One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the 7,000-year-old great pyramids of Giza are one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Cairo. In the past decade, the area around Giza Pyramids has been deteriorating in terms of services and street vendors, who often hassle tourists to buy toy monuments or fake papyrus. Just days ago, a EGP 400 million ($22.6 million) project was revealed to revamp the Giza Pyramids plateau, promising to make the area more tourist-friendly.
The project’s General Supervisor Mohamed Ismail describes the current status of the area surrounding the pyramids as an “open zoo” that is open to all kinds of people, including smugglers who attempt to steal ancient stones and mummies. The revamp of the area will make it accessible only to visitors, and will include high police security. Previously, people could access the pyramids via an entrance at the Mena House Hotel. The plan will shut down the Mena House entrance, making the pyramids only accessible via one entrance from the road heading to El Fayoum, a governorate southwest of Cairo.
Ismail also revealed that electric cars will be used to transport visitors between the Grand Egyptian Museum (slated to open later this year) and the archeological site every five minutes. However, since the electric cars are not covered in the EGP 400 million budget, and the ministry is still looking for a financier to provide and maintain the vehicles.
Ismail went on to explain that that the road will be paved with UNESCO-approved yellow concrete suitable for the area’s desert environment. Meanwhile, it still remains unclear whether the street vendors will be relocated to a more organized bazaar-like structure or if they will be kicked out altogether. But it has been revealed that those offering horse and camel rides will be moved to a stable-like location designed to cater for both the animals and the riders.
While there is no breakdown of how much the top tourist attraction in Greater Cairo contributes to overall tourism revenues, travel and tourism contributed EGP 87.4 billion ($8.7 billion) to Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016, accounting for 3.2 percent of total GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Travel and tourism provide nearly two million jobs in Egypt, however it’s still unknown how many jobs this project will provide. According to Ismail, there will be even more changes to the area in the next few months.