The Nile will be reopened for «long river rides,» a 14-day cruise from Cairo to Aswan, the Egyptian Tourism Authority said.
Egypt’s tourism minister, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, said that after a 16-year hiatus, shipping will resume in the lower Nile (the northern part of the river between Cairo and Luxor). This decision is part of the Egyptian government’s plan to increase inbound tourist flow, which in February this year fell sharply by 80% due to civil unrest during the Arab Spring.
Currently, Nile cruises only run between Luxor and the southern region of Aswan, this part is called the Upper Nile. In fact, no licenses are required to sail to the northern part of Luxor, so a traditional visit to Egypt includes a stay in Cairo for a few days to visit the pyramids, the Museum of Ancient Art and look at the Sphinxes, then fly to the south of the country for a week-long cruise. along the upper Nile.
Longer cruises of 11 to 14 days were discontinued in 1994 for a number of reasons, including safety concerns and the river becoming heavily silted. Since then, the docks have fallen into disrepair, and a plan has been developed to clean up the river basin and improve local infrastructure. When the government starts issuing permits for river rafting again, they will be able to be obtained by vessels adapted only for shallow rivers.
Short cruises from Luxor to Aswan have already become very popular, they pass through the Valley of the Kings and the Karnak temple complex in Luxor, as well as through Edfu and Kom Ombo. On new cruises from Luxor to Cairo, there is not much to see on the way to Memphis and Sakkara, with the exception of the Dendera temple complex, 50 km north of Luxor. But there is an opportunity to allow yourself to relax for a long time on the deck, watching life on the banks of the river, to see the lesser-known tombs in Beni Hassan. Boarding a boat in downtown Cairo and sailing all the way to Aswan is nothing short of a romantic adventure.
Philip Breckner, Commercial Director of Discover Egypt, said: “This is great news. We haven’t taken such cruises for 16 years, it’s great that they are resuming. We plan to start these cruises in March 2012, this timeline is subject to approval from the Egyptian government. ”
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