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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Egypt's Luxor ranks 3rd in number of hot air balloon trips globally

Ahram Online , MENA , Monday 16 Sep 2019
Hot air baloon
Hot air balloons flying over Luxor
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Luxor has been ranked third for the highest number of hot air balloon flights in the world, representative for the Egyptian Federation of Hot Air Ballooning Companies in Luxor Ahmed Aboud said.

A total of 11,000 hot air balloons, carrying about 216,000 tourists, fly over Luxor's temples, the Nile River and agricultural lands annually, according to Aboud.

Efforts are in progress to link balloon flights to safari tourism and build two additional balloon takeoff points in addition to the already existing one in West Luxor, he noted.

Aboud said that Egyptian balloon pilots are well-experienced in the field, according to the experts who participated in the International Hot Air Balloon Festival held in Luxor in 2016.

Hot air balloons trips resumed last Tuesday in Luxor after an 80-day suspension due to safety concerns.

Mohamed Hamdy Moussa, the head of a local hot air balloon operator, said that the Civil Aviation Authority allowed the resumption of trips after operators took necessary safety measures.

Balloon flights were suspended in July after a balloon drifted off course west of the ancient city. The pilot was able to land safely in the nearby desert, with no injuries reported.

In January 2018, unstable weather conditions caused a hot air balloon to crash near Luxor, killing a South African tourist and injuring several other people. Also, in February 2013, a hot air balloon crash killed 19 people, mostly foreign tourists, after the balloon caught fire mid-air.

Luxor, home to a myriad of ancient sites, is a major destination for tourists visiting Egypt.

Egypt has been announced as the fastest growing tourist destination in terms of year-over-year percentage increase of visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) 2018 report on global travel and tourism.

Luxor and Giza were at the top of Egypt’s most famous tourists destinations, according to the report.

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