2020 was billed as the year to return to Egypt. Cairo’s much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum was set to open this year full of repatriated treasures, resorts and flight routes reported increasing inbound bookings following a rocky period for tourism. That was until Pandemic travel restrictions killed the rebounding tourism industry, dead.
The Giza pyramids which were set to welcome up to 15 million tourists this year are left unvisited. In response local authorities have decided to take the opportunity to give these wonders of the ancient world a deep clean.
“We started the first phase of disinfection and there are other phases. We are in the process of disinfecting all tourist sites, though the artifacts themselves require specific materials and (cleaning) must be carried out by a specialized team of excavators,” said the director general for Giza’s pyramids, Ashraf Mohie El-Din.
However, he was quick to point out they were not cleaning the ancient structures themselves. Just disinfecting areas which might have come into contact with tourists.
“We are making use of this period to sanitise the entire area, but also to carry out some maintenance work and renovation to have this area ready to accept visitors again.”
With flights suspended to Egypt, officials have been sterilising tourist sites and hotels throughout the country, reported The New York Post.
The country’s museums and archaeological sites were closed to the public last week, as Egypt’s counts over 700 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and 46 deaths. The transient tourism population is being blamed squarely for most of these cases. At the beginning of the month a cruise ship on the Nile travelling between Aswan and Luxor reported 33 carriers on board.
Almost 12-per cent of Egypt’s GDP relies on tourism. The country was initially cautious to restrict inbound travel, reported the Guardian. The first flights to be suspended were the national carrier EgyptAir’s routes to Kuwait, on March 7, which had initially appeared to be a hot spot for the virus in the Gulf States.
• Covid19.govt.nz: The Government’s official Covid-19 advisory website