economy whose growth rate has been stuck at around 5 percent for the last few years, so any protracted damage to tourism will be particularly unwelcome.

Indonesian officials have said Bali remains safe for tourism, but there have been cancellations even in areas further away from the volcano amid concerns that ash clouds could disrupt air connections.

Some tourists are still in the area at a safe distance from the volcano.

“We plan to... just follow security instructions... and take a fast boat to escape if there is an eruption,” said Arlin Shiu, a woman from Hong Kong who was traveling with a friend.

Disaster management authorities have imposed an exclusion zone of up to 12 km, prompting more than 140,000 residents to flee to neighboring villages.

“For people who live in safe zones, there is no reason to evacuate,” Bali governor I Made Mangku Pastika said, adding that makeshift evacuation centers were straining under the weight of thousands of extra evacuees.
]]>
10/4/2017 2:36:46 PM
<![CDATA[Greek archaeologists clear way for Hellenikon resort]]>
The 8 billion euro ($9.39 billion) project to develop the disused Hellenikon airport site is a key term of Greece’s international bailout and is closely watched by its official creditors and potential investors in the crisis-hit country.

Greek developer Lamda signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014 for the 620-hectare (1,530-acre) area, once the site of Athens airport. But the project has faced delays, partly over a long-running row between developers and those who fear it will destroy the environment and cultural heritage.

After three inconclusive meetings in recent weeks, the Central Archaeological Council, an advisory body, recommended on Tuesday that about 30 hectares (74 acres) of the 620-hectare plot under the project be declared an archaeological site.

“The decision is fine,” Deputy Economy Minister in charge of investments, Stergios Pitsiorlas, told Reuters. “The fact that a small area is declared of archaeological interest shields the whole process from future litigation.”

Pitsiorlas said the recommendation meant that archaeologists will have a closer supervision of construction work.

Backed by Chinese < and Gulf funds, Lamda submitted its detailed development plan for Hellenikon in July, setting off a licensing process which will wrap up with a decree.

The Council approved the plan on Tuesday and designated specific areas where construction should not be allowed. It was not immediately clear how the Council’s recommendation could affect Lamda’s construction plan.

Lamda said it was waiting to be officially notified over the decision before making any comment.

The recommendation is not binding, however, the culture ministry always respects the body’s decisions.

Greece on Monday overcame another hurdle to the project by winning an appeal over objections by forestry officials.

Hellenikon has become a major political issue in Greece, which is slowly emerging from a multi-year debt crisis.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose leftist party strongly opposed it before coming to power in 2015, is now seen as keen to implement the deal to help boost economic activity and reduce unemployment, the euro zone’s highest.

Referring to the council’s decision, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis said it was “a complicated process which was resolved in the best possible way”.

]]>
10/4/2017 2:32:09 PM
<![CDATA[Pope's blessing of Holy Family's Egypt journey as pilgrimage hailed]]>
In statements to MENA over the phone, Rashed lauded the Pope's announcement, noting that this would promote Egyptian tourism worldwide.

Reviving the path of the holy family journey will lure a large number of Christian tourists worldwide to visit Egypt.

]]>
10/4/2017 2:01:29 PM
<![CDATA[Into Wadi al-Nazla, the setting of 'Doaa al-Karawan']]>
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Pottery manufacturing– Fayoum Governorate official Website

Its name says a lot about its features, as its cliffs that are covered in flowers and plants are lower than other cities by 30 meters. It also controls the drainage that pours into Lake Qaroun.


It is also the one and only center of pottery manufacturing in Egypt, as it conjoins many factories specialized in making manual tools from pottery. In addition, it is considered to be a point of touristic attraction, and is characterized by the manufacturing of fireworks, as it includes a lot of factories that produce all kinds of fireworks bombed in feasts and festivals.


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Overview of Wadi al-Nazla - Fayoum Governorate official Website

Note that the valley's width is 24 meters; eight of those are composed of waterways that are magically beautiful, enabling Wadi al-Nazla to become of the huge touristic centers in Egypt.


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Pottery manufacturing - Fayoum Governorate official Website
]]>
10/4/2017 10:55:25 AM
<![CDATA[Monarch boss 'absolutely devastated' after airline's sudden collapse]]>
The collapse of the airline was a result of higher competition and lower prices in Spain and Portugal due to security concerns in other holiday destinations, Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield told BBC radio in an interview.

“Yesterday was a heartbreaking day. 2,000 people lost their jobs, and we’re all absolutely devastated for the customers and for all of us. It’s been a great family in Monarch,” he said.

In operation since 1968, the airline was owned by investment group Greybull Capital which had kept it going with a 165 million pound ($219 million) injection last October.

Around 90 percent of the staff from Monarch Airlines and Monarch Travel Group were made redundant. Maintenance repair wing Monarch Aircraft Engineering is not in administration and was unaffected.

The decision to cease trading was taken late on Saturday night, Swaffield said. While rivals such as Air Berlin and Alitalia have continued to operate after going into administration, this was not an option for the British carrier.

“The UK’s insolvency framework doesn’t allow airlines to continue flying, unlike in Germany or Italy,” he said.

He said the decision was taken as the airline was projected to lose “well over 100 million pounds” over the next year.

“We couldn’t figure out a way of reducing those losses significantly, either by selling the short haul airline or by improving it,” Swaffield said, adding that he was working to help staff find jobs elsewhere.

The abrupt failure of the carrier left 110,000 passengers abroad with no Monarch flights to take them home.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said that on Monday it operated around 60 flights to bring back nearly 12,000 customers, with a similar number of passengers due to be brought back on Tuesday.

A further 750,000 future bookings with Monarch were canceled, and now planes that were meant to be used by Monarch will need to find new destinations.

Asia’s second-biggest aircraft lessor, BOC Aviation Ltd (2588.HK), said on Tuesday it was working to find new homes for 13 Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 MAX 8 aircraft it had planned to lease to the collapsed British carrier.]]>
10/4/2017 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Safran hopes new jet engine can reshape air travel]]>
The Open Rotor engine, which places previously hidden whirring parts on the outside to capture more air, was developed with European Union backing and is being tested in specially built facilities at a French military base near Marseille.

Shaped like an elongated egg with two rows of blades at the back, the engine aims to burn 15 percent less fuel than current conventional turbofan engines, which have also improved significantly in recent years.

Clara de la Torre, a top European Union research official, said the new type of engine could help airlines cut air fares because it requires less fuel.

Whether the engine enters service, however, depends on the strategies of airplane makers such as Airbus and Boeing, whose best-selling single-aisle planes are expected to be renewed in around 2030.

Such engines would most likely be placed at the back of the airplane instead of under the wing, leaving room for the two rows of scimitar-shaped carbon blades to swirl in opposite directions.

It is not the first time engine makers have looked at revisiting the design of the traditional jet engine. U.S. engine makers looked at so-called unducted fans in the1980s before dropping the idea when oil prices fell. At the time, such engines were also considered too noisy.

But the completely fresh design could become attractive as energy costs rise and regulations require fewer emissions, said Safran Chief Executive Philippe Petitcolin.

“If we want to be ready in 2030 we have to start now,” he told reporters. “If oil prices return above $100 I think there will be much stronger interest.”

SHORTER-TERM SOLUTION

Rolls-Royce has also looked at the technology.

One of the unknowns is the reaction of passengers to seeing a double row of fast-spinning blades, rather than an engine whose moving parts are concealed.

“It is a question to which we don’t yet know the answer,” Petitcolin said.

Regulators would also have to work out how to certify the engine, using existing rules for failed parts and bird strikes.

Safran is also looking at a shorter-term solution to cutting emissions and fuel consumption based on traditional engine architecture. Its “Ultra-High Bypass Ratio” engine would cut fuel consumption by 5-10 percent and would be ready for service by 2025.

That could coincide with Boeing’s tentative plans to produce a new mid-market jet in the middle of the next decade.

Any decision to offer either engine to planemakers would be made through CFM International, Safran’s joint venture with General Electric.

Beyond these ideas, Safran and others are already thinking about bolder schemes, such as hybrid electric technology and distributed power, which could usher in futuristic plane designs from 2040.

“Instead of one engine, there could be 10 or 20,” said Safran’s research chief Stephane Cueille.]]>
10/4/2017 4:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pope Francis to bless icon for Holy Family Journey to Egypt ]]>
The visit comes as part of efforts exerted by the Egyptian foreign and tourism ministries to promote tourism in Egypt, Tawfiq noted.

Pope Francis is scheduled to meet the Egyptian delegation on Wednesday following the weekly Mass, during which he will bless an icon for the Journey of the Holy Family to Egypt.

The icon will be later dispatched to Egypt to reflect the pontiff's solidarity with Egypt and his support of religious tourism in the country.]]>
10/4/2017 3:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bulgaria, Romania plan another bridge over Danube]]>
The existing 63-year-old bridge is struggling to cope with the heavy traffic with data showing that more than 1.37 million vehicles crossed it in the first eight months of 2017, compared to about 750,000 in the same period last year.

The new 3-km construction, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the Balkans, will be the third bridge, connecting Bulgaria and Romania over the Danube along their shared 470-km river border.

Experts say the construction of the new bridge would cost about 250 million euros ($293.9 million).

“I am convinced that a third bridge will boost business and tourism,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said after meeting his Romanian counterpart Mihai Tudose at a joint intergovernmental meeting between the two cabinets in the Black Sea city of Varna.

Borissov said the two countries are also looking for investors for two more infrastructure projects - a bridge over the Danube, connecting Bulgaria’s Nikopol and Romania’s Turnu Magurele, as well as a 200-km motorway, linking Romania’s Black Sea city of Constanta with the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas.

Tudose expressed his optimism that Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007, would be admitted to the bloc’s passport-free Schengen travel zone, describing the two countries as “islands of safety for citizens”.

Bulgaria takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency as of January while Romania will assume the role in 2019.]]>
10/3/2017 10:03:09 PM
<![CDATA[Greece to develop Athens coastal resort]]>
Greece’s international creditors from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund are closely watching developments over the project to develop the disused Hellenikon airport site.

The 8 billion euro ($9.39 billion) project features prominently among privatization targets in the country’s 86 billion euro aid package.

Greek developer Lamda signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014 for the 620-hectare area, once the site of Athens airport. But the project has faced delays, partly over a long-running row between developers and those who fear it will destroy the environment.

Forestry authorities in May declared 3.7 hectares of the estate as protected woodland, on a spot developers said was integral to the project.

Greece’s privatization agency, which is in charge of concluding the deal with Lamda, had appealed the decision. A four-member panel of the country’s forestry department ruled on Monday that the plot is not forest.

“The agency’s appeal...was upheld by a 3-to-2 majority,” the committee’s president Christos Antonellis told Reuters, adding that the decision is expected to be published by Wednesday.

The decision is subject to appeal.

The privatization agency’s chief Lila Tsitsogiannopoulou said the decision was “positive” and that the agency’s appeal had strong legal grounds.

The Hellenikon project has become a major political issue in Greece which is slowly emerging from a multi-year debt crisis.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose leftist party strongly opposed it before coming to power in 2015, is seen as keen to now implement the deal to help boost economic activity and reduce unemployment, the eurozone’s highest.

Backed by Chinese and Gulf investors, Lamda submitted its detailed development plan for Hellenikon in July. Objections by archaeologists who worry that the investment will hurt Greece’s cultural heritage is another hurdle Greece now needs to overcome.

The government’s top advisory body on the protection of antiquities, the Central Archaeological Council, was scheduled to meet again on Tuesday to discuss the matter. There have been three previously inconclusive meetings in recent weeks.]]>
10/3/2017 9:58:37 PM
<![CDATA[EgyptAir offers discounted tickets on US, North Africa flights]]>
The offer includes 42 destinations inside the US in cooperation with the US company JetBlue Airways, EgyptAir said in a statement.

It added that the discount will be valid only for tickets bought till October 15 and used before December 17.

The discounted tickets also include Boeing and Airbus flights for European destinations and North African countries like Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, the statement added.

Flights to some Arab cities like Beirut and Dammam were also discounted, along with local flights to Alexandria.]]>
10/3/2017 12:45:33 PM
<![CDATA[Hyatt to double its Africa presence, open six hotels by 2020]]>
The company will open its first hotels in Algeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Senegal and open new hotels in two countries where it already has a presence: Morocco and Tanzania. The hotels will create approximately 2,100 jobs, Hyatt said.

Hyatt is looking for more opportunities to expand in East Africa, it said, citing continued government investment in infrastructure, an expanding middle class and a growing international recognition of the region’s stability.

The new hotels will double Hyatt’s presence in Africa. Potential countries for further expansion could include Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Ghana and Ivory Coast, Hyatt said.

There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, the company said, citing the UN World Tourism Organisation.

The first half of 2017 saw a 14 percent year-on-year increase in international arrivals in East Africa.]]>
10/3/2017 12:21:40 PM
<![CDATA[Thailand expects 35 pct more Chinese tourists in Golden Week, spending $329M]]>
Chinese travellers, who account for the largest share of visitors to Thailand, are expected to generate more than 11 billion baht ($329.05 million) worth of business during the long Oct. 1-8 break, the ministry said in a statement.

For the full month of October, the number of Chinese tourists is expected to increase more than 20 percent to over 600,000, generating more than 30 billion baht, it said.

Tourism accounts for about 12 percent of Thailand’s economic output and has been a bright spot this year, along with exports, in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

The ministry has forecast overall international tourists of about 35 million this year, after a record 32.6 million last year. ($1 = 33.43 baht) ]]>
10/3/2017 12:17:32 PM
<![CDATA[Travellers, take note: Tahiti’s tropical overwater bungalows turn 50]]>
This iconic accommodation, which lets guests admire marine life without even leaving their suite, was made popular by three Californians who teamed up on a hotel project in French Polynesia in 1967. They first set up in Moorea — one of the Tahiti’s most famous islands — before opening in Raiatea which has no sandy beach. One of the three friends had the crazy idea of creating accommodation raised over the water on stilts and with glass flooring. Three such bungalows were first built in Raiatea. Bungalows then followed in Moorea and Bora Bora.

Originally, this type of accommodation was inspired by traditional Polynesian homes called “fare.” Earth or sand floors were paved with volcanic rocks or coral and bamboo canes were used to build walls. Today, 884 overwater bungalows await lucky visitors to Tahiti and its islands. In fact, 22 hotels offer this kind of accommodation on seven islands, including major hotel brands such as Intercontinental, Le Méridien and Sofitel.

These famous lodgings, which are notably popular with newlyweds, have inspired overwater accommodation in other global destinations, such as the Maldives and Mauritius.]]>
10/3/2017 12:14:25 PM
<![CDATA[Mohammed Ramadan flies private plane to St. Catherine ]]>
Success is a double-edged weapon; it could be the way to gain people’s hearts on one hand, and to have countless numbers of enemies on the other. Let alone success plus fortune; it could make an idol out of you. You would grow the hope for dreamers that their aspirations may come true one day or a subject of controversy for others who may see you as an upstart or a nouveau riche. There is always a thin layer between being an influencer and being showy.

The Egyptian star Mohamed Ramadan has always dazzled the eyes and ears of his audience with memorable updates about his life and his striking appearance. Amongst conflicting reactions, Ramadan posted his photo with his new private plane bearing his initials MR in the background on his Instagram account.
"My first trip to Saint Catherine Airport; Egypt is the land of magic," commented Ramadan on his posted picture, unaware of the countless number of reactions which will follow and mention the pros and cons.

The crowds’ varied reactions ranged between a proponent and opponent. A sizable number of Ramadan fans expressed their admiration and wished him further success. Meanwhile, others considered Ramadan’s post and picture as inappropriate and forced Egyptians to bear grudges and be envious with his continual attempt to show off his fortune.

"You live in a country that suffers from economic conditions and people can hardly afford their living, and you show off your expensive car, yacht and plane; you bluntly tell people to have an evil eye on you; you should be thoughtful of the poor and relate to their low life standard and make a charity project instead of showing off your wealth," was the first comment from one of Ramadan’s followers criticizing his showy attitude.

Ramadan was earlier slammed for bragging about his Lamborghini and Rolls Royce on Instagram, which contradicts his beginning as an Egyptian actor who made his name and fortune by playing the downtrodden, working class, salt-of-the-earth guy who gets corrupted by the circumstances.
]]>
10/3/2017 9:59:20 AM
<![CDATA[Nubia by the Red Sea ]]>
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Nubian House in Dahab Facebook page


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Nubian House in Dahab Facebook page

The café is designed in the Nubian home style; wherever you sit, your eyes will be attracted to oil paintings that depict the Nubian lifestyle. Your ears will enjoy Nubian songs by famous Nubian singers like the super star Mohamed Mounir, Ahmed Mounib and the Mounib Band.

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Nubian House in Dahab Facebook page


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Nubian House in Dahab Facebook page

The staff are dressed in Nubian style, and the menu offers Nubian delicacies. You can drink Nubian tea mixed with tea, tea with cloves, and cold hibiscus alongside the Nubian main dishes.

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Nubian House in Dahab Facebook page


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Nubian House in Dahab Facebook page

By visiting this café, you surely have the opportunity to visit both Dahab and Nubia at the same time, all under one roof.
]]>
10/3/2017 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[9 things to know about Giza Zoo, plans to develop it]]>
Egyptians love to visit the beautiful zoo in holidays. Here are five things to know about Giza Zoo:

1- It stretches over 85 acres.

2- It was opened for the public in 1891 during the rule of Khedive Tawfiq.


1
Guenons at the Giza Zoo – Maher Eskandar


3- Many kinds of rare and endangered animals and birds live in the park and have successfully bred there.

4- The Zoological Museum, the first and largest of its kind in the Middle East, is located inside the zoo. It displays mummified animals from all over the region and Africa.


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Deer at the Giza Zoo – Maher Eskandar


5- A board of secretaries has been set up to develop the old zoo.

6- Their plan includes the exploitation of unused spaces and expanding animals’ habitats.

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A tigress and her cubs at the Giza Zoo – Egypt Today

7- It is expected to better simulate the natural habitat of the animals on the verge of extinction.

8- A veterinarian committee will be formed to look after the animals.

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Mummified rats and mice at the Zoological Museum – Best Places Egypt Facebook page

9- Stimulate the reproduction of rare animals and birds.

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The Zoological Museum inside the Giza Zoo – Best Places Egypt Facebook page
]]>
10/3/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[3 therapeutic springs in Sinai that need to be known ]]>
1

Wadi Assal

A spring in Wadi Assal (Honey Valley) in Ras Sudr is known among the locals to treat arthritis, cleanse the skin and has a breathtaking sunset.


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Ramadan Assayed, a tourist bus driver over 60 years of age, said he knew about Wadi Assal from a Bedouin after he complained to him about back pain and arthritis.


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Now, whenever Assayed travels to Ras Sudr for work, he rubs the mud on the bank of the spring into his body, then bathes in the 50-degrees Celsius spring for at least 20 minutes.


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Hammam Pharaon

Hammam Pharaon (Pharaoh’s Bath), located on the International road to Sharm El-Sheikh, is a natural pool of water springing from caves inside a mountain and pours into the Gulf of Suez. Tourists prefer swimming downstream to tolerate the water temperature, which gets higher if you go deeper in the caves.

In 2008, an Egyptian archaeological mission revealed that the area of Pharaoh’s Bath hosts a cave that had been used as a shelter for Egyptian Christians fleeing the Roman persecution in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Hammam Moussa

Located in El-Tor city, locals believe that Prophet Daud (David) was healed by the water of Hammam Moussa (Moses Bath) during his journey in Sinai.

They also claim that Hammam Moussa’s water travels underground until it mixes with the water that feeds Pharaoh’s Bath, which is 30 kilometers away.

However, Hamed, a tourist guide, said the spring was formed in the 80s after an oil exploration process resulted in a mineral water spring, rather than oil.

The water temperature can reach 200 degrees Celsius, and comes out boiling from underground with steam loaded with the smell of sulfur. The water formed a 100-meter long trench, until it pours in a natural 150-square meter pool with a two-meter depth. The temperature of the pool, which is surrounded by trees, ranges from very hot, to hot and warm.

The mineral spring water is believed to heal the musculoskeletal system and rheumatic diseases, as well as other benefits from the natural clay.
]]>
10/3/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Monarch's demise brings more headaches for holidaymakers]]>
With no prior warning her flight could be cancel led, she and her husband were eventually rebooked by a travel agent on to a flight to Faro at 6.30 p.m. (1730 GMT), meaning they faced a long wait at the airport north of London and lost a day of holiday.

“It’s absolutely, completely disgusting. Not a message, not a text, not an email,” said Quist, 65, a belly dance teacher from Milton Keynes in central England.

“Nobody here to say anything. My husband works seven days a week and he’s got a week’s holiday of which we’ve now lost a day... We can’t even get to duty free to get some medicinal alcohol,” she added.

Monarch canceled 750,000 future bookings on Monday after going into administration, and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is now working to repatriate 110,000 customers who were due to fly back to Britain from their holidays.

“My husband got an email at 4 o’clock to say thank you for checking in. Then the next thing we know, it’s been canceled, Monarch’s gone into liquidation,” said Hazel Henson, 47, who had driven up from the English south coast port of Dover.

TRAVELERS SUFFER

The atmosphere in Luton was calm and quiet with many travelers heeding the advice not to come to the airport or to return home if they could not rebook their flights.

Many of those who had rebooked flights were milling in cafes, frustrated at the lack of communication.

A message on a board near a deserted check-in point for flights read “Monarch all flights suspended” and gave a website and phone number for customers affected.

It is not the first severe flight disruption that British tourists have suffered this year.

A huge power outage in May prompted British Airways to cancel all flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports on a Saturday of a busy holiday weekend, while hundreds of thousands of Ryanair (RYA.I) customers have been affected by cancellations in recent weeks after problems with the rostering of pilots.

Hazel’s husband Mark Henson, a delivery driver, said the collapse of Monarch would help to distract from Ryanair’s problems.

“The person who’s going to be laughing today is the person who owns Ryanair,” he said.

LONG RIDE HOME

Britons who are abroad already are being returned to the UK for no extra charge. Travelers returning to Luton from Menorca said that they received a text saying they would be flying with a different airline and that the process had been easy.

Hamdi Güvenç, general director of Dalaman airport in south Turkey, said the repatriation of British tourists was going smoothly. However some tourists there expressed annoyance that a number of flights would end up at airports some 300 miles from their original destinations.

“Don’t know where I‘m going to end up - I could end up in Beirut. But that’s life isn’t it? We’re just going to have to deal with it,” said Mark East who was returning from a vacation.

“I feel for the people back in the UK that turned up at the airport today but couldn’t get on their flights to come out here.”

Those customers who were due to leave Britain will have to find the money for new flights.

“We’ve had to pay out an extra 450 pounds to fly with Ryanair,” said Ann Johnson, 75, from Luton. She added that she hoped for compensation, but that others had been hit harder by the collapse of Monarch, which has more than 2,000 staff.]]>
10/2/2017 8:50:15 PM
<![CDATA[Business as usual for Thai tourism despite royal funeral this month]]>
Tourism accounts for about 10 percent of Thailand’s GDP and has been one of the few bright spots for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which has struggled since a 2014 coup by the military.

