During these troubled times in Egypt it’s impossible not to spare a thought for all those whose livelihood depends on a thriving tourist industry.
Since President Morsi was ousted last month most Western governments have issued a travel warning against travel to Egypt and asked their citizens there to depart. Pre-revolution 12% of Egypt’s workforce was employed in the tourism sector. In 2011 visitors decreased by 37%. I haven’t seen figures for 2012 or this year but on my last trip to Luxor in April the historical sites remained uncrowded and there were more cruise boats moored six-or-seven-deep along the riverbank than sailing up and down the Nile.
Those of us for whom Egypt is a favourite holiday destination can only hope for a swift resolution to the current political turmoil and spare a thought for all those people who contribute to making our visits so memorable and who must now be going through such tough times.
Egypt has a unique and awe-inspiring cultural heritage. Having been preserved for all these millennia it would be a tragedy to watch it to crumble beneath the weight of political chaos now. I can only hope the reports that some of Egypt’s ancient sites are unprotected and vulnerable to thieves are exaggerated. So my wish today is for a speedy return to calm so that Egypt may once again welcome foreign visitors so we can marvel at her monumental history and help preserve it for future generations. And, if you’d like to go there in your imagination since you can’t go there for real right now, you may wish to sample my trilogy of novels set in Luxor…