Quotes: US 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 years ago, 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.


 






  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 31 2014 - Air Algerie's plane crashesMENAFN
(MENAFN) A senior official said that the Air Algerie flight that crashed in Mali last week appears to have plummeted to the ground from an altitude of 10,000 meters in just a few minutes after flying ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Dubai's Damac eyes listing shares in Dubai bourseMENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai luxury property developer Damac is trying to attract investors to invest in converting its Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs), listed on the London bourse, into ordinary shares that ...

 Jul 31 2014 - 'Nearly 100 casualties' in Xinjiang violenceArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) IJING: A clash in Xinjiang home to China's mostly Muslim Uighur minority left nearly 100 people dead or wounded an exile group said Wednesday after what authorities called a ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Aquino seeks to quash rumors of military coupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino sought Wednesday to quash rumors that a coup is being plotted against him with his spokesman insisting he had the military's full ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Kerry in New Delhi to reboot ties with ModiArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) W DELHI: US Secretary of State John Kerry flew into India on Wednesday for ice-breaking talks with new Prime Minister Narendra Modi forecasting a transformation in Washington's ...

 Jul 31 2014 - UK bankers' bonus: Tough rules on wayArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NDON: British banks will be able to claw back employee bonuses up to seven years later if the recipient is found guilty of serious recklessness the Bank of England ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Amazon to invest 2bn to expand in IndiaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MBAI: The world's largest online retailer is facing off in India against a new name in e-commerce that was founded by former Amazon employees.Amazon.com Inc. said it will invest ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Mobily Wajid offers free lines to family membersArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Bily continues to provide its extraordinary offer to the new subscribers of Wajid that provides discounts and privileges to all family members.The new Wajid Extra and Plus ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Wife of BIS official dies in road crashArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) E wife of a member of the governing board at the Bangladesh International School (BIS) in Jeddah was killed in a road accident on Tuesday the second day of Eid Al-Fitr.Nasima ...

 Jul 31 2014 - Indian Eid program toned down in solidarity with GazansArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Extensive yearly Indian community Eid program was reduced to a simple get-together ceremony on Monday night in solidarity with the victims of Gaza.Indian expatriates condemned ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

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

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

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
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

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


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help