One of the world’s most popular travel destinations has observed a year-long period of mourning after the death in October last year of King Bhumibol, who ruled for seven decades, and will be cremated on Oct. 26 in a ceremony lasting five days.

“Tourism activities will continue as normal around the country, even though Thai people will be in mourning,” Tanes Petsuwan, a deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told Reuters.

“There are no restrictions on tourists at all and they can still enjoy ‘Amazing Thailand’ while they are here,” he said, referring to a tagline trumpeted in tourism advertisements.

However, Bangkok’s Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, two key landmarks in the capital, will be closed for most of the month to host the cremation.

In a travel advisory last month, the tourism agency asked tourists to behave appropriately and respect Thai sensitivities during what promises to be an emotionally-charged time for many.

“We would like to request that the solemnity of the royal cremation is observed, and visitors should refrain from any inappropriate or disrespectful behavior,” it said.

While not required to wear black, tourists should stick to “respectful clothing”, it added.

With its beaches, Buddhist temples and infamous night life, Thailand remains a magnet for travelers despite weathering more than a decade of unrest, including two coups, deadly floods in 2011 and a wave of bombs in tourist towns last year.

It expects to welcome a record 32.4 million visitors this year.

King Bhumibol was succeeded by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne in December last year.

King Vajiralongkorn has since overseen several shake-ups of palace staff and moved some agencies under his direct control, including the Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of the royal family’s wealth.]]>
10/2/2017 8:46:48 PM
<![CDATA[Airlines swoop on fallen Monarch for experienced pilots]]>
Britain's Monarch Airlines collapsed on Monday, causing the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays, after falling victim to intense competition for flights and a weaker pound.

"There is growth in many UK airlines, and we'll be working with them to see if we can ensure the skill and experience of Monarch isn't lost," Brian Strutton, General Secretary at the British Airline Pilots Association, saying the union had been approached by Thomson, Wizz Air, BA CityFlyer , Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and Flybe .

Transport Minister Chris Grayling said he had spoken to airlines who were looking to hire some of Monarch's "first rate team of people".

Monarch's collapse happened at a time when the availability of experienced pilots has been in focus, especially at low cost carriers, after Ryanair cancelled hundreds of thousands of flights due to issues with the rostering of pilots.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic said the airline had launched a fast-track application scheme with around 80 vacancies, about half of which it hoped to offer to Monarch first officers.

"We're looking for pilots to join our Airbus and 747 fleets, with a minimum experience of 2,500 hours total flying time and 500 hours on an Airbus or Boeing type," she said.]]>
10/2/2017 5:54:26 PM
<![CDATA[Tanta to host biggest Mawlid in Egypt in 4 days]]>


Mawlid Al-Badawi is the largest mawlid in Egypt. It will start next Friday, October 6,and end on Friday, October 13 in his historical mosque in Tanta.

20920 .Al-Sayed Al-Badawi Mosque

The city of Tanta has begun its preparation for this important event and the hotels near the mosque are expected to be filled in the coming days.

Mawlid Al-Badawi gathers people from northern and southern Egypt. Many Upper Egypt residents only visit the Nile Delta region during the Al-Badawi celebrations. Visitors buy chickpea sweets, meshabbek (jalebi) and halawa (halva), which are popular types of snacks and desserts sold during the celebrations.

1.. people during visit the shrine of Al Badawi

About 70 Sufi groups will participate in the celebrations with their own folkloric shows and sessions, according to an Imam at Al-Sayed Al-Badawy mosque, who asked to remain anonymous.

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Al- Badawi shrine

Imams from all over the world, especially from North Africa, Turkey and Saudi Arabia come to Tanta during this time to participate in the Mawlid. Al-Badawi Mosque can host up to around 20,000 people during the mawlid.

177028-21396787_949828381838151_981159973_n Visitors prepare for the Mawlid of Al-Sayed Al-Badawi

The mosque is covered with lights, and loud, devotional religious songs are played from speakers in every corner as circles of worshippers whirl, chanting the word “madad” (God help us).

177217 millions of people during the big night in Al- Badawi mosque in Tanta

Al-Sayed Al-Badawi is a well-known Sufi Imam whose lineage is believed to go back to Imam al-Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. He is also the founder of the famous Badawiyya Sufi order.

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Al- Badawi shrine
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Visitors buy hummus, meshabbek and halawa

He was born in Fez, Morocco in 596 AH/1200 AD and then studied Quranic sciences in Medina and jurisprudence in Iraq, before settling in Egypt in 640 AH/1243 AD to spread Islamic knowledge. There, he joined the Egyptian army in the war against Louis III, and he played a significant role in his capture. He died in Tanta in 675 AH/1277 AD and is entombed at the mosque that bears his name.]]>
10/2/2017 4:13:19 PM
<![CDATA[Photos: German delegation visits tourist sites of Assuit]]>
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The German delegation at the Monastery of the Virgin in Assiut's West Mountain - Press photo

In a statement, director of the regional authority for tourism promotion Osman al Husseini said that the tour was organized by the Tourism Promotion Authority for the German delegation to get acquainted with the governorate's archaeological sites including Islamic and Christian attractions.

2The German delegation at the Monastery of the Virgin in Assiut's West Mountain - Press photo

Al Husseini pointed out that Assiut Governor Yasser el Desouky pays special attention to the tourism sector and works on providing all means of support to increase domestic and external tourism inflow to the city that is rife with archaeological attractions.

5The German delegation at the Monastery of the Virgin in Assiut's West Mountain - Press photo

The delegation expressed happiness for visiting the governorate and its tourist sites, he added.

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The German delegation at Al-Sayed Galal al-Din Al-Seyouti shrine in Assiut - Press photo
]]>
10/2/2017 4:08:09 PM
<![CDATA[Holy Family's route in Egypt declared part of Christian pilgrimage]]>
In statements to MENA, Rashed said that visit is a part of his ministry's effort to re-enlist the route of the Holy Family in Egypt on the map of religious tourism.

The visit falls within the framework of Pope Francis's fruitful visit to Egypt last May, minister Rashed said.

It also comes within the framework of the importance attached by the Tourism Ministry to religious tourism, the minister noted.

During his visit, Rashed is set to attend a mass led by the pontiff to bless the route of the Holy Family in Egypt to bless the icon of the holy family's flight into Egypt and declare it as one of the Christian pilgrimage journeys.

Reviving the Holy Family's route in Egypt involves eight spots where the family stopped which is to help activating tourism in such areas.]]>
10/2/2017 4:04:54 PM
<![CDATA[Indonesia's Aug foreign tourist arrivals +24.77 pct y/y]]>
The increase was bigger than July’s 21.8 percent annual rise.

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, in August was 1.40 million, up 36.11 percent from the previous year.

]]>
10/2/2017 2:26:08 PM
<![CDATA[Abandoned by tourists, Bali town counts cost of Indonesia volcano]]>
Business has slumped at many hotels, dive resorts and restaurants in towns around the volcano since authorities issue the highest alert level for Mount Agung last month.

An owner of a dive center in Amed, around 15 km (9 miles) from the volcano and just outside the official “danger zone”, said many of her guests had canceled.

“If (the situation) lasts for nine months or more... then we have no choice but to close down because we will have no money left to operate and pay the staff,” said Helene Rabate, a Spaniard who runs the center.

Cafes and restaurants were largely empty and few visitors were seen at the usually crowded dive centers of this seaside town.

The last time Agung erupted was in 1963, when more than 1,000 people were killed. Since then, tourism has transformed towns like Amed from sleepy fishing and agricultural villages.

Restaurant owner Wayan Widarti has seen a dramatic drop in customers.

“It could be worse than when the Bali bombing happened because there’s uncertainty on when (the eruption) is going to happen and how long we wait,” she said, referring to the 2002 nightclub bombing that killed 202 people and prompted a slump in visitors to the holiday island.

Bali, famous for its surf, beaches and temples, attracted nearly 5 million visitors last year - more than half the total number of foreign tourists to Indonesia.

Tourism, a cornerstone of Bali’s economy, is Indonesia’s fourth-biggest earner of foreign currency after natural resources like coal and palm oil.

Indonesian policy makers have been seeking to boost an economy whose growth rate has been stuck at around 5 percent for the last few years, so any protracted damage to tourism will be particularly unwelcome.

Indonesian officials have said Bali remains safe for tourism, but there have been cancellations even in areas further away from the volcano amid concerns that ash clouds could disrupt air connections.

Some tourists are still in the area at a safe distance from the volcano.

“We plan to... just follow security instructions... and take a fast boat to escape if there is an eruption,” said Arlin Shiu, a woman from Hong Kong who was traveling with a friend.

Disaster management authorities have imposed an exclusion zone of up to 12 km, prompting more than 140,000 residents to flee to neighboring villages.

“For people who live in safe zones, there is no reason to evacuate,” Bali governor I Made Mangku Pastika said, adding that makeshift evacuation centers were straining under the weight of thousands of extra evacuees.]]>
10/2/2017 2:23:30 PM
<![CDATA[American boost to Cuba tourism under threat]]>
This, after the US State Department warned on Friday against travel to Cuba, after a spate of mysterious attacks on US embassy personnel.

At a Havana conference organised by the Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel association, coordinator Bob Guild said, despite the warning, Cuba remains a safe destination.

Guild says: “There is no place safer for Americans to come than Cuba in the entire world, and that's been the case. No incidents against anyone other than the 21 diplomats. So, our conclusion was that it very likely seems to be political statement, not a warning from people that are worried about their health.”

The warning was the second notice from the Trump administration.

The president in June ordered tighter restrictions on travel to Cuba, which had previously been opened in the wake of the 2014 US-Cuban detente under former US President Barack Obama.

Holbrook Travel founder Andrea Holbrook says businesses like hers could suffer if fewer Americans visit.

“Cuba is an important destination for us volume-wise so we are concerned about the impact that this is going to have on our 2018 and 2019 business,” Holbrook says.

For Cubans, like vendor Jorge Capote, who benefit from the US$300 million (RM1.266 billion) in revenue from US tourism, it's simply the cost of doing business with a former foe.

Capote says: “If they (US tourists) don't come, it's because the president (Trump) determined that they shouldn't come. Don't come then. We'll continue to sell. With the (US) embargo, with Americans or without Americans, either way I've lived to my old age, fifty something years old.”]]>
10/2/2017 2:11:06 PM
<![CDATA[Richard Branson to turn 50 Saudi islands into luxury tourism destinations]]>
Virgin airlines founder Richard Branson will invest in a Red Sea project that aims to turn 50 Saudi Arabian islands into luxury tourism destinations, the Saudi government announced on Sunday.

Branson is the first international investor to commit to the project, Saudi Arabia's information ministry said, in what officials called "a clear sign that Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to international tourism".

Branson also visited the tombs at Madain Saleh - an UNESCO World Heritage site located near a string of new hotels - in a trip to the Gulf kingdom that appears to be aimed at attracting further international attention, both investment and tourism.

"This is an incredibly exciting time in the country's history and I've always felt that there's nothing like getting a firsthand impression," Branson said in a statement released by the information ministry.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the world, only last week passing a decree allowing women to drive.

But since the shock appointment of powerful Prince Mohammed bin Salman as successor to his father's throne in June, the oil-rich state has launched a media offensive aimed at promoting the country's image.

Prince Mohammed, who sidelined his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef to be appointed the royal heir, is also the champion of Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030 economic plan.

The scheme aims to pull the region's biggest economy out of its dependence on oil and diversify the country's economic revenue model.

On August 1, Saudi Arabia announced plans to turn 34,000 square kilometres (13,127 square miles) of its Red Sea coastline into luxury resorts.

The project is aimed at attracting international tourists to a country where alcohol is prohibited and the mobility and dress of women restricted.

Saudi authorities however have long turned a blind eye to compounds in which foreigners live, such as the Aramco headquarters in Dahran.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is headed by Prince Mohammed, will provide the initial investment into the Red Sea project, with construction slated to start in 2019.

The Red Sea project is expected to generate 35,000 jobs, according to the Saudi government. ]]>
10/2/2017 2:08:16 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. travel restrictions jeopardize rare exchanges with North Koreans]]>
The North Koreans quickly made clear that was not why they had come: They wanted to secure U.S. investment, particularly from restaurant giant Yum! Brands Inc, said Susan Shirk, a University of California at San Diego professor who helped organize the visit.

"They really wanted to get KFC to North Korea," Shirk said, referring to the fried chicken chain. She added that Yum did not reciprocate their interest.

In recent years, a handful of visits from official delegations and athletes have provided rare opportunities for ordinary Americans and North Koreans to come together.

Those exchanges are now in jeopardy after President Donald Trump included North Korea in a group of nations that will face travel restrictions to the United States because they do not share enough information about visa applicants.

The new policy comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests, as well as escalating verbal threats from the country's leader Kim Jong Un.

While the travel restrictions are unlikely to have a broad impact - the number of non-diplomatic travelers from North Korea per year rarely tops 50, according to U.S. State Department data - human rights activists worry it has severed one of the few human bonds between the isolated country and the West.

"The main point in inviting these people here is to give them exposure to the U.S., and see if one can open the door a bit," said Roberta Cohen, co-chair emeritus for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

A State Department official said the restrictions were necessary because "North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements" on visa applicants.

HUMANITARIAN PURPOSES

North Koreans wishing to visit the United States must first obtain permission from their own government, then apply for a visa in person at a U.S. embassy, typically in Beijing, said Robert King, former U.S. special envoy for North Korea human rights issues.

When North Koreans arrive in the United States they never go anywhere alone, King said, and are chaperoned by North Korean government minders.

In 2015, 15 North Korean weightlifters along with coaches, reserves and officials traveled to Houston for the International Weightlifting Federation world championships, said Phil Andrews, chief executive officer of USA Weightlifting.
North Korea was planning earlier this year to take part in the 2017 world championships in Anaheim, California, in November, Andrews said. However, he does not know whether they will be allowed to come.

The new travel restrictions do not affect people who already have visas, and they include waivers for people with certain ties to the United States.

The State Department declined to comment on individual visa applications.
C. Jerry Nelson, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, said some visits serve humanitarian purposes. In 2011, four North Korean scientists traveled to Missouri to collaborate with their U.S. counterparts on soil quality testing methods, he said, in order to boost food production.

Referring to the economic officials' trip in 2011, Shirk said they seemed reluctant to express opinions but enjoyed their snapshot of American life, which included visits to a mushroom farm, department store and New York's Carnegie Deli.
"We arranged for people to go to families for dinner in San Diego," she said. "They really liked that a lot."]]>
10/2/2017 2:06:06 PM
<![CDATA[Britain's Monarch Airlines goes bust, leaving thousands stranded]]>
Monarch cancelled about 300,000 future bookings and apologised to customers and staff as it became the UK’s largest carrier to go into administration.

“I am so sorry that thousands now face a cancelled holiday or trip, possible delays getting home and huge inconvenience as a result of our failure,” Monarch Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield told employees in a message.

“I am truly sorry that it has ended like this.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the company fell victim to a price war over flights to the Mediterranean and told customers not to come to airports.

“We are doing our best to make sure that those people who are stranded and can’t get back otherwise will be able to do so,” he told BBC television, adding that he expected many of Monarch’s more than 2,000 staff to get jobs elsewhere.

The British government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring back to the UK about 110,000 Monarch customers currently overseas, the CAA said. bit.ly/2wsQ5rQ

Tough competition has been pressuring European airlines and driving consolidation, with Air Berlin (AB1.DE) and Alitalia [CAITLA.UL] filing for insolvency this year and seeking new investors for parts of their businesses.

The collapse will be a headache for some of the world’s largest leasing companies, which financed its current fleet of 36 mainly Airbus (AIR.PA) jets, and for Boeing Co (BA.N), which has sold the airline 32 of its 737 MAX aircraft. None of the planes has yet been delivered.

Although relatively small compared to Europe’s leading scheduled carriers, Monarch had been a regular hotspot in the global battle for market share between planemakers as it shifted its loyalties between Airbus and Boeing.

Boeing secured Monarch’s agreement to revert back to its jets in 2014 following a fierce contest against Airbus and Bombardier (BBDb.TO).

“We are working with the joint administrators and the CAA to do everything we possibly can to help minimise disruption where we can, but are under no illusion as to the problems this will cause,” Monarch’s Swaffield said.

“And many suppliers will suffer hugely as a result of our insolvency – for which I am equally sorry.”

According to flight tracking service Flightradar24, some 25 aircraft had been lined up to start repatriating passengers by 0600 GMT on Monday, including 10 from Qatar Airways already based in Europe on behalf of British Airways. An easyJet (EZJ.L) airplane and several charter aircraft were also part of the operation.

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) meanwhile said it was offering to fly stranded Monarch passengers home from Tel Aviv for 119 pounds ($159) each.

Monarch said its companies that entered into administration include Monarch Airlines, Monarch Holidays Ltd, First Aviation Ltd, Avro Ltd and Somewhere2stay Ltd.

Monarch had previously said it was talking to potential partners after a report that parts of its short-haul network would be sold.]]>
10/2/2017 11:49:08 AM
<![CDATA[5 reasons why you should visit Al-Ahrash Protectorate]]>
1- It stretches over 6 square kilometers (3.7 square miles) of sand dunes.
2- It is located in the North-Eastern part of Egypt in Rafah, North Sinai, right on the border with Palestine.
3- It reaches the height of 60 meters (197 feet) above sea level.
4- It is rich in plants such as Acacia trees, Tamarix trees, Camphora trees, bushes, herbs, and many other types of plants which work as anchors that hold down the sand dunes inside the protectorate.
5- This huge plant cover works on enriching the soil with water, preserving the level of underground water. It also attracts many tourists to visit the protectorate for its breathtaking wild life diversity.]]>
10/2/2017 10:07:21 AM
<![CDATA[Forest Whitaker visits Egyptian Museum ]]>
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Having received the Lifetime Achievement Award in El-Gouna Film Festival’s closing ceremony, Whitaker visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, as a last stop before bidding farewell to Egypt. Looking excited, the American star posted pictures on his Facebook page of him at the Egyptian Museum with one of the golden monuments at the background and others inside the mummies’ room.

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“I could not leave Egypt without watching the captivating artifacts in the Egyptian Museum,” said Whitaker commenting on his pictures.

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Egyptian billionaire and founder of El-Gouna Film Festival Naguib Sawiris availed the golden opportunity of this visit and partnered with Whitaker to advocate and promote peace in South Sudan on September 28. The partnership between Sawiris and Whitaker will work to empower Sudanese people to be supporters of peace and reconciliation in their communities.

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Whitaker is one of the very few actors that won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award for the same performance. The Academy Award winner worked as a producer, executive producer and directed many award winning films and shows since the start of his career.

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]]>
10/1/2017 9:14:06 PM
<![CDATA[Live through history at Antique Khan]]>
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Café entrance credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy

Its library room has hundreds of old books ranging from political books to fictional literature.

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Library corner credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy


From outside the library, an impressive gallery holds valuable pieces of antiques and statues of different cultures dating back to the 19th century. Many of these pieces are not just exhibitions, but are also for sale.

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Gallery Corner credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy


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Antiques at Gallery Corner credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy

If antiques and book aren’t to your taste, you can always spend time in the reception area designed as a classic home. Surrounded by old fashioned radios, you can relax and enjoy classical music and dim lighting.

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Old radio device credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy

The walls of the café are similarly covered in original paintings by many well-known artists.

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Antiques and tableaus credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy


Antique Khan is located in the Cairene suburb of Zamalek, but it was originally inspired by a café in Germany, which was once the home of Adolf Hitler’s deputy.


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Clients at Antique Khan credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy


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Entire café credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy


The café also hosts many events such as book clubs and live musical performances.


Despite the old fashioned design of this café and how much the atmosphere transports you to another era, the food and beverages are modern and take you out of the old-fashioned vibe the place has constructed


photo_6
The antique bar credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy


photo_7
Antique Khan Menu credited to Mohamed Mamdouh El-shenawy
]]>
10/1/2017 5:40:02 PM
<![CDATA[Amie Sultan dances with Forest Whitaker]]>
Whitaker was honored at the closing ceremony of El Gouna Film Festival and announced a partnership between the festival’s founder, Naguib Sawiris and Whitaker’s Peace and Development Initiative.

In the video, Sultan takes the actor’s glasses and puts them on, and states in her post, “seeing through Forest Whitaker’s eyes at El Gouna Film Festival’s closing party.”

The video, which also shows founder of the festival, Naguib Sawiris and its director Amr Mansy, as well as other Egyptian actors, has garnered 19,000 views.



Meanwhile, Whitaker

posted

a picture of himself at the Giza Pyramids on his Facebook page, saying, “Such an inspiring moment today at the pyramids in Cairo #Egypt.”

]]>
10/1/2017 4:57:09 PM
<![CDATA[Foundation stone of first zoo in New Valley laid down]]>
In press statements on Sunday, New Valley Governor Mohamed Zamalout, who accompanied el Banna, said the zoo is the first service project to be established within the framework of the governorate's plan to expand service projects.

This coincides with the governorate's national day, he said.
]]>
10/1/2017 12:43:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, CNN to launch tourism promotion campaign]]>
The campaign is meant to spread awareness about the kinds of tourism in Egypt.

A CNN team will visit Egypt soon to produce an ad for promoting touristic sites in Egypt.

The ad will be wired on CNN channel and its affiliated sites until the end of the year.

Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said the partnership is a good step toward accomplishing an international tourism promotion strategy.]]>
10/1/2017 12:35:55 PM
<![CDATA[Macau casinos hit 14 month revenue gain ahead of golden week boom]]>
Macau, a former Portuguese colony and now special administrative region, is the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal. Government data on Sunday showed monthly gambling revenue was 21.4 billion patacas ($2.66 billion) in September, within analyst expectations of growth between 11-17 percent.

September saw the tail end impact from two typhoons in August which caused massive destruction and unprecedented flooding.

Many casinos had shuttered for several days and had problems accessing fresh water and power but big resorts on Macau’s Las Vegas style Cotai strip were left relatively unscathed.

Macau’s government this week will release a 15-year plan to boost tourism with key objectives including rebranding Macau into a multi-day destination and managing local tourism capacity.

Typically during national holidays, Macau’s tiny peninsula and adjoining islands are inundated with swarms of visitors putting pressure on creaking infrastructure and transport.

Casino executives have said that hotels are fully booked for the official holiday period which runs from October 1-8. ($1 = 8.0380 patacas).]]>
10/1/2017 12:26:56 PM
<![CDATA[140k tourists from 27 countries visit Hurghada in September]]>
The tourists arrived to Hurghada's International Airport via 23 different airlines and charter services to spend their vacation on the beaches of the gorgeous Egyptian city, many of whom described it as "Heaven on Earth."

Germans, Ukrainians, Czechs, English and Polish were the most prominent nationalities to visit the city this month. Germans were in the lead, comprising 60 percent of the total number of visitors. Roughly 15 thousand more visitors from Germany visited Hurghada this month than did in

August

.

