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Foreign tourists flee Egypt

01-31-2011 13:37 BJT

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Foreign tourists in Egypt have been caught in the middle, fearing the unrest but not being able to flee.

Curfew orders and violence are keeping most airport workers at home. But now, tourists are beginning to leave on regular flights, private jets, and chartered flights set up by their governments.

The mass exodus has begun.

Being home to some of the world's greatest ancient relics and wonders, thousands of foreign tourists are in Egypt at any given time.

But now, vacations have been cut short, holidays cancelled, as travellers look to escape the political earthquake that has rocked the heart of the Arab World.

Korhan Gursen, Turkisn National, said, "They gave up protecting the city and began protecting their own families. Looters were everywhere. Criminals escaped from the prison and all these developments frightened us. We asked our government for help and they brought us here."

Long lines streamed across the tarmac at Cairo international airport.

With possessions in hand and a sense of desperation, the airport took on the look and feel of a refugee camp, with no police in sight.

Ebrahim Qawasmeh, Jordanian National, said, "The airport has no security, and there are around 6,000 to 7,000 passengers. We carried our luggage by ourselves. There is no security, even the army isn't there."

Many came without reservations, only to see their hopes dashed as a growing number of flights were cancelled, delayed or suspended.

Dozens with the means to do so rented jets or boarded their own planes in a mad scramble, that did little to boost confidence in the future of a country long viewed as a pillar of stability in a restive region.

When they will return is still an unknown.

UK National, said, "I don't think enough people have realized the danger that they're in if they stay there. But we made the decision yesterday morning to spend two days in the airport and we decided we're coming home. Never mind the pyramids, let's get home."

The unrest is sure to affect Egypt's vital tourism sector.

The multi billion dollar industry accounts for about 6 percent of Egypt's GDP, making it one of the top four sources of foreign revenue.

In a country where jobs are scarce, the tourism sector comprises more than 10 percent of the country's workforce.

But the unrest threatens to unravel the economy, which will surely raise unemployment and inflation, the very reasons the chaos began.

With protests set to enter their sixth day, foreign governments have issued travel warnings against Egypt. A growing number of countries, including China, Canada, the US, France, Australia, have warned against essential travel to the north African country. The US Embassy in Cairo said it was making arrangements to transport Americans out.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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