Tourists visit historical sites in spite of unrest, minister says

Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Ali said Thursday that tourism is thriving in many archaeological sites and museums in various governorates despite the ongoing political tensions.

He added all museums would be open as usual on Saturday during the mass demonstrations Islamists are organizing to support President Mohamed Morsy.

Archaeological sites will also be open during normal hours, Ali said, adding that “the current political environment will not affect tourism to archaeological sites.”

The ministry is “confident that Egypt's youth are determined to protect their country’s monuments, as they always are in such circumstances,” he said.

Reports of looting and break-ins at historical sights and museums were widespread during protests in 2011.

The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square received 951 visitors on Wednesday, while 2,500 tourists saw the sights in Luxor, the minister noted. On the same day, 2,000 people visited Abu Simbel, Edfu and Kom Ombo, and 2,186 went to the pyramids, according to ministry data.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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