As for other nationalities, more than 13 thousand Ukrainians and slightly less than 10 thousand Britons visited the Red Sea city, respectively.

Occupancy rate increased around 10 percent more than August’s figures. Mohamed Eid, a hotel manager in Hurghada, assured Egypt Today that occupancy levels in most five star hotels reached 100 percent.

1
Red Sea - CC Via Wikimedia
]]>
9/30/2017 9:53:39 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt Air starts halting flights to Erbil Friday]]>
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi ordered the halting of flights serving airports in Iraqi Kurdistan in retaliation for the independence referendum held Monday in defiance of Baghdad, which delivered a 92.73 percent “yes” vote.

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority said it had informed all foreign air carriers about its decision to ban all international flights to Kurdistan starting Friday and to allow only internal flights.

Egypt had three flights a week between Cairo International Airport and Erbil Airport.

Regional carriers, including Turkish Airlines, EgyptAir and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines had already announced that they would be suspending their flights serving Iraqi Kurdistan at Baghdad’s request.

International escalation against the referendum, which Kurdistan insists on conducting, has been witnessed over the past weeks, with neighboring countries warning of possible military interference and furthering boycotting measures.
]]>
9/30/2017 9:21:50 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. visas to six Muslim nations drop after Supreme Court backs travel ban]]>
The 3,268 visas issued in July and 3,884 visas issued in August to citizens of the six majority-Muslim countries were down from 4,351 issued in June. The July figure was lower than the monthly average at any point since 2007, when an average of 3,080 visas per month were issued to those countries.

The lower July and August numbers were especially noteworthy, immigration attorneys say, because a larger number of visas are typically issued in the summer months, as foreign students prepare to arrive in the United States for the fall semester.

“We are processing visa applications for nationals of the six affected countries as directed by the Executive Order and to the extent permitted by court decisions,” a State Department official said on condition of anonymity when asked about the lower numbers.

The decline comes on top of already plummeting figures for U.S. visas issued to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen after Trump issued an executive order in late January halting entry of travelers from those countries for 90 days.

That order, and a more limited form of the ban issued in March, were hamstrung by months of legal challenges until the Supreme Court approved a limited version in June. But in the interim, the State Department issued far fewer visas to travelers from those six countries compared to the number issued in 2016 under the administration of President Barack Obama.

On Sunday, Trump issued a third version of the ban, which indefinitely restricts travelers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain government officials from Venezuela will also be barred.

From March through June, a period when Trump’s order was mostly blocked by the courts, citizens of the six countries were issued an average of 3,929 visas monthly, 42 percent fewer than the 2016 monthly average of 6,799, according to State Department data. After the Supreme Court ruling, that monthly average was 47 percent lower than in 2016.

Trump’s initial travel ban, which barred citizens of the six countries as well as Iraq, sparked chaos and protests at airports around the United States. Issued with little forewarning, the order’s scope was unclear and sowed confusion among travelers as well as authorities responsible for implementing it. Courts quickly enjoined the main parts of the order. Trump eventually issued a new order that excluded Iraq and delayed its enactment to allow the administration and travelers time to prepare.

But that order, too, was soon blocked by courts. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which allowed a limited version of the ban affecting only those citizens of the six countries lacking “bona fide” ties to the United States. After Trump issued the revised ban on Sunday, the Supreme Court canceled oral arguments scheduled for Oct. 10 to decide whether or not the earlier version of the ban was discriminatory.

Even as sharply fewer visas were being issued, the president often complained on social media and in speeches about limits imposed by U.S. courts on the two executive orders establishing the travel ban.

“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” Trump tweeted on Sept. 15.

‘CHILLING EFFECT’

Because the State Department only releases data on how many visas are issued and not total application numbers, it is unclear if the drop is due to fewer people applying, or because the administration is denying more applications.

In addition, a month-by-month comparison with prior years is not possible because the State Department released only annual numbers – not monthly data - until March of this year.

Stephen Pattison, a former U.S. consular official and now an immigration attorney, said he suspects that the huge drop in visas issued is due to fewer people applying rather than higher rejection rates.

“Quantifying the chilling effect of the Trump administration’s policies on the international public is hard to do, but I think that’s the biggest impact of what this administration has done,” Pattison said. “This atmosphere is causing bona fide, legitimate travelers to think twice about coming to the United States.”

Michael Boos, general counsel for the conservative nonprofit Citizens United, which filed a brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Trump administration in the travel ban case, said the figures show the ban is having its intended effect.

“Clearly the purpose of the temporary ban was to reduce the number of visas that would be issued to persons from the affected countries, so it’s not surprising that...when the court reinstated the ban, the number of visas would have dramatically diminished,” Boos said. “If people are deterred from seeking admission to the United States because they’re going to go through a vetting process that’s real and substantial, then maybe they shouldn’t be coming here in the first place.”]]>
9/29/2017 5:32:06 PM
<![CDATA[Golden getaway: cost, safety prompt more Chinese tourists to stay closer to home]]>
Chinese travellers – who spent $261 billion overseas last year – are increasingly opting for ‘staycations’, a boon for domestic tourism operators, but a challenge for retailers and hotel chains tapping into Chinese demand abroad.

The country’s tourists made 2.54 billion trips in China in the first half of this year, up 13.5 percent from 2016, far outstripping an outbound market that has slowed as consumers tighten their belts amid recent economic wobbles.

“This Golden Week, we prefer to travel domestically,” said Tian Haiqin, a 50-year-old Beijing housewife who said cost, jet lag and language barriers were the main reasons for staying at home. “It’s quite expensive to travel abroad, not only to far Western countries, but also around Asia.” Tian said she plans to spend around 20,000 yuan ($3,000) a week for her and her son to stay in a resort in the eastern city of Hangzhou, known for its scenic lakes and surrounding hills.

She’s not alone. Around 710 million Chinese will make trips in the country for the National Day holiday, according to estimates from travel agent Ctrip.com International. Some 6 million will travel abroad.

The holiday break – one of the world’s biggest mass movements of people – gives a snapshot of China’s big-spending tourists, who can make, or break, the fortunes of hotel chains, duty-free stores, cruise firms and brands.

Tong Yiling, Asia analyst at BMI Research, said the domestic tourism sector had seen a “rapid improvement” in competitiveness, with improved transport links and big investment in tourist sites. Better marketing about local travel destinations and the impact of tighter capital controls to deter Chinese from taking money abroad were also having an effect.

Many are looking to cash in on the domestic trend.

Walt Disney Co’s Shanghai park saw over 10 million visitors in its first year, while Fosun International’s Club Med has opened hotels in Guilin, island getaway Sanya and skiing resorts in the northeast.

SECURITY WORRIES

Some overseas destinations have taken a hit over security concerns, industry insiders said. Attacks in Europe, instability on the Korean peninsula and political uncertainty in the United States have weighed on tourist demand.

“I think one of the most important reasons why people like to travel within this country is because of lots of unexpected incidents such as terrorist attacks in recent years,” said an official surnamed Zhou at travel company Leyou. “People feel it could be very dangerous to travel overseas.” Visitor numbers to South Korea, normally a popular destination for Chinese, dropped more than 60 percent in August against 2016 due to a political row between Beijing and Seoul over South Korea’s installation of a missile defence system.

To be sure, China’s outbound tourism spending is still growing. A report from CLSA in July estimated Chinese tourists would spend $429 billion overseas by 2021.

But growth is slowing. Outbound travel was up just over 5 percent last year, down from close to 30 percent growth in 2010, according to BMI Research.

Beijing has helped, opening duty-free zones around the country and cracking down on dishonest local tour operators. A boom in local “adventure” tours has also helped lure younger millennial tourists to domestic travel.

“Compared with outbound travel, domestic travel has been greater in size and growth rate for the first several months of this year,” Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agent, said in written comments to Reuters.

Outbound tourism, meanwhile, is in a “new normal of steady, slow-to-moderate growth”, with tighter shopping budgets “curbing” the rise in spending overseas, it said.

Even last year, luxury brands LVMH and Burberry flagged lower Chinese tourist spending overseas.

BMI’s Tong pointed to several areas of China’s tourism market that should grow fastest in the next few years: historic sites, theme parks and countryside farmhouse getaways, which the government is promoting to boost rural incomes.

Many Chinese, though, still look to escape the holiday rush that can see huge crowds at train stations and tourism hotspots.

Yu Yongyi, 22, has booked a trip to Vietnam, to add to holidays he has made to Spain, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

“Most of the time I’ll go abroad for holidays because the price of flights is getting lower,” said Yu, head of marketing for start-up Eniutrip. “So it’s often cheaper to go abroad than to stay at home.”]]>
9/29/2017 5:29:18 PM
<![CDATA[Tokyo to Delhi, in 30 minutes! Elon Musk to revolutionise travel and colonise Mars]]>
The founder of SpaceX said a planned interplanetary transport system, codenamed BFR (Big Fucking Rocket), would be downsized so it could carry out a range of tasks that would then pay for future Mars missions.

"The most important thing... is that I think we have figured out how to pay for (BFR)," Musk told a packed auditorium at a global gathering of space experts in Adelaide.

A depiction of a human colony on the planet Mars during a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. (Image: Reuters)

"Which is to have a smaller vehicle, it's still pretty big, but one that can... do everything that's needed in the greater Earth orbit activity." ]]>
9/29/2017 5:26:25 PM
<![CDATA[AJK planning tourism corridor]]>
“We are working on a tourism corridor that will cover a distance of 192-kilometre in AJK for attracting tourists,” he said while talking to PTV. A presentation regarding tourism corridor would be held soon to implement the project in true spirit, he said.

An amount of Rs9 billion have been allocated to improve the road infrastructure in AJK, Haider said.

A large number of domestic tourists were visiting different areas of AJK to see the natural beauty, he said. The credit for promoting tourism in this area goes to ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, he said. “We are working on different roads covering the distance of 512 kilometres to facilitate the travellers,” Haider said.

To a question, Haider said tourism authorities will focus on Neelum Valley, Mangla Dam Lake and chairlift in Muzaffarabad.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2017.]]>
9/29/2017 5:22:57 PM
<![CDATA[American actress Vanessa Williams visits Giza Pyramids]]>

Heave Ho! Great pyramids of Giza #egypt

A post shared by Vanessa Williams (@vanessawilliamsofficial) on




Williams posted on her Instagram account some pictures from the visit while she was riding a camel at the Pyramids, and another photo beside a statue from the Egyptian pharaonic era in the Egyptian museum.




She also posted a video where she said, “I’m standing beside an amazing museum that I have been to four times; this is my fifth time to Egypt. I love Egypt and I love the antiquities, but most of all I love the people.”

History is fascinating 🙏 #Egypt

A post shared by Vanessa Williams (@vanessawilliamsofficial) on




Vanessa Williams

* is an actress, singer, dancer and author. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television, according to Vanessa Williams' official website. ]]>
9/29/2017 4:21:16 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish August foreign visitor arrivals surge 46 percent - ministry]]>
The rise was fractionally lower than in July, when there was the biggest increase since May 2004. This followed a turnaround in tourism numbers in April, when the number of foreign visitors rose for the first time in nearly two years.

The number of Russian visitors to Turkey leapt 671 percent in August from a year earlier, the data showed.

Tourism, which adds about $30 billion to gross domestic product each year, was hit by an attempted coup last July and a spate of bombings blamed on Islamic State and Kurdish militants, which scared away tourists over the past year. ]]>
9/29/2017 1:57:11 PM
<![CDATA[Pope Francis to meet with Egyptian Tourism Minister]]>
“Egypt is proud of the Holy family’s journey,” said Rashed Thursday in a telephone interview with TV presenter Osama Kamal.

Rashed added that the visit comes as part of efforts to revive and support Egyptian tourism industry: “Indications show that the next season is going to see a big increase in the number of tourists visiting Egypt.”

During his visit to Cairo last April to promote dialogue with the Muslim world following recent attacks against the Middle East’s biggest Christian community, Pope Francis, under the slogan “pope of peace in Egypt of peace,” denounced violence committed in God’s name.
]]>
9/29/2017 11:17:24 AM
<![CDATA[Greece hopes to resolve Hellenikon project obstacles next week]]>
Greek developer Lamda signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014 for the 620-hectare wasteland of Hellenikon, once the site of Athens airport.

Backed by Chinese and Gulf investors, Lamda submitted an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) plan in July to turn the site into one of Europe’s biggest coastal resorts.

But the project has faced delays, partly over a long-running row between developers and those who fear it will destroy the environment and Greece’s cultural heritage.

The government’s top advisory body on the protection of antiquities, the Central Archaeological Council, failed to decide whether to approve the plan again on Wednesday.

Its 17 member committee has now adjourned for a third time this month and will convene again next Tuesday.

“I think that the process will be concluded on Tuesday,” Deputy Economy Minister in charge of investments, Stergios Pitsiorlas, told Real FM radio.

“It’s reasonable that time is needed to reach a decision through smooth procedures and with a strong consensus,” he said, “As long as there are no exaggerations.”

The project has become a major political issue in Greece. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipas, whose leftist party strongly opposed it before coming to power in 2015, called ministers to his office to discuss Hellenikon on Thursday.

The main issues centre on whether part of the old airport should be classified as an archaeological site and what would happen to any antiquities found during development.

Lamda has committed under a memorandum of understanding to protecting any archaeological finds and providing the funds needed to showcase them. But the association of Greek archaeologists says that memorandum is not legally binding.

The archaeological council’s recommendations are not binding but will be taken into account by the culture minister, to make sure antiquities found are protected, before the government can sign off on the project as part of the licensing process.

Greece hopes to issue a decree for the project to proceed by the end of the year, in keeping with the timeline agreed under the bailout deal. ($1 = 0.8490 euros)]]>
9/29/2017 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Rising tension spurs Malaysia to ban travel to North Korea]]>
Malaysia is one of the handful of countries that still has friendly diplomatic ties with North Korea, but relations have been strained since the murder of Kim Jong Un’s half brother at the airport in the Malaysian capital this year.

The travel ban will be reviewed once the situation has returned to normal, the Malaysian foreign ministry said in a statement.]]>
9/29/2017 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Willow trees caught out as culprit for Kashmir lake's woes]]>
Overlooked by the Himalayas, Wular, one of Asia’s biggest freshwater lakes, sits 34 km (21 miles) northwest of Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar. Known for its deep, pristine waters, the lake has suffered extensive degradation in recent decades.

In a 2007 study, conservation group Wetlands International said the lake originally covered an area of nearly 218 square kilometers (84 square miles), including 58 sq km of marshland.

It shrank in size by 45 percent over a century - from about 158 sq km in 1911 to 87 sq km in 2007 - as it was drained for agriculture and willow plantations, the report said.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir state now plans to remove some 2.1 million willows and 20 million cubic meters of silt from the lake in a conservation program starting next month, which it says will also boost eco-tourism.

Willow planting began in Wular in 1924, mainly to provide firewood, and the plantation area was brought under Kashmir’s forest department in the 1980s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the region’s agriculture arm planted vast areas with willow as demand soared for wood to make cricket bats and fruit boxes.

But in recent years, experts have traced problems linked to heavy siltation - including less water in the lake and declining fish stocks – to the presence of the willow trees.

“These plantations act as a barrier to the silt-laden waters of the River Jhelum, forcing it to discharge its sediment load into the lake, thereby reducing its water-holding capacity,” said Samiullah Bhat of the University of Kashmir’s Department of Environmental Science, who participated in an environmental impact assessment of willow tree removal at Wular.

WETLAND BOOST

Irfan Rasool Wani, coordinator of the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA), said remote sensing imagery showed willow plantations extend across an area of about 27 sq km.

The trees, combined with severe siltation where they grow, have reduced the lake’s capacity by one fifth, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Taking away more than 20 million cubic meters of silt would increase the depth of lake by 3.5 meters (11.5 ft), he noted.

Experts have identified some potential “short-term losses” from the planned conservation measures - which are due to cost 4.24 billion rupees ($64.5 million) - such as algae blooms caused by the release of soil nutrients into the water after the trees are felled.

But the benefits should outweigh any potential negative impacts, they say.

“The overall implication would be positive, as there would be recovery of wetland resources, such as fish and aquatic vegetation in the medium to long term, and generation of labor (for willow removal) in the shorter run,” said Shakil Romshoo, head of the University of Kashmir’s Department of Earth Sciences.

He and Akhtar Malik, a botanist at the same university, said the operation would not affect cricket bat manufacturers, as nowadays they source wood from other parts of Kashmir.

Fruit growers, meanwhile, mostly prefer cardboard packaging, which has eased demand for willow wood in Kashmir, where apple and other fruit are grown on a large scale, Malik added.

Romshoo said the Wular tree removal should be done in line with scientific recommendations - when water levels are lowest, and in a way that causes minimal disturbance to soil sediment and nutrients.

The carbon stored in the cut trees should not be released by burning but kept in the wood by using it to make bats, artificial limbs and other products, he added.

Romshoo said cutting down older willow trees would not make much difference to the area’s ability to absorb carbon.

“Several recent research studies indicate that the net carbon sequestration rates in trees decline with maturity,” he said. Most of Wular’s willows are “very mature”, he added.

Bhat said a decrease in shade once the trees have gone could lead to increased summer water temperatures and may affect disease resistance in adult fish.

Deforested areas will need to be monitored as invasive plant species are likely to take advantage of the nutrient flushes and disturbances created by willow removal, he added.

TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES

Local people are happy about the plan to revitalize the lake, which provides their livelihoods. The Wetlands International study found that 32,000 families, including 2,300 fishing households, depended on the lake for their income.

Mohammad Subhan Dar, 65, a fisherman who lives in Saderkote Payeen village on Wular’s eastern shore, said people earn a living by fishing and collecting water chestnuts and fodder.

But Wular’s shrinking size has become a concern for fishermen, he said. It now looks like a lake only in spring when it is filled by rain and water from the snow melt, he added.

“For the rest of the year, most of its areas stay dry. We literally have to haul our boats up because of lack of water,” he said. He hopes that removing willows and silt will help restore the lake “which is now far different than it used to be in my childhood”.

He and other locals have heard that tourists will be attracted to the area after higher embankments are created and the lake shores made prettier.

WUCMA coordinator Wani said a 34 km-long embankment will be developed into the “Wular Boulevard” to support eco-tourism activities such as bird-watching, boating on the lake and cruises.

Romshoo said this would open up new income opportunities for communities around the lake.

“Tourism can change our lives for the better,” said Jabbar Dar, who fishes and collects water chestnuts in Wular.]]>
9/29/2017 5:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Hong Kong set to see strong rebound in mainland tours for Golden Week]]>
Hong Kong Inbound Tour Operators Association, which represents 132 tour operators in the city, estimated that the number of tour groups visiting each day will jump as much as 40 percent from a year earlier, with most from mainland China.

“The growth is set to be significant as we pick up and rebound from the bottom,” chairman Ricky Tse told Reuters.

“China not encouraging people to visit Japan, Korea and Taiwan aids demand for package deals to come to Hong Kong, Macau as well as other destinations in the region.”

Tse said the volatile situation in North Korea had prompted concern about travel to countries nearby, while less negative news in official mainland media about the political situation in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protests in 2014 paralyzed parts of the city, had also helped boost tourism to the financial hub.

Hong Kong’s retail sales have sagged in the past two years due to a drop in the number of tourists, though they picked up in July as inbound holidaymakers rose. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the U.S. currency, which means it is prone to strengthen when other Asian currencies weaken.

Chinese tourism to South Korea has been falling since Seoul decided to station a U.S. missile shield known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). Cruises have erased Korean ports from their trips and some flights have been cut.

The Hong Kong tourism industry has been badly hit, with the number of tour groups falling to about 100 per day last year from the peak of about 600 tours a day a few years back.

“We expect that we will receive 280-300 tours per day this year,” Tse said. “It was 190-200 tours per day last year.”

Hong Kong Tourism Board recorded a 2.4 percent rise in tourist arrivals in July. Mainland visitors, who accounted for 78.9 percent of the total, climbed 3.7 percent. The board is due to announce the figures for August later this week.

Shares of retailers rose ahead of the Golden Week holiday with jeweler Chow Tai Fook (1929.HK) rising 5.8 percent so far this week, while smaller rival Luk Fook (0590.HK) was up 9.7 percent. Apparel retailer I.T Ltd (0999.HK) climbed 3.9 percent.]]>
9/29/2017 5:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mali president wants U.S. to reverse Chad travel ban]]>
Security analysts expressed surprise when Chad, a key U.S. security partner since the Cold War, was named last week alongside North Korea and Venezuela as part of an eight-country the travel ban.

Chad’s army acts as a bulwark against local and regional armed movements and played a critical role in pushing back troops from jihadist group Boko Haram when they made a bid to expand beyond northeastern Nigeria in 2015. Its troops continue to hold front-line positions in unstable north Mali where jihadists ousted government authorities five years ago.

As recently as February, Chad, also a key French ally, hosted a U.S. military training exercise for special forces as part of a broader strategy to empower regional troops such as the G5 Sahel security bloc consisting of Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

“The president of the G5 thinks this decision could affect the commitment of Chad, which has until now shown itself to be a key partner in the fight against terrorism in the G5 Sahel and beyond,” said Keita in a statement sent to journalists late on Wednesday.

“The president...calls on the authorities to favorably re-examine the matter by lifting the sanctions against Chad,” he added. Chadian officials expressed surprised at the decision earlier this week, calling it “incomprehensible”.

The new U.S. measures, which have no end-date, help fulfill a campaign promise President Donald Trump made to tighten U.S. immigration procedures and align with his “America First” foreign policy vision. The White House says the restrictions are the consequences for countries not meeting new requirements for vetting immigrants and issuing visas.]]>
9/29/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Europol warns banks ATM cyber attacks on the rise]]>
"The malware being used has evolved significantly and the scope and scale of the attacks have grown proportionately," said Steven Wilson, who head's Europol's EC3 cyber crime centre.

Previously criminals used physical 'skimming' devices or USB sticks or CDs to install malware within ATMs but since 2015 "a new and unnerving trend... has been picking up speed," Europol said in a 40-page report on the latest ATM crime trends.

"The criminals have realised that not only can ATMs be physically attacked, but it is also very possible for these machines to be accessed through the (bank's) network," the report said, which was published in conjunction with the Trend Micro security software company.

One of the tricks used by hackers is to send a so-called phishing email to bank employees which once opened, contains software to penetrate the bank's internal computer network.

Once the ATM has been targeted and told to dispense the money "standby money 'mules' will pick up the cash and go."

Europol warned that incidents of ATM targeting is likely to rise in the future.

"In the past, banks might have thought that network segregation was enough to keep their ATM networks safe from cyber crooks," Europol said.

"This is no longer the case."

The policing agency also said that "financial organisations need to take more steps to secure their ATM installations by deploying more security layers."

In addition to a public report, Europol is also giving out a private report providing details to institutions to firm up their security against ATM piracy.]]>
9/28/2017 6:09:10 PM
<![CDATA[Technology glitch causes minor delays for airlines, airports]]>
Amadeus, which operates global travel booking systems and offers check-in services for airlines, said it suffered a network problem on Thursday which caused a disruption to some of its systems and but had fixed the problem.

