Egyptians in tourism trades still stinging from losses
Supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tear through the crowd at Tahrir Square on February 2.
February 12th, 2011
10:14 PM ET

Egyptians in tourism trades still stinging from losses

The revolution in Egypt may have been good for democracy, but for the country's tourism industry, it was a huge blow, according to one tour operator.

The violent images of men on horseback storming Cairo's Tahrir Square armed with whips - among the most emblematic scenes from the 18-day revolt - not only galvanized the anti-government movement, leading to former president Hosni Mubarak's ouster after 18 days of protests, but also scared away visitors who normally tour the Great Pyramids on horses and camels, tourist industry worker Ayman al Myonir said.

Last year, 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt, and tourism generated $11 billion in revenue, according to the Egyptian Tourist Authority in New York. Tourism in Egypt makes up about 11 percent of the gross domestic product, the tourism organization said.

The stables full of idle horses and camels cost $15 a day to feed at a time when no money is coming in, he says. To the people who care for the animals, there are mixed feelings over how the revolution played out.

"That's young boys, 17 years old and 18 years old. They want to say, 'we [are] hungry, we want to eat, we want to work.' We don't think about politics. Here we are not political people... It's how much I get, how I make business, how I can work, how I can feed my family," he said.

"I hope that inside the country - and this is message for inside Egypt - please, we try to help each other. We would like to put our hands together and we start to help each other."

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Filed under: Egypt • Travel
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. eric

    Travis speaks the truth.

    February 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bleh

    @RUFFNUTT: king tuk in common.LMAO!!!!

    February 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bleh

    @Victor: ROTFLMAO!!!

    February 13, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bleh

    Have a problem with your cap-lock, BRUTUS?

    February 13, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    This story is premature. Mubarak resigned YESTERDAY. Give it a little time and the tourists will be back.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. eric

    Paul runs a travel agency.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. joe

    now the 'new' free egyptians can clean up that chithole giza.... you can't blame the river of chit flowing thru town on the president...

    February 13, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. eric

    Only on a**holes like you.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. eric

    Tea for everyone!

    February 13, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lilarose in Oregon

    If I toured in Egypt, I wouldn't ride on one of their horses or camels. And I would walk up to them and tell them why I wouldn't. Beating their fellow Egyptians? Abusing their animals in such a crowd? I wonder who set them up to that. They might as well "pack up" and go home. The Egyptians have lost tourism for a very very very long time, because it is people like me who can afford to go, and it won't be to Egypt.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    The irony is that the folks who are losing income b/c of the disruption caused by the protests are at the bottom of the income scale because of the structural inequality inherent in the dominant political system. Some folks say "we just want to eat." If 2 weeks of protests mean that you are starving then what you really need is a system that does not keep you so down that you are two weeks (of lost work) away from losing your home, bankruptcy, or begging. Hopefully the changes coming in Egypt, and possibly elsewhere in the region, will reshuffle the deck but those entrenched at the top, who benefited most from the oppressive political system (e.g. owners of privatized companies purchased at fire sales, massive land owners, etc.), will do everything they can to elide into the new leadership positions and maintain the status quo. To placate the masses they will do things like keep the price of bread down, provide subsidies for gasoline, etc. If free and fair elections really do happen then we can only hope that the same old guard does not simply change clothes and stay in power. At least now the Egyptians have some hope of change, and sometimes change itself is worth a shot.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Raebo

    I was in Cario, and Alexandria in Oct/10.
    I went to the museum and the pyramids.
    Revolution or no revolution I would never go back. ( NEVER )
    No National Geographic or Discovery channel special can describe the garbage, the smell, the beggars at the pyramids swarming you.
    And the washroom in the museum.
    Indescribable.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. eric

    Lila, that's a lot of verys! Can you also afford that many vowels?

    February 13, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Lilarose in Oregon

      Do you have a job, Eric?

      February 13, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. typo?

    shouldn't the outside page that leads to this page say pro-mubarack instead of anti-mubarack protesters came in on horses?

    February 13, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Julia

    let's see, it is OK for a country to go to hell in a hand basket as long as nobody messes with their tourism profits. No doubt they voted for Mubarak every time too. Nobody likes to give up their favoured status.

    get over it.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
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