The Ministry of Tourism will launch a trip following the Holy Family’s path through Egypt this Tuesday in collaboration with Chairman of the International Tourism Sector Ahmed Shoukry.
Egyptaims to increase the number of tourists from South Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, Shoukry said. He added the Tourism Activation Authority has coordinated with the various governorates the Virgin Mary is alleged to have passed through.
An official source within the Ministry of Tourism said that Egypt hopes to attract at least 500,000 tourists during the first year of the trip’s launch.
The official added that the programme will include three transportation method options: land travel via tourist busses, long Nile cruises that depart from Cairo, Minya, or Beni Suef and travel between Al-Muharraq Monastery and Assiyut, or via air.
Daily News Egypt recently reported that the Ministry of Tourism aims to increase revenues by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 to $10.5bn, up from $5bn in FY 2013/2014.
The trip will range between five and seven days, during which tourists will follow the purported path the Virgin Mary travelled to escape King Herod’s decree to kill all newborns, Shoukry said.
He added that there will be an advertising campaign for European and Asian markets to promote the new tour.
Shoukry said that the Ministry is coordinating with international tourism companies to operate the trip, and expects to increase development operations in Upper Egypt. Plans include constructing hotels and restaurants, creating job opportunities.
The Holy Family Trip sets off from the town of Al-Arish in northern Sinai and moves through the Eastern Delta and Wadi Natroun. The tour will eventually reach Assiut and the Al-Muharraq Monastery.
The total number of tourists in the past eight months reached approximately 6.3 million, a decrease of 13% compared to last year.
“Coordination has taken place with several agencies, including the Ministry of Interior, to provide security for the journey,” A Ministry of Tourism official said. “We also coordinated with local governments within the provinces, the Ministries of Irrigation and Aviation, and the Egyptian Hotels Association.”