Egypt inaugurates renovation project for pyramids plateau
Web Editor:國際日報 International Daily News
The opening ceremony of the first phase of the Pyramids Plateau renovation was held in Egypt's capital Cairo, marking the beginning of the first cooperation between the private sector and the antiquities authority to modernize services provided at the country's tourist attractions.
The renovation project will help sites provide better services to visitors at the ancient wonders and will redesign the entire experience of visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, a prime attraction in the country.
For decades, tour operators limited the duration of visits as the sites lacked essentials such as food or toilets. Now the renovation will provide a fuller experience and the addition of new amenities will help boost repeat visits.
"Hospitality is not our job, it's not our strength. How do we host the tourists and make them live through a unique experience? This is what makes tourists return," said Khaled El Anany, Minister for Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt.
Upon the project's completion, there will be a variety of restaurants and gift shops inside the Pyramids area, and visitors will be able to enjoy an eco-friendly hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which connects a revamped visitors center with the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids.
"We actually have a Chinese bus, so the first bus that arrived to this historical place is a Chinese bus. Excellent quality, excellent in everything, the bus has WiFi, it has cameras all over, it has screens. It has a special entry for wheelchairs and everything. That's only a part. The second part is about modernizing all the (bus) stops," said Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Investment Holding.
Egyptian private enterprises are playing an important role in the renovation.
"The electric bus is a big budget but it's not everything. We are now revamping the old engineering building to make it a complex of restaurants. This by itself, just to make the exterior revamp, it is costing us 70 million Egyptian Pounds (about 4.45 million U.S. dollars). There is a percentage and a minimum guarantee from the profit sharing. So there is definitely a big share that will go to the government. So it's win-win for both of us," said Ashraf Halim, CEO of the company called Orascom Pyramids Entertainment.
Pyramid entry tickets, camel rides and other tours will be available to book and pay online.
The government is hoping to revitalize Egypt's tourism industry by improving the destination management the Pyramids of Giza.
By eliminating the self-imposed vendors and bargaining, this project will make the visit to the Pyramids much more enjoyable, and make the tourism more profitable for the state and the managing company.