Egypt hopes discovery of 7,000 year-old city will heal tourism

Egypt’s tourism industry is shattered due to long-lasting political instability and a series of airline disasters.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Egypt is described as “Cradle of Civilization” thanks to archeological excavations proving that pre-dynastic Egyptians inhabited the territory of the north african country since 6,000 B.C.

Archaeologists discovered a 7,000-year-old city in Egypt’s southern province of Sohag last week, a development that might be a boon for the tourism industry in the north African country.

Egypt was among the most visited tourism centres in the world thanks to its historical treasure. Since 2011 however, it has suffered endless setbacks due to the public protests against the country's dictatorship in 2011, a military coup in 2013 and a series of airline disasters.

The city discovered by archeologists lies by the river Nile, 400 metres away from the Temple of Seti the First in the Egyptian city of Abydos.

Archaeologists have found 15 huge graves, some of which are larger than the royal graves discovered in Abydos. This proves that the city housed high-ranking people and had a high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history, according to Ministry of Antiquities.

Tourism is a mainstay of the Egyptian economy because the industry is a vital source of employment.

The industry took its first hit after the 2011 uprisings against former ruler Hosni Mubarak and created political unrest in Egypt. Tourist numbers dropped from 14.7 million in 2010 to 9.8 million in 2011.

Egyptians elected a president for the first time in 2012. But a military coup overthrew the elected president Mohammed Morsi only one year later. 

Egypt lost its stature in the international arena with many human rights groups criticising the coup and the crackdown on Morsi supporters.

The country's tourism industry never recovered from these series of events.

Since the military coup, more than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands others jailed.

In addition, a Russian passenger plane disintegrated above the northern Sini desert after departing from Egypt in 2015.

An EgyptAir flight that took off in Paris crashed into the Mediterranean sea this year. These two airline disasters further frightened tourists dreaming of a vacation to Egypt.

Only 1.2 million tourists travelled to Egypt in the first quarter this year, down from 2.2 million a year earlier.


TRTWorld and agencies