Italy's biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset is launching the new season of a documentary series on the secrets of ancient Egypt after the huge success of the first season, the Egyptian tourism ministry has announced.
The first season of the series was broadcast on the Freedom Oltre Il Confine (Freedom Beyond The Border) programme between late December 2018 and mid-February, with each episode drawing between 1.5 and 5 million views, Egypt's Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat said during a press conference on Saturday announcing the launch of the new season.
The partnership between Mediaset and Egypt's tourism ministry is part of the ministry's strategy to "diversify into new promotion platforms and modernise techniques of marketing Egypt," the ministry said in a statement.
The partnership is also part of Egypt's efforts to draw in more visitors from Italy, one of Egypt's top sources of foreign visitors, with over 400,000 Italians estimated to have visited the country in 2018.
Programme presenter Roberto Giacobbo and Mediaset producer Giorgio Restelli attended the launch event on Saturday along with a number of journalists from Italian papers and news outlets including daily papers Corriere della sera, Repubblica, La Stampa, and il Giornale and state news agency ANSA.
Also attending were Egypt’s former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, head of the Egyptian-Italian Business Council Khaled Abu Bakr, and head of the General Authority to Promote Tourism Ahmed Youssef.
From Left to Right: Head of Egypt's General Authority to Promote Tourism Ahmed Youssef, Minister Al-Mashat, and Roberto Giacobbo
(Photo courtesy of Egypt's Ministry of Tourism)
The first season of the documentary featured 12 episodes on topics including the secrets of the great Pyramids of Giza, the journey of the Holy Family to Egypt, electricity in ancient Egypt, and the Dendera Temple complex in Qena.
The new season will feature 13 episodes that were filmed in April in the ancient cities of Luxor and Aswan, the village of Abu Simbel, Sohag, Giza and the ancient burial site of Saqqara.
Egypt has made big strides in boosting its vital tourism industry, a major source of hard currency, which had been hit hard after the 2011 uprising.
Recent research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said that travel and tourism in Egypt grew by 16.5 percent in 2018, much higher than the global average of 3.9 percent.
According to the WTTC, the country’s efforts in improving security infrastructure have paid off, leading to an increase in visits that is the highest since 2010.
The announcement came days after Egypt announced a new partnership with CNN in a global tourism campaign that aims to promote the country on TV, digital and social media platforms.