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More from our partners in Egypt

Our Egypt Operations Manager Keren and Tour Leader Jenny are back in Egypt and have been talking to our local partners.  Those of you who have been to Egypt with us may have met Mohammed from Big Blue, Tyeb in Luxor and Felucca Captain Achmed Fausi among others.   Here’s what they have to say about how things are in Egypt right now…

Tyeb Khalifa, Luxor rep:

“Yes things are very quiet in Luxor. There have been practically no tourists for 10 days but yesterday I did see a few people walking around. No one understands why Luxor was listed as restricted. There was only 1 or 2 days where there was a little anger on the streets, and during those times all us locals on the West Bank worked together guarding the Valleys of Kings, Queens and other tourist sites so that they didn’t get damaged by the minority who were trying to cause trouble. You can say that 90% of us here in Luxor work in the tourism industry and rely on it so we won’t allow anything to risk our livelihood. I am very lucky that my family has some small savings so we should be OK as long as tourism picks up again soon. Many of my friends don’t have any savings so we are all working together to make sure everyone is fed and safe.”

Mohammed, manager of Big Blue Dive Company

It is very quiet here at the moment and local operators are watching the foreign government travel warnings and waiting for them to be downgraded.  It is just a matter of time as peace is restored and Cairo gets back to normal.  Everyone is very positive about the future but want local people not to use this time to push for immediate change but allow the economy to stabilize and attract foreign tourism and investment.  Once the country is again on its feet they can look for positive changes and introduce policies and programs that will build a better future for all.  Independent tourists are still visiting, relishing in the opportunity to have the popular tourist sites all to themselves.  Photo opportunities abound.

Jenny, Oasis Tour  Leader

Celebrations in Cairo (Photo credit: Sue Deegan)

My flight to Egypt was festive as holidaymakers continue to visit the resort town of Sharm el Sheik, not at all deterred by the recent events.  It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the welcome I received on my return to Dahab.  The staff were all smiles and handshakes, the mood positive.  Many in Egypt believe the rest of the world will get behind them and tourist numbers will increase as people from around the world want to support Egypt and be part of this time in history.

My friend Sue is currently in Cairo and reports that the people are in the street celebrating and rejoicing history in the making.  Families wander around, the youth are restoring the city by repainting and cleaning up after the demonstrations.  Many hotels are finding it tough – tourist sites have reopened but very few tourists are yet to return here.  The overall mood is very festive and the people Sue has spoken to feel they can now have their say for the first time in many years.  It is a time for change, to rebuild and restructure.   Inshallah.

Jimmy, owner and manager of BishBishi hotel in Dahab

Photo Credit: Sue Deegan

Occupancy numbers are down by 50% for this time of the year.  I am looking to the future and expect numbers to start increasing again in the next few weeks.  Traditionally Europeans visit Dahab at this time of the year for diving during their winter holiday break, many returning year after year. This year they have not come but there is hope they will once again return.

Mr Helmy, Manager of Sara Hotel in Aswan:

“There are no tourists in Aswan and we depend on the tourism industry to survive. Even though the FCO didn’t list Aswan as unsafe to travel to, we were affected because we are on the tourist route after Cairo and Luxor so no one is coming through. Usually we would be busy at this time of the year but… now the hotel is empty. I don’t want to fire staff but I can’t pay their wages. It’s quiet and calm in Aswan and has been throughout the past 2 weeks – it’s perfectly safe for tourists to come and we are hoping that now the FCO have lifted the restriction in Luxor that they will start to come back soon”.

Achmed Fausi, Felucca Captain:

“We have no work and no income. There are no tourists in Aswan. Our feluccas have been moored up for 2 weeks now – since the last Oasis trip went through. Please help the people to come back to Egypt”

Check out our Egypt tours

Thanks to Sue Deegan Photography for the photos

Posted in Africa, All Blogs, Middle East.

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