I've been busy adding to my collection of tourism ephemera lately with issues of a publicity periodical called Egypt and the Sudan, which was issued by the Tourist Development Association of Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s. Tourism one of the topics that I've been researching for my forthcoming book Archaeologists in Print (coming very soon with UCL Press).
Archaeologists were well aware of the value of tourism for attracting public attention to their work, and the archaeologists who excavated in Egypt were particularly well placed to feed into and exploit this attention.
As far as I can work out, the Tourist Development Association of Egypt (TDAE) was created in the mid 1920s. The Association had an international membership, comprised chiefly of hoteliers, representatives from shipping lines and railway companies and business people. There were TDAE offices (eventually) in Cairo, London, and Paris. Its patron was Egypt's king, Fuad I.
From 1926 (according to my searches in the British Newspaper Archive), illustrated newspapers began carrying quarter page TDAE advertisements promoting six key areas of attraction to Egypt – "HISTORY", "MYSTERY", "ROMANCE", "HEALTH", "SUNLIGHT" and "LUXURY". At this stage, those interested in finding out more could pick up an illustrated pamphlet entitled The Valley of the Nile from the TDAE's offices.
Eventually in 1927, the TDAE began issuing what I suspect was a more substantial periodical with enhanced content, Egypt and the Sudan, which offered readers specially written insights from noted (Western) authorities and seasoned tourists and residents on a diverse range of topics – music, theatre, sport, internal travel, social life, and, of course, archaeology.
Various archaeological contributors, both men and women, used their detailed knowledge of Egypt's past to lure tourists towards Egypt's ancient sites. Alongside these articles were pages and pages of advertisements for shipping lines, airways, railways, hotels and tourist services, as well as images of sites, artefacts and people supplied by photographers and artists.
Egypt and the Sudan's Editor (and secretary to the TDAE) was a man named R. A. Bartholomew – apparently a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He wrote frequently for the magazine, and commissioned pieces on Egypt from different perspectives. Some of the authors wrote under pseudonyms; for example in 1928 "Cleopatra" wrote about "Winter in Aswan".
The Ocean Liners: Speed and Style exhibition at the V&A (closing soon!) celebrates this age of international travel, and includes amongst the material on display posters for travel to Egypt. British Museum curator Neal Spencer has also been posting some fantastic interwar era tourism posters in the Department of Egypt and Sudan archive – see here, here, here, here, here and here. And the Museum has also opened this month a new temporary Room 3 exhibition to showcase its growing collection of objects representing modern Egypt, The Past is Present. I'm very much looking forward to checking this out.
As I go through the issues I've now acquired of Egypt and the Sudan more thoroughly, I'll have a better idea of how these notable contributors framed Egypt for the Western tourists of the inter-war period, and how their own experience of Egypt is represented in its pages. More to come, I suspect!
Reid, D. M. 2015. Contesting Antiquity in Egypt: Archaeologies, Museums & The Struggle for Identities from World War 1 to Nasser. Cairo/New York: American University in Cairo Press.