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Tour n' Cure: Messi promotes medical tourism in Egypt

Messi arrived in Cairo to promote Egypt as a medical tourism destination [AFP]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2017

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Football superstar Lionel Messi visited Egypt this week to promote the Tour n' Cure campaign, which aims to make the country a medical tourism destination for hepatitis C patients.
Argentinean football legend Lionel Messi arrived in Cairo this week to promote Egypt as a medical tourism destination for hepatitis C patients.

"Medication against Hepatitis C saves lives, let's put an end to the waiting lists," Messi said on his official Facebook page.

Messi, who was welcomed by renowned Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, toured the pyramids of Giza shortly after landing in Cairo on Tuesday.

"I came here before, in 2007, but I did not have a chance to explore the pyramids the way I did today," Messi said in a brief interview with local channel ONTV.

"Egypt is a country with a big history and I'm happy to visit it."

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism hopes Messi's "historic visit" will enhance the country's tourism sector, which has been struggling in recent years due to political turmoil and security issues.

"Such visits by international public figures, undoubtedly, pour in favour of Egypt and serve its tourism sector significantly," the ministry said in a statement.

The football superstar, who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona, was initially scheduled to arrive in Egypt in December, but agreed to postpone after the deadly bombing of Cairo's St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, which left 29 people dead.

He postponed his visit for the second time last week his team suffered an overnight massive 0-4 loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

Tour n' Cure

The 29-year-old, named the world's best player for a record five times, has signed to become the ambassador for Tour n' Cure, the Egyptian initiative said on its website.

The programme offers treatment for hepatitis C patients from all over the world "with no waiting time and at a fraction of the cost", it said.

It also offers "the opportunity to take in the beauty of Egypt and visit historic landmarks during the days of the treatment, while enjoying a relaxing stay at a 5-star hotel".

Hepatitis C affects 130 to 150 million people globally and can result in liver cirrhosis or cancer.

According to the World Health Organisation, it is responsible for up to 500,000 deaths every year.

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