On Sunday, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Khaled Al-Anany inaugurated the recently renovated Wakalet el-Geddawy in Esna.
Al-Anany was accompanied by Luxor governor Mostafa Elham, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan R. Cohen, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, Egypt’s head of Islamic, Coptic and Jewish antiquities sector Dr.Osama Talaat, in addition to a number of members from the House of Representatives and Senate in Luxor Governorate. Together, they affirmed the strong U.S.-Egypt partnership in cultural heritage preservation.
Several American archaeological missions are working in Egypt in the field of archaeological excavation and restoration, in addition to the Chicago House Research Institute and the American Research Center in Cairo.
On his part, Al-Anani praised the fruitful cooperation with the United States in the field of tourism and antiquities, as it is one of the main partners of the ministry.
Al-Anani added that it is not the first time that USAID has participated in the ministry in restoration and development projects in archaeological sites, as it carried out such projects in Luxor, Aswan, Karnak, Giza, Historic Cairo and Alexandria.
During the opening, he said that visitors to the agency will be received free of charge at the same value as the entrance ticket to the temple of Esna, in order to stimulate the tourism movement in the city, and encourage its visit.
The U.S. government, through USAID, is investing $8.6 million to revitalize cultural tourism in Esna, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministry of International Cooperation, Luxor Governorate, and local partners including Takween Integrated Community Development.
During the inauguration, Ambassador Cohen stated, “Over the past 25 years, the United States has contributed more than $102 million to preserve dozens of cultural heritage sites throughout Egypt.”
“We look forward to seeing the tourism industry rebound in Esna and across the country. The United States stands with the people of Egypt as we help to make this happen,” he added.
The United States is working with the Egyptian Government and local organizations to revitalize the town’s tourism potential, balancing heritage conservation, tourism promotion, and community development.
Indeed, this support creates jobs, revives tourism, increases public and private investments, and restores historically significant places, such as Esna’s traditional oil press and Al-Qisariya Market.
Contributed by Ali Abu Dashish