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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Egypt's Tourism is Down, obviously

According to the Associated Press, only about 211,000 foreign visitors went to Cairo in February. This is just 20 percent of the amount of tourists there (1.1 million) a year ago.

The political results of the power struggle in Egypt have yet to be seen but the economy is certainly not being helped so far. The AP also reported that 14 percent of jobs in the country are tourism-related.

I, honestly, wouldn't doubt it if nearly 50 percent of Egypt's economy relies on the money spent by tourists. It sure felt that way when I was there, and I tried to not just stick to the regularly traveled route.

I really wondered how this would affect the exchange rate for the country. When I was there (in 2007), it was nearly 5 Egyptian Pounds for every $1 - a great exchange rate. Well, now, it's 1.00 Egyptian Pound = 0.1690 U.S. Dollar, according to Yahoo. That's just ridicules. (In comparison, one British Pound is 1.64 U.S. Dollars.)

And to show what exactly 5 Egyptian Pounds buys, if you're not in the touristy areas: it can be taxi fare for a few miles or purchase a couple bottles of water. For an American buck.

Along with the Amazing exchange rate now, there are no lines for all the major attractions (and this is usually a busy time for them since it's not quite summer, when desert temperatures hit their hottest).

If I were you, I'd go to Egypt. You'll probably get a good deal on the airfare too, and you'd be helping a country slowly get back on its feet.


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