"Amadeus can confirm that our systems are recovered and are now functioning normally," a spokesman said.

Airports said the disruption was limited.

A similar incident occurred in April, when computer issues briefly prevented airlines including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, from boarding passengers one evening.

At 1330 GMT, Amadeus shares were down 1.2 percent at 54.12 euros, after earlier dipping to 53.57 euros.

Frankfurt airport operator Fraport said on Twitter that Germany's largest carrier Lufthansa and partner airlines had been hit by a problem for around 30 minutes in the morning which prevented bags being checked in, but said the issue had been resolved.

London's Gatwick airport also said its airlines had some "brief issues" but were now operating as normal.

A spokesman for Groupe ADP, which operates and manages more than a dozen airports in the greater Paris region, confirmed airlines using the Amadeus system had been affected at the French capital's Charles de Gaulle airport.

"This was a worldwide failure (of the Amadeus system). We were no worse affected than other airports. It only lasted a few minutes," the spokesman said. He said national carrier Air France was among the airlines that used Amadeus.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Southwest Airlines reported a computer issue causing a few minor delays at Reagan National Airport of up to 16 minutes but there were no other issues at present.]]>
9/28/2017 4:00:36 PM
<![CDATA[Taiwan to allow visa-free entry for visitors from Philippines]]>
Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines, which recognizes the "one China" policy under which Manila acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province to be taken back by force, if necessary.

Whether the visa-free policy takes effect in October or November is to be decided by the foreign ministry, said Hsu Kong-yung, the spokesman of Taiwan's executive yuan, or cabinet.

"After we open up the visa-free arrangements, in view of equal mutual benefits, we also hope they will make visa-free arrangements with Taiwan," he told a news conference.

Taiwan already has visa-free arrangements with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. The government is continuing this year with a pilot scheme with Brunei and Thailand kicked off last year.

It is also considering visa-free arrangements with Indonesia and Vietnam, according to a government document seen by Reuters.

A government spokesman did not immediately answer telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment on the Indonesia and Vietnam plans.]]>
9/28/2017 1:32:38 PM
<![CDATA[Underground air-raid shelter feeding London restaurants]]>
The World War II shelter in Clapham, which could protect up to 8,000 people from Nazi German bombs, consists of two large tunnels that were intended to one day become an extension of the London Underground.

That never happened and the shelter lay abandoned for 70 years until two entrepreneurs, Steven Dring and Richard Ballard, decided to grow broccoli, coriander, fennel and a host of other vegetables as so-called micro leaves, also known as micro herbs, grown from seedlings but harvested early when the first leaves form.

"We need to create these new fertile spaces" to meet increased demand from a growing global population, Dring told AFP on a visit to the "Growing Underground" site -- some 33 metres (108 feet) below the road.

Staff wear protective clothing and there is a strong smell of vegetables and humidity in the shelter.

The vegetables are grown with hydroponics, using nutrient solutions in a water solvent instead of soil.

The technique can also be used to grow a wide range of produce including tomatoes and baby peppers, Dring said.

- Day and night -

The only other ingredient required is light.

The tunnels have no natural light and are illuminated with pink LEDs, giving them a futuristic look.

The intensity of the light changes to imitate daylight, but with one major difference -- the lights are dimmed during the day and shine brightest at night, as electricity is cheapest then.

"We predominantly grow micro herbs, which are standard herbs, from different seeds.

"But what we do is we grow them to a very small stage, before the first true leaves start to come out," Dring said.

The micro herb broccoli takes between three and five days to grow before being packaged up in the shelter and sent off.

Fans enthuse about the intensity of the flavours of the produce.

Customers include Marks and Spencer which offers the produce in some of its supermarkets, several stalls at London's Borough Market and many restaurants -- helped by the patronage of celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr. of Le Gavroche.

- 'Quality, flavour' -

Dring and Ballard latched onto the concept of vertical farming -- producing food in vertically stacked layers -- which was developed by US biologist Dickson Despommier in his 2010 book "The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century".

The operation takes up some 200 metres (656 feet) of the 1,000 metres available in the air-raid shelter tunnel, half for growing while the other half is used for packaging.

Their request to use the air-raid shelter in Clapham was eagerly taken up by the owners of the space, London's public transport company.

This type of farming is "100 times cheaper" than setting up an urban farm on the surface, Dring said.

Their customers say they are happy with the result.

"I think the story is fantastic," said Charlie Curtis, an agronomist at Marks and Spencer supermarket chain.

"I think we all love to think that our food is grown locally to us but I think also the product sells itself. The quality is fantastic and the flavour is like something I've never had before," she said.

- No unpredictable weather -

Experts say vertical and urban farming could be ways not only of facing up to population growth but also growing urbanisation worldwide as well as climate change.

Nottingham University's Centre for Urban Agriculture said on its website that urban farms create jobs, reduce transport costs and pollution as well as offering an "opportunity to develop technologies".

The "Growing Underground" project sends its data on humidity, temperature and plant growth to Cambridge University to try and improve efficiency.

"What these guys are doing is modelling for us which one is the optimum environment for each product," Dring said.

Every day is the same in the underground farm and there are no seasons, or unpredictable British weather.

"We have a lot more control than usual growers... When in the winter days it's cold under the glass, it will take you 25 days to grow red mustard. It will always take us 10 days to grow red mustard," Dring said.

He added: "There's nothing that stands as a major challenge, apart from building a farm underneath London".]]>
9/28/2017 1:24:46 PM
<![CDATA[Rising fear of volcanic eruption on Bali forces 100,000 to flee to shelters]]>
the number of people taking shelter in makeshift evacuation centers on the Indonesian island of Bali has surged to around 104,000, officials said on Thursday.

Spewing white smoke and sending tremors through the area, Mount Agung’s alert status was raised to the highest level last week. Since then, tens of thousands of villagers have been urged to abandon their homes beneath the menacing volcano.

The national disaster management agency has housed evacuees in tents, school gyms, and government buildings in neighboring villages.

While there are plentiful stocks of food, water, medicines, and other supplies, evacuees fear they are in for a long wait that could disrupt their livelihoods.

One farmer said he was worried that lava flows could destroy his house and farm.

“If my house is destroyed I don’t know how to restart my life. I don’t know where my kids will sleep and all I can do now is pray,” said Gusti Gege Astana, 40.

Officials also noted there are around 30,000 cattle within the danger zone around the volcano, and efforts are being made to move the livestock as it is an important source of income for many residents.

More than 1,000 people were killed the last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963.

An elderly woman who survived that eruption said evacuation instructions had come much earlier this time.

“Back then we weren’t evacuated until it got really dangerous. Life went on as normal when ash and gravel was falling on us, until the big lava came out and destroyed everything,” said 82-year-old Gusti Ayu Wati.

Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country. Many of these show high levels of activity but it can be weeks or even months before an actual eruption.

Bali is famous for its beaches and temples and saw nearly 5 million visitors last year, mainly from China, Australia, and Japan.

Some tourists, however, were having second thoughts about their holiday plans after several countries, including Singapore and Australia, issued travel advisories warning of the risk from the volcano.

Bali’s tourism department on Thursday issued a letter reassuring travelers, and noting that flights were operating normally.

“The island is safe except for areas around Mount Agung. We urge tourists to continue visiting,” the letter said.

The transportation minister said on Wednesday that Bali-bound flights could be diverted to 10 airports across the country in case of an eruption.

Ash clouds from volcanic eruptions have disrupted tourism in Bali and other parts of Indonesia in recent years. Hundreds of domestic and international flights were disrupted in 2016 when a volcano erupted on Bali’s neighboring Lombok island, sending columns of ash and debris into the air.]]>
9/28/2017 1:21:42 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, a country that has a bit of everything]]>
While the First places that would pop up in your mind would be the

Pyramid

sand then

Luxor and Aswan

. Those choices would be amazing choice indeed, still you should know that Egypt has much, much, more to offer.

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Karnak and milky way - George Geo

First off, your might want to taste Egypt’s most authentic dish for breakfast, we are serving Alexandrian ful: if you ever happen to travel to Alexandria, make sure to pass by the "Mohamed Ahmed, Ful and Falafel" restaurant in downtown Raml Station.

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Food at Mohamed Ahmed restaurant - Egypt Today

The Mohamed Ahmed restaurant

, the most famous Oriental Egyptian restaurant in Alexandria since 1957, was visited by Spain’s Queen Sofia in 1989, the famous singer Demis Rossos, international actor Omar El-Sherif, Nobel prize-winning writer Naguib Mahfouz, comic writer Mostafa Hussein, famous actor Foad al-Mohandes and director Salah Abo Seif.They all left a remarkable comment in the restaurant menu that is still one of the trademarks of the place.

If you wish to visit a cool isolated place in the middle of the sea then go toCastle of Saladin on Pharaoh’s Island in Taba: Located 10 kilometers away from the city of Al Aqaba, 250 meters away from the Egyptian borders, and after a beautiful ride from Taba’s coast, you will find the castle of Saladin on Pharaoh’s Island in Taba City.

Pharaoh’s Island

is one of Taba’s main attractions, and it is simply breathtaking. The small island, surrounded by the outstanding blue and turquoise waters of the Red Sea, was once a Phoenician port, later occupied by Crusaders and then taken under control by Sultan Salah El Din (Saladin). The island and the castle remain intact. The reef around the island is popular with snorkelers and divers alike, Egypt State Information service reported.

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Castle of Saladin in the Island of Pharaoh in Taba city

While in Taba, do not forget to stop by Fjord Bay:

This amazingly beautiful bay that you meet on your way from Cairo to Taba is just 15 km south of Taba. The road is carved between valleys and above mountains. Apart from the stunning beauty of the mountains, the Fjord Bay meets you with a spectacular sea with different shades of blue. Usually people go to take some photos there and watch the scenery. But you might as well swim or camp there. The Fjord is a spectacular diving spot in the spectacular scenery of the Bay with the dazzling coral reefs.

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Fiord bay – Ahmedherz Wikimedia Commons

And do not forget that

Taba

still have a lot to offer; if you are looking to have a relaxing time at a natural retreat then

Salt Cave

is the sport for you:

Its walls and ceiling are completely covered in salt that was brought from the Siwa Oasis, which is famous for having the finest types of salt in the world. The floors they are made from salt cubes that were brought from the Dead Sea. All you need to do is go in and lie on a chaise longue under the calming lights, listen to soft music, bury your feet in salt and enjoy being surrounded by the purity of the color white and the freshness of clean air.

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Chaise lounge in salt cave, Taba - Mohamed Elnjjar – Egyptian Tourism Campaigns/Facebook

While you are still in the Red Sea area your options are almost infinite, whether you want to visit some of Egypt’s most famous resort cities, such as the gorgeous

Dahab

:

From gorgeous coral reefs and beautiful mountains that are easy to climb to Bedouin settings, colorful surroundings and sea spots where you can go scuba diving or even free diving.Moving to Dahab has become a trend among young Egyptians, as they see it as the land of beauty and opportunity.

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Dahab - Best Places in Egypt/Facebook

Ras Shaitan

: 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, and the trip is not expensive, especially if you are going to use your own car, or if a group of friends rent a minivan. Driving your own car would be better than going through a transportation companies. If you are going to take a bus, you will get off at Nuweiba, but make sure to know where you will get off, because it is not an official stop. Enjoy gathering around a campfire with your friends. The night sky there is so clear you can spend hours counting stars.

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Ras Shaitan - Egypt’s best Hang out Places – Facebook

There are also a few breathtaking islands such as

Zabargad Island

:

It is an island that is rich with natural rocks formation, Sea marine life, corals and breeding birds; at least nine species of birds are known to breed there. Octopuses, crocodile fish, and eel fish to name a few are present near its shore. It is also considered one of the biggest islands within the foul Bay, Egypt and a geologically unique place known for theTopaz rocks within its layers.

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Zabargad Island – Ahmed Shawky

Then, there is Sharm El Sheikh and all the places you could go there, but before you reach you should make one stop at

El-Tor

: When you are there and after you are done enjoying the view you can hike Mount Moses for sport or spiritual purposes. It has an easy trail, except perhaps for the 1,000 steps leading to the summit. At its foothill, there is the beautiful St. Catherine Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Eye bird view of Red sea at El-Tor Mount – By Karim Photography

As for Sharm El Sheikh, there are many great spots such as

Nabq reserve

: which is located in the Gulf of Aqaba. The place has been a natural reserve since 1992. And it is not just nature that is overwhelming there; Nomadic tribes live in the area and we guarantee you that you will be taken by their authenticity and wisdom once you meet them.

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Resting place – Sinia trekking


Ras Mohammed protectorate

is also a great spot to stop by, It is a national park 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 rocky wall where the coral reefs are located about 250 meters long, and they contain a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate underwater species, and you may occasionally find dolphins.

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Ras Mohammed Underwater - by Michela Simoncini- via Flickr

Your next stop is Hurghada, with a variety of perfect destinations to choose from. There is no wonder Hurghada is one of the most famous Egyptian travel destinations. For instance if you Happen to be in Hurghada and looking for a place that is not crowded yet still more gorgeous than you can imagine, then

Giftun Island

is what you are looking for:

Just 11 kilometers (9 miles) from Hurghada, there’s a little heavenly island called Giftun.It is the best place for water sports in Hurghada and the whole Red Sea governorate! You can also go boating, snorkeling near the coral reef, or simply sunbath and chill in the island’s gorgeous surroundings of white sands and crystal clear water.

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Little sand island near Giftun- Egypt’s best Hang out Places – Facebook

As for

El Gouna

, it is the most astounding village in Hurghada where "Zaitona Beach" is located. Speaking of El Gouna, it is the true meaning of hospitality, irrespective of where you stay, it is enough to say that everyone is wearing a smile. As for Zaitona Beach, it is much more than a beautiful island, easy to reach from downtown El Gouna, it is surrounded by sea, lagoons, and amazing coral reefs. It stands as the most suitable location for snorkeling. Zaitona Beach has its own various services such as drinks, food, bathrooms, and fresh-water showers. The beach also provides several beach sports such as volleyball, football, and even dancing lessons.

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Zaytouna - photo courtesy Face book Page (Best. places. Egypt)

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El Gouna resort in Hurghada, Egypt in September 2017- Hussein Tallal

There is one more stop before you leave, right off Hurghada is a spot called “

Sha`b Abu Nuhas

,” which mainly consists of coral reefs that formed on sunken ships since the year 1969. Go on an adventure inspecting the sunken ships and enjoy the beauty of gorgeous fish and the company of divers from all around the world. Abu Nahas is just an hour from El Gouna.

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Abu Nahas – Curtsey of Best Hang out Places in Egypt/Facebook)

Now off to

Marsa Alam

we go! Atop the international beach rankings comes "Sharm El Louly Beach" in Marsa Alam. It is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, which has become famous recently. Travelers will feel a similarity between this charming beach and Maldives'.

Marsa Alaam is the perfect choice whether you prefer a sea cruise or a land trip. Being located along Egypt’s Red Sea coast, Marsa Alam has become known as the primary destination for diving enthusiasts visiting Egypt and thanks to its lively dive centers filled with rainbow-colored corals and a variety of underwater wildlife.

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Nayzak Lake, Marsa Alaam - photo courtesy Face book Page (Best. places. Egypt)

And while you are there do not forget to check out

Waddi Qulaan

, 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.

16
Wadi Qulaan – CC via Wikimedia commons/ Maha Helmy

Speaking of Marsas, we cannot leave without stopping by Marsa Matrouh and its miraculous beach “

Ageeba

.”

The Mediterranean beach is named after a “wondrous” rock formation and cliffs surrounding a narrow coast. The shades of blues of the beach, mixed with the soft white sand and the unique tall rock formations with multiple shades of orange and yellow make the scene out of this world.

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Ageeba Beach – Matrouh Facebook page

But, if you are in the mood for a less popular option, a more isolated magical place, then go southwest to Marsa Matrouh, where you will find to

Siwa

: Located south-west of the Mediterranean town Marsa Matrouh and below the sea level as it is, Siwa Oasis is full of stunning nature landscapes not to be missed. There is something about Siwa casts a spell on visitors to come back.

Just do not forget to pack your swimming suit with you. Yes, that is right! It is a desert Safari and you will need a swimming suit though. And it will not be any ordinary swimming. You will swim in natural springs known for their reviving qualities. Trust our choice; the trip will be different as promised.

18
Photo of nature landscapes at Siwa Oasis - File Photo

And maybe spend a night at The White Mountain, or

Adrer Amelie

, which has recently joined the list of the 10 weirdest hotels in the world, according to the CNN. The Eco lodge is 300 kilometers away from the sea, within Siwa’s Oasis, southwest Marsa Matrouh city, and is built using salt, and mud, with palm wood and olive trees too. An eco-friendly hotel that nurtures the soul; it also offers a luxurious service to its guests.

19
overview of the hotel – Courtesy of the Marsa Matrouh Page

You can always stop by

Ain Sokhna

.It is a mere 90-minute drive from Cairo, making it an ideal destination for even a one-day trip that doesn’t interrupt one’s work or school schedule. You can enjoy the breathtaking view with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, or take part in the myriad activities available, from fishing, snorkeling, sunbathing, and barbequing.

20
Ain Sokhna – courtsey of Best hang out places in Egypt - Facebook

And in case you are a nature lover, there are plenty of magnificent protectorates in Egypt, such as:

-

Wadi Degla

, reservoir is found at Maadi in Cairo, within the Eastern Dessert. The reservoir is 60 kilometers wide and includes lime stone rock formations.

-

Wadi Sannur Cave

, in Bani Suef governorate, which is located about 115 km south of Cairo is one of the unique places dating back to 65 million years of the Middle Eocene Epoch, which was known to have lasted from 56 to 33.9 million years. The name Eocene comes from the Ancient Greek culture.

21
Wadi Sannur Cave-Egypt Today

-

Ashtum El Gamil Protectorate

, Tennis Island and a few other islands (all considered part of the Ashtum Al Gamil Protectorate) in the Lake Manzala area are known for their diverse ecological and biological systems.

22
Ashtum Al Gamil Protectorate - Mohamed Kamal Wikimedia commons

And still Egypt has many more obscure magical places in each and every one of its governorates, such as

Fayoum’s Magic Lake

and

Minya’s Corniche

.

24
The Magic Lake in Fayoum – Facebook

25
Minya - Sondos Ahmed - Wikimedia commons

#ThisIsEgypt,and it has much more to offer you, so enjoy it.
]]>
9/28/2017 10:23:43 AM
<![CDATA[Celebrations to be held nationwide to mark World Tourism Day]]>
Demeiry said public figures from a number of countries would be invited to attend celebrations that coincide with the 200 anniversary of Abu Simbel temple discovery.

This year’s World Tourism Day, held on 27 September, focuses on Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development.

It is celebrated in line with the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. ]]>
9/28/2017 5:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pics: Taghaghien Island of Siwa Oasis, a must-see]]>

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Taghaghien Island – Best Place Egypt Facebook page


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Taghaghien Island – Best Place Egypt Facebook page


Taghaghien Island, roughly three kilometers from downtown, stretches over 3,800 square meters in the Lake Siwa, according to Best Places Egypt Facebook page.


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Seats at Taghaghien Island – Best Place Egypt Facebook page


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Hotels at Taghaghien Island – Best Place Egypt Facebook page


The island is surrounded by a lot of mountains, green fields, palm trees and pearly salty lakes, with a spring in the middle that is four meters deep.


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Palm trees at Taghaghien Island – Best Place Egypt Facebook page



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Alongside all these natural places, there are great and reasonably-priced hotels with cafes and restaurants, oriental outlets and lavish receptions featuring Western-style bars.


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]]>
9/28/2017 12:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Why Egypt should be your first destination ]]>
Here are the most significant tourist spots you don’t have to miss this year:

Giza pyramids

The pyramids are an architectural marvel that continues to mystify people around the world, earning its position as one of the seven wonders of the world.

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Giza Pyramids

Nile River

There is a popular statement that says if you drink from the Nile River, you must come back to Egypt. While drinking it wouldn’t be recommended, the statement reveals how much the river is important to Egyptian civilization. Wherever you find the Nile you find life.

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Nile River

It also considered to be the longest river in the world.

El Hussein and El Moez Street

Walking alongside El Moez street from the side of El Hussein Museum exposes you to great and impressive Islamic art with an oriental style.



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El Hussein mosque

Qaroun Lake

It is one of the best lakes in Egypt as is a rural beauty with warm, cozy water and marvelous fish.

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lake Qaroun


Luxor

With one third of the world’s archaeological sites located in Luxor, don’t hesitate to spend days exploring this treasure trove of ancient marvels.


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Luxor


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Karnak Temple

Aswan

Visiting Aswan means you live the real Nubian life with its warm weather and Nile view from outside a Nubian home.

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Aswan


Sharm El-Sheikh

If you want to enjoy seeing amazing coral reefs and rare types of fish by diving into the depths of the Red sea you have to spend more than one night at Sharm El-Sheikh.

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Sharm El-Sheikh

Alexandria

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Alexandria

A great historical story tells you secrets about the Roman era, and the cultural value of the Library of Alexandria. Alexandria also has great beaches where you can enjoy the Mediterranean sea.


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Library of Alexandria


]]>
9/27/2017 10:57:28 PM
<![CDATA[Alexandria celebrates World Tourism Day ]]>
Ashraf Sabry, head of dive center at Alexandra Dive, stated that the celebrations will start Saturday September 30 at noon in the Citadel of Qaitbay. He also added that the celebration was organized in concurrence with World Tourism Day. Fifty young men and women from the tourism and hotel management college at Alexandria University were chosen to participate in the celebration.


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Qaitbay Citadel - Delengar - Wikimedia commons


Sabry said that establishing the first dive center in the city plays a big role in advertising diving tourism in Alexandria and spreading awareness in both the local and global community about the two sunken cities at the bottom of the eastern port of Alexandria.

The two cities date back to the ancient Egyptian and the Roman age. He also mentioned that Alexandria has many characteristics that qualify it to be a very important travel destination, as it was the capital of tourism in the past and it is time for it to retrieve that status again.

During the celebration, lights will be shined on the Alexandrian sunken city of Cleopatra and many monuments which were discovered recently will be revealed. Notably, the Mediterranean Sea floor is full of monuments which sank thousands of years ago.
Moreover, there will be a march for Queen Cleopatra in her Pharaonic costume about 500 meters away, along Alexandria’s Corniche. The march will begin from the Citadel of Qaitbay and will end at the diving center at Alexandria’s eastern port.

The march will be covered by a number of the international media channels, such as Discovery channel, National Geographic, and others in addition to local news channels. The celebration will be concluded with a fireworks show by the Egyptian Navy along Alexandria’s Corniche.

]]>
9/27/2017 8:53:31 PM
<![CDATA[British tourist nights in Egypt up 63 percent, envoy]]>
On his twitter account, the ambassador said the increase makes British tourist nights number two among European tourists who arrive to Egypt.

