20 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 07/19/2012 17:18
EGYPT
Islamism and insecurity leave Egyptian Red Sea beaches empty
Seventeen months after the fall of Mubarak, tourist executives lament a 70 per cent drop in the number of visitors. Tourist operators call on President Morsi not to islamise beach resorts. Tourists to Egypt in the first five months of this year were down 26 per cent from 2010 with earnings down 24 per cent.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - For more than a year, Red Sea resorts have struggled with near empty beaches, silent hotels, shops and malls as well as idle barmen and waiters. What was once the pearl of Egypt's tourist industry, now is but a shadow of its former self since Mubarak's fall 17 months ago. Tourist executives are pessimistic, and look with fear at the new Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Egypt's new rulers have not yet said what they would do with alcoholic beverages, bikinis, mixed swimming pools and dance clubs.

"My business has shrunk by at least 70 per cent in the past year," said Waleed, a businessman in Sharm el-Sheik." "Egypt," he explained, "lives on tourism. I think Morsi wants to islamise tourism in the long run, but for the next few years he won't do anything because people need to eat."

In fact, the Brotherhood's 81-page election programme does not mention beach tourism, which brings in the most tourist dollars by far. Officials in the movement have said they have other priorities for now, dismissing the sector as marginal with few jobs. However, the party does promise to encourage alternatives-cultural, ecological and medical tourism, and desert excursions.

Industry professionals disagree. They say beach holidays make up as much as 80 per cent of Egyptian tourism. Before the current drop, the country was a serious rival to countries like Spain and Turkey as a sunny getaway for millions of cost-conscious Europeans.

Some 12 to 15 per cent of Egypt's workforce caters to the needs of foreign visitors, directly or indirectly. Tourism accounts for 11 per cent of gross domestic product and a quarter of foreign exchange earnings, economist Samir Makary said. Most importantly, it has offered jobs to a fast-growing population that stagnating manufacturing was unable to absorb.

As the Arab spring unfolded, tourists began staying away, drastically reducing tourism-related employment.

In the first five months of this year, the number of visitors to Egypt was down 26 per cent from 2010. Earnings dropped by 24 per cent.

For Makary, in addition to the Islamist threat, political instability is another factor affecting tourism. Regular demonstrations and clashes between police and protesters, which have caused 800 deaths, have scared off tourists.

"Travel agents and customers from the West are concerned and nervous about the safety of travel in Egypt," said Mimi Weisband, Crystal Cruises Public Relations Vice President.

With tourist operators looking at the other side of the Red Sea, many warn of the consequences of a radical islamisation of Egypt.

"Saudi Arabia has the best virgin beaches, with soft sands. They have plenty of airports and good roads," one industry executive said. However, "not a single tourist goes" there, "except for the Muslim pilgrimage" to Makkah.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
01/14/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
Al-Azhar’s double game to Islamize Egypt and maintain power
by Samir Khalil Samir
05/29/2012 EGYPT
Egypt, headquarters of candidate, ex-Mubarak ally, attacked
05/23/2012 EGYPT
Egypt votes for new president amid disappointment and hope
07/29/2011 EGYPT
Tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square to protect Egypt’s Arab and Islamic identity
03/09/2013 EGYPT
Egypt, police take to streets against the Muslim Brotherhood

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.