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RIA Novosti - Egypt's tourist industry suffers huge losses, vacationers flee in wake of riots

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    RIA Novosti - 3/2/2011 Agence russe Egypt s tourist industry suffers huge losses, vacationers flee in wake of riots
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2011
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      RIA Novosti - 3/2/2011
      Agence russe
      Egypt's tourist industry suffers huge losses, vacationers flee in wake
      of riots


      Egypt's popular tourist areas are suffering immensely from a slump in
      revenues due to nationwide riots, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported
      from the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada on Thursday.

      Egypt has seen huge protests mainly in the largest cities of the North
      African country since last month, with Tuesday's protestors reaching
      into the millions demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down from
      power. At least 150 people have been killed and some 4,000 injured in
      riots throughout the country, with the largest masses seen in the
      country's capital of Cairo.

      Many foreign vacationers have either left Egypt after the riots began,
      or have canceled their plans to visit the land of pharaohs altogether.

      On a plane from Moscow to Hurghada, a popular resort for Russians, there
      were only 20 passengers on board that usually carries between 150 and
      200 on a regular charter flight. The Russian airliner landed in the
      city's ghostly international airport where there was only one other
      airplane from Syria that was preparing for takeoff.

      An official from the Russian Federation of Tourism, Sergei Teodovorich,
      who is based in Hurghada, said that there were some 20,000 Russian
      tourists in the resort city on Sunday. He said another 15,000 Russians
      were in another Red Sea resort, Sharm el-Sheikh. He said that in all
      there were presently more than 40,000 Russian tourists in Egypt.

      "The number of Russian tourists is drastically decreasing," Teodorovich
      said, adding: "One Russian carrier, Transaero Airlines, flew 1,000
      tourists out of Hurghada to Moscow on Tuesday and only 70 passengers
      arrived in Hurghada from Moscow that same day."

      However, hoteliers and merchants are still trying to welcome and please
      everyone, though it is extremely difficult.

      Bank machines throughout the country have been inoperable for days,
      banks are closed and guarded by tanks at the front doors, and currency
      exchange offices have shut their doors as well. Bank cards are useless
      as the electronic banking system has crashed.

      Business still remains business, however, and resort cities are
      accepting just about any currency that is offered instead of the
      official Egyptian pound because vacationers have no other way of paying
      for merchandise, travel or living expenses.

      Regular domestic flights from Hurghada to Cairo, which takes about an
      hour, have been slashed from 10 flights per day to one, though that one
      flight does not even have a specific time that it departs. Passengers
      are requested to buy an open ticket and call the following morning to
      find out the approximate time of departure for that day.

      Another option is by bus, which takes around eight hours to get to
      Cairo, but leaves no guarantee that you will get to your destination
      since many main highways have been blockaded by the military and police.
      Trains from Hurghada are also available but one needs to travel to Luxor
      and then on to the capital, the entire trip taking at least 12 hours.

      HURGHADA (Egypt), February 3 (RIA Novosti, David Burghardt)
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