That picture up there is the current state tourism in Egypt. The pyramids; one of the most famous and ancient landmarks on this planet. Empty. But why? I spent 6 months as a tourist in Egypt, I've promoted it throughout completely unsponsored, and here is why tourism in Egypt has taken a turn for the worse and exactly how it can be mended.
By the way Egypt, you know I love you, you know how much I promote you. Don't take this to heart. It's constructive criticism.
Stop charging foreigners different prices (to some extent)
Perhaps the most controversial one to begin with, so hear me out on this one. There are two prices in Egypt (and most of the Middle East). One for foreigners, one for locals. And, while most argue this is because locals earn ALOT less than foreigners (very true). Now, I AGREE on these prices for the amazing historic sites Egypt offers. Locals get paid a hell of a lot less than most foreigners. There's no reason locals shouldn't be able to see the sites in all their glory just like foreigners. So these prices changes are completely fair. Moving on. What is NOT ok, is different prices for exactly the same services or products. A bag in a market for example. I go into the store and ask the price and get given one. My Egyptian friend goes it right after me and gets told a price over 50% less. This is because they see me and think I have more money than the Egyptian - which may be correct, but the product is the same and costs the shop owner the same to sell. Tourists are noticing this, getting put off by this and avoiding spending their money in markets and in Egypt all together. What this equals is less income for shop owners, less money for Egypt, less TOURISM. I know there are lots of arguments for this, but I honestly believe if we can maybe meet in the middle, and be fairer to foreigners that have already spent their money coming to visit your country it would all work out for the better. Also, let's not forget there are expats living in Egypt, that have done for years and are still not getting 'Egyptian price".
Sleep is overrated. Wake up before sunrise and make every moment count. ⭐️The most magical and unexpected 24 hours in #Luxor literally swept me off my feet 🎈 thank you @ibraheemyoussef for being the best watermelon to spend the day with. Egypt, I am obsessed with your energy, your randomness and your complete lack of organisation. Here's to more spontaneous, beautiful adventures.
Create a better transport system
Ok, I'm asking for a lot here. But it needs to be said: your transportation system is super unreliable. Case in point: I needed to get to Hurghada from Sharm el-Sheikh. Flights are only twice a week, I needed to go on a day flights weren't flying. There's a ferry between Sharm and Hurghada (where foreigners pay $40 and locals pay $5) this also only runs a couple of times a week. I called up to see if it was running for 2 days in advance. They said yes. I arrive at the ferry office, they tell me it's not running and hasn't been for weeks. My option? A bus to Cairo, (8 hours) stop off and then a bus to Hurghada (6 hours). Then there is the out of date timetables online. None of them are right. Tourists turn up every day to be turned away for hours. Egypt, how can we update these online timetables to help tourists? While I'm not asking for you to put a train line in all around Egypt (although that would be awesome) let's work with what you've got. Update online information.
Learn to put stuff in the trash/recycle
This one really gets to me. THROW YOUR TRASH IN THE BIN. Have you seen Cairo recently? No, not Zamalek or downtown. The outskirts, the local neighbourhoods. It's just not ok. And locals, this isn't ALL your fault, the government needs to provide more bins, better waste disposal and recycling. But Egyptians, don't throw rubbish out your car window, put it in a bin, be an example for the next generation. It all starts with you.
Treat animals better
Yes, this effects tourism. I had an email recently from a lady who said she wanted to visit Egypt but had heard the animals were treated badly and now wonders whether she should go. Here was my response: "It's awesome that you are thinking of visiting Egypt - it's such an amazing currently, however, I have to say most animals used for tourist transportation (in the pyramids etc) really aren't treated well and sadly look very undernourished and sometimes in pain. While I know this may put you off I really hope you get to experience the wonder of Egypt and can help educate the world on how to treat animals better. A great article that was released recently by GypseaLust tells her tale of witnessing animal cruelty in Egypt.
Why do you keep telling me #Egypt is dangerous? I think you're telling the wrong person. Tell the person sitting at home listening to the TV, who has never stepped foot in Egypt. You'll get a better reaction from them. I've lived here 4 months now, I'm done with hearing it's dangerous. I'm giving it the chance it deserves. 🐫 : #wearetravelgirls #girlslovetravel #dobeglobe #dametraveler #solowomeninspire #outdoorwomen #hikergirls #goprogirl #girlsvsglobe #ladiesgoneglobal #radgirlscollective #darlingescapes
Never lose those smiles!
If you are still reading by this point and haven't taken offence to my honesty, then you are already on the right track. There's no denying tourism has taken a hit - for many reasons - but there are still so many beautiful things about Egypt. I've never discouraged anyone from visiting and in fact, I have tried my hardest to make a small change! (We are on 1.5 MILLION views on the "10 things you need to know before you visit Egypt") but I have to say my favourite thing about Egyptian people is their SMILES and encouragement. Through all of my adventures around Egypt, I felt like I had an army of supporters ready to offer me anything I needed. You Egyptians certainly know how to put on the charm and most of the time it is completely genuine. You'll laugh with us, offer us crazy amounts of tea (with wayyyy too much sugar) and smoke us into a haze with shisha. You are proud of your country but also want to see changes, and ultimately you also know there is a problem with tourism. So maybe we can make these changes together?