Egypt is to reopen the historic cruise ship route along the Nile between Cairo and Aswan, it confirmed late last week.
Speaking at the ITB Berlin travel show, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour told attendees that the long Nile cruises between the capital Cairo and the southern city of Aswan would be resumed after a 16-year break.
The plan, first announced in November last year, will allow boats to once again pass along the stretch of the Nile between Cairo and Luxor, reportedly as soon as May, with the government ploughing money into cultural attractions and ports to improve the experience.
The voyages were stopped in the 1990s because of security and environmental concerns, with current cruise vacations taking in the sites between Luxor and Aswan.
Egypt is a headline sponsor of the ITB Berlin event, part of a major push to boost its tourism industry which was hit hard by the Arab Spring — total arrivals in 2011 were down by a third to to 9.8 million, compared with 14.7 million in 2010, officials said.
As part of the effort, new attractions such as the Grand Egyptian Museum are taking shape — in this case a pyramid shape — quickly.
Likely to be the largest archaeological museum in the world when it opens next year, the US $500 million museum will hold some 100,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts close to the pyramids of Giza, beside the highway linking Cairo to Alexandria.