Egypt tourism suffers amid unrest   2012-12-28 13:59:58            

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Egypt’s tourism industry has been severely hit during the nearly two-years of political unrest in the country. Vendors, shopkeepers and small businessmen are some of the worst affected by the turmoil. Now they’re looking for a more stable society to ignite the tourist trade.

The Pyramids, a wonder of the world. But at the moment, foreign visitors wonder if it’s worth the risk.

December is traditionally the start of Egypt’s peak travel season. But many tourists have stayed away because of recent protests in Cairo over the new constitution.

Vassilios Stavros, tourist, said,"Before the revolution, it was safer than now because before the revolution there was a lot of police, a lot of army so I was more secure. Now it’s ok, but you don’t feel so secure."

For vendors, being busy means being happy.

They need a stable society if things are to improve.

Anas Ahmed, tourist vendor, said,"The sector that was most negatively affected is the tourist sector. No one is paying attention to tourism. Even the constitution did not recognise the tourism sector. This is not fair."

Ramy Gamal, tourist vendor, said,"There is no work. The market is dead and there is no tourism compared to before the revolution. This is supposed to be high season for the market and its Christmas time. Usually it’s packed with foreigners but it’s totally empty."

Foreign tourism is one of Egypt’s biggest revenue sources. But international arrivals this month have fallen by 40 percent from November.

Those working in the tourist trade say they’re not optimistic that anything will improve with the country’s new constitution.

For the public, a stagnant tourism industry simply means one thing - less money.

In 2010, tourism provided direct or indirect employment to one in every eight Egyptians.

The fall in tourism and foreign investment since the revolution has worsened a debt crisis and forced the government into talks with the IMF, over a possible 4.8 billion US dollar loan.


Editor: Bi Mingxin
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