CAIRO: A concert held on Monday at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, southern Egypt, in the presence of 3,000 people, has sparked widespread controversy on social media.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities organized the event, with some calling it an effective way to promote tourism, but others saw it as extremely harmful to the area not befitting its prestige.
Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary-general of the Arab League, said through his account on Facebook: “Why was a loud music concert allowed in the Temple of Hatshepsut ... even if it is far from the temple?”
Magdy Shaker, chief archaeologist at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said on Facebook: “It is possible to hold concerts in archaeological sites, but not in all places.”
Shaker asked: “Has the impact of all this been studied? Did sound, lighting, and restoration experts say there was no effect? We spend a lot of money on restoration, so we must preserve it.”
Film director Mahmoud Rashad published a video clip of the concert.
He said in a post on Instagram: “This scene annoys me very, very much. The Temple of Deir El-Bahari in Luxor!”
Tourism expert Mohamed Othman, head of the Cultural Tourism Marketing Committee in Luxor and Aswan, said that the concert was organized by an international company specialized in broadcasting its concerts through social media platforms on the internet.
The event at the Temple of Hatshepsut raised hotel occupancy in Luxor to 100 percent — which, he claimed, is the highest hotel occupancy rate, including one-star hotels.
Accommodation prices also increased by 30 percent, added Othman.
He said in a press statement that the Cultural Tourism Marketing Committee will adopt the attraction of organizing events related to art, saying they should be held in Luxor.
Othman emphasized that broadcasting concerts via social media generated free publicity for the archaeological site.
Clips from such concerts can be used in promotional films for the Egyptian destination, he added.
He said that there are positive indicators for the current season in terms of inflows of various nationalities from the European market, which was clear from the analysis of the audience that witnessed the Hatshepsut Temple concert.
Such events in future would raise the appetite of investors for hotel investment in Upper Egypt, said Othman.
He said that the current flows indicated the need for more hotel rooms and entertainment projects in Luxor and Upper Egypt, especially with interest in attracting more events organized at archaeological destinations.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, previously stated that organizing such events at archaeological sites “contributes to increasing incoming tourist movement to the Egyptian tourist destination.”