Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Egypt turmoil turns tourist hub Luxor into ghost town  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 30/12/2013
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Tourists once flocked to Luxor for its ancient treasures, but as Egypt witnesses sweeping political upheavals, the visitors have simply vanished from this famed temple city.

Christmas used to be particularly busy, as tens of thousands of visitors thronged Luxor's famous temples, but fresh unrest that followed the army's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July has virtually stopped tourist arrivals.

Egypt's political unrest first began with the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak and triggered a wave of events that has rocked the tourism industry, which was vital to the country's economy.

Salah, 51, earned a living showing tourists around Luxor in his horse carriage, but now the father-of-four, the youngest of whom is just 18 months old, has no customers and his cart has lain idle for months.

"Before, I used to earn 2,000 to 3,000 (Egyptian) pounds (up to 420 or 300 euros) a month. Today, I am happy if I have 10 pounds in my pocket," Salah said.

Luxor, a city of around 500,000 residents on the banks of the Nile in southern Egypt, is one of the country's main tourist hubs that has born the brunt of the upheavals of the past three years.

It is an open-air museum of intricate temples, tombs of pharaonic rulers and landmarks such as the Winter Palace hotel where crime novelist Agatha Christie is said to have written "Death on the Nile."

Before 2011, it attracted several million tourists annually, drawn by the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, and the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut -- scene of a 1997 massacre that killed dozens of foreign tourists.

The 1997 attack by radical Islamist militants dented tourism, but in the years leading up to 2011 the industry was on the rise again and Luxor was once again a popular destination.

Most families like Salah's live on earnings from tourism, a sector that makes up over 11 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product and until recently employed more than four million.

But the days when about 10,000 tourists arrived daily in Luxor have gone.

One could barely walk through the crowded streets three yearsago, but now idle guides loiter between the towering columns of historic structures.

Vendors dispute recovery

Salah lives in a three-room house with a courtyard where his horse is tethered.

"I had another horse, but I sold it," he said, dressed in a traditional gallabiya.

"The choice was between feeding my children or the two horses," Salah said, adding that among the 340 horse-carriages in Luxor, 20 saw their animals starve to death.

He is not the only one facing difficulties in city. The once thriving tourist hub has become into a virtual ghost city.

The airport is empty and taxis wait outside of hotels that hardly have any occupants.

In one hotel lobby, about six employees light up a tall Christmas tree, but unfortunately the festive period is not promising at all.

The bloody government crackdown on Morsi's supporters after his ouster has left more than 1,000 people killed in clashes and derailed any chances of a pick-up in tourist arrivals, with many foreign governments issuing travel warnings for Egypt.

Although Luxor has been unaffected by the unrest, local guides and tourist operators accuse Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood of scaring away the tourists.

For "stability" to return, Luxor residents want Egypt's interim authorities to quickly carry out the democratic transition they had promised after ousting Morsi.

The transition envisages a referendum on a new constitution next month, to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in mid-2014.

But Luxor governor Tareq Saadeddine is optimistic.

"For the past three months the (hotel) occupancy rate was less than one percent. Today, it is 18 percent and continues to grow," he said, adding that 28 of the 255 boats are already operating.

But local vendors are less cheery, like Mohamed Hussein, 23, who swears he has not made a single sale in months.

Hussein said vendors like him were surviving on savings or by selling their wives' jewellery. He said that for "six months" he had not paid his shop's electricity bills.

Another seller said the mantra to survive these days was to sell cheap.

"It is so cheap now that you can buy gifts for even those you dislike," he said in fluent French.


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Feb 12 2016 - Egypt logs 16.5pct drop in non-oil exports over 2015MENAFN
(MENAFN) Egypt's non-petroleum exports saw a 16.5 percent decline in value throughout the previous year as opposed to 2014, based on recent reports.Based on Egypt's General Authority for Export and ...

 Feb 12 2016 - UAE's new theme park's expenditure hits USD1.5bMENAFN
(MENAFN) Set to open its doors this Oct. the all new Dubai Parks and Resorts along with its land has had its overall project expenditure hit USD1.5 billion at the end of last year as opposed to much ...

 Feb 12 2016 - ACWA Power to collect USD8b debt in H1MENAFN
(MENAFN) ACWA Power, the Saudi-based power generation and desalinated water production plants' operator, intends to raise USD8 billion of debt over the first six month of the current year, according ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Spain dismantles falcon trafficking ring destined for UAE racesThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) (file photo / Reuters ) Madrid: Spanish police said Thursday they had dismantled an international ring that smuggled falcons to the United Arab Emirates where ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Russia raises spectre of world war if nations fail to negotiate over SyriaThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Russian Prime Minister DmitryMedvedevchairs a meeting with ministers and top officials on social and economic policy in Moscow on February 10 2016. REUTERS ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Germany offers 500 mln euros in credits to IraqThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) German Chancellor AngelaMerkel(L) and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi shake hands at a joint press conference after meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on February 11 ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Russia claims US planes bombed Syria's AleppoThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Stalls are seen on a street beside damaged buildings in the rebel held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo Syria February 10 2016. REUTERS Moscow:Russia's defence ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Erdogan threatens to send refugees to EU as NATO steps inThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Syrian people wait in front of the Oncupinar crossing gate to go back to Syria near the town of Kilis in south-central Turkey on February 11 2016. AFP Ankara:Turkish ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Qatar- LNG deal 'key to Pakistan's prosperity'The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing members of the Pakistani community at the Four Seasons hotel yesterday. Pic: Abdul Basit / The Peninsula DOHA: ...

 Feb 12 2016 - Qatar- Emir visits Al Qassar Metro Station projectThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is briefed on the project by Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti. Doha: Emir H H Sheikh Tamim ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help