They arrive in the country on board 40 direct flights every week, he said, adding he is working to increase this number. ]]>
9/27/2017 8:49:36 PM
<![CDATA[Jamaica expects tourism boost after hurricanes hit Caribbean]]>
Jamaica was largely left untouched by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which swept through the Caribbean this month, killing dozens and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said the increase in visitors by travellers who changed their holidays to Jamaica would be around 1 to 2 percent this year, and the island expects to get $150 million to $200 million in additional tourism revenue.

"The experience is that people who have committed already to the Caribbean, who have made bookings for the Caribbean, are going to go to the Caribbean, and so the issue is where in the Caribbean are they going to go," Edmund told Reuters at a World Tourism Day event in Doha.

The number of overseas visitors to Jamaica this year could now increase by around 10 percent, which he said would be more than the original forecast of 8.5 percent.

He said the trend of travellers rebooking their holidays within the region was likely to continue into 2018.]]>
9/27/2017 7:46:04 PM
<![CDATA[Take your kids to the Child Museum to play creatively ]]>
Located in Abou Bakr El Sedeek St., Heliopolis, your children can be part of role plays in different professions and they can draw on papyrus, paint gypsum, and experience farming activity.


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Children coloring gypsum - Best Places Egypt Facebook page


The Child Museum is composed of:

1- A floor for the Pharaonic civilization


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The ancient Egyptian level at the Child Museum - Best Places Egypt Facebook page

2- A floor for the Nile River and agriculture in Egypt


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The Agricultural Museum at the Child Museum - Best Places Egypt Facebook page


3- A cinema and library dedicated to children


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The Cinema at the Child Museum - Best Places Egypt Facebook page


Every floor in the museum plays interesting videos illustrating every world civilization. There is a puzzle game that requires children to put shapes together based upon a movie that explains the 6th of October War. The puzzle expresses what they learned from each level of the museum.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., but you are allowed to sit in the garden while your children enjoy playing in the museum park until 9 p.m.


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The garden at the Child Museum - Best Places Egypt Facebook page

The museum was designed by experts from Egypt, UK and the USA in a fashion that assists children to learn through hands on exhibits, computer games and inter-actives.

There are three kinds of tickets:

1- Adult museum ticket for LE 25 ($1.42)

2- Children activity ticket for LE 15

3- Parking tickets for LE 5

The Children's Civilization and Creativity Center opened in 1996 as the first children-oriented museum in the Middle East and North Africa.
]]>
9/27/2017 5:56:06 PM
<![CDATA[Dubai tests flying taxis]]>
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Dubai flying taxis -AFP

An unmanned craft, developed by German drone maker Volocopter, was successfully tested in a ceremony put on for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

The Volocopter vehicle is a two-seat, eighteen-rotor vehicle, which takes off and lands vertically.

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Dubai flying taxis -AFP


The vehicle is meant to fly autonomously for up to 30 minutes, making it ideal for short-distance urban travel.

The goal of the project is to grow into an Uber-like platform where users can pull out their phones and order a ride at the nearest “voloport.”

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Dubai flying taxis -AFP


The vehicle is equipped with a number of fail-safes in the event of something going wrong. Items like extra batteries, rotors, and parachutes ensure passenger safety.

In a press release from the government of Dubai’s media office, HH Sheikh Hamdan said, “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.”

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Dubai flying taxis -AFP

Flying vehicles have recently made a resurgence as a viable means of transportation in the future. Some truly big names like Larry Page’s (of Google fame) Kitty Hawk, and Uber’s own flying taxi plans are in the running to develop the first flying car options.
]]>
9/27/2017 5:18:47 PM
<![CDATA[Day-use on Nuweiba-Taba highway]]>
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Overview of Castle Zaman – Official website of Castle Zaman

One of the most beautiful natural icons is Castle Zaman, located on the Nuweiba-Taba road. Castle Zaman is located roughly one hour after Dahab and 10 minutes before Taba.

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Aerial view of Castle Zaman – Official website of Castle Zaman

In Castle Zaman, you can experience the fusion of cozy nature and the marvel of Pharaonic architecture in one place from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. for LE 500 ($28.30).

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Overview of Castle Zaman – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

On the edge of the rocky cliff sits a natural swimming pool with fresh water on the opposite side of sea.

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Natural pool of Castle Zaman – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

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Seaview of Castle Zaman – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

There is a fully equipped kitchen that offers all types of dishes, especially seafood. The dining area has large balconies that provide additional seating.

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Castle Zaman kitchen – Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

From outside the terrace, there is glass-framed fireplace and state of the art sound system used as a makeshift dancefloor and yoga platform.

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Castle Zaman bar – Official website of Castle Zaman

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Castle Zaman balconies – Official website of Castle Zaman

Children are not allowed at Castle Zaman and management has the right to refuse alcohol to customers.

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Aerial view of Castle Zaman – Official website of Castle Zaman
]]>
9/27/2017 5:00:07 PM
<![CDATA[12 low-profile, yet mind-blowing museums in Cairo]]>
Here are some low-profile, yet mind-blowing museums in Egypt:

Air Force Museum

The museum is located in Almaza Military Base on Salah Salem road, across from Egyptian Military Academy. A tour through the outside of the museum takes its visitors back to the 1973 October War by displaying helicopters and aircrafts of the era.

Inside the museum, there is VIP hall in which there are many 3D films showing footage of the war. The museum also has a park for children and a café, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The Air Force Museum – Best Places Egypt Face book Page

Gayer Anderson Museum

This museum is the former home of R.G. Gayer-Anderson Pasha, a renowned British soldier in the Egyptian army. The home itself is excellently preserved and boasts hundreds of artifacts, antique carpets and other valuable items. The house itself perfectly exemplifies domestic architecture from the 17th-century Cairo.

Tickets cost LE 3 for students, LE 5 for adults and LE 50 ($2.83) for camera use.

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Gayer Anderson Museum from the outside – Best Places Egypt Face book Page

The Agricultural Museum

The museum occupies a large area, boasting several buildings. It is well organized and greenish, something we all miss in almost every capital.

It holds skeletons of extinct animals, wax sculptures, stuffed animals, and shows farming customs since ancient Egypt. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the entry ticket costs LE 3.

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Butterflies at the Agricultural Museum – Best Places Egypt Face book Page

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Statues at the Agricultural Museum – Best Places Egypt Facebook page

Om Kalthoum Museum

Om Kalthoum Museum has dresses, accessories, scarves, shoes and portraits of the iconic Egyptian singer, known as the “Planet of the East.” In many photographs, she can be seen sporting her iconic black glasses, while in the background fragments of her iconic music set the ambience.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while tickets cost LE 5.

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Om Kalthoum’s dresses – Best Places Egypt Face book Page

The Museum of Weapons in Abdin Palace

This museum is one of the least well-known museums, being inside the Abdeen Palace in Cairo. It displays many weapons used in the era of King Farouk. Entry tickets cost LE 30.

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Abdeen Palace’s Weapons Museum – Best Places Egypt Face book Page

The Zoological Museum

This museum, the first and largest of its kind in the Middle East, is located inside the Giza Zoo, will take you in a tour in the African jungles. It displays mummified animals from all over Africa and the Middle East.

You can visit it any time from 10 a.m. for LE 10, and it is closed on Tuesdays only.

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Mummified rats and mice at the Zoological Museum - Best Places Egypt

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The Zoological Museum - Best Places Egypt Face book Page

Egyptian Railway Museum

This

museum

is the second oldest railway museum worldwide; in 1834, Egypt was the second country ever to establish a national railway system. However, the museum exhibits means of transportation that dates back to the Pharaonic, Greek and Roman eras in Egypt.

You will also see the first locomotive in Egypt that dates to 1783, as well as the first car in 1854. The ticket costs LE 50, and by the way, it will show you how train tickets looked like over time.

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An old locomotive at the Railway Museum - Best Places Egypt Facebook page

The Museum of Egyptian Civilization

The museum is located in Fustat, once the capital of Egypt before it became only a district in modern Cairo, behind Amr Ibn al-Aas mosque. It includes crafts practiced for thousands of years in Egypt, such as wooden tools, textile and ornaments. It offers all this for LE 60 ($3.4).

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The Museum of Egyptian Civilization – Best Places Egypt Facebook page

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The Museum of Egyptian Civilization – Best Places Egypt Facebook page

The Museum of Islamic Art

Not only does this

museum

host priceless pieces that best manifest Islamic art, it is also entirely designed in the Islamic architecture style. It is also the biggest Islamic art museum in the world. Watch some of the finest Islamic art pieces in the world for LE 75 ($4).

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The Museum of Islamic Art - Best Places Egypt Facebook page

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The Museum of Islamic Art - Best Places Egypt Facebook page

Egyptian Geological Museum

It was established in 1904 and located in Maadi, Cairo. Once you get inside, you will see an intact skeleton of a whale and fossils of huge Ice Agee creatures that were once thriving in the area in ancient times. Pieces of lunar rocks are also on display therein.

It comprises three halls; the first one exhibit ancient rocks and metals, the second displays skeletons of vertebrates, while invertebrates are shown in the third.

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The skeleton of the ancestor of elephants at the Geological Museum – Best Places Egypt Face book page

Geographical Association Museum of Egypt

One of the rich museums in Egypt as it embraces million of old maps, antiques and toys dating to 18th and 20th centuries.

The museum is divided into four halls: the first showcases Egyptian traditions and inherited crafts and tools, such as hair styling tools and cars that transported brides to their new homes. The second hall displays statues with traditional clothing of every Egyptian city from Upper Egypt to the Delta. The antiques the delegation of Geographical Association of Egypt brought from abroad, as elephant ivories and swords from Africa, are in the third hall. The fourth hall, painted in blue, is the Suez Canal Hall.

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Statues at the Geographical Museum

Egyptian Textile Museum

This museum is one of the few museums in Egypt that opened during Ramadan and could only be visited from 8 p.m. to midnight.

It exhibits the evolution of textile manufacturing in Egypt from the Pharaonic era to contemporary times. There are also samples of Kiswat Al kaaba (Covering of the Kaaba) Egypt exported to Saudi Arabia.

Tickets are for LE 20 ($1.1)

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Textile piece from Textile Museum –Best places of Egypt Face book Page

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The Textile Museum from the outside – Best Places Egypt Facebook page

]]>
9/27/2017 2:52:20 PM
<![CDATA[AU welcomes US decision to lift travel ban on Sudan]]>
In a statement, the commission said "the African Union Commission (AUC) welcomes the removal of the travel ban on Sudan by the Government of the United States of America and looks forward to the full normalization of relations between the two countries."

“While sharing the same concerns with the United States of America on the threat of terrorism and violent extremism, the AUC believes that cooperation and meaningful engagement are vital in shaping a common response to this very demanding global challenge,” the statement added.

"The commission is shocked at the imposition of a travel ban on the Republic of Chad, in particular, given its important role in the fight against terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin, Northern Mali, and the Sahel," the statement said.]]>
9/27/2017 1:55:05 PM
<![CDATA[Ghanaian villagers profit from monkey business]]>
But they have also turned that reverence into revenue, by making the cheeky primates part of an eco-tourist attraction that benefits both animals and locals alike.

Francis Acquaye, the manager of the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and Cultural Village, said the monkeys and the forest were considered sacred until the 1980s, when the spread of Christianity eroded traditional beliefs.

The red, brown and white monkeys, which are found between Ghana and Cameroon, were soon hunted and trees were chopped down until the village became an eco-tourist attraction in 1996.

Now, thousands of people visit the sanctuary near the border with Togo each year. Some stay in the village to learn about rural life.

The money earned has helped to build a health clinic, sink boreholes and renovate school buildings.

"People in the community treat the monkeys in a very friendly way just because of the benefits we derive from tourism," Acquaye told AFP. "Everybody supports what is here.

"So the monkeys are our friends, they are our brothers and sisters."

Living together as one

At the sanctuary, monkeys wait in the trees, watching a group of young visitors. When the bananas come out, so do the monkeys. Both tourist and monkey squeal with delight as the food is taken.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa Fehr, from Canada who is among the visiting group, is just as enthusiastic about the warm welcome extended to them by the villagers.

"They all say 'welcome' to you, which is really cool," she enthused.

Villagers say they have never experienced or seen the monkeys attack.

Acquaye walks through the forest calling the monkeys with pursed lips. When they see the halved bananas in his hands, they bound over.

And when people carry food on their heads, especially if it's bananas or corn, they need to be wary, he said.

"You need to give pieces of those to the monkeys otherwise you will be carrying monkeys on the load (too)," he added.

For Lydia Osei, a trader in the village who sits on the roadside selling drinks and snacks, sharing food with the monkeys is a normal part of life in Tafi Atome.

"We give them food when we have it. We give them banana and maize and other things and they are no longer afraid of us," she said.

"Even though they are animals and we are humans, we are living together as one."

Significant potential

The Tafi Atome sanctuary is one of a handful of successful eco-tourism projects across Ghana that aim to protect the region's culture and environment while providing resources to local communities.

Others include a hippopotamus sanctuary in the north of Ghana, guided hikes alongside waterfalls in the east and along the coast, turtle-watching tours are set up to conserve the endangered species.

A recent report by the Oxford Business Group research consultancy said that even though it was still in its early stages, eco-tourism in Ghana had "significant potential" as the number of overseas visitors to the country increases.

The World Bank said 897,000 international tourists visited Ghana in 2015.

But the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the numbers could reach nearly 1.3 million this year and more than 2.0 million by 2027.

The travel and tourism sector directly generated 288,000 jobs in 2016 and is forecasted to grow by 4.7% in 2017 to 301,500.

By 2027, travel and tourism will account for 366,000 jobs directly, it added.

Be proud of your culture

Ghanaian tourism experts now want to see more emphasis on eco-tourism projects like Tafi Atome.

The co-founder of tour operator Sunset African Tours, Naa Oyoe Ofei-Aryeh, said people are currently more likely to visit the slave castles along Ghana's coast or attend cultural festivals.

A push by local government could get more people involved, she added.

Apollo Panou, the founder of Jolinaiko Eco Tours, believes eco-tourism can help Ghanaians tell their own story.

The term has a broad definition but for Panou it's simple: "Be proud of your culture, protect what you have and then add value to it instead of destroying what you have to create new things."

Eco-tourism needs to be promoted, as it empowers communities to make money from their own resources, he said.

"We need to let the community really understand what they are selling, why, what they have and then they need to be proud of who they are," Panou said. — AFP]]>
9/27/2017 1:43:00 PM
<![CDATA[Indonesia ready to divert tourists as Bali volcano rumbles]]>
Mount Agung, 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been shaking since August, threatening to erupt for the first time in more than 50 years and causing more than 96,000 people to flee their homes.

"The number of evacuees is expected to continue to rise," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency, said in a statement.

Bali attracts millions of foreign visitors every year to its palm-fringed beaches and an eruption would be a blow to its tourism-dependent economy.

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar has not been affected, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have issued advisories warning travellers to exercise caution.

In case of an eruption, Indonesia plans to divert flights headed for Bali to ten other airports, including on nearby Lombok and the capital Jakarta.

"The planes will be diverted to their nearest location or where they originally took off from," said transport minister Budi Karya Sumadi.

Airlines are watching the situation closely and 100 buses have been prepared to evacuate tourists.

Virgin Australia said it would be making an extra fuel stop in Darwin for some of its flights between Australia and Bali in case it is forced to turn back.

Singapore Airlines said customers travelling between September 23 and October 2 could rebook flights or ask for a refund.

- Eruption jitters -

Officials announced the highest possible alert level on Friday due to the increasing volcanic activity, and told people to stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

They are still stressing the island is generally safe, but there are signs the volcano is starting to give tourists the jitters.

I Komang Nik Suantara, owner of the Amed Beach Resort on Bali's east coast, said business had collapsed since the alert level was raised.

"Amed is safe from the lava but still the economy is very down, no customer, everyone cancelled," he said.

German tourist Christoph Lange, who is staying in Amed, said that despite frequent tremors he felt "pretty safe".

"We've got like 20, 30, 40 shakes where you could feel the earth shaking," Lange, 30, told AFP.

"While we were diving we had quite a few. Under water you can hear it, it's pretty loud actually."

Rahmat, who sells clothes from a stall in Kuta, said his income had halved in the past week because there were fewer tourists.

The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said tremors were increasing and it had recorded 480 between 12am and 12pm on Wednesday. A thin column of smoke can be seen rising from the mountain's summit.

"So far the activity of Mount Agung remains high, the alert level is on level 4 -- the highest," said Kasbani, head volcanologist at the centre who like many Indonesians has one name.

Indonesia lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing nearly 1,600 people.]]>
9/27/2017 1:36:33 PM
<![CDATA[Rashed, French officials discuss measures to secure tourism]]>
Egypt's Ambassador in Paris Ehab Badawi, Vice President of the French Travel Agents Congress Richard Soubielle, and a number of French tour operators took part in the meeting.

The meeting reviewed measures taken by the Egyptian government to secure the country's tourist destinations.]]>
9/27/2017 12:48:47 AM
<![CDATA[Bulgarian village goes Chinese in yoghurt craze]]>
“It’s difficult. You have to be quite tough not to give up,” says pensioner Tsvetka Radkova, 66, as she puffs and pants in the classroom in the village of Momchilovtsi in southern Bulgaria.

But her daughter Veselina, 37, accompanied in the lessons by her nine-year-old little girl, trots out whole sentences in Chinese, to the cheers of her classmates.

Few Europeans, and not many Bulgarians for that matter, have heard of Momchilovtsi, perched high on the slopes of the Rhodope mountains in south-eastern Europe near the border with Greece.

But in China, Momchilovtsi conjures up images of mystery, wonder and longevity, having given its name to a kind of drinking yoghurt that is all the rage for Chinese consumers.

This summer Momchilovtsi played host to hundreds of Chinese visitors attending the village’s third Chinese-Bulgarian yoghurt festival.

Signs in Chinese are everywhere, directing visitors to the village hall for lectures on yoghurt’s prodigious health benefits or to yoghurt and cheese tastings.

Children run around chirping “Ni Hao” (“Hello” in Chinese) and giving out festival brochures and village maps in Bulgarian, Chinese and English.

A beauty pageant on the festival’s second day picked the new “Yoghurt Queen” to adorn the Momchilovtsi packaging.

“There’s two things every Chinese knows about Bulgaria — yoghurt and roses,” said one visitor, Lei Lin from Shanghai.

Village of longevity

The people of Momchilovtsi have been used to the sight of Chinese visitors ever since Chinese firm Bright Dairy in 2009 took back home the bacteria found in the local yoghurt.

Crucially, the strain enabled Bright to develop for Chinese consumers drinking yoghurt — drinkable with a straw, so easier to consume than the thicker stuff — that doesn’t need to be chilled.

But Bright didn’t forget its roots, branding its product “Momchilovtsi”, its label featuring a Bulgarian maiden in traditional dress and cultivating links with the village.

Known in Chinese by the shorter name “Mosili’an”, it’s the top seller in this booming sector, on sale in most supermarkets and its adverts a common sight on bus stops and on television.

Its popularity has been helped by the contaminated milk powder scandal in China in 2008 pushing many consumers towards brands seen as international or traditional and therefore safer.

With its slogan “The miraculous secret of the village where people live a long life — Momchilovtsi”, sales were six billion yuan (€765 million, US$910 million, RM3.8 billion) last year, a Bright spokesman told AFP.

“Momchilovtsi has been famous as ‘the village of longevity’ because of the high number of centenarians living here,” Pan Jianjun, the spokesman, said on the sidelines of the festival.

Indeed, at least three participants in the language course — for which 40 locals have enrolled — told AFP they had family members who had lived to be over 100.

“Our research showed that one of the secrets of this longevity is the local yoghurt,” Pan said.

Long and winding road

The 1,200 inhabitants of Momchilovtsi already host about 1,000 Chinese tourists annually out of a total of 5,000-6,000 visitors, mayor Siyka Surkova told AFP.

“The numbers are growing every year and this is only normal considering the huge advertising campaign for the yoghurt in China that also benefits us,” she added.

In 2014, the Chinese version of reality TV show Survivor was set in Momchilovtsi, with seven contestants thrown in with a local family armed only with a Chinese-Bulgarian dictionary.

But with just 18,500 Chinese visitors last year, Bulgaria is seriously lagging in the Europe-wide drive to attract Chinese tourists.

Direct flights between the two countries are only but a dream, experts said.

Visitors to Momchilovtsi have to take an internal flight within Europe to Sofia or Plovdiv. And from there it’s a long and winding journey of several hours up to the village — but worth it]]>
9/26/2017 11:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Bike-sharing takes off among youths in major Asian cities: survey]]>
The bikes, which users can rent for around S$1 ($0.74) an hour or less via mobile phone apps, are meant to complete the last kilometer or more of a journey, and are also being used for outings in urban parks and trips to the supermarket.

The two biggest bike-share operators, China-owned Ofo and Mobike, plan to be in more than 200 cities by end-2017 and end-2018, respectively. They will have a combined total of nearly 30 million bikes in operation by the end of this year, having together attracted more than $2 billion in funding.

“We will consider expanding into any city where our smart bike solution can address local transportation needs and where we have ... support from local officials,” said Florian Bohnert, head of global partnerships at Mobike.

In an informal survey by Thomson Reuters across Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Singapore, 60 bike-share users talked about how the services had changed their travel patterns.

Eighteen percent of survey respondents - 11 out of 60 - said they were using the bikes instead of taking cars, taxis or motorcycles, a sign that some are moving away from carbon-intensive vehicles.

The other 82 percent would have walked or taken public transport, the survey showed.

Among the five cities, users in Beijing were the most committed, with six out of 15 respondents riding shared bikes daily, and the other nine using the bikes several times a week.

In Shanghai, five out of 10 people surveyed used a shared bike daily or several times a week.

Most of the respondents were males in the 20-40 age group. About half of the respondents used the bikes to commute to work or school.

Singapore had the highest percentage of people who changed from a private car or taxi to a bicycle. Taipei came in second, and Beijing and Shanghai tied for third.

All the respondents in Seoul switched from public transport or walking to the app-leased bikes, although the city-backed service there used docking stations instead of free-range bikes.

“It’s super cheap and convenient and there are stations everywhere. It’s easy to use and it’s a bit of exercise too,” said office worker Park Yongwon, 30, who cycled 1,000 km in the past year.]]>
9/26/2017 10:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Menacing Bali volcano throws tourists' plans into jeopardy]]>
Strong volcanic tremors rumbling underground and billowing white smoke over the scenic Mount Agung have raised alarm, prompting the evacuation of more than 75,000 people within 12 km (7.5 miles).

Sitting on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country. Many Indonesians live near volcanoes because lava flows make the surrounding soil and land fertile for farming.

Several countries, including Australia, Singapore, and the United States, have issued travel advisories alerting holidaymakers to the new risk. And a hotel operator in Bali said news of the volcano had caused cancellations.

“Business is getting low since Mount Agung’s alert status was raised to the highest level,” said Ketut Purnawata, manager of Dasawana Resort, which is in the same district as the volcano, popular with tourists and hikers.

Nearly five million people visited Bali last year - most of them from Australia, China and Japan.

