CAIRO — The Uptown Cairo Classic Car Show recently organized by the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt sparked wide interaction on social media.

Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani participated in the March 19 opening of the Uptown Cairo Classic Car Show, as well as several ministers, officials, public figures and ambassadors to Egypt.

In a March 19 statement posted on its Facebook page, the Egyptian Cabinet said, “This annual event is one of the classic car activities and events that the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt organizes on a regular basis. The event gathers in one place the most magnificent of cars, which are considered among rare historical icons.”

According to the statement, the event showcased more than 80 classic and rare cars.

(Image courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

According to the website of the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt, the club, established in 1905, is among the oldest and main car clubs in the world. Its activities were halted due to World War I, before it resumed them in 1924, upon the approval of King Fouad. The first car show was held in Egypt in 1927.

Officials at the Egypt club and tourism experts who spoke to Al-Monitor said the classic car events are organized by aficionados who like to see classic cars and discover their history. The organizers of the event hope the event will attract tourists amid the difficult situation of the Egyptian tourism sector due to the Russian war on Ukraine.

The chairman of the Board of Directors of the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt, Ali Issa, told Al-Monitor, “Classic cars around the globe always attract attention, and give a historical and aesthetic color to old car models. In the Automobile Club, we have a showroom for classic cars. The club also has members in Egypt who have a large number of rare and vintage classic cars. For that reason, we organize several events annually to display vintage cars so that followers know their history.”

He said, “Sixty people with 80 classic cars participated in the event organized by the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt, and around 2,000 people — both Egyptians and foreigners — flocked to the event.”

(Image courtesy of the Egyptian Automobile Club)

Issa noted, “This event was the result of joint cooperation between a number of Egyptian government agencies that helped implement it, led by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which played a great role. The show was also attended by Anani and his deputy, Ghada Shalaby.”

He added, “This event comes as part of efforts to attract tourism, which is the goal behind its organization. When these events are held around the world, many tourists flock to attend them, especially those interested in seeing classic and vintage cars.”

Wael Abdel Jalil, deputy director of the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt who took part in the event, told Al-Monitor over the phone, “This event is carried out annually, but it was canceled over the past two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.”

He said, “This year’s event was held under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and all members, including public figures, of the Classical and Historical Cars Chamber at the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt who are the owners of vintage cars participated in it. The cars showcased in the event included the car of former President Anwar Sadat, the car of artist Naguib el-Rihani and the cars of King Senussi and King Farouk. This collection is considered to include the best cars in Egypt.”

Abdel Jalil added, “This year’s event included a convoy of 25 classic cars from the old era and Mercedes and Rolls-Royce brands that were showcased in one of Cairo’s streets. Also some recreational and artistic activities for children were held during the show to make the event appealing to all ages. Its main goal was to spread awareness about classic cars to attract tourists to the country.”

(Image courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

Ahmed al-Khadem, a tourism expert and former head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, told Al-Monitor over the phone, “These events have a very positive impact in revitalizing tourism because they show an unfamiliar image of Egypt, which can hold events other than those involving antiquities. Classic cars have millions of aficionados all over the world, and there is no country without car clubs; members of these clubs always follow car activities and events.”

He noted, “The car show shows that Egypt is interested in preserving any old collectibles, even if they are not antiquities, as these events give the impression of safety, stability and love for aesthetic beauty. When foreign media report on them, they attract foreigners to visit Egypt because they discover something new about the country and its history, especially in light of the difficult circumstances that the tourism sector is currently suffering from,” in reference to the repercussions of the Russian war on Ukraine.

He explained, “Car clubs help amateurs keep the vintage cars in good condition and show the events that those cars witnessed in the past, while giving information on their previous owners.”

Khadem added, “In general the various car activities are a way to attract tourists, garnering the interest of many people around the world.”

On March 15, Anani held a meeting with Issa to discuss ways of cooperation regarding motorsport activities that are closely related to the touristic activity and constitute an element of tourist attractions, according to a statement by the ministry.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, “The two parties agreed to consider a number of activities in this field [without specifying the nature of these activities], which would put Egypt on the map of tourism for motorsports.”

Issa concluded, “The meeting that was held with Anani tackled ways to plan tourist activities with different car races across Egypt, and to establish car racing tracks in tourist locations such as Sharm el-Sheikh, or in new cities such as El-Alamein or the new administrative capital, because these competitions have great returns for tourism and create a commercial buzz in the cities where they are held.”


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