Egypt opened its first-ever restaurant and lounge in Giza’s pyramid plateau, giving visitors a unique view of the plateau’s nine royal tombs.
The restaurant, named 9 Pyramids Lounge, is built on a total area of 1,341 square metres with indoor and outdoor seating, with a private parking lot nearby, according to a joint statement by the plateau’s main developer, Orascom Pyramids Entertainment, and the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism.
The lounge was inaugurated during an event attended by Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anany, chairman and CEO of Orascom Naguib Sawiris, CEO of Orascom Pyramids Entertainment Ashraf Halim, and others.
Egyptian waiters and employees take their positions during the opening of a new restaurant called "9 Pyramids Lounge" by Orascom Pyramids Entertainment (OPE), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt October 20, 2020. REUTERS
The attendees also witnessed the trial operation of an environmentally-friendly electric bus in the area, which runs from the visitor centre station to Panorama One Station, reaching Menkaure, Khufu and Khafre stations and ending its route at Sphinx Station.
Al-Anany said that the buses will be the only means of transportation at the site, and that other vehicles will be banned from entering the premises.
“This measure to protect the monuments will be implemented before mid-2021,” he said, highlighting other restrictions made to preserve the site, including allowing food and beverage in specified areas only.
He stressed that Egypt is keen on developing its touristic and archaeological infrastructure, which should positively impact the tourist influx into the country.
“The completion of this development project, the increase in the capacity of Sphinx International Airport, and the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) next year will change the tourism map of Cairo,” the minister said.
Sawiris said that the main objective of the project is to upgrade the services provided to visitors so as to live up to the “greatness of Egyptian civilisation and the magnificence of this historical site.”
He added that the cost of the project is EGP 301 million.
People enjoy and take souvenir pictures in front of the Great Pyramids during the opening of a new restaurant called "9 Pyramids Lounge" by Orascom Pyramids Entertainment (OPE) in Giza, Egypt October 20, 2020. REUTERS
Sawiris also revealed that two fine dining restaurants and a cafe are set to be opened in early 2021 in the area’s old engineering administration building overlooking the three pyramids.
The gradual opening of the area comes as Egypt continues to attempt to revive its key tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tourism sector is a main source of foreign currency, with all eyes on the winter season in Egypt’s main Red Sea and South Sinai resorts, which are usually a favourite destination for tourists during winter.
Egypt resumed regular international flights on 1 July after over three months of closure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign tourists in tour groups are currently allowed entry only into the three coastal Egyptian governorates with the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the country – South Sinai, Red Sea, and Matrouh.
The country now requires all travellers to provide PCR tests upon arrival.
An Egyptian music band play in front of the Great Pyramids during the opening of a new restaurant called "9 Pyramids Lounge" by Orascom Pyramids Entertainment (OPE), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt October 20, 2020. REUTERS