Archaeological Discovery In Egypt To Boost Tourism
Travelwirenews reports in a major archaeological discovery, Egypt on Saturday unveiled the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official adorned with colourful reliefs and well preserved inscriptions. The tomb, near Saqqara, a vast necropolis south of Cairo, belongs to a senior official named Khuwy who is believed to have been a nobleman during the Fifth Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt about 4300 years ago. “The L-shaped Khuwy tomb starts with a small corridor heading downwards into an antechamber and from there a larger chamber with painted reliefs depicting the tomb owner seated at an offerings table,” said Mohamed Megahed, the excavation team’s head, in an antiquities ministry statement. Flanked by dozens of ambassadors, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enani said the tomb was discovered last month. It is mostly made of white limestone bricks. Ornate paintings boast a special green resin throughout and oils used in the burial process, the ministry said. The tomb’s north wall indicates that its design was inspired by the architectural blueprint of the dynasty’s royal pyramids, the statement added. The excavation team has unearthed several tombs related to the Fifth Dynasty. Archaeologists recently found an inscription on a granite column dedicated to Queen Setibhor, who is believed to have been the wife of King Djedkare Isesis, the eighth and penultimate king of the dynasty. Egypt has in recent years sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism that took a hit from the turmoil that followed its 2011 uprising.
Travel and Tour published on Thursday, February 21, 2019, this article on Saudi Arabia that aims to attract 1.5m tourists by 2020 all according to its Prince Mohamed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030. In this prince’s vision, diversification of the economy is emphasised and Tourism as a segment of it, is aimed at increasing the State revenue.
Tourism has turned out to be the
central development theme in Vision 2030 for Saudi Arabia, and as the Kingdom
gradually opens its doors to tourists from around the world, its own citizens
are also considered as one the fastest growing segment in the global travel
With travel bookings in the Kingdom
considered the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, worth
more than $25 billion each year, the power of the Saudi traveller is strong,
which was reflected in recently concluded Jeddah International Travel and
Tourism Exhibition (JTTX), where thousands of Saudis, including women, attended
The show is touted as the largest
travel trade show in Kingdom, featuring outbound destinations for Saudi
tourists and travel companies showcasing various lucrative options.
The JTTX ninth edition was formally
inaugurated by Prince Saud Bin Abdallah Bin Jalawi, Advisor to Makkah Governor
and also secretary at Jeddah Governorate. The show was held under patronage of
Prince Mishal Bin Majed, Governor of Jeddah.
More than 200 exhibitors from 29
countries took part in JTTX which was held at Hilton Hotel. There were stalls
displaying a wide range of tourism facilities such hotels, resorts, airlines,
travel technologies, medical and educational tourism.
A majority of the Kingdom’s tourists
travel to the UAE, Bahrain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Turkey and the UK
as top holiday destinations.
However, new destinations like Kerala
in India, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and Georgia emerge as new destinations for
The show also featured eight new
destinations: Hong Kong, Finland, Spain, Mauritius, Morocco, Kosovo, Vietnam
and New Zealand with Tunisia being the guest of honor of the event.
West Bank (AP) – Palestinians are preparing to host pilgrims from around the
world in celebrating Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land,
crossed an Israeli military checkpoint from Jerusalem on Monday ahead of
midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of
locals and foreign visitors gathered in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing
Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree.
Tourism Minister Rula Maaya says “the whole world is looking toward
Bethlehem” and the Palestinians are ready to host them.
Christmas festivities traditionally bring a boost of holiday cheer to
Christians in the Holy Land, who make up just a small percentage of the local
During the Christmas season, Bethlehem in Palestine welcomes Christian worshipers from all denominations from all over the world. An estimated 10,000 were in the Square on Christmas Eve last year! It is an exciting, colorful and lively time during which a message of hope is broadcast around the world by the large number of media agencies covering Manger Square in which the Church of the Nativity is found.
What will we do?
