Luxor Visitor Numbers?

We had a visit from one of our more famous Luxor friends today. She also rents out accommodation here on the East Bank, and has a blog (or is it two?) and hob-nobs with ambassadors and the like, quite an up-market girl if the truth be told, and (like so many of our friends here) is usually good fun to be with. However, on this visit she was concerned, as we all are here, about the lack of tourists and the dearth of accommodation enquiries. (They've just about dried up for everyone it seems.)
Last week, Freda and I were talking to the chairman of Steigenberger at their beautiful Nile Palace Hotel, and he was telling us that hotel bookings throughout Egypt are running at between 25 and 28% of capacity! Is this what the revolutionaries envisaged, I wonder?
Of course, people who were planning to visit Egypt this summer are now having second thoughts, mostly because of the safety doubts which have been massively helped along by selective and misleading reporting by worldwide television news programmes, and by foreign governments "taking in water" and issuing travel "advisories" against coming here, which are also linked to adverse reporting. It's like being back in the middle of the revolution itself! Misinformation abounds!

I cannot pretend that nothing here has changed, it would be less than honest to protest that everything is the same as it was before the revolution. Although I am not aware of it personally, I believe that Luxor (and probably other areas as well) is experiencing more criminal activity than before. Apparently, the other day, a man was shot dead in a robbery at a local petrol station. Now, while I don't want to trivialise such a serious and despicable crime, this wouldn't even make the national news if it had occurred in England! The crime situation here reminds me of a holiday we once had in Haverigg in Cumbria; the local newspaper front page headline read "Bike Stolen In Millom!" We had a laugh about it then, and still do on occasion. But the point of relating this little tale to you is to emphasize the difference in the actual (and perceived) level of criminality between Egypt and the countries from which our tourists come from.

MI5's security "Threat Level" for Great Britain is currently at "Severe", the next level is "Critical" and is the highest threat level we have; where terrorist attack is genuinely thought to be "Imminent", none of Mr Bliar's "45 minute Weapons of Mass Destruction" scaremongering in this case!
The following was lifted from the travel advice of a large English speaking country today:
"On 22 January 2010, UK authorities raised the threat level for the United Kingdom overall from 'Substantial' to ‘Severe’, meaning that a terrorist attack is assessed as ‘highly likely’. ............... in the United Kingdom should be aware of media reports that in January 2011 security arrangements were increased at major transport hubs in the United Kingdom."
If you add these warnings to the well documented, appallingly high level, of "ordinary" crime in the UK, then all British subjects should decamp to Egypt, for their own safety, immediately!

If you are considering a trip (of a lifetime) to Luxor, then check out your governments travel warnings, here's the UK's regarding Luxor:

"Between 25 January and 11 February there were major political demonstrations in Cairo and other locations across Egypt, including Suez, North Sinai, Rafah, the Delta region and some areas of Upper Egypt, including Luxor"


"There is a nationwide curfew in place from 02:00 to 05:00 local time. Timings are occasionally adjusted and you are advised to listen to media announcements or seek advice from your tour operator or hotel management. The curfew is not being enforced in the Red Sea Resort area or in Luxor."

Yes, that's it! They then go on to say:

"1,346,724 British Nationals visited Egypt in 2009 (Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism). Most visits are trouble-free. See General - Consular Assistance Statistics. The majority of consular cases occur in Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh."

Another feather in Luxor's cap? And don't forget to check up on the "Threat Level" in your own country, it's maybe time you went somewhere sunnier and safer for a little get-away-from-it-all holiday, eh?????


  1. Hi Edward,

    I'm doing my best to put together a trip now, but with the combination of schedules and the fact that I'm coming all the way from New Zealand, it takes planning and I won't make it there until next March. I can tell you that the government warnings and the media are definitely having a major impact on visitors to Egypt. I'm trying to get my friends and relatives from the US to join us, but the news coverage on all of the news networks there are hyping any news to the point that my friends think they will be in the middle of a riot and violence the second they get off the plane and throughout the country. It's all about sensationalizing stories and they just don't care about the effect they have on countries like Egypt. That's a complete shame, and I am doing what I can to counter this impression, at least among those people with whom I have contact.

    Thanks for blogging the current conditions there in Luxor!


  2. Hello again James,
    Glad to see you're still looking at my blog!
    The reporting of the current happenings in Egypt is terrible. I know that there is trouble here between different factions wanting to impose their will on the others, but the tourism is separate to all that, it's what keeps places like Luxor alive.
    Even on the different Egypt Forums, there are constant questions about safety, and people reporting small altercations etc as if they were seriously threatening to tourists. The truth is probably nearer the fact that tempers are being stretched because of having to do without!
    One of my neighbours has just sent a food parcel to his brother and family in Hurghada, while he himself has stopped smoking cigarettes because he simply doesn't have the cash (about 50 English pence) to buy them!
    As I've been saying everywhere I can, "Luxor is safer, even now, than the vast majority of holiday destinations throughout the world!" I don't know what else I can do.
    Thanks for your concern and good wishes, if we can be of any help; just email.

  3. I just wish there was more that I could do. I love the people of Egypt, especially Luxor (even if I get tired of "Welcome to Alaska!" when they find out I'm originally from the USA) and it distresses me to see them hurting like they are now.

    I use a really good agent in Cairo, do you work with agents at all? If so, depending on how many people I can bring with me, I might have my agent get in touch with you.


  4. Do you mean agents, as in booking agents for the apartment? If so no. This is for two reasons: 1, we cannot afford to pay commission and 2, we like to have as much contact with prospective guests as possible. (In case we have to weed them out if they don't appeal to us!)

    I know that might sound a bit harsh, or even snobby, but we've put our hearts and souls (as well as our savings) into this venture, and to be perfectly honest we feel we have the right to be a bit choosy about whom we have to stay. We don't want people who won't take care of our things, just as we don't want folk who like to get everything "on the cheap" just because they think they can impress the people of a poor country with their relative wealth!

    We hope to accommodate either "ordinary" people, or people who may be extraordinary but who seem quite normal! A tall order, I know, but we've had a goodly number of guests who have been quite strange and we have managed to squeeze all their peculiarities into one of those two categories with only little bits sticking out here and there, lol.


  5. Edward,

    That's not harsh or snobby at all. :) I may be with a group of 6-8 people so we will probably be in a hotel, however, I might just set up a time to drop by for tea. :)