Thursday, February 10, 2011

A country of change

March in the Red Sea is the beginning of one of the peak seasons throughout the year. The few weeks leading up to March see Hurghada's tourist population swell, as more and more people make their way towards the infamous Red Sea resorts.

This year is different...

This year is quiet...unnaturally so.

Today marks the 17th day of protests throughout Egypt. While only a few days ago international media attention appeared to have turned from Egypt, the country and its present turmoil have again dominated news stations. Rumours are abound that tonight might make history. Tonight might witness a president of 30 years stepping down from his rule.

The past few weeks have been electric and turbulent in Egypt. Their effects have extended the width and breadth of the country. Hurghada and many other tourist resorts in Egypt are left deserted. Estimates have placed the daily loss incurred as a result of the unrest at 310 million US $ daily. Numbers aside, the impact goes much further than that. The once busy street of Sheraton lies quiet at night. Hurghada's New Marina, usually a lively spot with an array of bars, restaurants and clubs, sits empty with a sprinkling of people here and there.

My former employer, Arab West Report, have come to a standstill due to the evacuation of many expats. The online publication is now no more than an empty office. Likewise, Spotlight Hurghada has taken a back burner. Without any tourists coming into the town, what's the point in trying to create a tourism magazine!

Tonight, people in Egypt are excited and riveted to their televisions awaiting the reported speech of President Mubarak. Where things will go tomorrow remains to be seen. Has the revolution in Egypt succeeded in changing the regime? Will the change of the regime encourage a re-investment in the country's economy, and bring back the tourists to Egypt?

So much to consider...many questions will be answered within the next 24 hours. It is indeed an exciting time to be alive and living in Egypt, a country of change.

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