It has been feted as one of the most significant museum openings in decades not just for Egypt, but for the entire world. Sometime in 2021, the Grand Egyptian Pyramid, the world’s largest archaeological museum and one of the most expensive ever built, will open its doors to the public in Giza, just a stone’s throw away from the Great Pyramids.
The museum, of which travellers can learn more about via the government’s official webpage at http://gem.gov.eg/, is part of a concerted effort by Egyptian authorities to raise the international tourist profile of the country after years of troubles and declining revenues. It has so far cost more than $1 billion to build, and the work is far from over.
As one of the most significant cultural and economic investments made by the government in decades, it is understandable that some might anxiously be awaiting the (long-delayed) opening day, praying that the hoped-for five million tourists a year will pay a visit. Let’s dive in and see whether the hard-working team behind the Grand Egyptian Museum should be feeling hopeful or apprehensive.
Strong Evidence of International Interest
The good news for the GEM is that there is plenty to suggest that international interest in the museum was and remains robust. A recent article in https://www.nytimes.com/ looked at globetrotters who are eschewing smaller trips in order to save up for big, ‘once in a lifetime’ odysseys, citing people who had deferred 2020 travel plans and were waiting for the opening of the GEM in 2021.
Earlier this year, while much of the GEM was still under construction, the managers arranged for members of the public to visit some of the wings while wearing a hard hat, charging $250 per ticket. All tickets continuously sold out immediately, and the managers were forced to halt the initiative as the risk of damage and injury was too high, as unprecedented amounts of people applied to check out the world’s largest collection of Tutunkahmun artifacts. It is safe to say that, at least for now, people are interested.
The Enduring Popularity of Ancient Egypt
Another factor that can’t be discounted is the enduring popularity of Ancient Egyptian history and culture around the world, which remains evident wherever you look. Tom Cruise’s 2017 re-boot of The Mummy, which mentions many of the figures that are showcased at the GEM, grossed $410 million on a $125 million budget.
The lure of Ancient Egypt continues to be seen in the world of gaming as well, with one example being in online casino slots. One of the most popular is Book of Ra, a five-reel slot that draws heavily on Ancient Egyptian myth, and is so popular that it is showcased as one of the top slots on https://www.mrgreen.com/ca/, a global online casino site based in Sweden. In addition, legendary fashion houses such as Givenchy, Dior, and Zuhair Murad have sought to bring Ancient Egyptian motifs back in vogue with a number themed shows during Paris fashion week in 2016, 2018, and 2020 respectively. It seems like now is a good time to capitalize on this interest.
Whether the current interest in the GEM and in Ancient Egypt can be sustained until its (still uncertain) 2021 opening date remains to be seen. However, the signs are certainly favourable at the moment.