Egypt considers promoting Holy Family route for religious tourism

Egypt considers promoting Holy Family route for religious tourism
Egypt's tourism ministry is planning to promote the route that the holy family is believed to have travelled when it fled from Palestine as a tourism destination.
2 min read
12 May, 2017
Pope Francis visit to Egypt has been described as "historic" [AFP]

Egypt is considering the promotion of the Holy Family route as part of a religious tourism campaign, the tourism ministry has announced.

Minister Yehia Rashed headed to Rome on Tuesday to meet with representatives of the tourism sector in Vatican City and discuss possibility of promoting the route that Jesus and the Holy Family are believed to have travelled through the Arab country when they fled from King Herod in Palestine.

The journey from the Palestinian town of Bethlehem through Egypt took the Holy Family, Joseph, Virgin Mary, and Jesus, about three years to complete.

The Egyptian government hopes this attraction aimed at pilgrims will put the country on the religious tourism map.

If implemented, the project is expected to attract a large number of tourists from all around the world.

Rashed said his visit comes after the success of Pope Francis' visit to Egypt in April, during which the Pope said he considered himself a pilgrim, adding that he was honoured to visit the land where the holy family lived 2000 years ago.

Pope Francis visit, which has been described as "historic", was intensely secured as the country recovered from deadly church bombings by Islamist extremists.

An all-time high of around 15 million visitors in 2010 led many Egyptians to invest heavily in the tourism trade, but visitor numbers have never returned to those heights.

Instability following the 2011 revolution has since discouraged many foreign travellers. In particular, tourism revenues dropped dramatically after militants downed a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, killing all 224 people onboard.

The sector has, however, shown signs of slow recovery since the beginning of the year.