By Kraig Becker : Adventure and Outdoor Travel Expert
It is no secret that the Egyptian tourism sector has struggled in recent years. First, the economic downturn of 2008 hit the entire travel industry hard, and in 2011 the country underwent a revolution that brought a period of unrest and uncertainty that lasted for three years. But now things are quiet and calm in Cairo, and a sense of normalcy is returning to Egypt at long last. So far, that hasn’t resulted in a return of travelers just yet, but here are 9 reasons why now is the right time to go.
As Egypt’s tourism market matures, the country has found other ways to lure travelers beside its magnificent ancient ruins. For instance, the White Desert is an amazing place to visit, as is the sleepy little town of Siwa Oasis. Sahara Desert safaris and overnight camping excursions add a much needed dose of adventure, while beach resorts on the Mediterranean and Red Seas offer travelers a chance to relax and indulge themselves. The number of things to see and do in Egypt has never been so diverse, and the opportunities are only continuing to expand.
You’ll Feel Very Safe
Following the arrival of the Arab Spring back in 2011 Egypt entered a period of unrest that lasted for more than three years. During that time it was not uncommon for violent protests to breakout, as various political factions vied for power there. But since the election of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2014, the country has become calm and stable once again. In fact, there wasn’t a single time while I was there that I felt unsafe or threatened in any way. On top of that, there were no signs of any kind of protests or disruptions either. I got the sense that the people of Egypt were now in a more optimistic place, and were looking forward to a brighter future.
Archaeologists Are Still Finding New Things
Despite the fact that roughly a third of the world’s antiquities already exist in Egypt, archaeologists continue to uncover more. For instance, a 4000+ year old temple was just discovered near Aswan, and over the past four years, more than 1400 other artifacts have been found in the Luxor region alone. That means that there are even more things for visitors to see than there was in the past, providing more opportunities to experience the rich history and culture that the country is so well known for.
It’s Less Expensive!
With tourism numbers down, there are travel deals to be had across all of Egypt. Favorable exchange rates help the situation even further, and street merchants are willing to part with their wares at lower prices too just to see some money coming in. That translates to a bargain for travelers who may never see Egypt be this inexpensive again.
Crowds Are Nonexistent
Egypt is home to some of the most impressive man-made structures ever built, not the least of which are the Pyramids at Giza. Prior to 2008, those monuments saw as many as 20,000 visitors per day, with massive crowds often surrounding the ancient pharaonic tombs. But on a recent visit to Cairo, I found the site to be nearly empty. In fact, there were few people there at all, which created a more intimate experience for those that were there. Venture out of Cairo to some of the other ancient sites, like those found in Aswan and Luxor, and the number of visitors drops even further. Both the Temple of Karnak and Luxor Temple were almost completely empty while I was there.
Egypt is Still Magical
With its ancient wonders and incredible relics, Egypt has been drawing visitors for centuries. Men like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte all came to Egypt to take in the sights. Even in a modern age the country still provides an amazing sense of awe and wonder that is hard to find anywhere else. Standing in the shadow of the Great Pyramid is a truly humbling experience, particularly when you consider the monumental effort that went into creating that structure. Other sites are equally breathtaking, including the incomparable Abu Simbel in the south, and the Valley of the Kings and Queens near Luxor. These places have the ability to transport you back in time, to a completely different age, when Pharos ruled the land, and Egypt was the envy of the world.
You’ll Feel Extremely Welcome
Since visitors haven’t exactly been flowing into the country over the past few years, you’ll find that many Egyptians will be very thankful that you made the effort to come. They know that their economy depends heavily on tourism – it accounts for nearly 3 million jobs – and that any visitors are helping to contribute to the country’s economic turn around. I had more than a few people thank me for coming, and there was a genuine sense of appreciation from the people there.
You’ll Be Doing Something Good
With the Egyptian economy struggling the way it is, any foreign visitor brings a much needed influx of cash with them. This helps countless people who work in the tourism industry, including hotel employees, restaurant owners, tour guides, and numerous others. By visiting Egypt, and spending your money there, you’re helping the country get back on the road to recovery.
Travelers Will Return
This current downturn in the number of travelers visiting Egypt won’t last forever. The country holds an undeniable appeal, and now that things have stabilized, expect the tourism market to begin to pick up soon. There has already been a nearly 7% increase in visitors for the first quarter of 2015 alone, and some analysts believe that it could leap to as high as 20% by the end of the year. That means that if you don’t go now, you run the risk of battling the large crowds that were common at popular sites in the past.
Now, are you ready?! Join us in Egypt in October of 2017!