Sunday, July 24, 2016

News: Construction of Grand Egyptian Museum to Be Completed by Year’s End and Partially Opened in Mid-2017 - Minister of Antiquities

Museum of Islamic Art will be reopened this month and the Museum of Malawi next month.

The Ministry of Antiquities aims to complete construction of the first phase of the Grand Egyptian Museum before the end of the year. The museum will be partially opened by mid-2017. Meanwhile, the ministry is considering a number of proposals and suggestions to increase its resources, following the decline in tourism revenues, which dropped down to EGP 229.8m from EGP 1.273bn in 2010.

Daily News Egypt recently sat down with Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany, who revealed that the ministry is reviewing potential new sources of revenue. These sources will be presented at the upcoming Supreme Council of Antiquities meeting next week. The most prominent ideas suggested are placing advertisements on tickets to archaeological sites and offering package ticket deals to tourists.

How will the ministry deal with the decline in revenue and lower visitor numbers? What are the new ideas for developing revenue resources?

The ministry is studying several proposals and ideas for implementation in the coming period in order to improve the ministry’s revenue sources. We are considering putting forward package ticket deals that include a number of archaeological sites and are valid for several days at discounted rates, depending on the number of days and the sites included.

This proposal is not something new. Many countries around the world offer similar kinds of tickets. These packages should encourage tourists to visit more archaeological areas as they will not need to waste time buying tickets at each site.

The ministry is also studying the launch of the first auction of its kind for companies to place their advertisements on entry tickets to archaeological sites before the end of this year. We are currently reviewing the feasibility of the proposal and whether to offer a collective bid or separate bids for each area.

Does the ministry have a vision to improve inbound tourism? What are the most important operational steps?

We must first admit that the tourism crisis has many reasons behind it. It has been impacted by events across the region. It is also influenced by security. The ministry is promoting Egyptian antiquities around the world via TV channels and international media.

The ministry has opened new archaeological sites and reopened palaces, museums, and monuments that were shut down in 2011 or the two years following. This aims to change Egypt’s image and assure tourists that Egypt is safe. Allowing the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to stay open at night also highlights the safety of the entire downtown district, which will attract more tourists. The government has also been developing airport security for the same purposes.

We have recently opened the Pyramid Complex of Unas in Saqqara and the Tombs of Nefertari in Luxor. We also lowered the ticket price for groups of 15 people or fewer from EGP 19,000 to EGP 1,000.

The ministry also opened the first permanent exhibition for high-quality replicas at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir last week. I want to point out that garnering large revenues is not necessary at first, as the exhibition will serve as an initiative to improve revenues by opening similar exhibitions abroad.

What is the ministry’s plan for fully utilising archaeological sites, cafeterias, and bazaars near them?

The Supreme Council of Antiquities has cut down the rent value by 60% for cafeterias and 70% for bazaars. We aim to encourage tenants to continue their leases.

The council has also launched a closed-envelope bid to rent out 15 closed cafeterias and bazaars near archaeological sites. The committee to decide on the bid will meet next week and award the cafeterias and bazaars, after receiving all technical and financial bids. The 15 cafeterias and bazaars offered last week were in Cairo, Giza, Suez, Luxor, and Aswan... Read More.

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