News / Middle East

Egyptian Pyramids Reopen for Tourism

Mahmoud Adal and his camel await tourists in Giza, Egypt.
Mahmoud Adal and his camel await tourists in Giza, Egypt.

Multimedia

Audio

Egypt's most famous tourism sites, including the great pyramids and the antiquities museum in Cairo, have reopened after being closed during the popular uprising and political tumult.  Egypt's key industry - tourism -  returns after weeks of protests and celebrations, while other countries in the region deal with unrest.

The sound of hooves as horses pull jostling carts of people within the Giza pyramids' complex is the sound of money to the men who make their livings from tourism - a dominant industry in Egypt.

On this first afternoon the pyramids are open to tourists this month, Mahmoud Adal stands with his camels awaiting people who want rides or typical tourist snapshots.  Adal said after more than three weeks without any work, he is glad people are back, but it is far from normal.  "Today is about 10 people we saw.  Normally, thousands of people.  A thousand people. Like, you couldn't walk in his place," he said.

Patriotism is on full display, as the pyramids reopen.
Patriotism is on full display, as the pyramids reopen.

He trails off, gesturing toward the conspicuous absence of people to bump into on this windy afternoon. There is a lone tour bus in the parking lot, and Adal says it is the first one he has seen.  There are a number of Egyptians visiting the pyramids, waving national flags in celebration more than a week after the president's ouster. But camels, horses and their owners outnumber tourists.

Adal said it has been very hard to feed his family, and his animals, without the tourism dollars. As a businessman, he had to make sacrifices. "I had 15 camels, but right now, I have six camels," he said. "I have sold them, you know, because when I had 15 camels, how could I buy this food to feed them?"

The director of the International Monetary Fund's Middle East and Central Asia Department, Masood Ahmed, said last week that a decrease in tourism is a given.

"The recent popular protests in Egypt will definitely have a short-term economic cost.  In particular, we will see tourism and investment going down and certainly the 5.5-percent growth rate that we saw in the last two quarters of 2010 will likely be considerably lower in the next six months or so while the situation stabilizes," he said.

Visitors enjoy the view from the back of a cart.
Visitors enjoy the view from the back of a cart.

But Ahmed also says the recent popular protests in Egypt and a number of countries in the Middle East could unleash greater long-term growth potential in the region.

Camel-owner Adal is optimistic. He said he thinks things will be better for him and for Egypt.

But the situation appears to be growing more tense elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

It is difficult to get an accurate picture of what is going on in Libya. Foreign reporters have been banned, the nation's media is tightly controlled and the Internet has been shut down.  But reports getting out of the country say Libyan security forces opened fire on anti-government demonstrators Saturday and Sunday. Human Rights Watch says more than 170 people have been killed in Libya during five days of unrest and crackdown.

Journalists in Morocco report several thousand people marched in the capital Rabat, calling for a new constitution, more economic opportunities, a crackdown on corruption, and for King Mohammed to cede some of his powers. News services report Moroccan police kept a low profile.

In Yemen's capital Sana'a, Yemeni students demonstrated again to demand the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In Bahrain, pro-democracy activists have re-established a tent camp in a main square of the capital as they consider an offer of dialogue from the minority Sunni rulers of the small Gulf kingdom.  

On ABC’s This Week  program, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will continue to advocate freedom and democracy and called for governments to be responsive to the people.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid