Egypt authorities deny $40 million pyramid-lease to Saudi prince
Egyptian authorities have denied recent reports that a Saudi Prince rented the famous Giza pyramids for a hefty price of $40 million in order to propose to his girlfriend.
Speaking earlier this week Director of the Giza Pyramids region Ashraf Mohey Eddin described the claim as "illogical".
In comment to Egyptian daily al-Mosry al-Yom Mohey Eddin said that it was forbidden for ceremonies such as weddings to take place at the Giza pyramids, adding that live events, such as concerts, and festivals, could only be held at the site of the ancient monuments with the permission of the country's Minister of Antiquities and the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
In an article earlier this month the BBC quoted the UK-based Quintessentially, a high-end concierge company, stating that it had facilitated a lavish private trip for an unidentified Saudi prince to the "Egyptian Pyramids" where he proposed to his girlfriend in the company of 300 friends and family members.
"We made it happen," Quintessentially's chief executive and co-founder Aaron Simpson is quoted as saying in the article.
No details of when the event took place are mentioned, nor does the BBC article specify explicitly that the rented pyramids were in Giza.
Over 100 pyramids have been identified in Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza being the most famous.
Built as tombs for fallen pharoahs, historical analysis has revealed that the Giza Pyramids were built over a span of 85 years between 2589 and 2504 BC BC.
The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still exists.
A favoured tourist spot, foreign visitors to the pyramids have fallen in recent years as Egypt’s tourism industry has suffered a sharp decline in revenues.
Once a key foreign currency earner, it crashed in 2011 after a popular uprising overthrew veteran leader Hosni Mubarak, ushering in years of sporadic unrest.
The downing of a Russian airliner over the Sinai peninsula in October 2015 - an act claimed by the Islamic State group - further damaged the sector. All 224 people on board the plane were killed.
In recent weeks industry officials have cautiously welcomed what they have said has been a slight improvement in the tourism sector since October last year.
In December 2016, 551,600 tourists visited Egypt compared with 440,000 over the same period year before, according to the government's statistics agency.
Egypt hosted a record 14.7 million foreign tourists in 2010, a year before Mubarak's overthrow and the ensuing economic nosedive.
Last month, Egypt's tourism minister warned a 'tenfold of effort' was needed to save the once-booming industry.