In an effort to ease congestion from the main transport hub in Cairo, a brand new airport has opened on the outskirts of Egypt’s capital city, which is hoped will further boost tourism to the country. The Sphinx International Airport is currently only open for a trial period but is expected to receive 30 flights by 9 February, when the trial ends. The airport is expected to be totally operational by 2020, coinciding with the opening of the nearby Grand Egyptian Museum.

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Great Sphinx of Giza with the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Egyptian Tourism Ministry’s US$17 million project aims to improve access to the country’s historical sites from popular sun-and-sand resort destinations along the coast, such as Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.

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Camel riders heading toward the three big pyramids of Giza (from left to right: Menkaura, Khafra and Khufu).

Egypt seems to be emerging from the political turmoil in the aftermath of the Arab Spring of 2011, and the country was named the fastest-growing destination for travellers in 2017 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, welcoming 55% more visitors than in 2016. The government also introduced an e-Visa that’s obtainable online in advance for the first time in 2017.

Lonely Planet named Egypt’s southern Nile Valley as its best value destination to visit in 2019, as world-class ancient sites from Luxor to Aswan are accessible for a few dollars. Even though there are fewer tourists at the moment, all the infrastructure for taking a cruise along the Nile is still in place, meaning that costs for food and transport will be included. Otherwise, it’s easy enough to make inexpensive arrangements for all but a handful of big-ticket temples and tombs, which are more than worth the admission price themselves.

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