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Revolution: “One more reason to visit Egypt”

Revolution: “One more reason to visit Egypt”

Pyramids at Giza, Sakkara virtually empty of tourists; Camel drivers, guides urge foreign visitors to return; Students clean monuments, say: "Egypt is Safe".

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March 1, 2011 3:19 by



TAHRIR SQUARE

Enterprising Cairo drivers, always eager to entice a fare, now offer a trip to “Cairo’s famous Tahrir Square” for visitors.

“Going down to Tahrir and walking around it could be hard, but everyone wants to know what happened so we explain the revolution of course,” said a cautious Mohsen.

“But I think we won’t stop for people to walk around Tahrir,” Mohsen said of the landmark, where protesters and security forces fought running battles, and from which the tanks have pulled back, but only into nearby side streets.

Egypt, which before the crisis had been receiving about $280 million a week from tourism until tens of thousands fled the revolution after travel warnings by their governments, has had its tourist scares before and has overcome them.

Attackers killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians at an ancient temple near the southern town of Luxor in 1997, six gunmen and three police died. That damaged tourism severely.

From 2004 to 2006, there was a series of deadly bomb attacks at Red Sea resorts in the Sinai. But tourists by that time had become more inured, given militant attacks in U.S. and European cities. Tourist bookings very swiftly recovered.

“Tourism in Egypt may get sick,” said guide and Egyptologist Wagih Thabit, looking after his first visitors since before the January uprising at the weekend. “But it will never die.”

(Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed, Writing by Peter Millership)



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