As part of moves to boost the country’s tourism and provide the foreign currency needed to revive the economy, Egypt has opened its first-ever restaurant and lounge in Giza’s pyramid plateau.

Named the 9 Pyramids Lounge, the restaurant’s unique location will enable visitors to have a special view of the plateau’s nine royal tombs. Unveiled on October 20, the restaurant is built on a total area of 1,341 square meters and comes with indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a private parking lot, according to authorities.

The inauguration ceremony last week saw in attendance the Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany, CEO of Orascom Pyramids Entertainment Ashraf Halim, chairman and CEO of Orascom Naguib Sawiris, and others who were also thrilled to have observed the launching of a fleet of 30 electric buses that will shuttle tourists around the area.

At the moment, the buses will be the only means of transportation at the site, amid other restrictions have been made to preserve the monuments at the site, said Tourism and Antiquities Minister el-Anany.

“The completion of this development project, the increase in the capacity of Sphinx International Airport, and the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) next year will change the tourism map of Cairo,” the minister said.

The Grand Egyptian Museum has been under construction for over a decade and is expected to attract tourists when opened to help fund developmental projects in the country.

Tourists have already started visiting the 9 Pyramids Lounge where they can either be seated at tables or on cushions on the floor while enjoying the views of the Great Pyramids of Giza.

Two “fine dining restaurants” and a cafe are expected to be opened in early 2021 in the area as other services will also be upgraded to match up to the “greatness of Egyptian civilization and the magnificence of this historical site,” said Sawiris, chairman and CEO of Orascom Naguib.

Ancient Egypt has often been the main reference point when interpreting the past and experience of Africa. Egyptian civilization has been identified as the cradle of all human civilization celebrated for its languages, governance structure and a long history of wealth, education and powerful Pharaohs.

All these have helped boost the country’s tourism sector, which was hit hard recently by the pandemic. In 2019, 13.6 million people visited Egypt and numbers were expected to exceed 15 million this year.

“It was a disaster for us, like the whole world,” el-Anani said this July when the country resumed regular international flights after over three months of closure. “We lost around $1bn per month and we’re estimating that we’ll still lose a lot of money during the coming weeks and months,” he was quoted by the BBC.

In July, museums were reopened and some foreign flights resumed to the provinces of South Sinai, Red Sea and Matrouh — the three coastal Egyptian governorates. “For the time being, you will see the beaches, the sun, the desert, water activities – it’s the open air and the sea,” the minister said at the time.

“Later on, we’ll open the Nile Valley, with Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan,” he said.

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