Egypt’s economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism, will have to wait a little longer for help from the International Monetary Fund.
The government and the Washington-based IMF have agreed to put off a decision on a loan worth 3.7 billion euros because of the country’s political troubles.
One economist said the delay was alarming given the current economic woes.
What were tourist hotspots are now eerily quiet.
“From a selfish point of view, it’s magnificent to be alone at the sites. But we are broken hearted to see the thousands of jobs that are being lost,” said one French-speaking tourist in Luxor.
Last month, before the current outbreak of trouble, Luxor’s governor reportedly said the number of visitors was slowly getting back to normal.
But Egypt’s tourism minister has said that cultural tourism in particular suffers due to the negative impact of political events.
“There are a million people in Luxor. A lot are out of work. Everyone here works in tourism – the taxi drivers… I work with alabaster and others work in other sectors, but all are relying on tourism in this town,” said Ashraf Omar Mohamed, a craftsman.
Although Luxor has seen some protests against President Mursi, the overall calm appears at odds with the simmering political tensions elsewhere.
It is understood that Egypt’s IMF loan request is likely to be heard in January instead of next week.
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