The Ministry of Antiquities plans to open the pyramids archaeological area after the completion of the development by the middle of next year.
Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Anany, told Daily News Egypt in an interview that the Armed Forces Engineering Authority has received the development process of the pyramids area in July and is set to complete the project by mid-2018.
What is the latest developments in the pyramids area?
The development project included a visitor centre, students entrance, archaeological awareness, tourism ministry police, inspection office, Sphinx club, and electric vehicles.
The engineering authority was awarded the project after Delta Company withdrew from it. The authority is now building the roads and will move onto the rest of the work after paving operations.
The project aims to completely change the map of the pyramids area. The entrance will be from Fayoum Road. The cars and buses are to be parked outside so that visitors can go through the visitor centre.
We received a decision from the prime minister in August to appoint a consultant for the cultural development of the area surrounding the pyramids, starting from the Grand Egyptian Museum all the way to the Remaya Square and Nazlat Al-Samman, which will bring a cultural transition to the tourist area in full.
What is the latest development in the project of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the final date of the partial opening?
The ministry has completed so far about 75% of work in the project. We are now completing the final interior and exterior decorations of the museums in conjunction with the preparation of designs and equipment for the exhibitions.
The ministry succeeded in transferring more than 41,000 artefacts so far, including 4,000 of 5,000 artefacts of King Tutankhamun’s set, in preparation for the expected partial opening in 2018.
The Grand Museum became a body in November, and the second Japanese loan, worth $460m, was signed.
We received the directorate from Prime Minister Sherif Ismail during his meeting with the ministerial group in September to provide the financial support necessary for the partial opening of the museum.
The prime minister also issued a decree to form the board of directors of the Grand Egyptian Museum headed by the Minister of Antiquities and the membership of leaders of the ministry, archaeologists, representatives of the ministries concerned, and public figures.
The ministry is scheduled to complete the engineering work of the museum early next year, and we are currently in the process of contracting for the required exhibitions.
What are the preparations of the Ministry of Antiquities for the winter tourist season especially in the governorates of Luxor and Aswan?
The ministry is already working to improve the level of services in archaeological sites to improve what is offered to tourists or visitors in general.
We are currently taking the necessary steps to establish the holding company. Its subsidiaries will take charge of the services in archaeological sites, whether restaurants, cafeterias, or bazaars.
The ministry is also resuming work on some of the suspended projects, as well as improving the services of the archaeological sites on the pyramids plateau and the Avenue of Sphinxes, in addition to opening some new sites for visitors.
The current period is witnessing the promotion of various archaeological discoveries in conjunction with the improvement of tourist inflow to Egypt during the first eight months of this year.
Is there an improvement in the ministry’s revenue rate?
Yes, the ministry’s revenues during the current year are better than in 2016. There is little improvement, but we are optimistic and hope to improve.
The total number of tourists to Egypt reached 4.3 million in the first seven months of the year, up by 54% compared to the same period last year.
Is increasing ticket prices a means of increasing revenues?
Certainly. The increase in the prices of tickets to archaeological sites is one of the means of increasing the ministry’s revenues. It is scheduled to raise the prices of tickets as of the beginning of November for foreigners, an increase of 50%.
The ministry advised the Ministry of Tourism and tour operators with the increase about nine months ago.
The ministry is also developing many services to increase its financial resources, including the creation of cinematographic packages for Egyptians and foreigners at reasonable prices, the opening of some museums at night such as the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as the opening of a number of tombs, archaeological sites, and museums for visitors.