You are invited to take part in this unique experience with To
Be There. We have a well-planned a program providing you with opportunities
to enjoy the Christmas season as well as gain an understanding of ancient and
recent history, and how the occupation affects the lives and the future of
Palestine and its people. Topics which will be covered during your visit
include Palestinian refugees, their legal status and the hardships they
face; Israeli settlement colonies which contribute to the forcible displacement
of Palestinians and land theft; the treatment by Israel of Palestinian children
and the documented violations of their rights; Palestinian political prisoners
and their treatment under military law; the Israeli infrastructure of
occupation and apartheid – walls, security zones, check points and much more.
Why should we come?
Palestinians enjoy welcoming foreign guests to participate in the procession to the Church lead by Palestinian scout groups from all over Palestine and Israel accompanied by the music of horns, bagpipes and drums. However, Christmas is experienced differently Bethlehem, providing an example of how Palestinians enjoy such occasions while living under the Israeli military occupation which imposes sever hardships on the people, restricting their freedom of movement, their livelihoods and economic and social well-being. Sadly, the occupation and its policies have turned Bethlehem in to a ghetto around which Israel continues to tighten the noose with its encroachment and development of settler colonies, ‘Jewish only’ restricted roads and security zones, checkpoints and military installations. In fact, Israeli controls 90% of tourism into Bethlehem. Christmas in Palestine is an opportunity to visit Palestine, to make a contribution to this vibrant community during the Holiday Season and witness the reality of occupation.
Tunisia looks to be recovering the tourist numbers it lost following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Sousse, while jobs and FDI are also rebounding thanks to a batch of reforms. Sebastian Shehadi reports.
Three years after the 2015 terrorist attack in Sousse, Tunisia is on track to achieve 8 million tourist arrivals in 2018, which would be higher than the figure in 2014. Correspondingly, FDI figures in the first half of 2018 have also increased.
Around 3.2 million tourists travelled to Tunisia between January and June 2018, a 26% rise on the same period in 2017 thanks to a 60% increase in European visitors, according to Reuters.
The return of tourism, a key pillar of Tunisia’s economy, is also reflected in a spending spree by luxury hotel chains in the past nine months. In late 2017, when Four Seasons Hotel Tunis first opened its doors, the Ritz-Carlton announced plans to construct a $129m hotel in the country, while the Movenpick Hotel du Lac Tunis announced a project in early 2018, and Anantara Tozeur Resort is due to open later in 2018.
As well as tourism, foreign investment into Tunisia climbed by 16% in the first five months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, according to a report published by Tunisia’s Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA).
“The increase in FDI is principally due to security stability improvements and the new investment law, effective since April 2017,” says Khalil Laabidi, general manager of FIPA. He adds that this has stimulated investment by simplifying procedures for investors, offering better legal protection and directing FDI into priority areas such as hi-tech industries and projects that create jobs for young people, especially in the interior regions.
Jobs created from greenfield FDI have surged during the first half of 2018, with 3431 new positions in Tunisia, marking almost double the annual figure since 2014, thanks to several large investments in hi-tech industries, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets.
In May, Algeria-based Condor Electronics invested in a television assembly plant that will create 1000 jobs, while Germany-based cable manufacturer Leoni expanded its plant in Messadine by creating 1200 new jobs. In the automotive OEM sector, China-based Dongfeng Motor Corporation plans to establish a new assembly plant in a joint venture that will create 864 jobs.
“FDI in Tunisia is very substantial in the manufacturing sector, especially in electronics, automotives and aerospace. However, FDI is also strong in the service sector and ICT,” says Mr Laabidi.
The main source of greenfield FDI into Tunisia since 2003 has been in the business and finance sector, which has attracted 82 projects in that timeframe, followed by 40 projects in IT services, 29 in fossils fuels, 24 in electrical components, and 24 in hotels and tourism.
Tunisia is aiming to become a regional technological leader for its industrial sector. In November 2017, the Tunisia Investment Forum showcased the progress being made in implementing new technologies in automotives, mechatronics, agri-business and pharmaceuticals.
Meanwhile, progress in the renewable energy sector is being made. Most of 2017’s greenfield FDI went into renewables, following major investments from Belgium-based WindVision and China’s Sinoma Energy Conservation, according to fDi Markets.
