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Egypt's Aswan welcomes Chinese tourists
Upper Egypt's Aswan Province is "the jewel of the Nile River" and it invites Chinese tourists to enjoy its unique archeological and cultural sites, Aswan governor told Xinhua in an interview.
"Aswan gates are always open for the Chinese tourists and we would like them to visit and see the high level of security and safety in Aswan as well as the love, respect and warm welcome of Aswan people," Ahmed Ibrahim said.
Tourism in Egypt started to recover after years of recession due to political turmoil and relevant security challenges that resulted from the ouster of two heads of state in 2011 and 2013.
The tourism sector brought Egypt about 13 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2010 alone, when some 14.7 million tourists visited the country.
With regards to Chinese tourists, their number increased from about 135,000 in 2015 to 160,000 in 2016 and gradually to more than 300,000 in 2017, making China the fourth largest tourist exporter to Egypt according to official Egyptian and Chinese reports.
"The number of tourists coming from Asia, particularly from China, to visit Aswan has greatly increased this year," Ibrahim noted. "We hope that the numbers will rise every year."
The Egyptian governor said that the occupancy rate of Aswan hotels neared 100 percent, "as there are no vacant rooms in Aswan hotels at the moment."
The southern Egyptian province is currently hosting the seventh edition of Aswan International Festival for Culture and Arts, which gathers more than 20 folklore bands and traditional art groups from at least 13 countries, including China's Shaolin Kungfu group.
"We feel that the Chinese group performs here with a spirit of friendship and there's closeness between them and the Egyptian people," Ibrahim told Xinhua.
Held by the Egyptian Culture Ministry from Feb. 17 to 22, the event includes troupes from Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Palestine, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, China, Indonesia, Poland and Greece, performing songs, dances and shows reflecting their unique cultures and traditional arts.
It is mainly held to celebrate Egypt's current presidency of the African Union.
Aswan governor, who attended the opening performances of the festival, said that he visited China many times, expressing appreciation of China and describing it as "a beautiful country with many unique cultural features."
Shaolin Kungfu, also called Shaolin Wushu, is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous styles of Chinese martial arts, and it was originated and developed at the Shaolin Temple in central Henan province.
The Chinese Shaolin Kungfu masters, dressed in light gray robes and black belts, performed professional, skillful and simultaneous moves of martial arts during the festival, including animal-like fighting styles, such as those of the snake, tiger and monkey.
"I am very happy with the Chinese group and we hope to see them every year," the Egyptian governor told Xinhua.
The Chinese Shaolin Kungfu artists are scheduled to continue their shows until Feb. 22, when a carnival will be held to mark the early morning sunray illumination of Ramses II statue inside one of Abu Simbel twin temples, after sunshine penetrates the whole length of the temple to reach and light up its inner sanctuary.
Aswan International Festival for Culture and Arts is regarded as a cultural and artistic gathering, said Ibrahim, adding that culture and arts are among the most important roots of communication, interaction and approach among people worldwide.
He hailed the growing friendship and closeness between the Egyptian and the Chinese people, adding that communication between the two sides is based on mutual love and respect.
  Source: Xinhua Net

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