Tourism: Paths less trodden in Egypt
Amr Ramadan markets 3alganoob, a three-year-old festival with underground and hippy-ish beginnings.
“Underground venues in Cairo and the north coast were for local consumption only,” says Ramadan.
Hosting me and inviting me for dinner was common all over Egypt except in the famous touristic places
“Now we’re hoping to promote new places, new beaches, and start a camping festival culture in the Middle East. We had people coming from other Arab countries like Tunisia and Lebanon in the past two years.”
A similar idea gave birth to another festival, Oshtoora.
3alganoob is held south of Cairo – in Marsa Alam the first two years and Soma Bay this year.
Oshtoora, on the other hand, takes place in Ras Sudr in South Sinai in a valley in the middle of the desert where an environment-friendly temporary camping site is built.
The Oshtoora team says it is difficult to find venues that can accommodate more than 500 people whereas the potential audience for such events is in the thousands.
The government is also promoting local tourism.
Though Egyptians pay less than other nationalities to visit many of the country’s attractions, domestic tourism still lags.
In 2014, the ministry of tourism launched the ‘Egypt in our hearts’ campaign in a bid to boost trips to Luxor and Aswan during school holidays.
The national carrier, EgyptAir, also lowered fares and introduced new package deals to make the destinations more accessible and attractive to locals.
The government reintroduced the drive this year, but tour guides say that not enough Egyptians are interested in their cultural heritage.
Some people are still venturing out to discover more about their country.
Galal Zekry, a 21year-old Egyptian, is touring Egypt by bike for several months.
“Almost all the people I meet say that the road is unsafe, but I am proving them wrong.
“Hosting me and inviting me for dinner was common all over Egypt except in the famous touristic places, where you are dealt with as if you were a walking wallet,” he says. ●