Watch: what it's like to take to the skies in a hot-air balloon in the Egyptian city of Luxor

About 60 balloons take off each week in the city with archaeological sites such as the Valley of the Kings and the Karnak temple complex

A sunrise hot-air balloon ride over the ancient city of Luxor

A sunrise hot-air balloon ride over the ancient city of Luxor
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From the Pyramids of Giza to the Nile, Egypt is a country full of history with its vast cultural heritage readily on display for visitors. And those who happen to take a visit to the ancient city of Luxor can view the city's attractions and landmarks in a unique way: from a hot-air balloon.

As many as 60 take off in the city in a week. During the one-hour experience, visitors must follow Covid-19 safety measures, which include wearing face masks and reduced capacity inside the balloons.

Guests will reach heights of 488 metres, taking in the city and its surrounding countryside, with sweeping views of archaeological sites such as the Valley of the Kings, the Karnak temple complex and the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, while also getting to enjoy the sunrise. The experience costs 600 Egyptian pounds ($38).

A revival in tourism

With vaccines becoming more readily available around the world, Egypt's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El Enany, said he hoped to see a revival in summer travel this year.

In an interview with The National at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, he said the country was hoping to attract more than eight million overseas visitors for 2021.

"I'm hoping that in the beginning of summer, with the return of the Russian, Arab and hopefully European markets, that we will reach our normal numbers at the nearest possible time. We are hoping to reach one million visitors per month and we're not that far off."

The country is undertaking measures to ensure the safe return of tourists as the global industry aims to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism is essential for Egypt's economy, accounting for about 12 per cent of gross domestic product on average, with about one in five workers employed in the industry.