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Local Archaeologists vs The PR Machine

Date: March 14, 2024 | By: Ashish Sanghrajka | Category: Travel Blog

The Holy Month


As the holy month of Ramadan begins, we wish all our close friends and colleagues whom I often call extended family, Ramadan Kareem.

رَمَضَان كَرِيم


This week, I was supposed to be in Egypt with the family for one of my last two spring breaks with my son. Circumstances however were such that the trip had to be pushed out although I will certainly be back in Egypt after ILTM Cannes later this year, one of our Egypt specialists will be there this summer. Egypt is like home for me, since I was a teenager, and many of you know my mother is from Sudan while Dad and I are from Kenya, so Egypt has never been far. And those of you who have been to Egypt either with clients or on one of our educationals that I lead every year, you have met Gamal who is like my second father. You have met my sisters, Farah and Nour, and you have met my other mother, Sally, who are my second family.


Archaeology is the center of tourism in Egypt. New Discoveries are at an all-time high, from an average of two discoveries a decade in the early 20th century to averaging six a year since 2018. This pace of discovery is a major contributor to the PR driving tourism interest in the destination. One of the challenges Egypt faces is the invisibility of the local excavators and archaeologists, the ones making the actual discoveries not the media rounds. These workers are doing the most important work, and Big Five is committed to creating fair wage jobs in archaeology for them where the fees paid to open a tomb go towards paying the salaries of these local workers, instead of into one person’s pocket or to an external organization.  We want clients to have a front-row seat and even get involved in the exploration of new discoveries. On my podcast, the Sustainable Voice, my cohost, Leigh, and I recently dedicated an entire episode to this very topic, which is live now for your listening pleasure.


I share a video we took at the end of last year as we were the first ones into this burial chamber that was discovered just two months prior. Since our country manager Gamal in Egypt is an archaeologist by degree, we get to meet him and his fellow alumni and their teams. I am so excited about this new initiative.


With every, effort, every journey, every experience all tied together …. brings full circle a commitment to Egypt my father started more than four decades ago.

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