Behind the scenes of one of the major resorts in the world: how the Egypt crisis

Egypt has been through a lot in recent years. I toured it in 2012, and down and left the Studio in a resort of force: the consequences of revolutions had passed away, the hotels hosted tourists for almost a full tie in the red sea cities were all: work for local and Europeans, a brisk trade and confidence in the future. The estate grew like mushrooms, cheap Kiev and moreover Moscow standards the apartment was left in great demand, the Egyptians just elected a new President and waited for change for the better, allowing ourselves against the tourists some familiarity: people came to him, as the pipeline, and could not believe that the stream ever runs out.

But trouble came from this side: after a plane crash in Sharm El-Sheikh (the collapse of the liner A321, EN route to St. Petersburg, in the fall of 2015, killing more than 200 people) Russians got a strict ban to visit Egypt, other countries began to be very cautious and encouraged to stay home until better times. Today the main resorts of Egypt are experiencing hard times. On the deserted tourist streets-bazaars sadly missing traders, and empty hotels in the habit of lawns and illuminated pool with lanes — in the belief that sooner or later they will again be filled with guests.

Tourists, of course, and they just rozdollya: no crowds, no queues, no battle for sunbeds, bathe yourself in the love of hoteliers! But the celebration of life in the country faded, and Egyptians sincerely sorry: the fate of all that was created over the years, a big question. But the population believes and works hard, the economy shows a stable growth of several percent annually, and resorts are looking for new markets and, while the court Yes business, engaged in reconstruction and improvement.

Antiquity at every step

IN THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY. In order to understand what actually lives in Egypt, I went to Cairo (in the “reservations” for tourists, such as Sharm or Hurghada, the answer to this question not to). Life in the great metropolis in full swing, as always. Early in the morning when the first rays of sun just breaking through the thick smog, the streets are already buzzing and beeping crazy uncontrollable flow of traffic. Men are lazy to get to work (thousands of unemployed returned from resorts home and increased competition in the labour market), students rushing to lectures.

Early open street cafes shops: men grandly sit on the old seats to the metal tables “two cups” and the first drink of the day a Cup of yellow tea or red hibiscus helby under the hookah. Open their shops, the merchants are busy in their little workshops of Tinkers and specialists in repairing everything, the butchers on the street cut like a cake, huge carcasses of sheep and goats, in open ovens bakers bake cakes with bran — bread queues. The owners of fruit and vegetable trucks is located at the road and put the mountain guava, and oranges, hung bunches of bananas.

Fresh bread. Baked and sold right at the roadway

On the sidewalk at subway stations, among the piles of compacted garbage and slumbering dogs, sell socks and children’s toys. In subway cars spirited “distributors” one after another plowing down of passengers with huge bags (one in hand, the second — on the head) and stun, praising their goods. Somewhere in the business districts of Cairo has concluded the first transaction, and here, in the old Islamic quarters, only begins a new dusty day.

Home. All the work the Egyptians carried out in servidone on the street

CONTRASTS. In the old city — movers-rickshaws, Veraguas in the heavy carts with goods, and funny tuk-tuks, chasing each potential passenger. Veiled women carry on their heads the sacks and bags with purchases, run carrying tea cups. Here still practice the ancient method of trade: the sellers walk under the Windows of the houses, loudly offering their goods, from the balconies down to them baskets or buckets of money — and they pull back on the rope with the order.

Here in the heart of the great modern metropolis, an important business hub for North Africa, under the walls of the beautiful medieval mosque of Ibn Tulun (founded in the ninth century!) lazily pulled from the trucks the grass donkeys and horses, and landfills, which do not count, something pecking and clucking chickens. From the height of the minaret, which recently opened to visit up to the old city which, it seems, is half of the fanciful turrets, domes, battlements. From the top you can see how the Egyptians used the roof of their homes: for many it warehouses, and terraces, and the place where women in home pink coats come out to plead with the housework, and men to smoke and think about eternity. Under the mosque of sayyeda Zeinab the poor and homeless in grey galabeya lie on the sidewalks, hiding behind ragged rogozini.

Roof provide additional living space

But while some inhabitants of the capital are dressed in Chinese cheap Jersey and buy from the street vendors shoes standing $2-3 for a pair, others drive expensive foreign cars, visit cool shopping malls, to buy 100 grams of gold as a gift to the bride (traditional offerings) and go to rest in the elite “five” on the coast. Literally a month ago in Cairo opened a brand new huge Mall with shops of international brands and most importantly — already famous Ice city — “snow village” where a lot of money Egyptian families go sledding and just hanging out in the strange snow. By the way, only in this new town such major shopping malls at least 3. And they are all not empty.

Burros and horses. Favorite “vehicle” in old Cairo


The incident with the Russian plane (it is, recall, crashed in November 2015, has killed more than 200 people) forced the Egyptians to pay greater attention to security at airports. First time departing Luggage are thoroughly checked at the entrance to the terminal, then baggage and passports are examined at one point, and only after that allow passengers to check-in. Then another security control that most likely will conduct a manual inspection. Passport in a separate process from doing even three times. Suitcases a plane loaded only after the drive up to the side of their masters and those identify your Luggage.

“Too early forced to pack the suitcase film, and before boarding to verify the integrity of the packaging has not been opened, says Natalia Bondarenko, who worked in Hurghada. — But these measures only took our airline — Europeans fly as usual.”

“As for me, it would be Russian and not flown, we would have fewer terrorist attacks. ISIS because they are everywhere now hunts to avenge Syria,” — said the employee of one of the hotels Makadi Bach Mohamed.

