Antiquities Minister: Giza Pyramids Development Project resumed
Giza Pyramids - REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO: The second phase of Giza Pyramids development and rehabilitation project will be completed by the end of July, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh el-Damaty said in a statement Tuesday.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab launched a three-phase project mid-April to revive Egypt’s archaeological sites, particularly in the Giza plateau. The project is the collaborative work of a tripartite committee comprising experts from Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities and the Giza governorate.

Mahlab inaugurated the completion of the first phase of the project Saturday and pledged to finish the second phase by the end of July, Al-Ahram reported.

During the first phase of the project, the four side-entrances to the site have been closed down, restricting entry and exit to legal entrances only, Mahmoud Shoukry of the Tourism Promotion Authority told The Cairo Post.

“All the inner roads surrounding the site linking between the three pyramids and the sphinx have been paved along with over 50 surveillance cameras that have been installed all around the site,” Shoukry said.

The second phase, which began on Saturday, will focus on improving public services for tourists, including the setting up of several mobile lavatories. There will also be giant tents by the entrance and the exit of the site along with the entrances into the three pyramids, he added.

As for the third phase, Shoukry said it will start early September and will last for two months.

Vendors, photographers, horse and camel owners will be licensed, medically tested along with their crime history being investigated. They will be assigned with numbers in order to make it easier to track them in case of a tourist complaint, Shoukry said.

“Vendors are being more aggressive to their clients day after day,” freelance tour guide Hamed Mostafa told The Cairo Post and that many of his guests were either sexually harassed or forced to buy souvenirs during their tour at the Giza pyramids.

“Vendors present a bad and untrue image of Egypt and because of their toughness, tourists sometimes are forced to shorten their visit,” Mostafa said.

Fixed routes and prices will be assigned for horse- and camel-back rides, Shoukry said.

The tourism sector has been in unprecedented decline since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and several European countries issued travel advices or bans to Egypt since.

Egypt received around two million tourists in the first three months of 2014, a 30 percent drop from the same period in the previous year, according to a Tourism Ministry official statement in April.

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