Thursday, August 05, 2004

Tourist Boom pours much-needed billions into Egypt

Egypt is in the midst of a tourist boom, the likes of which it hasn't seen for quite a few years.

Hotels in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are booked out, and charter flights are streaming in like crazy. Flights are streaming in from unheard-of places like Lisbon, London, Amsterdam, and even Belgrade.

It seems like forever that people have been afraid to come to Egypt, perhaps the stigma of the Luxor massacre is beginning to wear off. I can hardly remember the last time I heard a Dutch or British accent around the tourist areas.

Anyway, I predict that there will be no wild Egyptian pound devaluations this summer. There are plenty of dollars and Euros to go around.

Naturally, the newly appointed tourism minister can be fully expected to claim sole responsibility for Egypt's newfound popularity as a tourist destination. That's bullshit of course, the tourism business is one of the few big businesses in the country the government doesn't really influence (other than posting cheesy adverts on CNN).

By the way, the diving is much better in Hurghada than it is in Sharm, especially if you pick a good dive center.