On the coast. Still elegant and attractive, and now for tourists at beaches — the Paradise

AS THE APPLE OF HIS EYE. Tourists in the country, frankly, cherish eyes forest, and from all sides: control arrival, the entrance to the Sinai, the Bedouin of the desert from the entrance to the tourist area. Check-points (control points) on the entire road to the capital. Upon returning from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh bus checked four times! At the entrance to the Sinai bus drove to a special area, inspected the Luggage, then a soldier in the red beret checked the documents of the passengers, several Egyptians with dimensional backpacks made to show their contents. The following three checks (two already under the Charm) conducted men in civilian clothes.

“It’s security officers, so out of shape. Their goal is not drugs or contraband, and suspicious person. Who doesn’t like it, are to check ID”, — explained companion Sheriff. Night checks delayed the arrival of the bus at least half an hour.

“But the town was safe. My 13-year-old son he returned home in the morning, and eight year old daughter repeatedly lost in the Mall. But I’m sure no one will touch it: call the guard, and find me,” says the resident of Sharm El-Sheikh Mariam.

Souvenirs. Are cheap as ever, and there are no buyers

Fruit has risen in price twice


The margin of safety allowed Egypt to survive another year after the crash. “And in October 2016 the race is started currencies, the dollar reached to 18.7 pounds (and was 6 pounds). Now rests within 16.5—18”, — says a resident of Cairo, Inna Jigulina.

“When the rate jumped all obmenkah closed (just changed banks), intensified black market, — says Natalia Bondarenko. — Within days it was possible to make a fortune on the fluctuations. But the authorities began to persecute illegal immigrants. Foreigners, of course, not touched — we were written off in social networks and changed, this is necessary. Now obmenkah work strictly according to the official rate, and for violations — prison”.

In Egypt it’s expensive, but for locals and tourists, the situation is favorable

PRICES. “Everything is expensive. For example, a kilogram of meat cost £ 50, now 120. Tickets for public buses has risen not, for example, 50 pounds to 55-60, metro and trains. But the services of private carriers — twice — says Bach Mohamed. I think the cause of problems more political than economic. Our President says we have to be patient, and in six months things will get better and the dollar will be 15. Personally, I believe it: we have a very corrupt government, but Sisi (President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. — Ed.) struggling with this. And all the money the Treasury spent on major projects such as electrification and new capital (“New Cairo city”, a metropolis in the desert. — Ed.)”.

“Some types of import equipment, for example, longer to deliver. The rest went up 3 times, some products — even in 5 — says Inna. — After the revolution, protests were raging, the people reacted violently to any unwanted phenomenon. But the Egyptians are silent, although the salary is not a penny, not raised: people are tired to rebel. Personally, I Egypt began in the very Ukraine remind”.

WORK. “Almost all the familiar girls-Ukrainian women from Egypt has left — no work, — says Bandarenka. — I was told to wait until the autumn in Kiev. The Egyptians promised then will go to Russia”. Now in Hurghada, a lot of tourists Czechs, Germans, Englishmen, Chinese, and Sharm El-Sheikh — Kazakhs.

“Our many — there was a time when the charm was almost 100% Ukrainian,” — says Bondarenko. But until the past volume of tourists to the Egyptian resorts very far. Many hotels, for example, in January-February were filled by only 10%, and some even were closed for renovation. In March, the occupancy rate is better, because the weather has become more comfortable: spring is the high season. Not to reduce staff, Egyptian were sent to two-week vacations at their own expense at a time.

According to Holiney, foreigners are now generally reluctant to hire: they need to pay in dollars, so even in the animation take mainly Egyptians, who are paid in pounds and 3 times smaller than ours. In addition, significantly raised the price of visas: before visa extension was worth £ 15, now service, according to Bondarenko, will cost 560. A work visa costs $1000, and before the crisis — from 150.

Snow Kingdom. Novelty-a gimmick for the non-poor cairenes –


In previous years, the economy of Egypt, according to the Deputy Director of the Center for middle Eastern studies Sergey Danilov, grew steadily: in 2015, growth of 4.4% in 2016 and 4.3% in 2017 is projected to be 4%. “And this is Egypt without the Russian tourists: consistent growth, forecasts are optimistic — said the expert. — However, inflation has increased the deficit and the trade balance, but there are several reasons”. And a decrease in tourist traffic — not the main one.

“The main sources of foreign exchange: the export of oil, remittances of Egyptians-workers, money from the “operation” of the Suez canal, agricultural products and textile industry, lists Danilov. — Amid falling world oil prices reduced the revenues from the energy sector, and that about 23% of exports. Reduced the remittances of migrant workers: they labor in the Gulf countries, is also dependent on oil prices. Decreased direct investment: main investor of Egypt were again neighbors, trading in oil.”

So the deterioration of the situation in the field of tourism against this background — a drop in the ocean. But to remedy the situation, the Egyptians really need to work on a new image.

“Egypt as it is not carried, since the terrorist attack in Luxor in 1997 and ending with the cases of attack of sharks. This resulted in creating a negative image of the country”, — says Igor golubaha, head of the Ukrainian Association of tour operators.

It is on this issue we must work and not wait for the return of Russian tourists are confident our experts. “In Russia, in General, reduces the number of citizens travelling abroad, some categories it is forbidden by law. In addition, the crisis undermined the tourist industry even in Moscow, not in the Outback,” says Sergey Danilov.

“Markets need to expand in the direction of, say, other CIS countries, — said Igor golubaha. — Europe to Egypt already cooled — that means we need to invest more in promotion in various forms. To create open Internet portals for tourism, to make available its Internet space to show openness and security”.