In recent months, Egypt has hit the headlines for all of the wrong reasons thanks to scenes of chaos on the streets of Cairo.
But beyond the lure of the capital lies a country that is steeped in culture and history – from the great pyramids and tombs to the spectacular sights along the banks of the river Nile.
It’s fair to say that the tourism industry in the country has endured a difficult time of late, but there is a lot more to Egypt that lies beyond the political unrest and demonstrations that are seen in the capital.
That all stems back to the overthrowing of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and demonstrations have continued virtually ever since, meaning Cairo is not high on the wish lists of those looking to travel.
However, the Minister of Tourism in the country, Hisham Zaazou, is taking a different approach – he’s telling people to steer clear of the capital and visit the rest of the country instead.
It comes after many tourists have abandoned the country in their droves after seeing the scenes in Cairo.
“Events in Cairo are being perceived as happening across Egypt, which is simply not the case,” explained Mr Zaazou.
“For the time being, we will adopt a pragmatic approach of not promoting Cairo, and focus on the rest of Egypt – Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea.”
These spectacular destinations still allow visitors to immerse themselves in everything that is great about the country.
In the final months of 2013, visitor numbers were down by around 90% on the previous year, meaning many people are missing out on seeing the wonders of the ancient lands that were once ruled by Cleopatra and Tutankhamun.
Places to visit
For instance, the Pyramids of Giza are 15 miles outside of Cairo to the south-west and are a beautiful place to visit.
Luxor, even further south, is home to the Valley of the Kings and can satisfy the needs of those looking to see spectacular masonry on a grand scale.
Sharm El Sheikh is another possibility for those considering a trip to Egypt, offering spectacular views, scenery and weather on the shores of the Red Sea.
Meanwhile, the spectacular sights of the Aswan Dam and of Lake Nasser can also be seen in the South of the country, ideal visitor locations for those wanting to see parts of Egypt that are not often in the limelight.
Financing a trip
Using a prepaid card when travelling abroad is a great way of ensuring a holiday stays within budget regardless of where you are heading, as only money on the card can be spent.
There is also additional protection if the card should be misplaced, as funds can be transferred to a new card with the minimum of fuss.
In places such as Egypt, you’ll almost certainly want some money to buy souvenirs and having a prepaid card is a great way to purchase goods at a favourable exchange rate.