Tourists visiting Egypt’s renowned pyramids may rarely stray from the beaten track, but a project emphasizing on rural villages next to the ancient sites now encourages them to do so.
The project aims to take visitors to a verdant strip of farmland thick with palm trees that runs south of the Giza pyramids, between the lesser known pyramids of Dahshur and Saqqara and the western bank of the Nile.
There, tourists are offered a glimpse of local communities as part of Visit Badrashin!, a sustainable tourism project funded by the European Union.
Heba Ragab, a tourism expert who works on the project, said “when a tourist visits, they can pass by a farmer here and have a cup of tea in the fields, buy handicrafts from a woman selling them or eat traditional food from the area.”
The project encompasses villages located in the district of Badrashin, namely Abu Sir, Saqqara and Dahshur, and offers training to the local community in a bid to help them benefit from tourism revenues and protect their livelihoods.
“They trained me on how to deal with clients; we never had any tourists come to this area,” said 31-year-old Mohamed Hamdy. “So now, I’ve become a local tour guide.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced tourist arrivals in Egypt to a fraction of their previous levels and the project’s activities have been scaled back, but visits have continued.