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Egypt's Famed Bazaar Welcomes Return of Chinese Tourists

Sat 07 Jan 2023 | 04:14 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

After China declared it will be lifting travel restrictions beginning on January 8, store owners in Khan el-Khalili, one of Cairo's most famous tourist bazaars, are anticipating the return of Chinese visitors.

The centuries-old market, which is situated in the centre of Cairo's historic Islamic neighbourhood, used to be crowded with travellers from all over the world.

However, the market has lost much of its vibrancy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that started three years ago.

Amr Dahi, a market vendor of rare stones and copper artefacts, told Xinhua that prior to the pandemic, business at his store was brisk.

"The business was good before the outbreak of COVID-19 since many tourists, especially Chinese, rushed here," he said.

He expressed excitement about Chinese tourists returning, saying that this could help his dwindling business.

China used to be Egypt's fourth-largest tourist exporter, sending hundreds of thousands of visitors there each year to visit the country's historical attractions and sandy beaches.

"A sizable portion of consumers are Chinese tourists... They would spend a lot of money purchasing gifts and antiques, "The man in his middle age commented.

Chinese people are quite kind, according to Mohammed Saleh, the proprietor of a typical Egyptian eatery in Khan al-Khalili, who spoke to Xinhua.

They enjoy traditional Egyptian cuisine and are always eager to taste it, he added, adding that they appreciate Egyptian traditions.

He remembered when Chinese tourists would frequently fill the market's passageways.

We hope that Chinese visitors would come back so that things may get better, added Saleh.

With 13.1 million visitors, Egypt's tourism industry brought in a record-breaking 13.03 billion US dollars in 2019. Due to the epidemic, the tourism industry has taken a huge damage.

According to Egypt's official statistics office, 4.9 million tourists visited the historic nation in the first half of 2022, a rise of 85.4% from the same time in 2021.