From aggressive tourist traders visiting excursions in Luxor to the Pyramids of Giza, etc. will protect special law and video cameras. The law, already approved by the Egyptian Chamber of Deputies, allows the authorities to fine anyone who sticks to tourists at archaeological and historical sites. It is planned to increase the amount of the fine to 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about 565 US dollars).
Tourists interviewed by Al-Monitor generally welcome the new law. According to them, the abundance of stubborn sellers «annoys and creates a negative image of Egypt.» Government officials agree with them, as Mohamed Abdo, a member of the parliamentary committee on tourism and aviation, believes that sellers and beggars who harass tourists not only harm tourists, but also undermine Egypt’s image and tourism revenues. “The law is a step forward and should be applied well to protect tourists,” he said. The abundance of stubborn sellers and beggars, he said, harms not only the tourist, but also the country, depriving it of national income.
As a reminder, the tourism sector is considered one of the most important sources of income for Egypt, as it accounts for about 12% of the gross domestic product. The country’s annual tourism revenues averaged $ 7.8 billion from 2010 to 2017, hitting a record $ 12.5 billion in 2010 and a record low of $ 3.8 billion . USA in 2016.
At the same time, Mohamed Abdo says that the fine may not be enough to deter particularly persistent sellers. Further, it is supposed to act «with a stick and a carrot» — he himself proposed to strengthen «educational work» to raise awareness of all Egyptians about the importance of tourism for the country. At the same time, Seif Elamri, a former member of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said the fine could be supplemented by jail time. And that the law will not be so easy to implement, given the huge areas of excursion facilities in Egypt.
At the same time, Egyptian experts emphasize that surveillance cameras in key locations greatly facilitate the work of the police. This was stated by General Abdel-Gawad Amin, assistant director of the General Directorate of Tourism and Antiquities Police of South Luxor. Guides can report abuse, he said, and cameras can easily spot any irregularities. “Our job is to enforce the law and control violators,” he said.
At the same time, we note that some outside experts speak out against the «inhumane» attitude towards sellers. They propose measures such as providing sellers with a special zone so that they can sell goods to tourists who want it. In any case, according to them, a durable solution is needed in which both parties are satisfied.
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