News / Middle East

    Skydivers Promote Tourism Industry in Egypt

    Skydivers Promote Tourism Industry in Egypti
    X
    March 22, 2016 10:30 PM
    In an effort to boost Egypt's flagging tourism industry, skydivers recently took part in a high-flying competition jumping from helicopters over Egypt's Great Pyramids. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report.
    Hamada Elrasam

    In an effort to boost Egypt's flagging tourism industry, skydivers recently took part in a high-flying competition over Egypt's Great Pyramids.

    Participants say the event was aimed at attracting more visitors to the country, as Egypt has suffered a $1.3 billion drop in tourism revenue over the past few months.

    More than 200 skydivers from 17 countries took part in the recent three-day competition, with participants jumping from helicopters more than 1,100 meters high, and aiming for specific targets on land.

    The event, organizers say, sends a message to the world.

    "Egypt is strong and it will never be affected by all the chaos going on,” said General Soliman El-Hadary of the Egyptian Union for Air Sports. “We want to emphasize to the world that our country is safe and tourists are welcome."

    A skydiver from Morocco lands during a skydiving competition by Giza Pyramids in Egypt, March 2, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)
    A skydiver from Morocco lands during a skydiving competition by Giza Pyramids in Egypt, March 2, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)

    Tourism is one of the most important sectors of Egypt's economy.

    The suspected terrorist downing of a Russian plane over North Sinai last year badly hurt the tourism industry, driving away nearly 4 million tourists.

    But to bring them back, analysts say, Egypt needs to not only better market the industry, but review its security policies.

    "You need first of all to assess all the counterterrorism strategies that have been going on for the past two years, because Egypt has been in an official open war against terrorism since 2013. So where did that go? Where did that lead? How effective were these strategies?” said Ziad Akl of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. “This needs to be reviewed and, on the other hand, the tourism sector needs to be marketed in a lot more professional manner than it is right now."

    While sporting events are good publicity, he says, the government needs to do more to support and protect the tourism industry.

    Audience members watch skydivers jump from a helicopter during a skydiving competition in Egypt. More than 200 skydivers from 17 countries are participating in the 3-day competition, March 2, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)
    Audience members watch skydivers jump from a helicopter during a skydiving competition in Egypt. More than 200 skydivers from 17 countries are participating in the 3-day competition, March 2, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)

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    by: Renee
    March 24, 2016 2:43 AM
    I have been in and out of Egypt for 8 years now and love the people and the sites here. It's a wonderful place to see history and culture. I'm an American woman over the age of 60. I walk the streets alone and never felt scared downtown or sitting at a cafe. The police even help me cross these busy streets. I'm here right now, March 22, 2016 and will be here for another 6 months like I have been doing over the last 8 years.I can now die with a smile on my face saying I saw the other side of the world and saw what life is all about.

    by: CAROLINE197 from: OHIO
    March 23, 2016 3:38 PM
    Tourism? Egypt? I can't believe anyone would promote Egypt! 98% of women in Egypt are victims of FGM, Female Genital Mutilation. This backwards country is not the place to go. 4 teens were recently sentenced to 5 years in prison for making fun of religion, kids!!! Don't do anything stupid if you go. Marketing can only cover the violence in this land.

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