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Egypt's Mubarak is Gone, So Are the Tourists and Are Staying Away
The great Egyptian democracy revolution remains historic. It's final outcome, murky at the very best, but, Mubarak is gone. As the events unfolded in Tahrir Square, Cairo, starting January 25th, 2011, so also began the flight of tourists out and by February 9th, 2011, more than a million tourists had left Egypt and its wonderful artifacts and treasures.
Tourism in Egypt accounts for 5% of its economy. Last year, Egyptian revenues came 12 billion from tourists. It has already dropped to 6 billion. The flights arriving in Egypt during the revolutionary days failed to deliver many tourists but left packed with them. The hotels then and now remain mostly vacant but for news reporters. The Four Seasons Hotel is 98% empty and it was forced to close its casino, restaurant and shops.
The effects of the revolution was felt with dire results in Giza, Egypt, home to the pyramids. Most vendors in that area relay 100% of tourists and can earn up to $100 a day, which is excellent money. These vendors made no money during the revolution and continue to make very little primarily from local visitors. The army closed access to the pyramids further making the issue even worse. During the unrest, prices rose for many basic Egyptian needs, for instance, feed for horses rose $10.
Not all Egyptians shared the desires of those in Tahrir Square, at least to the extent when their income was impacted. Ashraf Ali, 34, runs a small tourist shop where he has seen only five tourists since, usually it is packed and he works up to 10 hrs a day. He is angry and indicated that the protesters got what they wanted but the real damage is done. How does Egypt now convey to the tourists that it is stable and safe? When will it return to normal? What is the future of tourism?
Good questions with no answers.