Egypt: Morgan Freeman in Cairo to Tell "The Story of God"
If you're wondering whether you just ran into a Morgan Freeman lookalike in Khan El-Khalili, wonder no more. The Hollywood superstar is actually in town to film a new documentary series called "The Story of God" and you're very likely to run into him in one of Cairo's many tourist attractions.
The Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning actor arrived in the Egyptian capital on Sunday and has filmed in Cairo's al-Hussein neighbourhood which hosts one of Egypt's famous mosques and in the nearby Khan al-Khalili bazaar, one of the most popular tourist spots in Old Cairo, the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.
Freeman, 78, also filmed in el-Fishawy cafe, a coffeehouse dating back to the 18th century.
Host and one of the executive producers of the global series, "The Story of God", a National Geographic production, is scheduled to be aired in 2016. The star once described the series as a "passion project for us for many years."
Freeman started acting when he was a child and has since starred in major Hollywood productions and is known for his deep and distinct voice.
Egypt's Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said the Hollywood actor's stay in Egypt is being coordinated between the Egyptian government and the organising company.
Zaazou is due to meet the American movie star at the site of the Giza pyramids and the Sphinx to "support" and "promote" cultural tourism, the ministry said. Freeman's agenda in Egypt includes a Nile cruise and a visit to Luxor, which hosts the Valley of Kings and is home to the ruins of Ancient Egyptian temples and monuments which constitute one third of global antiquities.
Zaazou said visits by arts and sports stars like Freeman can contribute to improving the "mental image" of the country and promoting Egypt as a tourist destination.
Egypt is currently trying to revive its tourism sector, which was a main source of income until years of political turmoil, triggered by an uprising in 2011, drove tourists away, taking its toll on the sector.
In August, the Egyptian government announced that global marketing and advertising agency J. Walter Thomposn (JWT) has won a three-year contract to push a global marketing campaign for Egyptian tourism worth $22 million annually, starting this month.
Last month, the tourism sector was hit with a setback when Egyptian security forces mistakenly attacked a convoy of Mexican tourists in al-Wahat area in the Western desert, believing they were terrorists. A dozen people were killed in the incident, including eight Mexicans and four Egyptians.
Despite the instability in the country, tourism accounts for 11.3 percent of the gross domestic product and is the source of seven percent of foreign currency, the government said in April.