Airlines in Australia and Singapore said they were preparing for any disruptions due to an eruption, but flights were running normally for now.

Virgin Australia and Jetstar, both of which fly to Bali from Australia, said they would carry extra fuel in case they needed to change course.

Jetstar and Singapore-based budget carrier Scoot said they had been contacted by a small number of customers looking to change their travel dates. “Less than 100 customers chose to rebook to a later date,” a Scoot spokeswoman said.

Singapore Airlines and its short-haul arm SilkAir said customers traveling to Bali until Oct. 2 could rebook or request a refund, while AirAsia said flights were operating normally.

One Indonesian travel agency said it had seen some cancellations.

“There will definitely be an impact on (sales of) tour packages but we don’t know the figures yet,” said Agustinus Pake Seko of PT Bayu Buana travel agency.

President Joko Widodo visited shelters near Mount Agung on Tuesday and urged residents to follow evacuation procedures after reports that some people were reluctant to leave their homes because nothing had happened.

“While the government will continue to try to minimize the economic losses of the community, the most important priority is the safety of the people here,” Widodo told reporters.

“So I ask all people around Mount Agung to follow instructions from the officials and minimize the impact of this volcano.”

Life was going along largely as normal on the island famous for its beaches, temples and gentle Hindu culture.

One Spanish tourist, Jordi Portalo, 23, said he wasn’t troubled.

“I think it could happen but...maybe we’d have to stay here a couple more days, so nothing to worry about,” he said sitting at a cafe next to the trademark white surfing beach of Nusa Dua.

The last time Mount Agung erupted was in 1963, before tourism took off, when streams of lava traveled as far as 7 km along its slopes, killing more than 1,000 villagers.

More recent ash clouds from volcanic eruptions have also disrupted tourism in Bali and other parts of Indonesia.

Hundreds of domestic and international flights were disrupted in 2016 when a volcano erupted on Bali’s neighboring Lombok island, sending columns of ash and debris into the air.]]>
9/26/2017 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Dutch tourist group cuts South Africa visit short after armed bus robbery]]>
The incident is an embarrassment for South Africa, a country keen to promote itself as a tourist destination but scarred by violent crime. Tourism accounts for 3 percent of GDP and is seen as a bright spot in an otherwise moribund economy.

Journalists saw the group pull out of the hotel in a bus under police escort after they met with South Africa’s police minister and tourist minister as well the ambassador from the Netherlands.

“We’ll bring these criminals to book. We’ll find them,” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told journalists after the meeting.

The bus was stopped on Sunday night by a vehicle with police markings and one man in police uniform with five accomplices in civilian clothing robbed the tourists at gunpoint. Nobody was shot but two people were injured, police said.

Dutch ambassador Marisa Gerards said most of the tourists had to cut their visit short because all of their belongings were taken.

Ironically, she said many of the tourists had “booked this organized trip out of safety concerns.”

South Africa entices tourists with first-rate infrastructure, sunshine, beaches, wildlife and an exchange rate that makes its food and wine cheap by global standards.

But a jobless rate of over 25 percent and glaring income disparities have worsened its problems with violent crime. The murder rate is 34 per 100,000 people, according to data released by police last year, almost seven times the rate in the United States.]]>
9/26/2017 7:49:45 PM
<![CDATA[ El Gouna: Egyptian resort inspires cinema, builds bridges]]>
The visibly dynamic environment of the GFF promised future editions that will voice regional art and humanitarian stories on the international level, as well as bring about partnerships targeting “cinema for humanity,” which is the motto of the festival.

hussein tallal14
El Gouna resort in Hurghada, Egypt in September 2017 - Hussein Tallal
“Most grants target production and directors, primarily. We do not tackle the step before that; scriptwriting, so that needs more attention in the Arab world, not just Egypt,” said Haitham Dabbour, a scriptwriter whose film, “Photocopy,” is competing in GFF. Only Sawiris Foundation for Social Development organizes a screenwriting contest in the entire Middle East, according to Dabbour.

Hence a scriptwriting workshop was organized by GFF and the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase (AFS) program, where screenwriters Jeff Stockwell and Richard Tanne deliver the course. Dabbour, a participant in the workshop, said conversations discussing his script in the workshop were dynamic, as Stockwell and Tanne played the roles of authors and producers to pinpoint certain details from all perspectives possible.

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Scripwriters Jeff Stockwell (left) and Richard Tanne - Nour Eltigany
“[The participants] are so talented, it is unbelievable. They have such clear visions of the stories that they are telling; it is coming from such an authentic deep place inside them. I think they are filled with so much hope and positivity, and I think they are really, really great representatives of your country and also other areas in the Middle East,” said Tanne, an award-winning scriptwriter whose "Southside With You" premiered in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

To be the Cannes of the Middle East

Amr Mansi, the executive director of GFF, expects that El Gouna will be pinned on the global tourist map, and that many more hotels will be built therein. All hotels are already fully booked in the first year of the festival, according to Mansi.

hussein tallal16El Gouna resort in Hurghada, Egypt in September 2017 - Hussein Tallal

"El Gouna is a self-sufficient town that also has beaches and beautiful nature that can attract any tourist," Mansi told Egypt Today.

For his part, Dabbour hopes El Gouna will be known for both the GFF and its tourist services, much like Cannes is most known for its film festival.

“It was a smart idea, to manipulate a nice place to create a new festival because we needed a strong one… El Gouna is qualified to be a celebratory city for cinema,” Dabbour said.

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Haitham Dabbour, scriptwriter of Photocopy - Nour Eltigany
To be like Cannes Film Festival, however, takes many years, Stockwell emphasized.

Picking up, Tanne said the opening of the festival “was a very good start, and in your first year you are already attracting Forest Whitaker, you are attracting Dylan McDermott, Michael Madsen and other international actors and filmmakers.”

“That actually may be the key. At the core it is Egypt, but then making sure that it is a global enterprise that is bringing in people from all over the world in addition to showing movies; that becomes a cultural exchange between people like us [as] we get to sit down and have a conversation [while] teaching a workshop,” he continued.

hussein tallal8El Gouna resort in Hurghada, Egypt in September 2017 - Hussein Tallal

Mansi has high hopes for next year, as Euronews is sponsoring the event and several international media outlets are covering it.

"Dylan McDermott told us he is calling his friends who were reluctant to come this year, same thing with Michael Madsen and we also have Oliver Stone; all of them will go back home and talk [about the festival]," he said.

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Amr Mansi, executive director of El Gouna Film Festival - Hussein Tallal
Both Stockwell and Tanne emphasized they are learning a lot from the participants, with Tanne hoping the trainees “think we are as talented as them.” A translation booth is available in the classroom where Arabic, English and French interpretations are handy.

Mansi is also particularly happy with the workshops and the CineGouna Platform, anticipating requests from international filmmakers to shoot in Egypt.

Stockwell, who produced feature credits such as "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" starring Jodie foster and Disney’s “Bridge to Terabithia," is very passionate about teaching that he offered his services to the AFS, which in turn asked him to select another trainer. Tanne said Stockwell’s offer was “an opportunity I could not turn down.”

Although Stockwell has watched Egyptian comedy and recognized that it is appreciated across the Middle East, he said he could not name an Egyptian movie or director, something the GFF may be able to change in the global cinema scene.

Tanne said he knows "The Mummy," “which is not even Egyptian; it is depressing to admit but it is actually one of the reasons that it is so exciting to be here is because one of the participants [in the workshop] is going to be making a list of Egyptian films for us to watch.”

"Do you feel safe in Los Angeles?"

Both Tanne and Stockwell expressed a strong feeling of safety in El Gouna; Stockwell recalled missing the person he was supposed to meet at Hurghada Airport and how easy it was to talk to people who told him where to go.

hussein tallal4
El Gouna resort in Hurghada, Egypt in September 2017- Hussein Tallal
“El Gouna seems very secure locked down and not at all what the stereotypes of Egypt are in America,” Tanne said.

Stockwell, on the other hand, said “one big advantage of El Gouna too is the sense that it is such a welcoming and easy place for people internationally to come, because the reality is, people from different countries do not know what to expect… you will not believe how luxurious and comfortable this is.”

“Growing up in America, of course… I am picturing Egypt, what it would be like, would be very busy, very busy big cities. [El Gouna] is lovely, there is no distraction and it is perfect for doing a workshop… I think this is a wonderful advantage for a festival that hopes to be international and bring people in.”

“It is strange to land in El Gouna, I will say, directly, without having seen any other part of Egypt. It is almost like I’m in a science fiction story because this could be anywhere, El Gouna. This is very similar to Palm Springs or places in California where there are resorts and developments, so it is strange. I know we are in Egypt, I do not feel it yet.”

hussein tallal13
El Gouna resort in Hurghada, Egypt in September 2017 - Hussein Tallal

The two scriptwriters are visiting Luxor after the festival for a couple of days, but will not catch the October 22 solar alignment of Abu Simbel Temple. Stockwell was especially looking forward to the visit, as he had already spoken to friends who have been there and told him that he was going to “fall in love” with the place.

Stockwell also had a “joke” to tell.

“I live in Los Angeles but I am from Boston. All my friends in Boston always say ‘do you feel safe in Los Angeles? There is the fires, there is the gangs, there is the drive-by shootings, do you feel safe?’”

“And I am like, yes, I mean, I do not think about that. It is happening, sure, but it is not in the consciousness of my day. And I would say you always feel a little vulnerable when you come to a new place, but everything seems amazing [in El Gouna]."

]]>
9/26/2017 4:43:34 PM
<![CDATA[Germany’s airport denies entry to 2 Egyptians for wrong visa]]>
This is attributed to the fact that tourism companies in Egypt unlawfully provide Egyptians said visa from any European embassy, which poses a violation to the entry rules of the European countries.

The ministry further said that the Egyptian Consulate General in Frankfurt had received reports that the German Federal Police intercepted two Egyptian nationals, canceling their visas and fining them €300 ($353.77) each, after they showed no intention to enter the country whose embassy in Cairo had previously granted them the visa.

The ministry explained that holders of Schengen visa and first-time travelers have to enter the European Union first from the country of the issued visa.

]]>
9/26/2017 4:04:22 PM
<![CDATA[Marsa Alam is your upcoming destination ]]>
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Marsa Alam sea – The Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

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Marsal Alam sea resort – The Best places of Egypt Facebook page

Marsa Alam is a popular port area. It has an airport that became an impressive tourist center located just 270 kilometers south of Hurghada and 700 kilometers away from Cairo.

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Marsa Alam – coral reef - The Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

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Marsa Alam – the Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

From a small fishing village to a sea resort to a center of diving, Marsa Alam contains many impressive coral reefs and diving spots that make snorkeling and diving irresistible activities.

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Marsa Alam snorkeling – The Best places of Egypt Facebook page

The weather really lures you, calls to you to reside there forever. It is so moderate and cozy all year round, especially in the beginning of winter

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Marsa Alam – The Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

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Marsa Alam pool – The Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

When you visit Marsa Alam you are also near many tourist destinations such as the Nile Valley and Luxor. Marsa Alam’s ideal location as a tourism hub has prompted the government to invest more in the area in the past few years.

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Marsa Alam – The Best Places of Egypt Facebook page

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Marsa Alam – the Best Places of Egypt Facebook page ]]>
9/26/2017 3:41:03 PM
<![CDATA[Development in Egyptian-French political ties contributes to boosting tourism:Tourism min.]]>
In statements to MENA on the fringe of the 39th edition of the IFTM Top Resa - MAP Pro trade fair in Paris, Rashed voiced hope to work under a comprehensive strategy to activate tourism in Egypt - which is one of mainstays of the Egyptian economy.

During a meeting on Sunday with French ambassador in Cairo Stéphane Romatet, Rashed stressed the importance of beefing up the number of direct flights between the two countries.

The talks also took up the Tourism Ministry's program to promote tourism and increase revenues from the tourism sector.

For his part, the French ambassador expressed his country's readiness to cooperate with the Tourism Ministry to increase the number of French tourists in Egypt.

He lauded efforts exerted by the Egyptian government to secure archaeological sites, expecting the number of French tourists visiting Egypt to increase in the coming period.

IFTM Top Resa - MAP Pro trade fair aims to become the single most privileged platform for all major players in the industry. The fair has become today a true multi-segment event bringing together in one place leisure, business, events and groups at a French and international level.]]>
9/26/2017 2:37:35 PM
<![CDATA[New zip line game in Egypt]]>
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Photo 1: Climbing the mountain

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Photo 2: Flying down the mountain

Today it is possible to experience zip lining yourself and a host of other rope sports in Al Mokattam district around an old church carved inside Mokattam Mountain. The man running these rope games is Mario, a Canadian man who moved to Egypt 25 years ago.

High ropes are ropes of three levels, from the highest to lowest, embedded into the mountain. The space itself is ideal for photography and to enjoy fun physical activities with your friends.

First-timers should start with the lowest ropes, where tickets cost LE 20 ($1.13).

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photo 8 : Flying down the mountain

If you are braver, the high ropes provide a breathtaking view of the mountains for the same cost.

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photo 3: High ropes tied to Al-Mokatam

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photo 4 : People playing zip line in Egypt

The highlight of the day of course is the zip line down the mountain from its highest peak. The zip line will fly you through the air until you arrive safely at the park below. Tickets cost LE 50.

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photo 5 : Climbing the mountain

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Photo 6 : Youth walking from the one side to other over of the mountain

If you want to see Cairo from a bird’s eye view, put on your sportswear and go on an unforgettable experience.

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Photo 7 : Doing low rope game ]]>
9/25/2017 7:41:44 PM
<![CDATA[Dubai starts tests in bid to become first city with flying taxis]]>
The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers.

It was unmanned for its test flight.

Meant to run without remote control guidance and with a maximum flight duration of 30 minutes, it comes with plenty of fail-safes in case of trouble: back-up batteries, rotors and, for a worst case scenario, a couple of parachutes.

Volocopter is in a race with more than a dozen well-funded European and U.S. firms, each with its own science fiction-inspired vision for creating a new form of urban transport that is a cross between a driverless electric car and a short-hop, vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft.

These include aerospace giant Airbus, which aims to put a self-piloting taxi in the air by 2020; Kitty Hawk, a company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page; and Uber, which is working with partners on its own flying taxi strategy.

"We only go public when we can show something that flies," Alexander Zosel, Volocopter's co-founder and chief innovation officer, told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Dubai trial. "We show facts, not visions."

The company performed its maiden test run in a ceremony staged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

The UAE has sought to distinguish itself in a region mired in war and strife as a high-tech, forward-looking society.

It plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021, the Arab world's first mission to space, and Dubai has in many ways led their showy march into the future by introducing the region's first driverless metro and robot policemen prototypes.

"Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contributes not only to the country’s development but also builds bridges into the future," Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement. ]]>
9/25/2017 4:41:01 PM
<![CDATA[Tourism minister leaves for France to attend Top Resa 2017]]>
The three-day event will be attended by 31,763 travel professionals from 158 countries.

Rashed will be present in the inauguration of the fair and will hold meetings with tourism officials in France.

He will meet with Ehab Badawi, the Egyptian Ambassador in Paris, later today to discuss possible amendments to the Egyptian travel guide map at the French Foreign Ministry.]]>
9/25/2017 12:20:07 PM
<![CDATA[Bali's rumbling volcano spurs travel warnings from Australia]]>
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and the U.K. issued advisories on Monday and at the weekend warning that increased volcanic activity at Mount Agung in eastern Bali could disrupt flights at one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

“Given the possible eruption of Mount Agung, Singaporeans should defer non-essential travel to the affected areas at this juncture,” the foreign ministry said in an online statement.

Bali’s international airport was operating normally on Monday, as were tourist spots across the island.

Indonesian authorities have imposed a 12-km (7.5 miles)exclusion zone around the crater.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said on Monday that around 62,000 people lived within the “danger zone” around the volcano and that they all needed to evacuate, though so far only 50,00 had moved to the temporary shelters provided in neighboring villages.

“There are some who are staying behind because the volcano hasn’t erupted yet or because of religious beliefs,” said BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

“Our staff are combing the area and urging everyone to evacuate,” he said, speaking at a news conference in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Nugroho said Mount Agung has entered a “critical phase”, meaning magma has risen closer to the surface, as indicated by hundreds of shallow volcanic tremors that have rattled the area in recent days.

Evacuees are being housed in makeshift shelters like town halls and school gyms. Host communities were providing food and water, while the central and local governments were providing tents, blankets and other relief.

Officials have urged the public to remain calm amid false reports and videos circulating online of an eruption.

Indonesia, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country. Many Indonesians live near volcanoes because lava flows can make the surrounding soil and land fertile for farming.]]>
9/25/2017 12:00:57 PM
<![CDATA[Japan zoo names baby panda after fragrant flowers]]>
After showing a video clip of the baby panda being hugged by proud mum Shin Shin, Koike explained that the name Xiang Xiang -- derived from the Chinese character for "fragrance" -- was chosen from among more than 320,000 suggestions from the public.

The naming of Xiang Xiang threatened to overshadow strong speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would call a snap election. It provided welcome light relief after weeks of tension over North Korean nuclear tests and missile launches.

Shin Shin gave birth at Tokyo's Ueno zoo on June 12, when Xiang Xiang weighed a fragile 100 grams and was tiny enough to fit into a human palm.

Shin Shin, who mated with Ri Ri in February, had previously given birth in 2012 –- the zoo's first panda delivery in 24 years -- only for the cub to die from pneumonia six days later.

Zookeepers have since given the pandas some private space in a bid to create an environment for the bashful creatures to mate successfully -- a notoriously difficult process.

Until recently considered an endangered species, it is estimated that around 2,000 giant pandas remain in the wild, in three provinces in central China.]]>
9/25/2017 11:56:52 AM
<![CDATA[Around 68,000 German tourists visited Hurghada in September]]>

The German tourists amounted to 70 percent of all tourists that arrived to Hurghada.


According to statistics issued by the Egyptian Travel Agents Associations (ETTA), 12,000 Ukrainian tourists also visited Hurghada, coming in second place.


Meanwhile, Czech tourist numbers came in third place, recording nearly 9,600, while ETTA's statistics referred that English tourists came in fourth place.


Chairman of the Egyptian General Tourist Guides Syndicate in the Red Sea, Bashar Abou-Taleb, stressed that German tourists' numbers are still on top of all other tourists from other nationalities who visited Hurghada, noting that the German tourists' arrival recoded 70 percent of total arrivals.


"There are German tourists who come specifically to the Red Sea to go diving on the coral reefs and to try other activities," Abou-Taleb said.
]]>
9/25/2017 11:47:39 AM
<![CDATA[Ride your scooter and beat the traffic ]]>

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Alex Scooter Riders - official Facebook page


In Alexandria, the situation is almost different with the campaign and startup project, Alexandria Scooter Riders Club. The club allows you to enjoy your commute to work and travel long distances away from traffic.

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Scooter Riders in the Highway – official Facebook Page


The Alexandria Scooter Riders club organizes events to push people to take scooters instead of cars around the city. Scooter culture, they believe, can help reduce traffic congestion and teach motorists to be more aware of scooters on the streets. The club is also hosting a slew of events around the country to promote awareness.


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Scooter Riders in Alex- official Facebook Page


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Alexandria Scooter Club at Cross Egypt Challenging team-official Facebook Page


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Women Scooter Riders in Alex – Official Facebook Page


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Scooter Riders at Stanley Bridge – official Facebook Page


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Alexandria Scooter Riders at Omar Oasis – official Facebook Page


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Alexandria Scooter Rider Club team – official Facebook page
]]>
9/25/2017 10:48:24 AM
<![CDATA[Berliners vote to keep Tegel airport open]]>
Some 55 percent of voters supported the non-binding referendum to re-consider plans to close Tegel and nearly 43 percent were opposed, the state election supervisor said after about two-fifths of votes had been counted.

Under current plans, Tegel will close six months after the opening of Berlin Brandenburg International (BER) airport - a grand project that has faced repeated construction and planning problems and still has no fixed opening date.

The referendum, which was held on the same day as Germany’s federal election, divided Berliners.

Opponents argued Tegel, with its concrete, hexagonal terminal that dates back to the 1970s, is antiquated, does not meet current safety standards and must be renovated at a cost of at least 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion).

They want the state government to go ahead with plans to convert the site into a new business and technology park to boost Berlin’s economy, and build affordable flats to help alleviate a housing shortage.

Supporters, however, say that even when complete the new airport will be too small to meet passenger demand and want Tegel retained to serve around 10 million passengers per year, mainly on short-haul flights.

Although the vote was non-binding, Berlin’s government will now be forced to review its plans to close Tegel or face accusations that it is going against the will of the people.

Tegel rose in just 90 days in 1948 to support the Berlin Airlift, a huge operation to ship supplies and thwart a Soviet blockade of West Berlin. Despite the squat shape, the airport remains much-loved by many Berliners and business travellers for its proximity to the city center.]]>
9/25/2017 10:39:44 AM
<![CDATA[When I visited Essaouira, Morocco on a mobility scooter]]>
Last year, I found myself unexpectedly flying alone to Essaouira, Morocco. The trip was originally planned with my friend Pip, but due to an emergency at home, she was unable to travel with me. I had a tough decision to make; whether to go alone or cancel the trip.


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Disabled traveler Tracey Ebbs


I have been very fortunate to travel extensively and I love my holidays. But I have not travelled solo since being diagnosed with MS in 2006. Anyone with a mobility issue will appreciate that air travel can be tough and, despite my wanderlust, I have always said I could never do it alone.

But if I had cancelled I would have lost all the money for the trip and I was not prepared to let that happen. Pip was also planning to join me once her emergency was resolved, and so I hoped I would only be there on my own for a couple of days.


Getting to Morocco

I steeled myself and set off from Luton airport, which is undergoing major renovations and was pretty chaotic. I always take advantage of Disabled Assistance when flying as it makes a stressful experience slightly more bearable. However, when I checked in at the assistance desk, I was told it could be a long wait for an escort. I was using my Luigi mobility scooter rather than my wheelchair, which made things easier, and so I chose to go through it alone.


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Essaouira. Courtesy: Pixabay

The airport was not easy to negotiate with, simply because of the number of passengers. I later found out that there was an ongoing French Air Traffic Control strike causing flight delays and cancellations and that, coupled with the refurbishment, meant that it was overflowing with disgruntled people.

My flight was delayed, and I was stuck on the Ambulift outside the aircraft for 45 minutes before being allowed to board. I was slightly perturbed to be the only passenger on board. After another 30 minutes, I was told it was likely that the flight might be cancelled.

I was horror struck! Having got this far, the prospect of having to do the whole thing in reverse and sit in the airport for hours or, even worse, come back the following day and start again, made me feel like giving up. Thankfully, the crisis was averted, and everyone else was boarded in double quick time.

It was an uneventful flight until we landed in Essaouira, which is a tiny airport that does not have an Ambulift. Despite my explanation that I could walk down the stairs very slowly, I found myself being strapped into a transport chair and carried down by two ground crew members. My scooter was waiting at the bottom of the steps and I was escorted through the airport. My suitcase was carried for me and I was relieved to find my taxi transfer waiting to take me to the hotel.

