Winter break revives tourism around Egypt’s Giza Pyramids: Report

The famed Giza Pyramids in Egypt witnessed a high turnout of Egyptian and foreign visitors during this year’s winter school break. (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 February 2018
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Winter break revives tourism around Egypt’s Giza Pyramids: Report

CAIRO: The famed Giza Pyramids in Egypt witnessed a high turnout of Egyptian and foreign visitors during this year’s winter school break, attracting more than 200,000 sightseers, according to local reports.
Egyptian news website Masrawy quoted workers at the site as saying that local tourism is recovering following years of stagnation.
Nadia Ismail, a street vendor near the pyramids who said she has been working for several years at the site selling souvenirs to tourists, told the website she was used to selling for more tourists before the sharp decline in tourism after January revolution in 2011.
Husni Al-Sayed, an owner of horse cart known as “hantour,” said the turnout of visitors could be due to the stabilizing security situation.
The report by Masrawy said 173,000 visitors went to see the wonders of Egypt between Jan. 19 — 31, including 14,513 foreigners, according to Ashraf Mohey, antiquities official of the area.
With interludes of warm sunshine, 30,000 more visitors went to the site before the school break ended on Feb. 2, the official added.
The tourism sector in Egypt is a major source of hard currency but has been hit since the 2011 uprising and the deadly crash of a Russian plane near Sinai in November 2015.


Italy endorses China’s Belt and Road plan in first for a G7 nation

Updated 24 March 2019
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Italy endorses China’s Belt and Road plan in first for a G7 nation

ROME: Italy endorsed China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan on Saturday, becoming the first major Western power to back the initiative to help revive the struggling Italian economy.
Saturday’s signing ceremony was the highlight of a three-day trip to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the two nations boosting their ties at a time when the United States is locked in a trade war with China.
The rapprochement has angered Washington and alarmed some European Union allies, who fear it could see Beijing gain access to sensitive technologies and critical transport hubs.
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio played down such concerns, telling reporters that although Rome remained fully committed to its Western partners, it had to put Italy first when it came to commercial ties.
“This is a very important day for us, a day when Made-in-Italy has won, Italy has won and Italian companies have won,” said Di Maio, who signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the Italian government in a Renaissance villa.
Taking advantage of Xi’s visit, Italian firms inked deals with Chinese counterparts worth an initial 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion). Di Maio said these contracts had a potential, future value of 20 billion euros.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) lies at the heart of China’s foreign policy strategy and was incorporated into the ruling Communist Party constitution in 2017, reflecting Xi’s desire for his country to take a global leadership role.
The United States worries that it is designed to strengthen China’s military influence and could be used to spread technologies capable of spying on Western interests.
WARM WELCOME
Italy’s populist government, anxious to lift the economy out of its third recession in a decade, dismissed calls from Washington to shun the BRI and gave Xi the sort of red-carpet welcome normally reserved for its closest allies.
Some EU leaders also cautioned Italy this week against rushing into the arms of China, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying on Friday that relations with Beijing must not be based primarily on trade.
There was not even universal backing for the BRI agreement within Italy’s ruling coalition, with Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League, warning against the risk of China “colonialising” Italian markets.
Salvini did not meet Xi and declined to attend a state dinner held in honor of the visiting leader on Friday.
Di Maio, who leads the 5-Star Movement, says Italy is merely playing catch up, pointing to the fact that it exports significantly less to China than either Germany or France.
Italy registered a trade deficit with China of 17.6 billion euros last year and Di Maio said the aim was to eliminate the deficit as soon as possible.
After talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Di Maio in the morning, Xi flew to the Sicilian city Palermo for a private visit on Saturday afternoon.
He is due to head to Monte Carlo on Sunday before finishing his brief tour of Europe in France, where he is due to hold talks with Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.