Goway is urging people to consider vacationing in Egypt, with Moira Smith – who oversees the tour operator’s Africa program – telling a Toronto audience yesterday (March 15) that she visited the country in June and “I think it’s getting a bad rap.”
Egyptian tourism has struggled in recent years because of security concerns, but Smith told the gathering that the only thing they need fear in Cairo “is the traffic.”
Smith praised the “so historic” Egyptian capital and noted that the Grand Egyptian Museum is slated to open near the Pyramids next year and its displays will include treasures from King Tut’s tomb that haven’t previously been displayed.
Security fears were heightened by the crash of a Russian passenger plane in the Sinai that Western intelligence agencies suggested was brought down by a bomb. But Smith said Egyptian authorities have since brought in an English risk management company to oversee the likes of security at Sharm El Sheik’s airport and she’s confident that it’s safe. The Sharm El Sheikh area offers “world-class diving,” she continued.
Smith also praised the interior city of Luxor, which some suggest is home to a third of the world’s antiquities, and farther south is Abu Simbel, home to towering statues of a pharaoh.
Goway offers Nile cruises that enable people to see archeological sites and day-to-day lives of the Egyptian people, Smith noted.
A plus for those visiting Egypt now is there are small numbers of visitors at the archeological sites that were previously crowded, Smith added.
Smith also praised Jordan, saying the Jordanian site of Jerash has the “best-preserved Greco-Roman ruins anywhere.”
Smith noted Jordan also has many Biblical sites, and it’s also home to storied Petra, home to dramatic structures literally carved from rockfaces.
As well, landscapes from the desert retreat of Wadi Rum appeared in the Matt Damon movie The Martian, Smith pointed out.
Smith said Jordan is safe, despite turmoil in bordering countries, quoting Malia Asfour of the Jordan Tourist Board North America, who says her homeland is found between “Iraq and a hard place.”
Pictured are Goway’s Aubrey Schmidt and Smith and South African Airway’s David Chorley.