Bringing Tourists back to Egypt

In order to encourage tourism again after the violent revolution in Egypt last year, the 4,500 year old tomb inside the Pyramid of Khafre will be opened later this year (Washington Post, 2012).  This is one of the three pyramids on the Giza plateau, and while not the largest—the Great Pyramid of Khufu holds that title—it is the only one of the three to still retain parts of its original limestone casement.

The tomb itself belongs to Queen Meresankh III, one of the wives of the 4th Dynasty pharaoh Khafre.  Queen Meresankh III died suddenly, and her mother volunteered the tomb for her daughter (Washington Post, 2012).  This tomb has been closed to the public for many years in order to repair damages and alterations made to the tomb from when it was previously open; thus, the reopening is meant to be an important and symbolic event for Egypt.  As Ali Asfar, director general of archaeology on the Giza plateau stated “We want to give people a reason to come back, to give them something new” (Washington Post, 2012).  Five additional tombs belonging to high priests will also be opened for the public.  One such example is the tomb of Kaemankh who was one of the royal treasurers (Washington Post, 2012).

It is the public’s fascination with ancient Egypt (“Egyptomania” if you will), that the country is hoping to evoke in order to bring tourists back in.  By reopening an ancient tomb, Egyptian archaeologists are trying to entice an international audience to come explore ancient wonders and demonstrate that the country is a safe and inviting place for tourists once again.  Hopefully, for the sake of the Egyptian tourism industry, this ploy will increase the number of visitors to the country and will show that Egypt is once again a safe locale for foreign visitors.

2 thoughts on “Bringing Tourists back to Egypt

  1. It is fascinating how artifacts from so long ago can end up meaning so much to a modern nation. Besides giving Egyptians this common history to tie everyone together, it brings people from abroad to see the ancient wonders. It’s surprising to me how Egypt can be so dependent on these foreign tourists. However, I’m easily sucked into museums, so I understand that there must be plenty of people who would pay to see great monuments and artifacts. If I could go to Egypt and see everything firsthand, I would.

    I wonder what the power is of seeing something in person. Today, images of many great Egyptian feats are available in books and on the Internet. Despite this, people still feel the pull to go and see everything for themselves. People want to stand by the pyramids or look into the face of King Tut’s mask.

    I can’t imagine how devastating it must be for the Egyptian tourist economy when foreigners can’t afford to make these trips or don’t feel safe enough to come. So much relies on people’s need to see things for themselves and stand where the Ancient Egyptians stood. Egypt pulls people in even across time which is a testament to its great power.

  2. I remember when I was fortunate enough to stand inside the Great Pyramid at Giza and the thrill of imagining the ancient Egyptians that had stood in the same spot I was standing. It saddens me to think about how the political revolution in Egypt has changed the tourism of the country so much. It is hard to imagine the temples of Luxor and Aswan sitting empty with tourist that choose to travel to Egypt heading to Red Sea resorts.

    I know that I would love to go back to Egypt and the re-opening of Meresankh’s tomb inside the Pyramid of Khafre as well as five high priest’s tombs are great incentives. Thinking about how long these places have been closed it is an incredible opportunity to see them. This will give tourists just another reason to visit the country and individuals who have traveled there in the past a new reason to come back. I agree with the chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, Elhamy el-Zayat, who was interviewed in the Washington Post article that people will come back to these sites of cultural heritage in Egypt because Egypt is attractive. The sites of Egypt are places of awe and full of history which tourists when they feel safe will again flock to see and experience.

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