Egypt to introduce new law against “pestering tourists”
It is impossible to visit the renowned archaeological sites in Egypt without being harassed by beggars and hustlers either selling souvenirs or asking for baksheesh (tips). At its worst it can be intimidating and at the very least it can be irritating, but now it is set to become illegal. Although some see it as ‘part of the experience’, the Egyptian parliament has approved a law which could see vendors fined up to 10,000 Egyptian pounds for pestering tourists “with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service”.
Tourist numbers have fallen in recent years due to the political turbulence of the 2011 revolution and 2013 military coup, whilst flights to Sharm el-Sheikh from Russia and the UK were suspended after terrorists shot down a plane carrying holidaymakers in October 2015. The country is however experiencing a mini resurgence with British tour operator Thomas Cook reporting an 89% increase in bookings for Egypt. The government hopes this new law will help to protect Egypt’s fragile but valuable tourism industry, which makes up 12% of the economy.
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