Travelling around Essaouira


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Essaouira. Courtesy: Pixabay


It was a short transfer and I was happy to arrive safely at the Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa. I was disappointed to find that, despite having contacted the hotel prior to arrival to request a room with a walk-in shower, I had been allocated a room with a bathtub, which would have been impossible for me to negotiate. This was thankfully rectified after a couple of hours, but it was a frustration after an arduous journey.

The Sofitel is a modern 5-star hotel set in sprawling gardens on the Atlantic coast. It is just five kilometers outside the ancient town of Essaouira. My new room was lovely and had enough space for me to ride my scooter around. It had a spacious bathroom, equipped with both a bathtub and separate walk-in shower.

The piece de resistance was the stunning view from the huge balcony overlooking the golf course, sand dunes and the windswept beach beyond. I do not need any specific adaptations (although I always take my portable bathroom grab handle with me wherever I go), but the hotel does have some dedicated disabled rooms.

The restaurant and pool area were all very easy to get around and the staff were all eager to help me. Buffets are usually my bête noire. Carrying a plate with a stick in one hand and jostling through the masses eager to stuff their faces can be a pain, but this hotel was different; I was able to do a tour around the buffet on my scooter at each meal, make my selection and a waitress would carry my plate for me. They really could not have been more helpful, and they had an exceptionally talented pastry chef who made the most delicious croissants and desserts which proved fatal to my waistline!


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Essaouira. Courtesy: Pixabay


I settled in easily and spent the first couple of days relaxing by the pool. The pool itself is not accessible as it has steps with no hand rails, but the surrounding deck is lovely, because it was on the Atlantic, so there is a very strong breeze (actually it is a gusty wind), which was deceptively strong. Despite plastering myself in factor 30, I managed to get very sun burnt on the first day and spent the rest of the week paying for it.

Pip joined me on day three and we ventured out in to Essaouira on the hotel’s courtesy bus.

They dropped us just outside the ancient city walls and we took a stroll (or, in my case, a ride) around the old souk and down to the harbor. It is very accessible as it is all flat, and the old part of town is for pedestrians only, although you do have to dodge the odd moped, which are apparently exempt from the rules. It is all cobbled though, so I got some interesting vibrations on my buggy!

The centre of the town is distinctly Arabic in flavor and I enjoyed observing the locals answering the muezzin’s (a servant of the mosque) call to prayer. There are also echoes to the French colonial past, with patisseries and tabacs on every corner. It is a small seaside city, and that is what makes it a lot less daunting to get around than Marrakech.

Overall, I enjoyed my holiday and was pleased to have completed the first part on my own. It was a challenge, and I was proud of myself for tackling it successfully, but I was also extremely pleased to see Pip when she was able to join me. Holidays are always better shared and so it was great to have my buddy with me.
This article was originally published by Disability Horizons
]]>
9/25/2017 10:37:02 AM
<![CDATA[Technical fault grounds flights at Sydney airport]]>
The issue had been resolved, the airport said on its official Twitter feed, but officials said travelers faced delays as a result of the outage.

Government air traffic controller Airservices Australia said in a statement that it had experienced a “technical issue which is affecting arriving and departing aircraft at Sydney Airport”.

ASA gave no further details but boards at the airport listed flights as “delayed due to ATC radar failure.”

“Our technicians are currently working to rectify the situation,” ASA said.

Qantas Airways Ltd, the country’s biggest carrier, said in a statement posted on its website that there were “significant delays at Sydney Airport affecting all airlines” without giving more detail.

A spokesman later said in an email that “things are starting to flow again but still some delays”.

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd, the country’s No. 2 carrier, was also affected.

“Due to an issue with Air Traffic Control at Sydney Airport earlier today, some Virgin Australia flights may be impacted. We are working to have all guests on their way as quickly and safely as possible,” it said in a statement.

Hundreds of passengers were expected to face delays as the technical glitch hit during the Monday morning peak travel window and one of the first days of a two-week school vacation period.

Sydney Airport said in a message posted to its official Twitter feed that the “issue has now been resolved”.]]>
9/25/2017 10:29:26 AM
<![CDATA[Whale carcass dug up from Australian beach over shark fears]]>
The 18-tonne animal came ashore entangled in fishing ropes last week at Nobbys Beach in holiday hotspot Port Macquarie on the New South Wales coast, 400 kilometres (240 miles) north of Sydney.

Authorities tried to drag the 12-metre (40-foot) whale back to sea, but gave up when it became caught on rocks.

With only a pedestrian pathway leading to the beach and no road access, the local council winched down a small digger to bury the dead creature.

But concerns that oil and decaying blubber were seeping into the ocean soon sparked a community backlash, with a spate of shark sightings close to shore ahead of school holidays, when beaches in the area are usually packed.

Under mounting pressure, the state government stepped in with enough cash to fund the removal of the decomposing animal.

A large crane was set up on the cliff edge Monday and mechanical excavators lowered to the sand, where they set about digging up the carcass and ripping it apart to be taken to a landfill site.

"We are using an excavator with big teeth on its bucket to actually cut the whale in pieces. It's quite a job," Port Macquarie council's environment director Matt Rogers told reporters.

"There are overseas experiences where whales have been taken off beaches... but nothing like we're seeing here with skip bins being winched up an escarpment, a crane reaching out 60 metres."

Surf school owner Wayne Hudson said locals were delighted the council had acted.

"The community got behind the idea of pulling out the whale carcass for a varied number of reasons and we went to council and respectfully asked for it to be removed," he told broadcaster ABC.

"Council listened and jumped on... everyone I've been speaking to in the community's just so stoked about it."

Each year humpback whales migrate north from the Antarctic to the warmer climate off Australia's north coast to mate and give birth.]]>
9/25/2017 10:18:09 AM
<![CDATA[For famous travelers, Syria was once a paradise on Earth]]>
Ibn Battuta, the renowned Muslim jurist by profession in the 14th century AD from Tangier, Morocco. Aged 20, he set out with the intention of Holy pilgrimage to Mecca in 1325 AD. This first journey arose such strong curiosity in him that he kept on travelling for 24 years straight, covering 75,000 miles (compared with 15000 miles of Marco Polo). His memoirs, The Travels, filled with local anecdotes, are a great read as they provide very accurate description of a local’s life in these areas at that time. The information in this article has been taken from a translated and annotated version. (Gibb H. A., 1958)
When we Google ‘Syria’, all we see is destruction of the worst kind, which only humans are capable of inflicting.

Ibn Battuta reached Syria during the prosperous Mamluk Sultanate (1250 – 1382 AD). Saladin’s efforts in the 12th century had left this area stable and united, a base on which the Ayyubids and the Mamluks were able to build a peaceful state. Battuta had started from Cairo the previous month and had visited cities like Gaza, Jerusalem, Hebron along the way. He wanted to catch one of the state supported pilgrimage caravans from Damascus to Mecca.
Hama

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1: Hama, Syria by Bernard Gagnon. Courtesy: Creative Commons via Wikimedia

In Syria, Ibn Battuta stayed in the city of Hama in July, 1326 AD. He says it is a city of “dignified metropolitan centers… of exceeding comeliness… surrounded by orchards and garden, supplied by water wheels.” His simple words paint a perfect picture of a classical desert spring, a safe haven for travelers and inhabitants alike. Some of these water wheels have survived up till now and a traveler is filled with awe at the gigantic structures used for water supply from the Orontes River. He particularly favored the “Almond Apricots”, a type of apricot which naturally contains sweet almond in its seed.
Aleppo

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2: Umayyad mosque, Aleppo. Courtesy: Unsplash

Ibn Battuta called Aleppo a vast metropolis and describes its citadel which “has no fear of thirst” because of “two wells, fed with water from springs”. The marvelous structure was fortified by two walls with a trench in between filled with water by Saladin’s son. It is still standing today, as a shining crown on Syria’s forehead having survived two sieges from Mongols and the notorious Tamerlane in the middle ages. He says more about the architecture of the city: “It is one of the most illustrious of cities… which has no rival in beauty of plan and perfection of arrangement, and in the spaciousness and symmetrical disposition of Bazaar (markets)” which have a wood roof to provide shade. He has copied a couplet from an 11th century poet:
When for my ill no cure you find,
Fetch me a breath of Halab’s wind.
Damascus

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3: The ancient gate of Damascus. Courtesy: Pixabay

No other city comes close to Ibn Battua’s adoration for Damascus. He is tongue-tied and agrees with Ibn Jubayr’s brilliant comments who visited Damascus two centuries prior: “She is the Paradise of the Orient…. the seal of Islamic lands which we have explored, and the bride of the cities which we have unveiled.” Damascus was the capital of the Umayyad era, the first hereditary Muslim caliphate with kingly qualities of might and luster in the 7thcentury AD. Although the Abbasids moved the capital to Baghdad, Damascus never lost its royal shine. He visited the graves of Umm Habiba (the wife of Prophet PBUH), Bilal (Muezzin of the Prophet PBUH), Zainab (daughter of Ali bin Abi Talib) and Muawiya (the first Umayyad Caliph). He also describes a number of colleges of Damascus belonging to different sects, co-existing in peace, engaged in discussion and progress of social, political and physical sciences.

Ibn Battuta also describes the social support to citizens, “There are other endowments for supplying wedding outfits to girls whose families are unable to provide them and others for the freeing of prisoners. There are endowments for travelers… they are given food, clothing, and the expenses of conveyance. Then there are endowments for the improvement of the streets, because all the lanes in Damascus have pavements on either side, on which the foot passengers walk, while those who ride use the roadway in the center (Gibb H. A., Syria, 1958).”

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4: Archaeological teacher in old Damascus, Syria, and is one of the most beautiful old Damascus houses. By Yazan Refai. Courtesy: Creative Commons via Wikimedia.

Of the Grand Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, he says “This is the greatest mosque on earth in point of magnificence… the most exquisite in achievement”. Caliph Walid bin Abdul Malik requested the roman emperor in Constantinople for skilled craftsmen for its construction which is a testament of support showed to art and craft by the caliph. Considered by some Muslims to be the fourth holiest place in the world, this historic mosque is still standing.

Currently, the hours of fairness seem be have indeed been flown from Damascus and Syria but there is always hope of peace and better times. May humans find it in themselves to rise above their pettiness and place humanity above all.

This article was originally published in Mvslim.com]]>
9/25/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Five affordable ice skating spots in Cairo, Sharm El-Sheikh]]>
Below is a list of five ice skating locations in Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh, as compiled by Best Place Egypt’s Facebook page:

1 - Skate Max
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Located in Cityscape Mall, 6 October City, a 15-minute session on the ice costs LE 30 ($1.67). For LE 40 you are granted 30 minutes on skates, while for LE 60 you could skate away for an hour.

2 - Genena Mall Ice Skating

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If 6 October is far from where you live, you can head to Genena Mall in Nasr City. Half an hour on the ice costs LE 15, and for LE 30 you get 40 minutes.

3 – Fun Kingdom

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Sun City Mall on the Autostrad highway of the Sheraton district hosts Fun Kingdom, which gives you 20 minutes of skating for LE 60.

4 – Family Land

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Maadi has long provided ice skating for its residents at Family Land, located behind Othman Buildings, and half an hour costs LE 40.

5 - Ice Skating Soho Square

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Even in Sharm El-Sheikh, with all the beaches, sunny weather, and water sports, you can ice skate in Ice Skating Soho Square for 20 minutes for LE 50.
6- Sky Egypt Mall of Egypt

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Mall of Egypt provided a City of squatting to snow lovers at 6th of October City in front of Media Production City

you are allowed to go to snow park with snow Go Ticket of 300 L.E ( 17$)
You can go for North Pole experience for 480L.E (20$)
if you are professional at skating so you can enjoy two hours skating for 200L.E (16$) , In case of companion children you have to pay for each 150L.E ( 15$) for two hours skating
If you aren’t professional at skating Sky Egypt will provide you with skating lesson there for 925 L.E (25$)
As the temperature inside sky Egypt is under Zero degree , you aren’t allowed to enter with your ordinary clothes you have to wear a special outfit suitable for the weather inside so you can buy :
Gloves for 70 l.E (10 $)
jacket with Gloves for 330 L.E (17.5$)
Noted That all games there is under rules and instructions according to the age and body length
children less than 3 years aren’t allowed to come .

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9/25/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[10 pictures show how Cairo looked like over a century ago]]>
Here are 10 pictures of how the Egyptian Capital, Cairo, used to look like more than a century ago to visitors back then, compiled by the Egyptian People in the Past Facebook page.

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A Cairene wedding around 1890. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Abdeen Palace around 1890. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Mokattam plateau in 1890. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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A parade of sending the Kaaba’s Kiswa to Makkah in 1903. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Dahabeya boat at the Nile River in 1890. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Sandwiches seller sometime between 1870 and 1890. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Cairo in 1890. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Azbakeya Garden in about 1896. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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Cairo Streets in the 1870s. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page


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The entrance of one of Cairo cafes between 1875 and 1900. Source: Egyptian people in the past Facebook page
]]>
9/25/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[CAPMAS: Egyptian tourism increases significantly]]>
The agency added in its September report that the number of booked nights this August has increased in comparison to the same month last year. In August tourists booked 10.864 million nights in comparison to 3.488 million nights in August 2016.

The report also mentioned that the number of booked nights per month has increased as it reached 10.864 million nights in August compared to 7.74 million nights in July. As for the occupancy rate of hotels per month it has also increased remarkably reaching 45.2 percent in April compared to 37.8 percent in March and 20 percent in April 2016.


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Naama Bay - Naamsvermelding vereist/ Wikimedia commons
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9/24/2017 8:04:23 PM
<![CDATA[Young Chinese leading the Global Travel Growth ]]>
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young Chinese travelers

China has become vital to the global travel market as the latest Chinese generation pave the way with their curiosity, spending on airfare, hotels, theme parks, and more. This attracts all eyes to the Chinese millennial population, amounting to 400 million, and their contribution to the growing travel market.

In 2015, young Chinese travelers went for 128 million trips abroad as they shaped about 60 percent of out-bounded travelers. By 2020, the percentage will rise to 70 percent, which will give a hard push in tourism and aiding transportation.

The consumer-oriented economy is affected by the Chinese travel industry, which entails that rapid growth in Chinese tourism by the young travelers will positively affect the tourism-oriented economy.
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9/24/2017 7:28:23 PM
<![CDATA[There are 38 new planes: Egypt Air Holding Company ]]>

photo_1_-_Egyptair_official_website
Egyptair official website

This bargain is considered to be the deal of the century in comparison with deals of other airlines in the Middle East, regarding its costs that exceeded LE 60 billion($3.4 billion), and that all the planes included in this deal can seat 350 and can fly for 18 hours continuously, with an option of saving petrol.

Egypt Air received last month the seventh Boeing 737 NG800 model as a part of the latest deal between Egypt Air Company and Boeing Holding Company that includes nine planes of the same model for $1 billion.
]]>
9/24/2017 6:32:17 PM
<![CDATA[Tens of thousands flee Bali as magnitude of tremors grows]]>
Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said the number of people fleeing their homes surrounding the volcano had tripled since Friday amid growing alarm that Mount Agung could erupt at any moment.
"The evacuation process is ongoing and we expect the number of evacuees to continue to rise," the agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP.

The volcano, the highest point in Bali and located about 75 kilometres (50 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August.

Officials announced the highest possible alert level on Friday following the increasing volcanic activity, and urged people stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

"I am actually very worried to leave, I left my cows and pigs at home because we were ordered to vacate our village immediately," villager Nyoman Asih who fled with her entire family told AFP.

The international airport in Bali's capital, Denpasar, was anticipating the prospect of closure but no flight schedules had been affected as of Sunday.

The airport has prepared buses and trains to divert passengers to alternative hubs in neighbouring provinces if the mountain erupts.

Flight disruptions due to drifting ash clouds are not uncommon in Indonesia, which sits on a belt of seismic activity known as the "Ring of Fire".

Last year more than two dozen domestic and international flights to Bali's neighbouring resort island Lombok were cancelled due to a drifting ash cloud from erupting Mount Rinjani.

Bali officials said the island was still generally safe but urged tourists to stay away from tourism spots located within the danger zone.

Pura Besakih temple, one of Bali's most prominent temples which is located just a few kilometres away from the mountain's slopes, has been closed to visitors since Saturday.

Tremors growing

The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said the tremors had grown more powerful on Sunday.

"The mountain has not erupted until now. The earthquakes are happening less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger," Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs.

The volcano agency's chief Kasbani said Mount Agung had a history of major eruptions that eclipsed recent episodes in Indonesia, including the 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi in Central Java that claimed at least 350 lives.

The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed more than 1,000 people and devastated many villages.

The 2010 Merapi eruption, which also forced hundreds of thousands of villagers to flee, was that mountain's biggest since 1872. However, it was 10 times smaller than Mount Agung's 1963 eruption.

"We hope this time it will not be that big, but we need to be prepared for the worst case scenario and prioritise vigilance," Kasbani told Metro TV.]]>
9/24/2017 3:44:03 PM
<![CDATA[Norwegian Air's UK arm can fly transatlantic, boosting its prospects]]>
Europe’s third-largest budget airline by passenger numbers after Ryanair and EasyJet could already fly to and from the U.S. on its Norwegian and Irish operating licenses.

The permit now granted to its British company by the U.S. Department of Transportation allows the airline to expand its operations at London’s Gatwick airport.

“With a U.S. foreign carrier permit also now received for NUK (Norwegian UK), Norwegian will be able to establish a seamless operation and more effectively utilize its long-haul fleet,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.

Norwegian Air said the decision would mean it would add “thousands more jobs” to the 1,000 pilots and crew already working for the carrier from Gatwick, offer new routes and cheaper fares.

It is a boost at a time when the airline is under pressure to control costs and shore up its balance sheet to weather fierce competition.

Norwegian Air has embarked on an ambitious expansion plan, buying more than 200 new fuel-efficient jets, yet investors worry its drive to put more passengers on more planes is pushing up costs quickly without producing higher returns.

Doubts are creeping in because Norwegian’s fate rests on the still unproven strategy of adapting the success of low-cost short-haul travel to long-haul routes.

The firm’s shares are down 26 percent over the past year and have been the subject of heavy short-selling in recent months.

Countering those doubts, the airline’s CEO and chairman raised their holdings in the company by 10 percent on Sept. 14.]]>
9/24/2017 1:19:52 PM
<![CDATA[In Dominica, islanders stand strong despite chaos]]>
Ferry services between Dominica and the nearby French islands Guadeloupe and Martinique resumed Friday. On one leaving Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, passengers witnessed the extent of the damage — including roofs torn away and hilltops battered by the torrential rain.

One man, Jean-Luc Royer, travelled with supplies including water sterilization tablets for his family, who contacted him by radio.

At the island’s only functioning port, in the capital Roseau, a few weary-looking people waited in the hope of leaving Dominica, and to ask about conditions on other islands.

But the usual stream of taxis was nowhere to be seen. Clumps of wires, sheet metal and wood, along with diminishing gas supplies have made road travel impossible — replaced by lines of pedestrians fetching food and water.

There is no running water, no electricity and limited telecommunication, with a curfew in place between 4 pm and 8 am.

Hurricane Maria killed 15 people when it tore through the island as a Category Five storm, leaving its once-luscious green mountains stripped to dirt | © AFP | Douglas CURRAN
Meanwhile, the island’s stadium is now a heliport for aircraft circling over the island. Soldiers from the Netherlands and St Lucia, United Nations personnel, Venezuelan rescuers and firemen from Martinique patrol on the ground.

A team from Medecins Sans Frontieres from Haiti is also evaluating medical needs — with Dominica’s injured currently treated in the partially destroyed hospital’s corridors.

“The whole country has been devastated. People are still in a shell shock because there is a lot of stress on them. It’s a sudden change of life,” said Deputy Prime Minister John Collin McIntyre, adding that 90 per cent of Dominica’s houses are “compromised.”

Schnyler Esprit, in charge of logistics at Dominica State College, said Maria was “a hundred times worse than Erika”, which killed 30 people in 2015.

“Erika was violent but very localized. This is widespread. Everything is disorganized. I’m afraid we are going to lack food and water very soon. I heard the Red cross have been looted, some supermarkets have been looted, too,” he said.

But despite the chaos, not a single Dominican that AFP came across complained. “Dominica is strong, we will rise again!” said Christina Morancy, from the disadvantaged community of Newtown, near Roseau.

In Roseau itself, a large warehouse of building materials was ripped open as people try to rebuild what they can. Unlike French-Dutch St Martin, Dominica is an impoverished island, with few shops to loot.

“Here, it is every man for himself, nobody comes to help us. It’s survival,” said George Elyzee, 86, whose home was flooded but kept its roof.

“It is as if you were in Syria,” said Casimir Augustus, president of the Dominican Association in Guadeloupe, who came to the island to confirm if his aunt “is still alive”.

But even he remains optimistic, adding, “Come back in six months, you will see.”]]>
9/24/2017 11:00:03 AM
<![CDATA[National celebrations open Saudi sports stadium to women for first time]]>
The festivities are part of a government move to boost national pride and improve quality of life for Saudis.

Also on offer is a concert in the Red Sea city of Jeddah featuring 11 Arab musicians, plus fireworks, air acrobatics and traditional folk dance shows.

“It is the first time I have come to the stadium and I feel like more of a Saudi citizen. Now I can go everywhere in my country,” said 25-year-old Sultana, green and white flags painted on both cheeks as she entered the complex with her girlfriends.

“God willing, tomorrow women will be permitted bigger and better things like driving and travel.”

Several thousand families entered the stadium - where top football matches are held - through a separate gate from single men. They cheered, flashed peace signs and waved green Saudi flags.

A toddler wore a shirt that said in English “I (heart) Saudi Arabia” while a little girl donned a green dress with the faces of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed, printed on it. A young man recited a poem praising the 82-year-old monarch.

The events are the latest entertainment sponsored by the government as part of the Vision 2030 reform program launched two years ago to diversify the economy away from oil, create whole new sectors to employ young citizens and open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles.

However in a country that adheres to the austere Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam, which bans gender mixing, concerts and cinemas, the plan’s seemingly anodyne goals to empower women, promote sports and invest in entertainment have been criticized. Saudi rulers are also starting to reform areas once the exclusive domain of the clergy, such as education and the law, and have promoted elements of national identity that have no religious component or pre-date Islam.

They have increased National Day celebrations that were previously attacked by clerics as undermining religious feeling, and are promoting heritage sites, like Nabatean rock temples, once seen as embarrassing in the land of Islam.

King Salman marked the holiday on Twitter, writing: “The kingdom will remain a bulwark for those who love benevolence, their religion and their country.”

WHY NOT JOIN THE MEN?

The operetta on Saturday told the story of the founding of the modern Saudi state by Ibn Saud, King Salman’s father, following a series of territorial conquests and eight years before the discovery of oil opened the way to making the new kingdom the world’s top oil exporter.

The performance, which praised the kingdom’s religious and martial past while looking ahead to more development, featured horses, camels and hundreds of men dancing with swords and drums. An unveiled woman and two dozen girls joined them onstage.

