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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid