Hopes high for Egypt travel

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NEW YORK -- Sunny Land Tours is looking to jump-start its Egypt business out of the doldrums this fall by introducing a range of discounted packages.

"This is temporary pricing to prompt people to go," said general manager Kyle Ekinci.

Sunny Land, which has been marketing trips to Egypt since 1964, experienced a 40% fall in its Egypt business after 9/11 and another 25% drop at the time of the Iraq war, according to Ekinci.

When the industry started to pick up after the war wound down, Egypt was already into its low season.

"This is the kind of destination everyone wants to [visit], and now these prices make it worth going," he said. "You will never, ever be able to go at prices like this again."

The specials come in three packages, Silver, Gold and Platinum. All three include roundtrip air from New York with a two-night stopover in Paris.

The Silver Package includes a four-night Nile cruise and three nights in Luxor, 18 meals and all transfers. This package is for the tightest budgets.

The Saqqara pyramid in Egypt."For the price of backpacking, we've put together a deluxe vacation," said Ekinci. "It's also for people who are into upper Egypt and who have already been to Cairo."

The package is priced from $899 per person, double.

The Gold Package flies from Paris to Luxor and includes a seven-night cruise and 21 meals.

"This is for the client who doesn't want to give up the convenience of never having to pack and unpack [while cruising]," said Ekinci. "It's also for people who have been to Cairo, and those who want to experience an ancient land with all the comforts."

The price for this package is still in negotiation. Ekinci said it will be no more than $1,099, and he's trying to get it down to $999.

The Platinum Package includes the two nights in Paris, a four-night Nile cruise and three nights' deluxe accommodations in Cairo.

It includes two full days of excursions in the Cairo region, visiting Memphis, Sakkara, the Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Egyptian Museum.

The price for this tour also is in negotiation and will be at most $1,299, but Ekinci said he's trying to get the starting price down to $1,199.

"This one is ideal for people who have never been to Egypt," said Ekinci. "You can see it all, and it's really two for the price of one. The best price I have seen for a package comparable to our Platinum Package is $2,400."

General Tours also is pounding the drums to get tourists back to Egypt. The operator put out a special deal to Egypt in its Time to Go brochure, which includes 48 travel bargains created to get travelers moving again.

"River of the Pharaohs" includes four nights in Cairo and four nights on a Nile Cruise as well as a visit to the ancient temple of Abu Simbel. The tour is priced from $2,099 per person, double, including air from New York.

"We're quite busy," said General Tours president Bob Drumm. "Discounting is helping. Americans are looking for travel deals.

"Surprisingly, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco are all showing signs of life. We're now selling into the fall. We're delighted to see people booking into the future, forgetting a little about world events."

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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