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This autumn, 16 intrepid adventurers will take to Egypt’s roads for a nine-day, cross-country scooter ride aimed at promoting tourism to the country.
The Cross Egypt Challenge, scheduled to start 14 October, will begin in the northern city of Alexandria, cross the Sinai Peninsula and end in Abu Simbel, near Egypt’s southern border. Along the way, the Vespa-like scooter tour will stop at iconic Egyptian destinations like the pyramids at Giza, the Karnak temples and the Valley of the Kings near Luxor.
Immediately after the revolution last January, the number of tourists travelling to Egypt dropped 80%. In April, tourism was still down 35% in comparison to last year, reported the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, a government office that collects statistical data on the country.
The scooter team’s goal is to show that tourism infrastructure is being rebuilt in the wake of the revolution and road travel in Egypt is safe. Even before the protests, the World Health Organization reported the country has one of the highest traffic death rates per person in the world. Ahmad Elzoghby, a spokesman for the challenge, said the group also hopes to raise awareness about alternative modes of transportation. Scooters are less expensive to maintain and emit fewer emissions than a car, thus decreasing the air pollution in Egypt’s urban areas, which has been a perennial concern.
Only team members will make the entire 1,700km journey, but local motorists will have two opportunities to ride along with the challenge for two segments in the journey: from Alexandria to Cairo (210km) and Cairo to Suez (140km). To find out more or to participate, visit the Cross Egypt Challenge’s Facebook page or Twitter account.