Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani has told Daily News Egypt that the Director of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) must be Egyptian.
Whilst denying any intention to appoint a foreigner to the Directorship post, Al-Anani said that he believes there may be foreign experts and service operators employed in the major museum.
In that regard, the Minister met with the Committee of Specialized Experts and the Evaluation Committee, the team responsible for the preparation of documents for operating the museum’s services and the technical advisory offices.
During the meeting, which took place at the GEM on Friday, the participants discussed the latest developments in preparation for the coalition that will provide and operate the services at the Grand Egyptian Museum.
The experts reviewed the latest developments in activities being undertaken by the specialised committees prior to the museum’s official opening in 2021. The final formation of the coalition that will provide and operate the museum’s services will be announced in December 2020.
Al-Anani told Daily News Egypt that some museums around the world employ foreign directors, but only for non-national museums that contain artefacts from different countries. This will not be the case with the GEM, due to the fact that all exhibits and artefacts that will be presented at the museum are entirely Egyptian.
He added that it is more important for the GEM Director to be a successful administrator rather than an archaeologist.
The Minister revealed that Egypt received 500,000 tourists in the period from early July, when inbound international flights resumed in Egypt, until 14 November. The significant number, despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is the result of the commitment of Egyptian hotels to effectively putting in place precautionary measures.
Al-Anani said that these numbers are positive due to the fact that two-thirds of the tourists who come to Egypt are from European destinations, despite the fact that most countries in the continent have suspended travel.
Another tranche of visitors to Egypt are from Arab countries, which had also closed their airports. Currently the remaining tourists, who represent 15% of the total number, come from Ukraine, Belorussia, Serbia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Kazakhstan.
The minister noted that Egypt’s tourism experience amid the COVID-19 crisis has proven its success, with the testimony of foreign tourists from the 15 countries who came to Egypt during the previous period.
He assured that the success was due to the precautionary measures taken by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, with the participation of the Ministry of Health. Its success has also been due to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s close follow-up, as well as the commitment of all hotels and tourism institutions to the precautionary measures.
Al-Anani added that there is no intention to impose a new lockdown in the tourism sector. He said that the number one priority is for the health of Egyptian citizens and tourists alike. As a result, museums and archaeological sites will remain open while following precautionary measures.
The minister said that the new tourism licences law will be approved soon, and will facilitate tourism investment to boost Egypt’s tourism sector.