File Photo: hot air balloons fly over the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor, Egypt. AP
This is the second time in one week the aviation authorities and the Egyptian Airports Company suspended rides from Luxor's West Bank because of the volatile weather. Rides were halted on 8 February for the same reason.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) reported that southern regions of the country would see strong winds on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the northwestern coast would experience strong winds Tuesday through Thursday. The EMA added that Greater Cairo and northern Upper Egypt will see strong winds Friday through Sunday.
Hot-air ballooning over Luxor — home to a myriad of ancient sites that attract tourists visiting Egypt — allows tourists to enjoy the panoramic view of ancient Egyptian temples and breathtaking landscape.
The attraction was ranked third in the world for hot-air balloon rides in 2019 with a total of 11,000 trips annually.
Egypt’s tourism sector was dealt a hard blow by the COVID-19 pandemic, with revenue dropping from $13.03 billion in 2019 to $4.1 billion in 2020. However, the sector has begun since mid-2021 to flourish as Egypt secured $10.7 billion in tourism revenue in FY 2021/2022, up from $4.9 billion in FY 2020/2021, according to the Central Bank of Egypt in October.