CAIRO: Egypt’s tourism advisor in Berlin Mohamed Gamal announced a leading German tour operator has decided to resume operation of Nile cruise packages running from Cairo to Aswan starting from early March, Youm7 reported Monday.
The announcement came during Germany’s annual Reisen Hamburg 2015 international exhibition for tourism and caravanning that was held from Feb. 4 – 8.
“Phoenix Reisen is set to launch weekly 14-night Nile cruise packages running from Cairo to Aswan starting from March 3 and for 15 weeks. The move comes following positive reports submitted by members of the German delegation that participated in the Quality Tourism Alliance (QTA), Germany’s biggest tourism fair, held in Luxor on Oct. 17,” said Gamal.
Aswan-Cairo Nile cruise packages, better known as the Super Long Nile Cruise, were halted for security reasons following the Luxor massacre when 62 people, mostly tourists, were shot dead by Islamist militants at the temple of Queen Hatshepsut in the west bank in Luxor in November 1997, Mohammed Ayoub, chairman of the Chamber of Floating Hotels told The Cairo Post Monday.
“The package was halted also due to the variable depth of the River Nile throughout the year which has repeatedly caused damage to the submerged parts of the cruise ship’s hull and the bottom structure leading ships to aground accordingly,” according to Ayoub.
“During the period between January and September 2014, 620,000 German tourists visited Egypt and spent 5 million tourist nights,” Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said in a news conference in October.
Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Despite a few instances of apparent recovery, continuous instability, political turmoil and a lack of security have remained challenges to the sector.
Egypt depends on tourism for around 20 percent of its hard currency. The sector’s total investments are valued at $9.8 billion, according to the Ministry of Tourism.