World’s largest floating book fair allures 65,000 visitors in Egypt in 10 days

The world’s largest floating book fair Logos Hope has received over 65,000 visitors in its first 10 days after docking at the Suez Canal city of Port Said in Egypt.

Logos Hope is travelling the world with over 5,000 titles on board and it has opened to the public in the Egyptian port city on January 4 and will conclude on Saturday.

Port Said Fair: Busiest port so far

“Ever since we reopened after COVID, this has been the busiest port so far,” Port Said project coordinator, The National quoted Sebastian Moncayo, who is from Ecuador, as saying.

Moncayo has been onboard Logos Hope since September 2019. He arrived in Port Said seven weeks before the ship as part of its advanced preparation team.

He said the response in Egypt has been “overwhelming”, with an average of 7,000 visitors a day.

The last time the ship docked at Port Said was in November and December 2010.

“A lot of people remember the visit, which is amazing because now they’re coming and they’re showing us pictures they took the last time,” Moncayo added.

“Many of them were single. Now they’re married and they’re bringing their kids. There are people who say. Oh, I was six years old and now I’m 18 and I remember the vessel.”

The ship attracts families and large groups of schoolchildren as well as lots of people aged 18 to 35, he said.

Logos Hope has a unit equivalency system, and therefore books do not need to be repriced when moving to a different country and currency. In Europe, 100 units was equal to €2 ($2.16), while in Egypt, 100 units is equal to 60 Egyptian pounds ($2.03).

There is a “huge collection” of books available for 100 units, while the average price is between 100 and 400 units, or 60 to 240 pounds, Moncayo said, adding that the entrance fee is five pounds ($0.17).

“It has to do, as well, with the economy of the country. The prices that we had in Malta, they were not the same prices that we have here, or the same prices that we had in Sierra Leone,” he said.

The crew of Logos Hope includes 330 volunteers from 60 countries. The ship also hosts cultural performances, offers language lessons and organises service projects.

In Egypt, the team has visited orphanages in Port Said and Cairo, donated books and led events, including for instannce a beach clean-up and a bicycle race.

Since 1970, Logos and Doulos ships, operated by German non-profit group GBA — meaning Good Books for All — have toured more than 150 countries and welcomed 49 million people on board.

However, the ships were closed on March 2020, during the Covid pandemic, for more than a year.

Since restarting in July 2021, Logos Hope has toured several Caribbean islands, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Spain, Malta, Albania, Montenegro, and Cyprus before making its way to the Middle East.

Before Egypt, Logos Hope was in Beirut in the last two weeks of December, receiving 56,000 visitors, and will arrive in Aqaba, Jordan, on January 25. It is set to be in the UAE for several weeks, arriving in Ras Al Khaimah on March 27, docking in Dubai from April 11 to 23 and finishing in Abu Dhabi from May 10 to June 12. Trips to Bahrain, Qatar and Oman were to follow.

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