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Unrest is massive blow to Egypt tourism

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Tourism used to account for more than 11% of GDP

The tourism business in Egypt has dried up faster than water in the desert, the news agency AP reports, hitting families’ incomes and livelihoods.

The heavily reported turmoil has dealt a severe blow to the country’s tourism industry, which until recently accounted for more than 11% of gross domestic product and almost 20% of its foreign currency revenues. One in every eight Egyptians earns money from tourism.

“We want to live in stability and for tourism to come back,” says one man, who has seen no tourists in weeks. “Let us eat. We are extremely tired. Everyone is borrowing from everyone. I swear to God, we are not living.”

Arrivals at Egypt’s airports dropped by more than 40% between Sunday and Tuesday compared to the same days the previous week, the chairman of Egyptian Airports Co, Gad el-Karim Nasr, says.

On the same days, 13,000 tourists left the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, with only 3,000 new arrivals.

Many US operators had already pulled out of Egypt during the uprising in 2011. Now the European market, which favours the Red Sea beaches, is also drying up.

AP

[pictured: Luxor Temple by night]

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