At the Luxor temple, an enormous ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River, Huang Zhao, a Chinese tourist, was taking photos while listening to the tour guide on the temple’s history.
“The temple is a masterpiece of art. I used to read many books on Egyptology, and visiting the archeological sites was a dream,” said Huang, who also visited the Great Pyramids, Egypt’s southern cities including Aswan, and sea resorts in Hurghada.
Meanwhile, Chen Wu, a 22-year-old student who came with her parents from Guangzhou, capital of southern China’s Guangdong Province, said she had planned this trip to Egypt two years before.
“My father always encourages me to read history books, especially on ancient civilizations that are similar to the Chinese one,” Chen said, adding that she used to save her pocket money for buying replicas from old markets in Egypt.
“Ten days are not enough to visit all the archeological sites I intend to,” she said while visiting the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. “It is a chef-d’oeuvre of ancient architecture.”
The recovery of the tourism industry in China is now providing a significant boost to outbound tourism. This surge in outbound travel coincided with one of China’s most significant annual holidays, the Golden Week, which began on Sept. 29 and extended for eight days. During this period, Chinese people celebrated both the country’s National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
“In the world’s No. 2 economy, spending on holidays and inbound and outbound tourism is expected to surge, contributing to the world’s tourism recovery,” said Mohamed Othman, chairman of the Cultural Tourism Marketing Committee in Upper Egypt.
According to China Tourism Academy, a Beijing-based research institution, overseas destinations received a total of 40.37 million visitors from the Chinese mainland during the first half of the year.
“Chinese tourists are very well-educated and have a great passion for learning about the Egyptian civilization and travel with a good budget,” the tourist expert said, adding that the Chinese tourists will help revive the Egyptian tourism sector, one of the primary sources of foreign currency.
To cater to Chinese tourists, Egypt’s tourism authorities have coordinated the installation of signs in Chinese languages in all archeological sites, temples, and hotels and provided umpteen tour guides who speak Chinese.
According to Fitch Ratings, an American credit rating agency, China was one of the world’s largest tourism source markets before the pandemic, with a total international tourism expenditure of 254.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
It expects a revival of Chinese outbound tourism to boost growth prospects in economies with substantial tourism sectors.
“With a population exceeding 1.4 billion, China is a treasure for the world tourism sector,” said Ahmad Amer, an archeological inspector in the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Chinese tourists have a craving for the ancient Egyptian civilization and often spend 10-15 days visiting the Pyramids, temples in Luxor and Aswan, the Aswan High Dam, and ancient markets in the capital besides staying for a few days in Red Sea resorts, according to Amer.
With moderate warm weather, beautiful beaches, and enormous ancient attractions, besides the recently improved infrastructure, Egypt is a good destination for Chinese tourists, Amer said.
“The advantage of the Chinese tourists is that they repeat their trips to Egypt, especially stays in the monument-rich city of Luxor, to know more about secrets of ancient Egypt,” said Ahmed Oraby, a tour guide in Luxor.
Chinese tourists spend good money on hand-made and heritage products, replicas, and souvenirs, the tour guide said, adding that starting from November, more Chinese tourists will come for their winter vacations.