Thursday, September 18, 2014

News: Google Street View takes you in a virtual tour to Ancient Egypt

Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou views Google Street View tour of Giza Pyramids -  Photo courtesy of Tourism Ministry
Walking tours of Egypt’s major tourist destinations are now available from a computer screen, as Google launched Wednesday evening its 360-degree Street View imagery of Giza Pyramids and five other tourist attractions.

“Google’s team of professional photographers has used Trekker camera system to capture panoramic and immersive images of Giza Pyramids, the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, the Citadel of Saladin, the Hanging Church, the ancient city of Abu Mena and Alexandria’s Citadel of Qaitbay,” Tarek Abdalla, head of Marketing for Google Middle East and North Africa, said in a press conference in downtown Cairo Wednesday.

The six archaeological sites were shot using 75-megapixel cameras that were carried on the back of professional photographers in areas where motor vehicles were not allowed, Abdalla said. The captured scenes were stitched together into panoramas, Abdalla added.

‘We captured unique places around the world and made them available and accessible for users worldwide. We’re very happy to bring the Pyramids to Google Maps Street View,” Abdallah said. The move follows Tourism Ministry plans to promote tourism in Egypt using the latest internet techniques, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said during the conference.

The move also comes few weeks before the start of Egypt’s high season of cultural tourism from October to April. “Amid the amazing and rapid development in information technology during the past 10 years or so, there has been a notable decrease in traditional tourism promotion campaigns,” Zaazou said.

Egypt depends on tourism for 20 percent of its hard currency and the losses in the sector since the January 25 Revolution are estimated at $6.8 billion, according to the ministry. “The ministry’s new strategy will focus on internet promotion campaigns which, unlike newspaper-based and TV-based campaigns, are cheaper and accessible to millions of people,” Zaazou added.

Between July 2013 and March 2014, revenues from the tourism sector decreased by 57.3 percent compared to the same period in 2012-2013, according to the Central Bank of Egypt’s report issued in May.

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