- Title: EGYPT: Tour guides rally for tourist return
- Date: 15th February 2011
- Summary: TOUR GUIDES SINGING THE EGYPTIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM VARIOUS OF TOUR GUIDES WITH FLAGS
- Embargoed: 2nd March 2011 12:00
- Location: Egypt, Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Domestic Politics,Travel / Tourism
- Reuters ID: LVAD2WFAXLPI75RVM77GD4CO6R9Q
- Story Text: Tour guides of several nationalities gathered on Monday (February 14) at the Pyramids of Giza for a peaceful rally appealling for tourists to return to Egypt.
At the start of an 18-day revolution, more than a million tourists flew out of Egypt. Then the streets were scenes of violent clashes between riot police and protesters and uncertainty hung over the country's future as the leader with the iron grip refused to go.
The revolution eventually toppled former President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule but, in the mean time, the lucrative tourist industry nose dived.
Egypt's economy is dependent on income from tourism: the services sector makes up for nearly 50 percent of the country's GDP.
Tour guides, now unemployed and without incomes, urged visitors to put their faith back in Egypt, home of one of the greatest wonders of the world.
In fact they say the revolution has added one more site of tourism pilgrimage: Tahrir Square, the now iconic place where thousands of Egyptians thronged day and night until Mubarak fell.
"The aim of our stance today: tour guides are gathered in love for Egypt. So we can prove to the world that we will always be here welcoming them no matter what happens. Things will go back to the way they were, even better than before after the steps that were taken [changes in government]. And despite the fact that all the people here today are unemployed and have no income, our main goal is to say that we will make it and Egypt will come back stronger than it was before," one tour guide told Reuters.
They held up banners in different languages, waved the Egyptian flag and sang Egypt's national anthem.
Janan Batanouni believes that by Easter tourists will start returning to holiday in the country.
"No we don't need campaign because Egypt is Egypt, it will always be Egypt and everybody will want to come and I think we're gonna add another extra site to our tours which is the Tahrir square." She said.
Millions around the world witnessed the revolution; Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik said in a news conference on Sunday (February 13) that this reflected a positive image for Egypt which Egyptians can now use to their advantage.
Nabil Ashour, another tour guide, made a special appeal to German tourists in their own language.
"Again, I would like to tell all German guests, all guests from the German-speaking world, we need you. Friends, true friends just have to support us in our time of need. You should come, you should come as soon as possible, you should show solidarity. Words are not enough anymore, we need action, this is the time for action. All citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria and also Switzerland: come back to Egypt, support us, we need you. Solidarity is the key word, anything else is no use to us," German-speaking tour guide Nabil Ashour said.
Another tour guide said they were determined to win back lost trade.
"We're going to fight till everybody comes back, they need to see Egypt, it's something unbelievable, unbelievably beautiful. So please try to come back."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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