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Chinese travelers help tourism regain its feet

Updated: 2023-10-09 06:59

Chinese tourists visit the Pyramids of Giza in Giza, Egypt, on Wednesday. AHMED GOMAA/XINHUA

CAIRO — At the Luxor temple, an enormous ancient Egyptian temple complex on the east bank of the Nile River, Huang Zhao, a Chinese tourist, was taking photos while listening to the tour guide on the temple's history.

"The temple is a masterpiece of art," said Huang, who also visited the Great Pyramid, Egypt's southern cities, including Aswan, and sea resorts in Hurghada. "I used to read many books on Egyptology, and visiting the archaeological sites was a dream."

Chen Wu, 22, a student who came with her parents from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, said she planned the trip to Egypt two years ago.

"My father always encourages me to read history books, especially on ancient civilizations that are similar to the Chinese one," she said.

"Ten days are not enough to visit all the archaeological sites," she said while visiting the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. "It is a chef-d'oeuvre of ancient architecture."

The recovery of the tourism industry in China is providing a significant boost to outbound tourism. This surge in outbound travel coincided with one of China's most significant annual holidays, the Golden Week, which began on Sept 29 and lasted eight days. During this period, Chinese people celebrated both the country's National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival.

"In the world's No 2 economy, spending on holidays and inbound and outbound tourism is expected to surge, contributing to the world's tourism recovery," said Mohamed Othman, chairman of the Cultural Tourism Marketing Committee in Upper Egypt.

According to the China Tourism Academy, a research institution in Beijing, overseas destinations received a total of 40.37 million visitors from the Chinese mainland during the first half of the year.

"Chinese tourists are very well-educated and have a great passion for learning about Egyptian civilization and travel with a good budget," Othman said, adding that Chinese tourists will help revive Egyptian tourism, one of the primary sources of foreign currency.

To cater to Chinese tourists, Egypt's tourism authorities have coordinated the installation of signs in Chinese languages at all the archaeological sites, temples and hotels, and provided tour guides who speak Chinese.

Main source market

According to Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency in the United States, China was one of the world's largest tourism source markets before the pandemic, with a total international tourism expenditure of $254.6 billion in 2019.

It expects a revival of Chinese outbound tourism to boost growth prospects in economies with substantial tourism sectors.

"With a population exceeding 1.4 billion, China is a treasure for the world tourism sector," said Ahmad Amer, an archaeological inspector in the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.


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