Skip to comments.Arab spring break (Tourism in Egypt)
Posted on 05/09/2013 2:44:24 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
TWO years of political upheaval have battered tourism, a motor of Egypts economy. Much of the Nile cruise fleet lies idle. Trinket-sellers and would-be guides at the Giza pyramids are so hungry for custom that they often mob or simply jump aboard approaching taxis. And though the damage has been patchy, with beach resorts still thriving even as visitors shun the ancient monuments, lingering uncertainty over the future means it may be years before Egypt regains its place in the sun.
In 2010, the last year before Egypts revolution, a record 14m tourists arrived. The industry was 13% of GDP and directly or indirectly employed one in seven workers. Arrivals plummeted to 9.5m in 2011, and have yet to recover (see chart). Tourism Economics, a consultancy, predicts that 11.4m tourists will come in 2013.
Yet those numbers disguise the sharpest pain. The Egyptian Tourism Federation estimates that hotel occupancy rates are barely 15% in Cairo and below 5% in Luxor, the site of the Valley of the Kings, where 19 people died in a hot-air balloon explosion in February. In January armed looters infiltrated a protest in central Cairo and stormed into the InterContinental Semiramis, one of the Egyptian capitals swankier hotels. Chefs, waiters and honest protesters fought them off with saucepans and chairs, but the hotel had to close for weeks.
Some parts of the country are coping better than others. The Red Sea resort of Hurghada still draws hordes of sun-seeking Russians. It is the cheapest and closest destination, explains Maxim Stepanov, who regularly flies the four and half hours from Moscow. He also likes the fact that Russians dont need visas here and that hotel staff often speak Russian, a language used even for Hurghadas street signs.
Like its glitzier sister Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada remains an oasis from Egypts political tumult. Visitors can avoid Cairo by flying directly to their airports. Our occupancy rates for winter months have been approximately the same as before the revolution, though weve cut prices to maintain this, says Mohamed Elassy, a manager of Hurghadas Mövenpick Resort. Other chains are expanding in Hurghada, counting on a return to zippy growth.
It is not a bad bet. Egypts tourism industry has been unsteady for years, affected by a history of off-putting news and shoddy management that predates the revolution. Islamist extremists shot and killed over 60 tourists at a Luxor archaeological site in 1997, and bomb attacks in the resort town of Dahab killed 23 people in 2006. The visitors have always come back in bigger numbers. During troughs like the current one, braver sorts have enjoyed having spectacular sights, such as Luxors Karnak temple, all to themselves.
What would be better: to see with throngs of tourists, or to see with throngs of desperate tour guides? Not that I plan to go now or ever. I don't like crowds, preferring a remote fishing stream instead.
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I am sure there are many freepers here who would pay give a spring break to liberal college professors to go on a trip to Cairo...
Especially unveiled feminist professors...
How about the one dressed as the pope, naked below the waist with pubic hair shaved to a cross. She could visit dressed as mohammed with a crescent hairdo.
Seeing the pyramids and the Sphinx are on my Bucket List, and I’m getting older every day; however, I wouldn’t set foot in Egypt now the way things are going over there.
Those idiots are, among other stupid and moronic things, killing off the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Not going there until the Muslims are utterly defeated.
We stopped in Cairo in 1982 after finishing a 2-year in Saudi Arabia. We stayed at a great hotel, the Ramses Hilton, and did all the touristy things: pyramids, Sphinx, rode a camel and had drinks at Sheperd’s. in 1997,’ the late wife and I flew to Cairo again. We stayed with some friends from the embassy and flew to Aswan and then caught a Nile cruise. We saw all of the temples along the way, then flew back to Cairo from Luxor. One of the best tours I’ve ever done. We got home a week later. I walked into the TV room. There was a map of Egypt on the TV with the symbol for an explosion right at Luxor. There was a terrorist attack and several tourists perished. We missed that by exactly one week. I have seen all of Egypt I’ll ever need to see.