Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Once again, camels and horses at the Pyramids

Al Ahram Weekly (Zahi Hawass)

The camel and horse touts in Giza are very upset with our new project to save the Pyramids. They do not understand what we are trying to do. Regrettably, many of them do things that harm tourists; I receive many letters from tourists claiming that they will never return to Egypt because of the way they were treated or harassed for money.

I do not think that I need to elaborate much more, since one look at the pyramid site shows what kind of pollution the camels and horses cause. You see them everywhere, even inside the tombs and temples. We do not plan to hurt the animals. I honestly believe that this is what the camel and horse drivers think, and that is why they object to our plans.

For example, I read an article in the Boston Globe written by a man and his wife about this problem. They met a horse driver whose family had been giving tours of Giza for more than three generations. He asked the man and his wife to send letters to the government praising his business, because he was concerned that the modernisation of the site of Giza would mean the end for him. He does not understand that we are trying to create a system that will benefit everyone. Currently, the stronger, wealthier families get all the business while the others do not. Some give tours to 10 tourists a day, while others do only a few.

Before, the tourists did not have easy access to the stables. The modernisation of the Giza Plateau has benefited the horse and camel drivers. All the buses filled with tourists now enter from the Fayoum road. The tourists see the stables as soon as they exit the coaches, and this allows them to make an immediate decision whether or not to ride a horse or camel.

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