Sunday, April 24, 2011

Egypt tourism remains in disarray

Al Masry Al Youm

From the Pyramids of Giza to the Red Sea resorts, tourist numbers have plummeted to just a trickle, dealing a devastating blow to the millions of Egyptians whose livelihoods depend on the 14 million or so visitors who once thronged to the country.

At the height of the 18-day uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, embassies issued travel warnings and many tour groups canceled their trips, throwing an industry that is a major source of foreign currency into crisis.

Two months later, the chaos has largely subsided, the police who deserted their posts during protests are mostly back on the job and the travel warnings have been eased.

But the tourists have yet to return, and Egypt's tourism minister has forecast the industry's 2011 revenue will be 25 percent lower than the previous year.

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