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Egypt's tourism gets boost as historic Nile cruise set to return
Published in Bikya Masr on 11 - 03 - 2012

Sailing the Nile River in Egypt has always been a huge tourism boost for the country, but for the past 16 years, the an historic route on the river had been put on hold. Now, tour operators and the ministry of tourism are hopeful restarting the Cairo-Aswan cruises will help bring back tourists who have gone elsewhere as Egypt faces political, social and economic unrest.
“We really hope that this will increase people coming because it was a successful route in years past,” Alexandria-based tour operator Waleed Ghanem told via telephone.
The ministry of tourism confirmed at the ITB Berlin Travel Expo that the historic route between Cairo and Aswan in Upper Egypt will be back on schedule, increasing hopes of a return to pre-uprising tour levels, which have dropped sharply in the past year as a result of the unrest in the country.
Egyptian Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour told attendees that the long Nile cruises between the capital Cairo and the southern city of Aswan would be resumed after a 16-year break.
The plan, first announced in November last year, will allow boats to once again pass along the stretch of the Nile between Cairo and Luxor, reportedly as soon as May, with the government ploughing money into cultural attractions and ports to improve the experience.
The voyages were stopped in the 1990s because of security and environmental concerns, with current cruise vacations taking in the sites between Luxor and Aswan.
Visitors previously were only allowed to go as far north as Luxor, stopping along the way at numerous ancient Egyptian sites.
“I will be one of the first to get on that boat because it is supposed to be an amazing journey and one that my wife and I want to try,” said American English language instructor Travis.
Egypt hopes its participation at the ITB Berlin event, will help spur its tourism industry which was seen the total arrivals in 2011 down by a third to to 9.8 million, compared with 14.7 million in 2010, officials said.
As part of the effort, new attractions such as the Grand Egyptian Museum are taking shape — in this case a pyramid shape — quickly.
Likely to be the largest archaeological museum in the world when it opens next year, the $500 million museum will hold some 100,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Construction had stopped during the previous regime over funding issues with the National Bank of Japan.
Tags: Aswan, Cairo, Cruise, featured, Nile, Tourism
Section: Egypt, Latest News, Travel

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