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Egypt's troubles hit tourist trade

Egypt's troubles hit tourist trade
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The uproar in Egypt’s major cities has led to an unwelcome calm at many of its tourist attractions.

In a country where jobs are scarce, holiday makers are vital. One in eight Egyptian workers relies on them to make a living.

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But countless Western governments are warning their citizens not to go to Egypt, and those already there are clamouring to get out.

In economic terms the industry is a mainstay. Tourism accounts for 11 per cent of Egypt’s total economic output, and in 2009 brought in eight-billion euros worth of foreign revenue.

One Canadian visitor said: “We found the people here very warm and friendly, helpful and we really haven’t encountered any problems.”

An Argentinian tourist said: “Our return flight is on February 3 but right now we will continue with our trip. The day before yesterday we were really scared and we wanted to leave. But now things are better and we will stay on.”

The chaos witnessed at Cairo airport at the weekend is reported to have eased somewhat. Many airlines have been sending bigger planes than normal to fly out the flood of those trying to leave – among them many Egyptians.