Delegates to the 34th Annual Africa Travel Association
(ATA) Congress in Cairo May 17-21, 2009 will have an exciting
opportunity to explore “Egypt Beyond the Monuments” on pre or post
Egypt is most well known for its world
famous archaeological sites such as the Pyramids of Giza, the
Valley of Kings, the Valley of Queens, the Valley of Nobles,
Edfu’s sandstone temple to name just a few. The Egyptian tourism
product now offers visitors a much more diverse and contemporary
range of experiences - Beyond the Monuments.
Beyond the Monuments: Golf
In just 10 years, Egypt has gone
from its original three standard-bearers to almost 20 world- class
golf courses – with many more under construction or planned. The
courses are spread right across the country. One can tee off in
the historic heart of Cairo, and Cleopatra’s home city,
Alexandria; play on courses which are part of huge, self-contained
leisure complexes in Cairo’s suburbs; swing away on a pristine
stretch of the Mediterranean coast; send a drive soaring towards
the Luxor mountains where the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were
buried; and sink putts on Red Sea Riviera courses from the Sinai
Peninsula to the northern and western Red Sea coasts.
golf of the very highest caliber. Famous names including Gary
Player, Fred Couples and Karl Litten have already put their stamp
on Egypt’s courses. New projects will bear the hallmarks of such
luminaries as Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones Jr, Jack
Nicklaus and five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thompson.
Egypt Beyond the Monuments: The Holy Land
played an important role in the history of Christianity’s Holy
Family as well as in the roots of Judaism and Islam. Moses had
deep ties to the country especially in the Sinai, and there are
many Biblical sites that are of great significance to all of the
three major monotheistic religions. Egypt’s population has been
predominantly Muslim since the 12th to 13th centuries, though 10%
of the population is Coptic Christian. Although the ancient
religion of the pharaohs, worshipping the God Ra or the conflict
between Amon and Aton, will always be part of Egyptian mythology.
Egypt’s historical ties with the Holy family are
not widely known. When Christ was an infant, the Holy Family fled
to Egypt in fear of persecution by King Herod. Their four year
sojourn took them from Al-Farma in the north east of Sinai to Al-Muharraq
Monastery in the southern Nile Valley. Egyptian authorities have
undertaken a major project to re-pave the “Route of the Holy
Family” and give prominence to the religious landmarks along this
Visitors will also find it interesting to
see many of the famous Mosques, Coptic Churches and Jewish
Mosques: The most famous, El-Azhar
(970 A.D.), stands in the centre of Cairo, the city of a thousand
minarets. Worth looking at while strolling around Cairo’s Muslim
quarter, in the area of the medieval Khan el-Khalili market: the
El Gouri complex, the el-Ashraf Barsbay Mosque, the Sayyidna
el-Hussein Mosque, the al-Saleh Talai Mosque, the el-Aqmar Mosque,
the Ibn Toulon Mosque, the Sultan Hassan Mosque; and the famous
Mohamed Ali Mosque.
Monasteries and places of worship: Old Cairo’s churches (St
George’s church and convent, St Sergius’ and St Barbara’s
churches, the "hanging" church), the Coptic Museum; In the Eastern
desert, St Anthony’s, St Bishoi’s, St Katherine’s monasteries in
Sinai, the Aswan Cathedral, Maadi and Gabal El-Teir churches etc.,
as well as many springs, wells, "sacred" trees such as Al Abed
"the worshipper", at Nazlet Ebeid-Minia.
Synagogues: In Cairo, The Ben Ezra Synagogue in the Coptic
quarter and the Sha’ar Hashhamayim Synagogue; In Alexandria, the
Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue.
Egypt Beyond the
Monuments: Desert Tourism
Desert tourism offers adventure
and a glimpse into the nomadic Bedouin culture. It can be explored
by trekking, hiking, 4x4 land rovers as well as by camel. To the
west of the Nile, the Western Desert contains numerous lush oases.
Scattered in a wide arc like islands in an ocean of sand, the
oases are accessible from Cairo and Luxor. In both cases, a week
is needed for exploring these desert wonders and, in particular,
visiting the Dakhla Oasis where the inhabitants have preserved
their traditional settlement. The White Desert with its
astonishing limestone formations and the Black Desert with its
black, pyramidal hills are another two stopover sites en route.
The desert on the Sinai Peninsula adds a spiritual
dimension to the rich array of landscapes in this region. At the
summit of Mount Moses (Mount Sinai) or in the Colored Canyon close
to Nuweiba, in the Ras Muhammed natural park, one can truly
experience the total serenity of the desert. A safari to south
Sinai is not complete without a visit to the biggest of the
region’s oases, Wadi Feiran.
Egypt Beyond the Monuments:
Socrates himself was singing the praises of
Egypt's healing therapies and spas some thousands of years ago.
While Aswan was renowned for its rheumatic remedies, ancient
tourists swarmed to Safaga to cure certain skin diseases such as
psoriasis. Whether visitors want to bathe in sand or salt-rich
seas, soak in hot springs or wrap oneself in curative clay, Egypt
has centuries of experience in catering to its therapy keen
Aswan: Good for traditional Nubian therapies and
environmental therapies including sand bathing and massages.
New Valley: With an abundance of bubbling hot springs, the hot
water wells of the New Valley are naturally heated between 35-45
degrees all year round. One can also opt for sand bathing or
sample various traditional medicinal herbs.
Red Sea: The
whole Red Sea coast including Marsa Alam and Safaga offers a
practically perfect climate for healing in rich mineral waters,
with up to 35% more salt than the average sea.
Oyoun Mossa and Hammam Pharaon: As well as having
some of the most sulphuric waters in the world, both Oyoun Mossa and Hammam Pharaon
boast a warm, dry climate that's perfect for recuperating. Their
success rate for curing all kinds of aches and pains is
All the deluxe hotel resorts also have
wellness and spa centers.
“Connecting Destination Africa”
The four-day Africa Travel
Association Congress, “Connecting Destination Africa,” will take
place at the Cairo International Conference Center. The congress
will engage participants in discussions on a range of topics, such
as intra-Africa cooperation, airline access, tourism
infrastructure development, tourism industry investment, branding
and marketing, and responsible tourism.
A special roundtable for
ministers will take place, as well as the first African
marketplace for buyers and sellers.
The Egyptian Ministry of
Tourism and the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) are subsidizing
hotel accommodations at the five-star Fairmont Heliopolis Hotel,
for all delegates and providing transportation, logistical
support, and a full day of tours in Cairo itself. The “host day”
tour will include a visit to the The Pyramids in Giza, as well as a visit to the
Egypt Air, the official Congress
Carrier, is offering discount rates for all delegates.
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