Sunday, August 21, 2016

Egyptian landmarks renovated to protect sites, revive tourism | CCTV America

Egyptian landmarks renovated to protect sites, revive tourism

The Pyramids of Giza, one of Egypt's most famous sites, is undergoing a makeover. It's part of a drive to help revive the country's tourism industry. The process includes cleaning up the ruins, implementing more measures to prevent people from defacing them, and organizing street vendors.

CCTV's Adel EL Mahrouky reports.

Egypt allocates over $30 million to restore ancient structures.

In 2015, one million tourists flocked to Egypt, the lowest in years. Roughly one-third of the number recorded in 2010.

One of the main reasons is the ban Russia implemented following the downing of one of its aircraft over the Sinai in October 2015.

Egypt is hoping the ban will be lifted by the end of this year.

"All of Egypt is undergoing some kind of renovation, from the pyramids to the statues on bridges in downtown Cairo. We're trying to send a message to the world that we're taking care of our heritage, so tourists can come and see these important sites," Ghareeb Sonbol, restoration chief of Egypt antiquities ministry, said.

Egypt has allocated more than $30 million to the restoration of the pyramids.

The process includes building new entrances, a panoramic cinema and an electric train to transport visitors across the vast area.

Authorities want to centralize vendors and the process of renting horses and camels.

They're also planning to increase the presence of security officers.

"We need to implement a stricter security program. We will create signs clearly displaying the rules. In some places, photography will be banned; in others no climbing will be allowed. It's not just about ascending the pyramids; some visitors ruin the sites by writing on them," Sonbol said.

In February, a German tourist was banned from Egypt for life for climbing to the top of the Great Pyramid.

Standing in the middle of the desert, there is a great deal of effort needed to put the entire pyramids area back in shape. Egypt hopes it will finish this renovation process before tourists start to come back hopefully by the end of this year.