"Everyone wants to go to Egypt. Everyone wants to return to Italy."
Ahmed Mustafa, a waiter at a coffee shop near the first blast, said a fireball tore through a shopping mall car park in Sharm el-Sheikh town at about 1:15am.
The blast turned cars into twisted metal, blew down masonry on nearby buildings and shattered windows for hundreds of metres around.
"I saw a car flying up in the air, people running," restaurant owner Yehya Mohammed said by telephone. "This is a horrible setback for tourism here."
Tourists and terrorists have in comon a love of travel, meeting new people, living new and exciting experiences not to be found in the old hometown. Both groups bring new ideas, new business opportunities, and new experiences to the locals. We have such a lot in common.
The two groups just can't get along! Tourists tend to romanticise the locals in the hope of heightening the experience of their vacations, of bringing back to the drudgeries of mundanity some stellar memories of exotica, days of living that shine brightly in the life of the harried and bored. No one wishes to go to a boring and unmemorable place on ones limitied vacation. No, one goes to a place where people are special, where things are greater than great, making the expences worth the expences. Terrorists take the same tack, in a sense, going to foreign and exotic places to kill and wreck and exterminate the worst people on Earth, to have the greatest experiences they can in their limited time and at the limited expence they can afford. No more drudgeries for the terrorist who manages in a couple of weeks off from the toil of peasnatry to have a lovely break in the name of a great vacation for the sake of Allah. Paradise.
Boom goes Dahab, Boom Paree.
For the third time in a year and a half Muslims have attacked tourists in Egypt on a large scale. There is some method to the madness. It's not simply an attack on the tourists and infidels themselves: it's an attack on the Egyptian economy, and more directly on the ability of the Egyptian government to control the lives of the Egyptian people. If, as so many Egyptians do, they rely on tourist money to survive in the style to which they are accustomed, then to withdraw that money from the hands of locals is throw them into even greater poverty than they exist in at present; the result being a further hatred of the government. The plan, of course, is to destroy the credibility of the government, or actually to destroy the willingness of the Egyptian people to tolerate the misrule of said government any longer. Destroy the tourist-based economy, ruin the lives and livelihoods of the people, and end the government's rule. It works.
The Economics of Tourism
On November 17, 1997, a terrorist attack targeting visitors to the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, threw Egypt's tourism industry into turmoil. The negative effect of the Luxor tragedy is clearly reflected by the data. Visitor arrivals to Egypt declined by 13.8 per cent from 1997 to 1998. Egypt's international tourism receipts decreased by 45.4 per cent in1998 compared to 1997. Egypt is one of those countries in the world in which tourism is a substantial share of overall economic activity. Tourism is Egypt's second largest foreign exchange earner, [foreign aid being number one] and Egypt accounts for 50 per cent of all tourist arrivals to Africa and the Middle East.
The tourism industry generates substantial economic benefits to both host countries and tourists' home countries. It is an especially important industry to developing countries. The main benefits of tourism to a country are foreign exchange earnings, tax revenues, business opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, and employment for workers in the industry.
According to the WTO, "Tourism is one of the top five export categories for as many as 83% of countries and is the main source of foreign exchange earnings for at least 38% of countries." Foreign exchange earnings from exports are used to purchase imports and augment reserves. They generate income in the host country and can stimulate consumer spending and investment in other sectors of the economy.
Tax receipts from tourism are both direct and indirect. Direct tax receipts are generated from the incomes earned by businesses and workers. Indirect taxes are duties levied on goods and services purchased by tourists. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that tax contributions related to tourism worldwide were US $800 billion in 1998.
Tourism is a monopolistically competitive industry. It has many relatively small enterprises producing slightly differentiated products and services. Barriers to entry and exit are relatively low. For these reasons, the tourism industry provides tremendous opportunity for relatively small businesses to thrive and is a leading generator of jobs. The hotel accommodation sector alone provided around 11.3 million jobs worldwide in 1995, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Tourism generates jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, taxis, and souvenir sales. Indirectly, jobs are generated through the supply of goods and services required by tourism-related suppliers. The WTO estimates that tourism represents 7% of jobs worldwide.
International Tourism Receipts: % of Export Earnings (1998)
This is the Politics of Confrontation that we have written about so often here. The local social conditions made delibverately so unbearable by direct and planned chaos leads the state into disproportionate reaction agianst the general populace to the point the people rebel and do the work of the terrorists for them. Wreck the tourist industry, destroy the economy, impoverish poor people even further, and bring about a repressive police response to that as well, and The Revolution is on the march.
The following article was written less than nine months ago.
All is not lost
28 July - 3 August 2005