The tourism industry is losing $300 million every week according to the chairman of the Chamber of Travel Companies Hossam el-Shaar.
Rasha Azizi, press officer for the Ministry of Tourism, said that this estimate is given on behalf of the private sector but added, “it is a reasonable estimate.”
“The main causes are all the demonstrations, the instability, and the incidents in Tahrir and the Presidential Palace.” Despite the fact that most tourist destinations are far away from these sites, Azizi said, “Luxor and Aswan are very affected, classic tourism in Egypt starts in Cairo and ends in Luxor and Aswan.”
“The main issues that affect the tourism industry are security and stability,” agreed Moataz el-Sayed, president of the Union of Tour Guides.
El-Sayed went on to say that it wasn’t necessarily the revolution itself that caused the drop in tourism but instead the numerous incidents that followed, such as the incidents at Mohammed Mahmoud, Abaseya, Maspero, and other bloody clashes that flashed across news broadcasts around the world.
“Every time it seems like things are getting better, that we’re moving forward, something happens and we take steps back. That’s what has happened for the last two years,” said el-Sayed.
In search of a solution, Azizi stated, “we only need a bit of calm on the street and things will resume to normal. The media always shows the incidents in Tahrir and it scares a lot of people, makes them shy away from visiting Egypt.”
Azizi said that the stability promised from a passed constitution will only be realized if politicians can work together and agree to share power, “this will send a good signal to the whole world.”
El-Shaar, speaking with state-owned news agency MENA, said that this outside perception is not only important for foreign tourists, but also for foreign aviation agencies that can cancel flights to Egypt if they predict a loss in profit.
“I hope things will be better in the future,” said El-Sayed, agreeing with Azizi that it is important that the various political currents come together to stabilize the country.
El-Sayed concluded, “Egypt is a very well known country. Others have problems with announcing themselves, but everyone knows about the pyramids, the Nile, and Upper Egypt,” but that appeal goes out the window when security is not in place.