Egypt’s first-ever air games festival hosted above the Pyramids

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65 sky divers and para-motorists from at least 20 countries in the world flew over the great Giza pyramids on Saturday as Sky Sports EG Company in cooperation with the Egyptian Air Sports Federation held Egypt’s first ever air games.  “The event is an amazing and important advertisement which will promote the name of Egypt and the pyramids across the world,” Joel Amiable, a member of a French paramotor and parachuting team participating in the festival, told Xinhua news agency.  Air games are gaining popularity worldwide as the FAI World Air Games has been showcasing air sports to the general public attracting new participants.  Since 1997, four FAI world air games have been held beginning in Turkey, then Spain (2001), Italy (2009), Dubai (2015) and the 2020 games will be held again in Turkey. The games include Aerobatics, Aeromodelling, Drone racing, Gliding, Indoor Skydiving, and Paragliding.  Nevertheless, skydiver Ahmed Alawy from Oman said: “This is totally different from all my previous jumps. It is really exceptional to fly above the pyramids,” as reported by Xinhua.

Two days before the festival the Pyramids headlined the Egyptian news as the Egyptian government approved a new Antiquities Protection law that fines traders of goods and services who harass tourists by exercising over-zealous touts with a payment of 10,000 Egyptian pounds.  The new fine comes as good news for tourists of antiquity sites who previously suffered from aggressive approaches to the extent that The British Foreign Office has been warning visitors to “high-profile sites” that they may be “confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car or taxi, as reported by the Telegraph.

On another note related to Tourism, the Independent published an article on 28th of April 2018 titled: “Why UK Tourists should consider returning to Egypt in Holiday”.  In this article the writer Helen Coffey said: “Although the country (referring to Egypt) has been troubled, most of the popular tourist spots have remained largely undisturbed and are not listed as off-limits by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). While North Sinai is a designated no-go zone for British tourists, the FCO states: “There is no FCO advice against travel to Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile river (including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada,”  then she added: “However, following the 2015 plane crash, the FCO is still advising against all but essential air travel to Sharm el Sheikh. The upshot of this is that, although there is no direct threat associated with staying in Sharm, it’s not possible to fly there direct from the UK and packages are only offered on a very tentative basis by tour operators.” Then she concludes that there are cautious yet definite signs that British holidaymakers are being tempted back. The resort town of Hurghada on the Red Sea Riviera, traditionally dominated by the German market, has grown in popularity in the UK – Thomas Cook is putting on extra flights there for winter and summer 2017 to keep up with demand. CEO Peter Fankhauser said at the company’s pre-trading update in March: “After a slow start to the season and a tough year in 2016, we’re seeing early signs that customers are beginning to go back to Turkey and Egypt.” Thomas Cook is expecting around twice as many UK customers to go on holiday to Egypt this year as last year and is anticipating over 150,000 bookings in total – a vast improvement on 2016.  Abercrombie & Kent, which offers luxury, tailor-made holidays, has also noticed an increase. Charlie Bateson, head of product, told The Independent: “The good news is that at the end of Q1 our visitor numbers for 2017 travel have increased by 185 per cent compared with the same time last year. The primary increase for us has been with our ‘classic’ style itineraries taking in Cairo and the Nile regions.”

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