CAIRO: The Ministry of Antiquities is 1.2 billion EGP in debt (U.S. $170 million). It owes 869 million EGP (U.S. $126 million) to the Ministry of Finance and 300 million EGP (U.S. $43 million) to construction companies for renovating a group of museums and archaeological sites, Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Youm7 on Saturday.
Ibrahim also said that the revenue of the ministry over the past two years has plummeted by over 70 percent compared to revenue achieved in 2010. He attributed this to the low tourist traffic since the revolution of 2011 and the travel bans of major countries from which Egypt sources tourists following the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins in August.
Al-Ahram reported that the Ministry of Antiquities and the Egyptian Tourism Federation signed an agreement in April pursuant thereto a dollar voluntarily paid by a tourist for every night they spend at a hotel is allocated to the ongoing construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), neighboring the Giza Pyramids. GEM is described as the largest archaeological museum in the world and is scheduled to open in 2015.
The ministries of Antiquities and Tourism are coordinating to hold festivals in the cities of Luxor and Aswan in southern Egypt in order to restore tourist flights, Youm7 reported. The two cities are estimated to contain about a third of the most valuable monuments and antiquities in the world.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been contacting its counterparts in various countries to lift travel bans. Among the countries that already have lifted the ban are Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, and Czech Republic.