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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid