Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism has reopened a section of the Nile to cruise boats for the first time in 16 years.

Holidaymakers planning a trip to Egypt can now explore parts of the Nile that have been closed for 16 years.

A stretch of the famous river between Cairo and Luxor is now open to cruise vessels after extensive irrigation work was carried out, Wanderlust reports.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism hopes the move will boost visitor numbers, which have slipped since the Arab Spring of early 2011.

Figures from the Egyptian Tourist Authority show approximately 753,000 holidaymakers visited the country in February 2012, an increase of 542,000 year-on-year.

In addition to reopening the stretch, new longer cruises lasting as long as two weeks will be on offer, allowing visitors to take in tombs at Beni Hasan and the Temple of Dendera from the banks of the Nile.  However these are restricted to boats with shallower drafts.

The stretch between the capital and Luxor has been closed to cruise boats since 1994, but 30 of the 270 vessels that operate on the Nile have been granted access by the tourism department after extensive irrigation and safety improvements were carried out in the area.

Written by Nicholas Scott

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