Tourists throng Egypt pyramids after bombing, but future clouded

Excited holidaymakers rode camels and queued to enter a tomb as they snapped pictures of the Great Pyramid. (AFP)
Updated 30 December 2018

Tourists throng Egypt pyramids after bombing, but future clouded

  • The attack comes as Egypt’s vital tourism sector has begun to recover after years of instability
  • A bombing hit a tourist bus killing four people on Friday

GIZA: Crowds of tourists stared in awe at the towering pyramids of Giza near Cairo on Saturday undaunted by a nearby bomb attack a day earlier that killed holidaymakers from Vietnam.

A roadside bombing ripped through a tourist bus killing three tourists and an Egyptian guide on Friday, as it traveled near the world-famous attraction.

The attack comes as Egypt’s vital tourism sector has begun to recover after years of instability and militant violence that scared visitors away.

“I think terrorism can strike anywhere in the world,” Somand Yang from South Korea told AFP.

“You have to be careful but it is also like luck.” Security forces guarded the entrance to the sprawling site and Yang, 32, said she had no qualms about visiting.

“Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. So I figured it will be even safer today,” she said.

Excited holidaymakers rode camels and queued to enter a tomb as they snapped pictures of the Great Pyramid, the only surviving structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Hawkers followed the tourists, doggedly trying to sell trinkets and souvenirs. Despite the steady flow of visitors, Egyptians working at the site said they were shaken by the attack — and concerned that it could hit their livelihoods.

“I knew the guide who died yesterday,” said Dalia Sadaka, as she accompanied a group of sightseers.

“I completely broke down yesterday, but I had to get to work in the morning,” she said, pointing to her visibly swollen eyes.

Earlier hit hard by a string of bloody attacks and unrest, visitor numbers to Egypt have more recently staged a partial recovery.

In October 2015, a bomb claimed by a local affiliate of Daesh killed all 224 people on board a passenger jet carrying Russian tourists over the Sinai peninsula.

That incident dealt a severe blow to Egypt’s tourism industry, which was still reeling from the turmoil set off by the 2011 uprising that forced veteran leader Hosni Mubarak from power.

The official statistics agency says arrivals reached 8.2 million in 2017, up from 5.3 million the year before.

But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14 million came.

“I fear yesterday’s incident may have an impact on our source of income,” said an elderly man who offers camel rides, declining to give his name.

“It is very regretable,” he said. “We were finally happy that tourism started picking up a bit.”


Health checkups for expatriate workers to return

Updated 12 July 2020

Health checkups for expatriate workers to return

  • Kuwait’s coronavirus tally, just over 54,000, had recent cases attributable to people involved in active transmission

DUBAI: Health inspections for expatriate workers in Kuwait will resume with the reopening of testing centers at a limited capacity to ensure coronavirus safety measures are complied with.

Health inspection centers will also accept online registration to adapt to a 30 percent capacity requirement during the first phase of easing of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, public health director Dr. Fahad Al-Ghimlas said in a report from state news agency KUNA.

Those registering online will be directed to inspection centers nearest to their addresses or workplaces and expatriate workers can choose their testing schedules based on available timeslots.

The four testing centers – in Shuwaikh, Sabhan, Fahaheel and Jahra – will ensure safety protocols are implemented, including the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Meanwhile, local officials closed a record 122 shops for violating health standards and failing to maintaining social distancing in their selling areas.

Some of the shops included Friday Market, a large supermarket at Mirqab, and a furniture company at a mall, according to Municipality Director Ahmad Al-Manfouhi.

Municipality officials previously sealed off 113 shops before the June 30 phase two of Kuwait’s coronavirus lockdown easing was implement.

Kuwait’s coronavirus tally, just over 54,000, had recent cases attributable to people involved in active transmission.