Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Egypt encourages Christian tourism

(Will the government show some respect to Christianity first by allowing Copts to worship freely and build churches wherever needed?!)

Ulrike Koltermann Cairo, Egypt

Officials might try to deny it, but the recent terrorist attacks in Sinai were a heavy blow to Egyptian tourism.Egypt relies on tourists and would like to attract as many as possible.

Major attractions have always included the pharaoh's tombs and the Red Sea's rich aquatic environment. Now, Christian pilgrimage sites rank among those tourist destinations.

Pious pilgrims following in Jesus's footsteps generally find themselves drawn to Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem. Until recently, few Christian pilgrims spent much time among the pyramids and tombs of Egypt, even though Christianity's founder spent a length of time there.

"The Christian history of our country has been badly neglected up until now," said Mounir Ghabbour, who recently produced a film entitled The Holy Family in Egypt.


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