Bazaar owners at Luxor’s Karnak temple held talks with the governor on Tuesday as a result of the governor’s decision to remove the bazaars from the temple because shopkeepers cannot afford to pay rent. The Dostour party in Luxor said they stand behind the shopkeepers’ demand to renegotiate the terms of their agreement with the governor.
The governor of Luxor charges EGP 5,000 per month for each stall at the Karnak temple, but the decline in tourism caused by the instability of the past two years has left many store owners unable to cover their costs. Medhat Ramadan, a member of Dostour in Luxor, said that the store owners are demanding the governor charge them in proportion to the tourism they receive.
“Last week the tourism was 20% of normal levels,” Ramadan said. Under the store owner’s proposal, they would pay EGP 1,000 per month. “They should pay according to the percentage of tourists in the area,” he added.
“The governor tried to kick them out of the area but now they are holding talks,” Ramadan said, adding that the shopkeepers syndicate was supposed to meet with Dostour members to discuss the current situation, but the meeting was cancelled to allow the syndicate to meet with the governor.
Ramadan said he expects the governor will concede to their demands because of the media exposure the situation is receiving. “[The government] is scared of the media at the moment, and this is one way that we can pressure the government,” he said.
If talks break down, Ramadan said the shopkeepers may block the entrance to the Karnak temple, barring tourists from visiting the site. “[The shop keepers] said they may do something if the government does not listen to their demands, but I think they will come to a solution,” Ramadan said.