Are Canadians travelling to a post-Arab Spring Egypt?
TORONTO- At the time when Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ousted, many were hopeful that life in Egypt could begin to normalize, including its $12-billion tourism industry.
An official Egyptian tourism video called “from tourists with love” shows this sentiment, being posted just a week after Mubarak’s regime was toppled. Video here.
There is even a Facebook group called “Dear Tourists, come back to Egypt,” that appeals to tourists to help out the troubled nation.
In her popular travel blog Angie Away, U.S. publicist-turned-travel-blogger, Angie Orth, raves about her three weeks in Egypt recently, despite having reservations to visit the troubled nation.
Tour operators are also still selling packages. But are Canadians following suit?
While overall worldwide tourism numbers are showing an increase of 4.4 per cent in 2011 to 980 million, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, indicators show Canadians aren’t travelling to Egypt just yet.
The Egyptian tourism authority in Montreal reports there has been a 40 to 45 per cent decrease in Canadian tourists travelling to Egypt since Mubarak’s ouster.
Approximately 3000 individuals have arrived in Egypt since February 11, 2011, according to the Registration of Canadians Abroad. Of those, roughly 2000 self-identified as tourists.
The decrease comes amidst persisting violence – just last week, more than 70 soccer fans were killed in a violent rampage and stampede after a league match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly in Port Said.
Police have been accused of failing to protect Al-Ahly fans, who helped lead protests last year against the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. The stadium tragedy has fueled renewed protests against Egypt’s military rulers.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs department is warning tourists to avoid non-essential travel to resort locations like Sharm El Sheik, and cautions travellers to be “extremely vigilant” when visiting tourist areas, such as those near Tahrir Square.
with files from the Ottawa Citizen