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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

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

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
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 Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone 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