India By The Nile Festival in Egypt

Cairo: Unfazed by political unrest in Egypt, India will launch the second edition of a mega cultural extravaganza, including a Bollywood musical, to showcase vibrant bilateral ties and make the relationship more dynamic.
“I think a festival like this gets a lot of visibility and demonstrates that India has taken a major initiative here. That generates goodwill, both at the official level and amongst the public,” India’s Ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri told PTI ahead of the “India by the Nile” festival this week.
The festival, running from April 1-20, will have a grand opening with Bollywood Love Story- A Musical at the Opera House from the April 3 to 6, and will see more than 35 Indian dancers performing to the much-loved music of Indian cinema.
The musical will also travel to three major Egyptian cities namely Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor. The festival is being held for the second consecutive year in Egypt.
Suri said events like these make the relationship between one of the leading emerging economies, India, and the largest country in the Middle East, Egypt, more “dynamic and vibrant”.
Asked about the timing of the festival with political unrest in Egypt, Suri said, “We are aware, of course, about the various incidents of violence but as residents of Egypt, we also see the extent to which daily life continues normally.”
“We have always enjoyed close ties with Egypt and there is a genuine fondness for Indian culture amongst the Egyptian people. But we can’t get complacent and take things for granted. The festival is part of the embassy’s pro-active approach to reach out to the Egyptian public and to promote cultural understanding,” he said.
Suri said Bollywood was quite popular in Egypt and for this reason a number of Bollywood-themed events were planned in the festival, including the big Bollywood-style musical and the participation of Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar.
“We are keen to convey a more composite picture of Indian culture, to tell our Egyptian friends that there is more to India than Bollywood. And so we have Kathak dance, Rajasthani foil music, conversations among writers, cuisine and much more,” he said.
The Ambassador stressed that India stands to gain from engaging with Egypt by helping it build institutions of democracy and investing in the economic sector.
“We have a number of economic cooperation projects in the pipeline and work continuously to enhance trade and investment flows,” he said.

@ http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/india-to-launch-mega-cultural-fest-in-egypt_921309.html

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Replica Tutankhamun tomb set to open in Luxor

A painstakingly accurate replica of King Tut’s tomb is set to open in EgyptLuxor

Its existence will present visitors with the moral dilemma of paying to see the original tomb or helping to preserve its future existence by visiting the facsimile version instead. 

The Supreme Council of Antiquities commissioned carefully-crafted replicas of the tombs of Seti I, Nefertari and Tutankhamun back in 2009.

The move was a bid to stave off further irreparable damage caused by decades of tourists flocking to see the boy king’s burial chamber and other ancient tombs.

Wall painting of Tutankhamun flanked by Anubis and Hathor
Changes in temperature and humidity, say experts, is causing the intricately painted plaster to crumble away from the walls. Visitors could soon be completely banned from entering them

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A Madrid-based company, Factum Arte, which has worked with museums all over the world to produce facsimiles of endangered art, used high-tech 3D scanners to create the replica of King Tut’s tomb in a process that has taken several years to complete.

November will see the new version of the tomb of Tutankhamun installed just outside Howard Carter’s house, around half a mile from where the original lays in Luxor‘s Valley of the Kings.

Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon at Opening of King Tutankhamun's Tomb

On November 4th 1922, after years of toiling away in the Valley of the Kings, British archaeologist Howard Carter sensationally discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb and revealed one of the most significant Egyptian excavations of all time.

The fascination with Carter’s story and the perpetual promise of more discoveries has seen tourists pouring into the sun-drenched site although there has been a significant dip in tourism this year as the country has suffered from ongoing political protests.

One of the Factum Arte team, Briton Adam Lowe, is hopeful that the replica will become as popular as the orginal as visitors ‘become part of the force that protects it [the original] rather than a force that is leading to its destruction.’

He told the BBC: ‘They will have the thrill of visiting something they know is 3,000 years old and they have the guilt of knowing, as they look at it, that their presence is part of the reason why it won’t be there in another 100 years’ time.’

Source: dailymail

Classic Egypt back on map as FCO relaxes advice for tourists visiting Luxor and Aswan

British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.

The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: ‘We continue to urge British nationals already in Egypt to follow the instructions of the local authorities and obey curfews where they are in place. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt. This has not changed.’

They continued: ‘As always, the safety of British nationals is a priority. We continue to follow developments carefully, and keep our travel advice under continuous review.

‘British nationals should continue to monitor FCO travel advice closely for any updates and stay away from any demonstrations or protests.’

Speaking at a holiday industry conference in London last week, Egypt’s minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou told journalists: ‘More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2500039/Egypt-map-FCO-relaxes-advice-tourists-Luxor-Aswan.html#ixzz2kdoGTpIN

Lavrov hopes to restore tourism cooperation with Egypt

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Moscow is confident that the scale of tourism cooperation with Egypt will be restored after the lift of the state of emergency in that country, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ksenya Melnikova reports.

“We have agreed on the intensive development of dialogue on tourism. This is an extremely important area of our relations and part of stabilization efforts in Egypt; as I understand, the lift of the state of emergency regime which occurred yesterday can restore the scale of tourism cooperation. I am absolutely positive about that,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference after his negotiations in Cairo.

Voice of Russia 
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_11_14/Lavrov-hopes-to-restore-tourism-cooperation-with-Egypt-after-state-of-emergency-is-over-6248/

Resignation of the Minister of Tourism

Mr. Hisham Zazoua the Minister of Tourism  request of the Prime Minister to accept his resignation on objection to the assigning of Luxor New Governor who has a terrorist background and has been accused in  participating in  Luxor massacre in 1997, and all  the tourism sector Supporting the position of the Tourism ministerhisham Zaazou

Around 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2012

Around 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt in the first 11 months of 2012, a 17 per cent increase on the same period last year, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said Wednesday evening. During a meeting with the Tourism Chamber of Commerce, Zaazou told industry professionals and reporters that tourism generated some $9.4 billion in 2012, a slight increase over the $9 billion seen in 2011.

Despite the increase, such figures are still well below the $12.5 billion the sector generated in 2010, the most successful year in its history.

Minister Zaazou blamed political unrest and violent clashes that followed President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional declaration of 22 November for the unimpressive performance of the industry.

“Occupancy rates have dropped by about 25 per cent due to the current state of affairs in Egypt,” Zaazou explained.

The month of December usually marks the beginning of the peak tourism season in Egypt. But early indicators are disappointing. The Associated Press reports that arrivals this month are down 40 per cent from November while industry officials complain of slow business.

“We are in the middle of the season and some hotels in certain areas are nearly empty,” Elhamy El-Zayat, head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said. that many establishments have cut their prices significantly to lure in tourists and that this is taking its toll on revenues. “In some places you can get a room for the night plus three meals for just $15. No wonder that many companies are just unable to pay their employees,” he said.

The tourism sector was dealt painful blows following the 2011 popular uprising that unseated former president Hosni Mubarak. The ensuing security vaccum drove tourists away and left the foreign currency earning industry at a near halt.

The sector was projected to stage a strong comeback in 2012 following the coming to power of an elected president in summer and the political stability this was supposed to ensure.

“We had expected a rebound to normalcy by the end of this year, but we are still stuck at 2011 levels,” Mohamed Essam, an operator at Tiran Tours in Cairo, told Ahram Online.

Tourism accounted for 10 per cent of Egypt’s economic activity during the final years of the Mubarak era. The industry employs some four million people, more than 10 per cent of Egypt’s total workforce.

The drop in tourist activity coincides with rough economic conditions Egypt is increasingly facing. Last Monday, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgraded Egypt’s credit rating to junk level, casting strong doubts on the ability of the state to meet its obligations. On Tuesday, it downgraded three major Egyptian banks, citing their heavy exposure to government debt.

These troubles reflect a lack of trust in the Egyptian economy, especially after a $4.8 billion loan deal was indefinitely postponed due to the political unrest in the country over the new constitution.

In the past few weeks, the Egyptian pound lost 1.5 per cent of its value to the dollar, reaching the level of LE6.19 to the dollar. A black market has been reported to have reappeared.

“Tourism is one of the main nerves of the Egyptian economy; it saves the country from possible crises. We just need stability,” Zaazou added.

@http://english.ahram.org.eg

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism Latest News

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The Ministry of tourism has been closely following the latest development in Egypt Domestic political scene , taking in consideration that such political developments are of temporary nature and are quite expected during this transition of the Egyptian Revolution

The Ministry of tourism take this opportunity to reassure its international tourism partners As well as its guests that these political developments do not affect services rendered to tourists and that business is as usual where Egyptians are keen to welcome their guests throughout the country .

The tourist arrivals to Egypt during the period Jan- Sep 2012 show an increase of 20.2% over the same period in 2011 (figures)

The Tourism industry in Egypt  – resilient as ever – continues to develop, plan and move ahead with the number of calculated new products such as the reoperation of the Nile cruises after a halt period of more than 15 years .

The kebbash Road connecting Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple will be reopened – after  a full over healing process – to visitors in March 2013 , as well as new measures to renovate the pyramids area . All touristic sites in Egypt are fully open to visitors as usual .

All those action reflect the vast interest and support the current Government of Egypt attaches to the Tourism Industry as one of the main pillars of Egyptian national economy.

