Tourism is one of the leading sources of income, crucial to Egypt’s economy with 11% of GDP and 14.4% of foreign currency revenues. It also provides revenues of nearly $12.5 billion. This is not surprising considering the number of attractions Egypt offers. However there are both positive and negative effects of tourism. Some of the positive effects are that tourism provides jobs, builds better infrastructure and brings awareness to problems. However the negative effects of tourism are that Egypt is dependent on tourism, there is damage to ancient infrastructure and changing of culture. A number of strategies have been put in place to reduce the impacts of tourism including the creation of a wall to stop people getting too close to the ancient monuments.
Tourism has also led to increased awareness to problems facing Egypt and the initiative to fix them. The deteriorating state of Egypt’s ancient monuments is a big deal but it may not have been getting worked on if it weren’t for the increased awareness of this problem that tourism brought. In addition to this, tourism gives the government the initiative to fix it because Egypt relies on the income tourism brings and if these structures deteriorate further tourism will decrease.
Another positive impact of tourism is the construction of better infrastructure. As a tourist you would want to have better infrastructure and you would be more likely to go to a place if it had it. This causes the government to build better infrastructure. It provides room for the city to grow – to help with trade and overall make Egypt a better place to live with better roads, better hotels all of which provide jobs.
One positive impact of tourism is providing jobs. This is incredibly important because if tourism were to vanish 12% of the population’s workforce would be unemployed and the economy would collapse. Take the Great Depression as an example. Due to the decline of jobs the economy was destroyed and poverty was common. Tourism related jobs include hotels, guides and restaurants, all of which help the local economy. However the income Egypt gets from tourism can be a negative thing.
One of the negative impacts of tourism is that Egypt is now reliant on the income tourism brings. Since Egypt is now reliant on tourism it is vulnerable. If something happens and tourism dramatically decreases the economy will collapse. This has already happened once in which the number of tourists plummeted from 14.7 million to 5.4 million in 2016 costing the country billions. This is no surprise considering tourism contributes 11% of GDP and 14.4% of foreign currency revenues. It also provides revenues of nearly $12.5 billion.
Tourism has also led to damage to ancient sites. Though the pyramids and the sphinx have withstand the forces of nature for thousands of years tourisms have caused the effects of wear to speed up. In February 1988, a 250-kilogram slab of limestone peeled away from the Sphinx’s right shoulder and dropped to the ground below, an indication of just how much wear and tear the structure was suffering. The pyramids are no better being worn away by the moisture in the air due to too many tourists and people walking on the pyramids which, to no surprise, has now been banned.
Another negative impact of tourism is the changing of culture. On most occasions, traditional ethnic festivals, religious rituals and rites are sanitized and reduced in order to conform to various tourist expectations. When a destination is presented as a tourist destination, the demand for entertainment, arts, souvenirs and other tourism services begin to gain influence. This may result to changes in the local values. Sacred places slowly lose respect by people once they are seen as sites for tourism. They may lose their value toward the locals. Tourists may bring new cultural practises that are not desirable and consistent towards those already practiced by locals.
A number of strategies have been put in place to help achieve sustainability. One strategy involves the creation of a wall and heightened security to stop people getting too close to the ancient monuments. The government has also started work on restoring the ancient sites. To aid with tourism they are building a museum, the largest archeological museum in the world to retain tourist attention.