Tourism in Cairo and in the Valley of the Kings by Casey Larson

          Tourism is a massive industry in which participants can travel all around the globe to see different cultures, such as the tourists seen in picture 1. It can help create a prosperous economy through its direct economic benefits, as well as to destroy a place, taking its

Picture 1

irreplaceable culture with it. Tourism, like globalization, can give a country wealth, but can also cause irreplaceable social and cultural damages. The rise of the tourism industry can be traced to the lowering costs of transportation, the big volume of tourists who can afford to travel and have the time, as well as international communications which has allowed a person to have information on different areas of the world and to pick out a place they would like to visit. The improvements of these aspects through better technology, called the process of time-space compression, combined with more peoples’ incomes in developing countries increasing, has predictably led to a rise in tourism world wide. This has led to tourism playing an even bigger role in the global economy, and nowhere is this as true as in Egypt.

     Egypt is a country located in north eastern Africa, with some territory in Asia, as seen in map 1. This is a country of 75 million, in which its main industries include services (51% of work force), agriculture (32%) and industry (17%0). This is a Muslim dominated country with 90 % of

Map 1

the population following that faith. Women rights are limited, with only 59% of the women literate, compared to 83 % of the male population. This country is experiencing labour shortages, despite having an unemployment t rate of 10.3 % in 2007 (20.4 % that are unemployed are women), which can bring into the question of what the problem is. The problem is a lack of skilled workers which is related to the education system, which in turn is related to the tourism industry. Among Egypt’s most important industries one stands alone, and that is tourism. Tourism represents 11.3% of Egypt’s GDP. This industry indirectly and directly employs 2.5 million people. The all defining benefit from this tourism, as well as what helps to sustain it, is the stimulus it has lent onto infrastructure. 3.3 billion dollars were invested in roads, as seen in image 2, electricity, water, sanitation, and airports through this tourism. Tourism is vital for the economy, and the hot spot for Egypt’s tourism is nowhere else than in its capital, Cairo.

Image 2

              Cairo is the gateway to the Valley of the Kings, as seen in map 2, in which one can explore the tombs of King Tut, see the Sphinx, and look at the largest pyramid in the world, the pyramid of Giza. Visitors to the valley average 5,000 people a day, but when the Nile cruise has a little pit stop, the number rises to 9,000. The area is fully developed, with security guards everywhere to make sure you do not walk off the tour and harm the sites, or to take pictures of the colourful pictures on the wall. Local people flock to the valley with their wares to sell to the tourists. This enthusiasm is not just confined to the Valley, it can be found all over Cairo, although in a more sophisticated form. Although the average person still sells their wares on

Map 2

the streets of Cairo or in small bazaars, many of the profits are made from international hoteliers who set up resorts all over Cairo. Such an example would be the Four Seasons hotel chain, based in Toronto, Canada. This hotel, as seen in image 3, shows the huge wealth

Picture 3

with the international tourism, and this is highlighted even more by the comparison with downtown Cairo, as seen in image 4. This hotel gives luxury services with many western amenities. This includes spas, high class dining, fitness facilities, pools, business services and internet access among others. It also prepares tours around the pyramids and cruises up and down the Nile. This hotel caters to charter and mass tourists, who demand and expect western amenities. These high priced hotels are common through out Cairo, and this is common throughout tourist areas that are in the stage of consolidation in Butler’s model of development

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Picture 4

of tourist areas as seen in figure 1. This trend of promoting mass tourism in Cairo and Egypt as a whole shows no signs of stopping, with the government hoping to get 140 million overnight stays, as well as creating 24,000 more hotel rooms by 2010.  The Valley of the Kings itself is not planned to be or is that built up, as that would ruin the experience and point of visiting that area, but it is moderately built up. Tourism in the Valley of the Kings and ...

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