The Ministry of tourism – once again – expresses its commitment to all measures to further develop and sustain this important industry ; welcoming tourists at all times .

Egyptian Tourist Authority on Hunt for Marketing Agency

Click Me The Egyptian Tourist Authority is looking for global integrated marketing support as it aims to rebuild its severely crippled tourism industry almost two years after an Arab Spring-inspired revolution, Ad Age has learned.

It’s understood that a number of PR and ad firms from all of the large holding companies, including WPP, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic Group of Cos, have received the brief from the organization’s headquarters in Cairo. The objective will be to promote tourism in Egypt among various international regions, according to industry executives familiar with the matter.

The account fees will likely be sizable, according to people familiar with the review, but promoting tourism in a revolution-worn region with a new administration will be no piece of cake. The revolt, which took place in January 2011, saw the ouster of then-President Hosni Mubarak. The region later held a democratic presidential election, won by Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi. U.S.-headquartered firms will have to decide whether or not the uncertainty of the new government might create an ethical conflict in the future.

“Tourism accounted for more than a tenth of Egypt’s gross domestic product before the 18-day revolt that was driven by widespread anger at poverty and high-levels of corruption,” reported Reuters just last month.

In 2010, the country touted almost 15 million tourists. But the January 2011 protests and violence put a dent in that robust headcount, causing a decline of more than 30% for the year, according to a number of reports. On the heels of the upheaval last February, The New York Times reported that Egypt’s tourism industry was losing $1 billion a month.

This year, however, Egypt projects a 20% boost in tourists. An aggressive marketing campaign should support the government’s tourism goal, which, according to various reports, is to attract 30 million tourists by 2020 and generate $25 billion in industry revenue.

The Egyptian Tourist Authority couldn’t be reached by press time.The Reuters story noted that at an industry event, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou cited strong recent occupancy rates at hotels and almost 9 million tourist visits in the first nine months of this year. He expects that the numbers should “return to 2010 levels by the end of 2013 depending on the security situation.”

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€82 million of European investments to be approved

Promoting joint investments, technology transfer and human resources development are some of the talking points on the agendas of the EU Egypt Task Force Business and Tourism Summits

The EU Egypt Task Force Business and Tourism Summits will be held on Tuesday in Cairo. The summits organised by the Egyptian business unions will be followed by a series of meetings between representatives from the Egyptian and the European sides.

The joint task force that was put into practice in Jordan and Tunisia will convene for the first time in Egypt. It is a new mechanism for dialogue that was implemented to foster cooperation between Europe and the Arab Spring countries. This innovative mechanism is intended to complement the already existing exchange channels; the Egyptian European association council and technical sub committees.

Among the agreements that are expected to be signed during the summit, there is a €20 million trade and domestic market enhancement programme, a €22 million agreement for support through agricultural small enterprise and a €40 million fund to support the third metro line going from Imbaba to the Cairo airport.

The meetings will be attended by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, the President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer, the foreign ministers of eight EU countries, the head of the European chambers union and more than 150 chairmen of European companies, as stated by the president of the Egyptian European chambers union Nader Riad.

Egypt will be represented by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, and the ministers of foreign affairs, investment, industry and foreign trade, planning and international cooperation, scientific research, electricity and energy, facilities and transportation, said the chairman of the Egyptian chambers union, Ahmed El Wakil.

The tourism summit will be headed by the Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou and Antonio Tajani in the presence of the leaders of the unions of tourism, hotels and ships and the presidents of the big European countries working in the field.  The meetings will discuss an action plan for attracting European tourism and touristic investment focusing on the sustainable tourism and tourism development in Upper Egypt, clarified the head of tourism chambers union Ilhamy El-Zayat.

The chairperson of the Egyptian industries union Galal El-Zorba added that this summit is a part of the union’s programme to provide growth opportunities for the

, and to create jobs for the Egyptians, he added that the objective of the meeting is to put a roadmap for development, to open communication channels between companies on both sides of the Mediterranean, to create investment and commercial partnerships, and to maximise the benefit from the aid and finance mechanisms available for the Mediterranean area that exceed €22 billion.

The president of the investors’ associations union Mohamed Farid Khamis said that the summit is in line with various activities that aim to create alliances between Egyptian business unions to attract investments, promote exports and to innovate the industrial and services sectors . These activities include participation in international exhibitions and conferences and the connectivity between Egyptian and European companies targeting joint industrialisation or common action to enter regional markets, as well as many meetings aiming to resolve the problems of Egyptian and foreign investors and exporters and opening foreign markets for Egyptian products.

Promoting joint investments, technology transfer, human resources development, attracting European tourism mechanisms and megaprojects in infrastructure are on the agenda of the meetings, said the Secretary General of the summit Alaa Ezz.