Swiss techno DJ duo Adriatique at the Hatshepsut Temple
The 3,000 attendees at the Cercle concert by the Swiss techno DJ duo Adriatique held last week in the vicinity of the Hatshepsut Temple on the west bank at Luxor has raised a maelstrom of mixed reactions among social media users.
Supporters of the event said that it was vibrant, well-organised, entertaining and had attracted more tourists to many of Egypt’s destinations because the attendees did not only visit Luxor, but also spent some days in Hurghada.
But critics said that it had been disrespectful to one of the country’s ancient Egyptian sites and the techno music and lights projected on the temple’s terraces could even have damaged it.
Organising such events at archaeological sites contributes to incoming tourist numbers at Egyptian tourist destinations, said Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).
This is not the first event to be held at important archaeological sites in Egypt, pointed out an official at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. He said that the Ely Saab fashion show was earlier held at the Abdine Palace in Cairo, the Italian fashion house Stefano Ricci had celebrated its golden jubilee at the Hatshepsut Temple, and the French fashion designer Christian Dior had used the Giza Pyramids for a catwalk event.
“These are the only events that we know of as they were broadcast on social media platforms and media,” said the official, pointing out that there are also private events held at archaeological sites such as marriage parties and business receptions.
The event at the Temple of Hatshepsut was the perfect means to attract tourists to Upper Egypt and to promote festival tourism in the region, Mohamed Othman, head of the Cultural Tourism Marketing Committee in Luxor, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
The Adriatique concert had raised hotel occupancy rates in Luxor to 100 per cent, including at one-star hotels. Accommodation prices had also increased during the event by 30 per cent.
Broadcasting concerts via social media generates free publicity for archaeological sites, he said, adding that clips from such concerts could be used in promotional films for Egyptian destinations. They would also raise the appetite of investors in Upper Egypt, revealing that his committee would organise more art events in Luxor.
The event was held within the framework of the ministry’s new branding strategy that is being overseen by a British-Canadian consortium and aims to show potential visitors the diversity of experiences that Egypt has to offer, Amr Al-Kadi, CEO of the Egypt Tourism Authority (ETA) that sponsored the event, told the Weekly.
“‘One trip is not enough’ runs the sales pitch to experience Egypt’s magnificent monuments and archaeological sites and its contemporary culture, including arts, film, music, and fashion,” Al-Kadi said.
It aims to foreground Egypt’s creative spirit and position the country as a year-round destination blessed with wonderful weather.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 23 February, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly