Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - UNESCO is preparing to recognize the "Path of the Holy Family", the itinerary that unites the places travelled, according to the millennial traditions, by Mary, Joseph and the Child Jesus when they found refuge in Egypt to escape the violence of Herod, as "World Heritage" of humanity. This is what Adel Gindy, general head of the international relations of the Egyptian tourism development Authority reported to national media.
Egyptian tourism policy makers have long been aiming at the "Path of the Holy Family" as an itinerary to propose to agencies specialized in the organization of Christian pilgrimages, and believe that UNESCO's recognition will also help increase the flow of pilgrims.
The recent visit of Pope Francis to Egypt (28/29 April) was also welcomed by political leaders of Egyptian tourism as an opportunity to reopen the great North African country among the possible pilgrimage destinations for Christians all over the world, in the footsteps of the Holy Family. Pope Francis, in his speeches during the visit made several references to the hospitality offered by Egypt to the Child Jesus, Joseph and Mary forced to exile. Before the Papal visit Nader Guirguis, a member of a ministerial commission especially set up for the relaunch of the path of the Holy Family, also referred to the historical hypotheses based on the Gospel, according to which the stay of the Holy Family in Egypt may have lasted for some years. On May 9, less than two weeks after the Pope's visit, Egyptian Tourism Minister Yahiya Rashid also went to the Vatican to present the program "The journey of the Holy Family". In this regard, the Egyptian media reports of contacts between Egyptian tourism organizations and Opera Romana Pelligrinaggi.
Egyptian tourism leaders are trying to compensate at least in part for the huge losses of the national tourist industry caused by terrorism and the instability that dominates the whole region. The goal is to include pilgrimages in places traditionally linked to the passage of the Holy Family within tourist packages that also enhance the historical and archaeological heritage left by Egyptian civilization.
The revival of the "The Path of the Holy Family" has long been the focus of proposals and lively debates involving politicians and Egyptian tourism operators. The first proposals for the promotion, even in tourism, of "The Path of the Holy Family" date back to twenty years ago. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 17/5/2017)