This wave of investment could be attributed to a new Tunisian law on the development of renewable energy, effective since May 2015, which permits the export of electricity made from renewables. The Tunisian government is aiming to increase the share of renewable electricity generation to 30% by 2030.
Most FDI into Tunisia comes from France, which has invested in 128 greenfield projects since 2003, followed by 37 projects from Germany, according to fDi Markets. France’s prestigious Insead Business School ranked Tunisia first in north Africa in terms of talent competitiveness, according to its 2017 Global Talent Competitiveness Index.
“Currently, our will is to diversify our partners [when it comes to] FDI origin. For instance, one of our major objectives is to [do more business with] Asia and the Far East,” says Mr Laabidi.
Tunisia’s business leaders are relatively optimistic, with 77% of chief executives having either positive or very positive expectations of local business conditions, according to Oxford Business Group’s ‘Business Barometer – Tunisia’, which surveyed more than 100 CEOs in Tunisia in early 2018.
Ouarzazate, Merzouga, and the Sahara desert (aka sand, camels, and more sand)
When most people think of Morocco, they probably don’t know too much about the country. Maybe they conjure up vague images of deserts or colorful market squares, or some couscous and a man wearing a fez. All of these do exist in some fashion, although Moroccan culture is definitely more rich and varied than its stereotypes. But the standout symbol that most people associate with Morocco is a camel, and the typical Bedouin nomad, scarf-wearing people that ride them into the desert, à la The Arabian Nights. I’m usually not one for overly touristy experiences, but I had heard that the Sahara desert was an unforgettable experience. To that effect, a few friends and I headed to Ouarzazate and Merzouga, two cities near the edge of the Sahara desert, this past weekend. Once there, we did the typical touristy camel trek into the desert, stayed overnight in tents to look at the stars, and headed back early in the morning. This trip had been on my Morocco bucket list for a while, and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint.
We departed from Marrakesh early Saturday morning, and headed through the high Atlas mountains. I was surprised by how much green vegetation there was growing high in the mountains. Sometimes you could even see snow at the top.
Passing through the Atlas mountains
Our goal was to reach Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, a small village that was an historic outpost along the caravan route between Marrakesh and Merzouga for desert traders. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site, with lots of red clay buildings. Sadly, it was a bit of a disappointment, as the city has almost entirely been made into a tourist stop, with lots of people selling overpriced scarves and trinkets. It has also been a filming site for lots of Biblical/Middle Eastern blockbusters, including Jesus of Nazareth, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gladiator. The view from the top was still pretty awesome, though.
After Ait Benhaddou, we made a quick stop in Ouarzazate, which has also been a film set for many famous movies. There’s even several film studios and a movie museum that has parts of old film sets. We also briefly drove through the center of town that’s known for its Rose Festival, which mainly manifested through a lot of small roadside shops selling violently pink rose-scented products.
That evening, we dumped our bags and slept at a small auberge (like a hotel) near the Dades Valley. The next day, we again started early, and went for a short hike through the Togoda canyons. On one roadside stop, we saw “الصحراء صحراؤنا” (The Sahara is our Sahara) carved into a mountainside, an ever-present reminder of Morocco’s claim over the Western Sahara.
It was almost evening when we arrived in Merzouga, with just enough time for us to drop our bags and head out to meet our camel caravan. We then trekked for about an hour and a half through the Erg Chebbi dunes (the second highest sand dunes in the world), just in time to disembark at our camp and climb the dunes to watch the sunset.
My camel’s name was Omar, and at first, our relationship did not get off to a good start. He made his displeasure known by grunting loudly as I climbed onto his back, although he eventually settled down once we started moving. Riding a camel is not exactly the most pleasant experience– it’s a bit bumpy, and sometimes I felt like I was going to fall off, but luckily there was a pommel on the front of the saddle you could hang on to. However, the view was absolutely amazing– the sand dunes rolled on in all directions, looking like frozen waves. It almost felt like we were on the moon, since the landscape was so dry and alien. We climbed to the top of a dune, which was much harder than I expected, and gave me a great appreciation for the camels’ two-toed, padded feet that kept them from slipping in the sand. As the sun set, you could see the sand slowly change color, going from gold to yellow to a light pink glow.
