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Perspectives from Egypt; Here’s hoping el-Sisi has the right idea because the Egyptian People Deserve To Have A Fighting Chance

Perspectives from Egypt; Here’s hoping el-Sisi has the right idea because the Egyptian People Deserve To Have A Fighting Chance
August 19
20:17 2015

Editorial

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hopes to shift the economic reliance from tourism to world trade with the opening of the new canal

Time has a whole different meaning in Egypt. Ten minutes tends to be anywhere from twenty minutes to forty-five in actuality but people don’t seem to mind.

The day after the inauguration ceremony in Ismaila celebrating the re-opening of the New Suez Canal, the public relations company that flew all us journalists to Egypt set up a day of site seeing and overall tourist fun stuff.

” Be in the lobby at 8 a.m. ”

We left the hotel at around 9 a.m. after everything was all said and done.

Driving through downtown Cairo is absolutely nothing like downtown Vancouver or any other North- American city, I’m stating the obvious here. But if you have ever been to the Middle East then you know the city and the people are nothing like you could ever expect. Having any expectations, good or bad, is useless when arriving in Cairo because no matter what you may have thought, it will change.

Our first stop on our outing was the Pyramids of Giza.

As we stepped off the bus our tour guide told us to be back at the bus by 2:30 p.m. giving us just over 45 minutes at our first location. We walked along the outside of the Great Pyramids as vendors approached us and tried to sell us tiny Sphinx ‘ s and over-sized hats. Everyone working in this area had seen busier days.

I was approached by a gentleman around my height telling me about the lighting around the far side of the pyramid.

” The far side has the best angle for a picture. My friend is over there, we take your picture; it ‘ s a great photo. ”

I told him I would check it out but I was okay without the photo.

” I ‘ m more comfortable behind the camera, ” I told him as we walked to the far west of the Great Pyramid.

As we walked to the side of the pyramid I asked him how the day had been. I wondered if the weekends would be busier for the vendors. He told me it didn ‘ t matter what day it was, weekend, weekday or holiday, the tourist numbers had dropped dramatically in the last little while. Vendors like him and the others he works around are hard- pressed to find customers to purchase their items or have a ride on their camels.

He told me about his camels, Pepsi and Charlie Brown. Then he asked if I would like to ride Pepsi. Thinking about it for a few minutes I thought, why not. I ‘ m in Egypt for four days.

Instantly his spirits lifted. After my camel ride he thanked me and asked if I had enjoyed myself. I said yes and thanked him in return which prompted him to tell me that I was his first customer of the day and because I was so kind this day was sure to turn around. I was shocked since it was already 2:15 in the afternoon. How had I been his first customer of the day?

Looking around as I hurried back to the bus it became clear. Besides the group of journalists and photographers I was with, there were very few other groups of tourists around the pyramids.

And needless to say, it wasn ‘ t necessary for me to hurry back to the bus. We left promptly fifteen minutes behind schedule.

At the Sphinx, the area was a bit busier but here, the vendors changed a little bit. At the pyramids the vendors tended to be middle aged men and a few women mixed in whereas approaching the sphinx the vendors were about four-feet-tall and under 13 years old. Little girls and boys would run after our group asking us if we wanted a bookmark, water or papyrus. If you said no then that was it, they moved on to the next person; veterans at this job before the age of fifteen.

This comes as no surprise though, in a country where over half of the population is under 25.

The reason for all the hype surrounding the New Suez Canal focuses on this issue. The country can no longer successfully rely on the income from tourists. In 2010 Egypt had almost 15 million visitors but just last year that number came in just below 10 million.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hopes to shift the economic reliance from tourism to world trade with the opening of the new canal.

He doesn ‘ t plan on abandoning the tourism industry completely. By 2020 the revenue from tourists should be up to $26 billion versus the $7.3 billion in 2014.

If el-Sisi is successful with both his plans for bringing world trade in to Egypt and increasing revenue in the tourism sector then Egypt should be fine.

Here ‘ s hoping el-Sisi has the right idea because the Egyptian people deserve to have a fighting chance.

Article and photos Staff writerMadelyn Forsyth

Investorideas.com Newswire

This is Pepsi the camel patiently waiting for a customer
Investorideas.com Newswire

The far west side of the pyramid with “great lighting”
Investorideas.com Newswire

More camels like Pepsi await customers but with more camels than tourists, a lot of them were left to their slumber in the sand

 

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Jide Adesina

Jide Adesina

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