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Supervisor
Elham AbolFateh
AR
Monday 29 May 2017

Tourism

Egypt eyes Nile cruising for tourism recovery

Monday 08/May/2017 - 06:52 PM
Sada El Balad
By almost every measure، Egypt’s tourism industry is ailing. The number of arrivals was cut nearly in half between 2015 and 2016.

Recent terrorist attacks on the country’s Coptic churches، some of which are popular sites among both religious and secular tourists، served as a reminder that danger and instability continue to plague the once-popular country، as they have since 2011.

In the midst of this lengthy slump، at least one company is not just getting nostalgic about past tourism glory days. They are actively trying to recreate this heyday.

The river cruise industry suffered along with the other travel and hospitality sectors: By the time Philae’s renovations were finished and the boat was once again launched، it was one of a few dozen cruisers still in operation on the river.

Before 2011، the Nile had around 280 such boats.

The route between the southern city of Aswan and Luxor (Oberoi stops along the way at places like the Valley of the Kings) is not a new one.

Travelers from other continents have been cruising the famous river and visiting the same sites since the 19th century. Some of the first travel guidebooks ever published were about cruising the Nile، and legendary travel firm Thomas Cook had one of its biggest early successes when it was allowed to operate cruises on the river during the 1870s. The industry grew from there، retaining its popularity after World Wars، changes in government and the modernization of the travel industry.
River cruises have not been hit by any attacks since Egypt’s troubles started in 2011. Faced with travel warnings and outright travel bans، Egypt has increased security at airports and at the major ancient sites on most cruise itineraries.

Egypt has said it wants to return to pre-2011 arrival numbers. The recent attacks on Coptic churches that are often visited by tourists may set this ambition back، but the cruise industry is betting that، long term، things will return to "normal" (as it was defined before 2011).

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