Top 10 Value Travel Destinations in 2012
Tourism in Egypt dropped 35 percent overall in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. The demonstrations and political unrest that pushed President Hosni Mubarak out of office also kept millions of tourists from visiting the country. As the capital city and center of Egypt’s commerce, Cairo was hit particularly hard. Though violence is rarely directed towards tourists, even the deep discounts have not yet encouraged many travelers back to visit the Giza pyramids and Cairo’s mosques, palaces, and museums. After the presidential election in March or April, Cairo may once again be appealing to tourists. Stay in the know about any planned demonstrations in Cairo by checking the U.S. Embassy’s Travel & Public Announcements page.
What’s New in 2012
With Egypt’s tourism industry struggling to rebound, don’t expect to see many new attractions opening anytime soon. What is new in 2012, however, is never-before-seen prices – up to 50 percent off – on tour packages and luxury hotels. For example, Sunny Land’s 10-day Eternal Egypt Cruise & Tour that includes round-trip airfare from JFK, all Egypt domestic flights, 15 meals, and 8 nights’ accommodation, is currently discounted by $1,000.
EgyptAir flies nonstop between New York City and Cairo. Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa also fly into Cairo, but it’s likely you’ll have a layover.
Where to Stay
Through June 6, use code “ADV” to save 25 percent – with rates as low as $79/night – at any of the Marriott, JW Marriott, or Renaissance hotels in Egypt if you book and pay for your stay seven days ahead. Cairo's two Four Seasons properties are offering a free third night with two paid consecutive nights in a suite (rates from $267/night with the discount factored in). At Kempinski Nile Hotel, stay three nights or more and save 30 percent (rates from $167/night); the hotel is also offering 10 percent off rates for stays of any length, with prices starting at $197/night.
Skip taxis, avoiding the smog and traffic jams, and take the Cairo Metro – a ticket is less than a quarter, regardless of the distance (note: some cars are reserved for women only). Visit the Khan el-Khalili bazaar for clothing, jewelry, crafts, and other souvenirs, and haggle for the best prices (but keep in mind that the livelihood of the vendors and their families depends on their sales).