Nile Cruises return

A ceremony has marked the return of Egyptian cruises – sailing between Luxor and Cairo – after a break of 18 years.

Cruises, which were originally stopped after security fears in 1994, have been running between Luxor and Aswan, two of the main tourist attractions on the upper Nile.

“The restoration of security is the key to the recovery of tourism in Egypt,” said Tourism Minister Mohamed Hisham Abbas Zazou. “Security on all cruises is being carried out in collaboration with the ministry of the interior.”

While tourism figures had been steadily growing in Egypt – with 2010 seeing US$13bn generated – the Arab Spring saw those figures take a hit. Now the government wants to see tourism numbers rise to pre-Spring levels.

The first quarter of 2012 saw 2.5 million tourists visit Egypt, an increase of 32% compared with the same period in 2011. However this figure is still down on 2010.

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