Ministry: Arab Tourists Unhappy with Egypt's Services, Prices
Arab tourists visiting Egypt complain about high hotel rates and taxes, complicated procedures, mediocre restaurants, and heavy-handed treatment by local taxi drivers, according to the Egyptian Gazette, citing a report by the ministry of tourism.
Over the past two years, the report says, the number of Arab tourists has dropped by a dramatic 13 percent because of the financial hassles they experience in Egypt.
The ministry of finance, for example, imposes sales taxes ranging from 20 to 40 percent on Arabs wishing to hold their wedding parties in local hotels. It also adds a 12 percent service charge, a five percent sales tax and a two percent local tax on bills for Arab tourists, adds the report.
The reseachers also say that the ministry of transport raised departure fees on travelers leaving Egypt as of October 1, 2000, adding another burden to the already beleaguered Arabs who want to visit Egypt.
The hotels have raised their rates more than once despite repeated warnings from the ministry of tourism, the report continues, warning that these unexpected increases will eventually lead to the influx of Arab tourists drying up completely.
As a result, says the report, Arab tourists visit Egypt once and do not come again because of the many problems they come up against while they are in the country which hosts a third of the world’s archaeological heritage.
However, about 2.5 million tourists visited Egypt in the first half of 2001, despite the latest Palestinian uprising against 34 years of Israeli military occupation, according to Tourism Minister Mamdouh Al Beltaji.
In remarks published last Thursday in the Al Ahram newspaper, the minister said that “these figures are positive in light of the tension and violence” which have hit the tourism sector in the whole region.
Both Israel and Jordan complain that tourism is the latest casualty of the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tourism is Egypt's largest foreign currency earner, with attractions such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and other Pharaonic sites helping to bring in $4.3 billion in 2000 – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)