Pyrotechnics, dancing fountains and lasers elicited cheers from the crowd which snapped photos on their smartphones.

The final segment featured pictures of Crown Prince Mohammed - visiting troops, meeting world leaders, watching a football match - whose face has become nearly as ubiquitous as his father’s since he became heir to the throne in June.

There is widespread speculation, denied by officials, that King Salman intends to abdicate to his son, who already dominates economic, diplomatic and domestic policy.

Saudi flags and green billboards, often bearing the faces of both men, have gone up across Riyadh this week, and at night skyscrapers are flooded in green light - the national color.

Companies from telecoms operators to furniture stores have launched patriotic-themed marketing campaigns offering discounts for the holiday weekend.

Um Abdulrahm al-Shihri, who traveled 1100 km (685 miles) from the northwestern city of Tabuk, to enter the stadium, said she hoped in the future women would be able to attend football matches and other public festivities which are traditionally the reserve of men.

“You cannot imagine how happy we are today ... We feel that there is openness towards us,” she said, wearing the black niqab covering all but her eyes. “Women are at all levels now - women are now (representatives) in the Shura council, women are now doctors, women are now in big positions. So why shouldn’t we join the men in things that matter to our nation?”

The General Entertainment Authority, the government agency organizing the National Day festivities, expects some 1.5 million Saudis to attend events in 17 cities over four days.

Vision 2030 reforms are intended to capture up to a quarter of the $20 billion currently spent overseas by Saudis, who are accustomed to traveling abroad to see shows and visit amusement parks in nearby tourist hub Dubai or further afield. This weekend’s events, though, are free to the public.

Issa Daghiri, attending the operetta in Riyadh with his wife and children, said he was encouraged by the acceptance of families at the stadium, which holds about 40,000 spectators.

“We had hoped for this for a while and now the opportunity has come,” he said. “Each year that passes, the kingdom develops.”]]>
9/24/2017 9:53:18 AM
<![CDATA[Due to shortage of public toilets, Dutch women test public urinals]]>
"Women from across the country are invited to demonstrate the (im)possibilities of urinating in a public urinal built for men," said the organisers of the Netherland's First National Public Urinal Urinating Day, or "Power to the Peepee."

By mid-afternoon, more than 160 largely discreet images had been posted on Instagram under the hashtag #zeikwijf -- a Dutch word meaning "a woman who urinates" -- many showing protesters attempting ambitious gymnastic poses to get the angle right.

While admitting the protest would be somewhat "tongue in cheek", organisers have a serious message, saying they want to prove "that it isn't possible for women to urinate in a decent, hygienic and dignified manner in a public urinal designed for men."

The aim of the protest is to draw attention to the lack of public toilet facilities for women with the images to be sent to Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch minister for Education, Culture and Science alongside a petition entitled "Urination Equality in the Netherlands".

In an example of the problem, organisers say there are 35 permanent public urinals in central Amsterdam compared to three public toilets suitable for women.

The protest was organised by a woman called Geerte Piening who was found guilty earlier this week of public urination in a place where there was no toilet for women for miles around.

Fining her 90 euros, the judge said she could have used a public urinal, saying: "it may not be pleasant, but it is possible."]]>
9/24/2017 9:50:55 AM
<![CDATA[A new Amsterdam hotel staffed and run by asylum-seekers]]>
The new Amsterdam hotel is staffed and run by asylum-seekers, mostly Syrians. Although these asylum-seeking workers may be uncertain about their residence position, working in this hotel is a step for them to earn valuable employment history.

The project’s funding was developed through donations and the assistance of different authorities, organizer Rob Hoogerwerf told The National. He clarified that the hotel’s employees receive certificates that would quality them work in the hospitality industry either in Netherlands or anywhere else.

The cost of this hotel’s rooms range from €99 to €140 per night. Each of the rooms is adorned with only one word written on the wall "Freedom?"
]]>
9/24/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[The ultimate travel tips for beginners]]>
1- Remember your travel insurance

While planning one’s travels, no one thinks of injured or robbed. Yet emergencies happen all the time. Taking your travel insurance, you will not worry about huge hospital bills or stolen stuff if, god forbids, they happen.


1.

2- Stay hydrated

Hydration during long flights will help you get over jet lag.

3- Write down your hotel address

It is commonplace among travelers to forget their hotel address, which is especially tricky in a country where you might not speak the local language. So write the address down in your phone, or take a card from the reception to help you return easily.


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4- Tell someone at home about your trip plans

This tip is especially important for solo-travelers. Although even if you are travelling in a group, it is best to do so.

5- Start your day early

Even if you are a night owl, it’s important to rise early when you’re on vacation. This will help you avert crowds while visiting the best attractions. Photographers would also appreciate taking stunning photographs in natural light.


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6- Do not over-plan your trip

Get lost on purpose, and leave enough room for spontaneity. There is no need to be super afraid and cautious. This will give you the best memories when you come back.

7- Go where locals go

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see,” G.K. Chesterton
Socialize with the locals. Observe daily life in the country you are visiting. This will be very inspiring and eye-opening.

8- Use convenient travel apps

Technology is facilitating traveling to everyone.

Here is a list of five applications that you will find helpful.




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9/24/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Jordan: A biblical destination]]>
In Aqaba we already had our first great surprise from this nation. Spiro offered to host us through CouchSurfing but we couldn’t imagine what we would experience. We were absolutely surprised when we were welcomed by his family in Greek! We were trying to realize what was happening and then they started telling us their story.

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Serving cold drinks on the street is really refreshing on a hot day. Courtesy: madnomad.gr

A big part of the people who live nowadays in Jordan are actually Palestinian refugees who were forced there when Israel started occupying Palestine in 1948. Jordan up to this day is very welcoming to refugees from its troubled neighbors. The parents of Spiro, like several other Palestinians that we met, studied in Greece. They travel to Palestine almost every year and they always dream to visit Greece again. They were born Greek Orthodox and we were very glad to be with them during the Greek Orthodox Easter and celebrate it all together. We went to their house as strangers and we left as family members. That’s how they made us feel.

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Celebrating the Greek Orthodox Easter with Spiro’s family! Courtesy: madnomad.gr

Near Aqaba lies the desert of Wadi Rum. Riding on the sand two-up with lots of luggage was not easy but we quickly found an amazing place to wild camp, in front of Khazali Canyon! We left some of our luggage there and we went to explore the desert on Baobabis. The canyons and the natural bridges formed by rocks were impressive but the most mesmerizing of all was the quiet night under the stars which were extending over the huge desert.

We headed north through the King’s Highway. Actually, it’s not a highway but a picturesque countryside route. It used to be the road which connected the three ancient kingdoms of that region. It was travelled by caravans of traders, pilgrims and from invading armies as well. We ascended up to 1,600 m (5,249 ft) altitude, where the mountains were green and cool. Some interesting medieval castles lie there, including Shobak and Karak.

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Exploring the desert of Wadi Rum on an enduro bike and wild camping in its canyons is an unforgettable experience! Courtesy: madnomad.gr

From the heights of Jordan, we descended to its lowest point, the lowest land on earth actually! The Dead Sea, which is a lake to make it clear, is located at about 430 m (1,411 ft) below sea level. It’s funny that you can stand on the part of the road which is at sea level and enjoy a panoramic view of the area which lies hundreds of meters lower! The heat there was intense… We found a secluded beach to cool ourselves down. The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth, with a salt content of 34%. Swimming there is funny. We were floating like never before! There are also many healthy minerals there which make the water look and feel oily. You really have to keep this water out of your eyes or any wounds. Otherwise, it will be quite painful!

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The ancient King’s Highway passes though rolling pastureland, Roman ruins, Crusader castles and biblical sites. This is Shobak Castle, built in AD 1115 by the Crusader king Baldwin I. Courtesy: madnomad.gr

In Amman, Jordan’s capital, we had the pleasure to meet several members of the small motorcycling community. Jordan was a country where motorcycles were absolutely forbidden until about five years ago! Since they were allowed, motorcycle dealers spread in the town like mushrooms after a fresh spring rain: Honda, Yamaha, KTM, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Indian and other brands… Stella borrowed a Yamaha TW200 and our new, local friends took us to the dirt tracks in the forest. It was a great riding day!

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The Dead Sea, located on the lowest land on earth, has a salinity of 34%, which makes you float like never before!Courtesy: madnomad.gr

We spent some days exploring the area around Amman. The picturesque old town of Salt became our favorite one in the region. Of course, we couldn’t miss Jerash, with one of the best-preserved Roman cities that exist up to this day. Madaba was interesting too, with its world-famous Byzantine-era mosaics. Stella had to fly back to Greece for a while, so I finished exploring Jordan by myself.

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The Byzantine-era mosaics that were found in Madaba are world-famous. This one is inspired by Euripides’ Greek tragedy “Hippolytus”. Courtesy: madnomad.gr

It was time to head east and explore the desert. I was very close to Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia but unfortunately, I couldn’t go anywhere, either due to war or due to Islamic fundamentalism… I visited some medieval castles, including Kharana and Azraq, which was used in 1917 by the legendary Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt against the Turks. The caravanserai, bathhouse and hunting lodge at Amra was what really astonished me… It is full of vivid 8th-century frescoes that depict wine and women, even naked! Imagine that Islam does not allow either the depiction of any live being or the consumption of alcohol. However, it seems that Emperor Walid I (AD 705 – 715) found a remote place to freely express himself and enjoy some nice time with his friends.

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Islam forbids the depiction of any live being but the remote Amra Caravanserai is full of 8th-century frescoes that depict wine and women, even naked! Courtesy: madnomad.gr

I enjoyed some amazing, real off-road routes in the desert. The ground was usually rocky but I could go up and down the hills and make my own way, which is what I love most! After a few hours, I reached Tuba Castle. The building was not that impressive but I enjoyed it more than any other castle because of its remote location. There was nobody on the horizon. I decided to pitch my tent inside the castle’s courtyard. Thirteen centuries ago it was hosting camel caravans which were trading frankincense. Now it only hosts occasionally some weird travelers who are still looking for adventure.

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I enjoyed some amazing, real off-road routes in the desert! Courtesy: madnomad.gr

I left for the end the world-famous ancient city of Petra because I had some doubts about visiting it. That’s the most expensive to visit ancient site around the world that I have heard of. A day ticket for foreigners costs a hefty 65 Euros! I was hosted by some Bedouins just next to the ancient Nabataean city. Nabataeans established themselves to the region and developed an advanced civilization, not because they had a strong army but because they knew how to manage the scarce water resources in the dry desert.

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After a short hike from Little Petra through nice scenery, you get to the Monastery. It was built in the 3rd century BC as a Nabataean tomb and it’s actually bigger than the famous Treasury! Courtesy: madnomad.gr

Walking through the deep canyon and suddenly staring at the grand façade of the Treasury is definitely an unforgettable moment! Equally impressive is admiring it from the top of the canyon. I spent four days hiking around the area and exploring the canyons, the hills, the numerous temples, the tombs and the caves where some Bedouins live up to this day. Petra is definitely an interesting destination but to be honest, I don’t think it is worth the price of such an expensive ticket, if you travel on a tight budget. After all, I have visited similar grand monuments in Egypt which are even more impressive and the ticket prices are quite reasonable.

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Some caves in Petra are used for housing by Bedouins (and their goats!) since centuries ago and up to this day. Courtesy: madnomad.gr

After almost a month and 2,000 km (1,243 miles) in the small but interesting country of Jordan, I ate my last kunafeh (tasty dessert with lots of cream cheese, pistachios and syrup!) and hit the road to Israel and Palestine. Jordan fascinated me mostly because of its hospitable people. It was a relaxing break between two countries which are hard to visit as an overlander: Egypt and Israel.

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Eating my last kunafeh in Jordan with my little friend… I already miss it! Courtesy: madnomad.gr
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9/24/2017 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[President Sisi issued a decree to renovate Hurghada]]>
In a conference with the large tribes of the Red Sea governorate that started on Saturday, Abdallah emphasized that there are multiple development projects currently ongoing in the city of Hurghada with the cooperation of the civil society. He also pointed out that El-Dahar Square project is fully financed by an investor.

The governor said that the purpose of the conference is to present the achievements of the previous three years.

Hurghada was the first city visited by President Sisi, as he attended the opening of its airport and the port.
]]>
9/23/2017 5:46:51 PM
<![CDATA[Quake scares tourists from Mexico City's trendy heart]]>
But by Friday, three days after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake levelled dozens of buildings, local hipsters were starting to return to the Condesa/Roma area, albeit in muted fashion out of respect for the deaths and damage evident in every second street.

Some cafes and restaurants were open, serving customers but also giving free food and drinks to rescue workers, police and soldiers deployed to toppled buildings that were sometimes just a few meters away.

But most places – just a week ago filled with the coffee-and-laptop set – were still shuttered.

Foreign tourists, usually drawn to the area for its artistic vibe and boutique stores, were absent.

Many had scrapped trips to Mexico City on news of the disaster.

Others, like Magali Ricoce, a 36-year-old Frenchwoman on her first visit to the city to see friends, lived through the quake and was traumatized by it.

"At one point I thought I was going to die," she said. The next day she was vomiting from stress as delayed shock set in.

Now, she has temporary lodgings with her friends but "it's a bit like being a refugee ... I'm no longer thinking like a tourist, I'm more thinking 'I'm happy to be alive'."

Though rattled, she said she might return in the future.

But, she said: "I came across tourists who were leaving their hotels with their bags – they were totally in the tourist mindset of wanting to go home".

Hotel losses

For hotels in the quake-hit area, that exodus and an avalanche of cancellations meant an immediate blow to business.

"We've had a lot of cancellations," said Erick Vargas, front desk manager at one hotel in the area, City Express.

His hotel had been fully booked, but when news of the quake flashed around the planet, 300 confirmed nights that had been reserved suddenly evaporated – a loss of nearly US$40,000, (RM167,160) that was expected to double when bookings for later dates were included, he said.

Although the hotel and its guests emerged from the seismic upheaval unscathed, it found itself in a zone suddenly deserted apart from frantic rescue operations.

Vargas said he himself was made homeless because his place in Roma was a couple of doors up from a building that had become unstable.

"I haven't been able to get in. I've been living in the hotel since," with his flat-mate and his dog, he said.

Return to 'a bit of life'

In one of the cafes open in Roma, Bubba Tea & Co., staff were giving away free meals to soldiers.

The owners – who had opened the place just five weeks ago – had struggled with whether to resume business for customers, or whether to stay closed out of respect for the pervasive mourning around them.

It was local residents themselves who convinced them to open.

"It was a way to help them. They wanted coffee, not just basic water and stuff – they want a bit of life back," explained Ingrid Gonzalez-Gracida, who runs the place with her husband.

"This area is usually very lively, very hipster, there are a lot of artists," she said, comparing it with justification to New York City's trendy Brooklyn borough.

As for the foreign tourists who used to saunter around the eateries and galleries, she said: "I don't know where they are. They are afraid. We hope they return".

Tourism campaign

That is precisely the challenge facing Mexico's tourism secretary, Enrique de la Madrid.

He told a tourism industry publication, Travel Weekly, that while structural evaluations were still going on for Mexico City hotels, "our infrastructure was mostly unaffected" across the vast city.

Rather than withdraw tourist promotions, his office was forging on with a new campaign to be launched on Monday, focusing on the country's diversity.

"The main destinations of the country had not been affected at all. And even in Mexico City, the tourist areas were not affected," he said.

"We decided it was more important than ever to let everyone know we're still standing. If people are wondering how to help support Mexico, the answer is to travel to Mexico."]]>
9/23/2017 2:38:21 PM
<![CDATA[Air Berlin to hold carve-up talks with Lufthansa, easyJet]]>
“Authority was granted to conclude one or more agreements with one or more of these bidders,” Air Berlin said in a statement late on Thursday.

Talks over its other Air Berlin assets, such as its aircraft maintenance unit, will continue with other bidders, it said.

Air Berlin, which has about 8,000 employees and operates 144 mostly leased planes, filed for insolvency in August after major shareholder Etihad pulled the plug on funding.

Two sources familiar with the matter had told Reuters on Thursday that Lufthansa was set to pick up a large part of the carrier.

Lufthansa’s CEO said earlier that the carrier wanted to secure the 38 crewed planes it leases from Air Berlin, and was interested in a further 20-40 short-haul planes.

Air Berlin said negotiations with Lufthansa and easyJet would continue until Oct. 12, which means Air Berlin’s board may not make a final decision on Sept. 25 as had been expected.

The news comes ahead of a national election on Sunday in which Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to win a fourth term.

At a rally in the western city of Neuss, where dozens of Air Berlin workers wearing fluorescent yellow crew jackets joined Merkel supporters, the chancellor said: “There are pilots from Air Berlin that we of course wish all the best to, like all people who have a job and would like to keep it.”

The prospect of getting access to Air Berlin’s airport slots, planes and crews had drawn interest from those airlines and other investors, including former Formula One driver Niki Lauda, jointly with Thomas Cook’s (TCG.L) German airline Condor, and aviation entrepreneur Hans Rudolf Woehrl.

Also, two people familiar with the matter had told Reuters earlier this week that British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) had joined the field of bidders for parts or all of Air Berlin.

Bidders had been especially interested in Air Berlin subsidiary Niki, which operates short-haul flights from Germany and Austria to tourist hot spots.

The deadline for bids for its maintenance unit, which has about 850 employees, has been extended to Oct. 6, Air Berlin said.

Lufthansa declined to comment further on Thursday evening. EasyJet declined to comment and Condor was not immediately available for comment.]]>
9/23/2017 12:08:48 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Nile cruise tops National Geographic's list]]>
National Geographic put together a

list

of the 21 best cruises in the world and

Nour El Nil's

luxurious cruise ships Malouka (16-passenger capacity) and Meroë (20-passenger capacity) made it to the top six. They were also chosen as the cover picture for the list.

National Geographic promised that the experience will make you, "feel like a modern-day pharaoh."

cover


These two cruise ships are made to take you on one of the fanciest six day long trips in Egypt. They depart from the beautiful city south of Luxor named Esna. The cruise passes by many gorgeous sites such as Edfu and Kom Ombo, eventually reaching Aswan.

Nour El Nil promises to allow you to explore the river of myth and legend in high style. And the ships surely deliver with a level of luxury that cannot be easily matched.

The cruise cost ranges from €1,100 (LE 23,200) and €1,700 (LE 35,800) per person.

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screenshot from Nour El Nil's website
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9/23/2017 10:19:23 AM
<![CDATA[Surfing the Seine: climate campaigner paddles in Paris]]>
Alison Teal travels the world with her pink "eco-friendly" surfboard to raise awareness about the environment, and it is no coincidence she chose France's capital for the latest stop on her campaign.

The Hawaiian -- named the "Female Indiana Jones" by Time magazine in 2015 -- is urging US President Donald Trump to reconsider his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

"If we don't do something to protect our environment and prevent climate change before it's too late, we're gonna be moving to Mars. And I'm not ready to surf on Mars yet," she told AFP.

Teal took an evening paddle in Paris's famous river just metres from the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday.

"I'm just paddling through the Seine river in support of the Paris climate agreement and I hope we all get on board to protect this world and keep this beauty around for our future generations."]]>
9/23/2017 10:13:30 AM
<![CDATA[From yoga to movies: Lisbon embraces rooftop living]]>
Often referred to as the "City of Seven Hills", Lisbon is full of red-tiled buildings with spectacular views over the undulating Portuguese capital as it slips down towards the Tagus River.

Long the domain of air conditioners, satellite dishes and washing lines, Lisbon's rooftops are undergoing a makeover to now host swanky bars, yoga classes, film screenings and concerts.

"It's all about the views in Lisbon," said Katrin Heuser, 39, who started offering rooftop yoga classes at the This Is Lisbon Hostel when she moved to the city from London two years ago.

She now holds classes at four other locations with sweeping views of Lisbon too with the aid of two other teachers.

One regular student, 30-year-old Greek IT consultant Maria Anastasiadou said the classes were "completely different" to those held indoors.

"Your body and mind connects with the environment around you and the sun," she said.

"You start feeling the sun and air touching your skin. Your mind gets clearer, in a strange mix with the noise of the city. All your senses are awake."

- 'Perfect place' -

Lisbon's climate is especially well-suited for rooftop activities. The city on Portugal's western coast is one of Europe's sunniest capitals, with 290 days of sunshine a year.

"It's the perfect place for doing activities on rooftops because of the weather," said Phil Llic, who since June has been showing movies every Thursday night on the rooftop of the Topo Chiado restaurant-bar.

The venue, which opened in 2016 on the back of the ruins of a convent, affords views of the elaborate, turn of the century Santa Justa Lift and the medieval Sao Jorge Castle, two historic Lisbon landmarks.

Under the stars, customers can admire the view at the same time as watching a cult film on a large screen while sipping drinks and lounging on one of the 90 deck chairs.

It regularly sells out.

"Its all about the experience, it's not even really about the movie," said Llic, 31, who also moved to Lisbon from London two years ago, like many before him drawn by the warmer climate and slower pace of life.

He and his business partner, Chris Wood, a 34-year-old from the English northwestern city of Manchester, plan to expand their movie screenings to more rooftops next year.

The 10-story Four Seasons Hotel Ritz at the end of 2016 completely refurbished a 400-metre (1,300-foot) outdoor running track on its roof and set up gym equipment there to allow guests to work out outdoors while overlooking the city.

- 'Fun thing' -

The boom in upgrading rooftops for leisure activities comes as Lisbon is experiencing a surge in visitors that has sparked a drive to renovate buildings in the city's picturesque old town.

Lisbon had 3.9 million foreign visitors in 2016, a 9.7-percent jump over the previous year.

Its rooftop activities are popular among locals. But Heuser, who is originally from Germany, said many of her rooftop yoga students were foreign visitors, especially in August.

"They like the idea, they think it is a fun thing to do and a good way to enjoy the view," she said.

- 'Avoiding the hype' -

Ze dos Bois (ZDB), a trendy concert venue, art gallery and bar, in an 18th century palace in the lively Bairro Alto district -- whose narrow streets are packed with bars and restaurants -- opened a popular rooftop terrace last year that regularly hosts concerts.

The non-profit venue's terrace features a bamboo canopy made by three bamboo "masters" from Macau, said ZDB's communications director, Catarina Monteiro.

"At the time we decided not to promote the space, to avoid the 'hype' about rooftops, but we still managed to build a regular customer base," she said.]]>
9/23/2017 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Roman Photo-session in Alexandria]]> CAIRO - 23 September 2017: Two creative photographers, Henar Sherif and Adel Essam, organized a photography session of Alexandrian youth and children wearing Roman clothes on Wednesday as part of promoting domestic tourism.

Alexandria was the capital of Egypt during the Roman Empire. That is why the city is full of Roman remains; the most famous of them are Pompey’s Pillar/Column, and Roman Auditorium and Bathhouse, as well as ancient graveyards. There are also several Roman artifacts in the city’s most important museum, the Greco-Roman museum.

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9/23/2017 10:02:52 AM