By Mohamed Abdel Monsef and Abdel Razek Elshoweikhy
Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou passed a decision last Sunday to re-start long Nile cruises from Luxor and Cairo. Two days ago the first cruise arrived in Menya.
General Director of Tourism at the governorate, Osama Wadie, said that the boat docked at the Ekhnaton port of the city. The port was recently developed by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT).
The floating hotel’s guests are organising a visit to Beni Hassan, an Ancient Egyptian cemetery site located 23 kilometeres south of Menya. After this, guests will visit Tel el-Amarna, an extensive Egyptian archeological site built by Pharaoh Akhenaton, 12 KM to the south of the town Malawy (58 kilometeres to the south of Menya). Guests are expected to leave Menya tomorrow, he added.
Zaazou confirmed that another boat will dock at Menya coming from Aswan by end of month. In addition, re-operating the Nile cruises will open doors to develop the touristic sites in Menya, where 1 million tourists per year are expected to visit.
Abdel Rahman Anwar, Deputy Chairman of the Investors’ Association for Floating Hotels, said that the hotels have yet to receive notifications from the MOT to set sail, despite the fact that announcements are running across different media.
Anwar added that the hotels have been waiting for these notifications from the Ministry and the Chamber of Hotels to begin their marketing campaigns across different marketplaces. Anwar also expected that the recent Rafah events will not have an impact on the incoming tourist flow, provided that security stabilizes.
For the moment, hotel prices in Luxor and Aswan are at occupancy rates of between 30 and 40 percent and cost between $25 and $35 per person and between $60 and $70 per room per night.