Political instability takes toll on Egypt's tourism industry
The number of tourists visiting Egypt recently has fallen markedly due to the political instability in the country and the repeated protests in different provinces, Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said in a statement released Sunday.
Ibrahim lamented the decline in tourism on a trip he made Sunday to the National Museum in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, which recently has been receiving no more than 50 visitors per day.
The minister said that some 2,000 people Saturday attended the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, located on central Tahrir Square, which currently is the site where tens of thousands of demonstrators are camped out and where they organize daily protests opposing the government.
In addition, 23,557 tourists last week visited the pyramids at Giza and another 340 went to the ruined temples at Abu Simbel, in southern Egypt, far below the number of tourists who in past years have been to those sites at this time of year, the minister said.
Egypt has been experiencing a period of political and social turmoil since Nov 22 when President Mohammed Mursi issued a controversial decree protecting the work of the constituent assembly drafting the new constitution from judicial interference, thereby immunizing his actions from any legal challenge.
Opposition members have also criticized the holding of a constitutional referendum, scheduled for Dec 15, since they feel that the new constitution is being drafted without the input or consent of all groups.