Our Berber guides cooked us dinner, and we sat around a fire to look at the stars (although unfortunately, there weren’t many since it was cloudy). It was pretty amazing to walk out out of the tents and be surrounded by silence and sand in every direction.
The next day, we left the camp at 5:30 a.m. Omar voiced his frustration about our early departure with another moan, and I agreed with him, although I was slightly less vocal about it. The good thing was that this gave us time to watch the sun rise over the dunes. We made it back to Merzouga for a much-appreciated shower and breakfast.
The last part of our journey, however, was a bit of a long haul. In a series of long bus rides, we made it about 675 kilometers (about 420 miles) from Merzouga back to Agadir, which I think has got to be a record for the longest I’ve traveled by car in a single day.
AMEinfo published an article based on a recent Statista chart that shows Dubai is ahead of Paris and New York. This chart has itself introduced the latest Euromonitor data, as cited by WEF, revealing the most visited cities in the world for 2017. This article written by Dana Halawi, Senior Journalist listing the 7 wonders making Dubai rank above Paris and New York is republished here.
Paris is home to amazing landmarks such as The Champs Elysees, Tour Eiffel, the Louvre and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
New York, on the other hand has Trump Tower, Times Square, the Status of Liberty, Central Park and Broadway.
Are they getting their share of tourists?
Sure, but much less than Dubai!
Statista, the statistics portal, reveals that Dubai has beaten Paris and New York with its number of yearly visitors in 2017.
Some 15 million people spent at least one night visiting the city last year compared to 14.4 million for Paris and 12.7 million for New York.
How did Dubai accomplish this?
7 Dubai attractions that beat New York and Paris
1– Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest tower naturally dominates the Dubai skyline. The view from the observation deck on level 124 is absolutely stunning, topped only by the view from the luxurious At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. Located at the base of the iconic Burj Khalifa and just outside the doors of the famous Dubai Mall, the Dubai fountain features the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Close to Burj Khalifa is the Dubai mall which has over 1200 shops with an indoor theme park, an ice rink, a huge indoor waterfall and the giant Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
2– Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest artificial islands in the world. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the Palm’s vast array of high-end hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and, and most notably, the iconic Atlantis, The Palm.
3– The Walk and Beach at JBR: For those who like to shop, dine, see a movie and go to the beach all in one place, consider a trip to The Beach opposite JBR. It’s an area buzzing with activity with a regular open-air cinema and a popular water park to entertain the little ones for an hour or two. Also, the Dubai Marina Yacht Club consists of four enchanting marinas and offers a virtual centre of sailing, shopping, and distinctive dining.
Courtesy of Statista.com
4– The Dubai Opera: Located in Downtown Dubai, Dubai Opera is the radiant centre of culture and arts in Dubai. With its unique 2000-seat multi-format theatre, Dubai Opera is a definitive international destination for performing arts and world-class entertainment productions.
5– The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF): Dubai hosts the biggest shopping event in the region on a yearly basis offering people an unlimited number of offers, sales, promotions and an endless list of activities.
6– The DP World Tour Championship, Race to Dubai: It is a golf tournament on the European Tour. It takes place at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. The title sponsor is DP World, a shipping company based in Dubai. Around $7,5 million are paid to the top 15 players with the Race to Dubai winner getting $1.5m.
7– Dubai Creek: The Creek is the original centre of the city’s commerce and still buzzes with boats traveling regularly. Dubai Creek divided the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai. Bur Dubai, the historic district, is located on the western side of the Dubai Creek and Deira. Among famous activities in this area are the Gold Souk, Dubai Heritage Village, Dubai Old Souk, and Dubai Museum.
Dana Halawi has over seven years of experience in Journalism with articles published in multiple magazines and a newspaper in Lebanon. She specialized in Banking and Finance at the Lebanese American University and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs.