Egypt’s youth protesters are turning their Facebook activism toward reviving the country’s tourism industry which took a big hit during the protests.
Some groups are organizing real events meant to publicize that post-revolution Egypt is safe and ready to welcome tourists.
One, the Economical Reform Initiatives, has organized a march to the National Museum to promote the tourism sector. Others are organizing online events to declare their support, like this one to “Support Tourism in Sharm El Sheikh.”
This message and video are being shared by groups on Facebook.
“After a million tourists out of the country in this period, there are currently more than 2.5 million employees and their families, who work in the field of tourism in Egypt are still suffering at the moment. Your support is needed. Tell your friends that your next holiday will be in Egypt to show your support in reality not just by words. We are waiting for you to give you a wonderful experience of this great land.” – Egyptian Campaign to reform Tourism in Egypt, Facebook.com.
Egypt’s tourism sector employs 1.8 million people directly; another 5 million are dependent on tourism. Tourism in Egypt generated $11.6 billion in 2009-10 from 14.7 million tourists.
During the 18-day revolution, 1.2 million visitors fled Egypt, and occupancy rates in Luxor dropped to between 2 to 4 percent. Former vice president Omar Suleiman said on state television that the protests had cost Egypt $1 billion in tourism revenues.
The Egyptian Tourist Authority in New York is planning to launch an extensive marketing campaign to bring back tourists. If recent history is any guide, the support they’re going to get from Facebook activists trying to “fix” what they broke will be significant.
But it’s not going to be a cakewalk, because the new Egypt has new problems, such as tourism industry workers protesting by the Great Pyramids demanding higher wages.
Photo credit: Come Back to Egypt, Facebook