Egypt capitalizes on the fame of Tahrir Square to attract tourists


The tourism industry in Egypt seeks to take advantage of the revolution to boost business in the long run after the popular uprising emptied the hotels, casinos and bars of a tourist trade that employs one in eight Egyptians.

National carrier Egypt Air presents itself on You Tube as “The Egyptian revolution’s wings of freedom” in a video that features scenes from the uprising and footage from various tourist attractions like the pyramids, the Sphinx, and Red Sea resorts.

The video presents also clips of the world’s top public figures praising the revolution. U.S. President Barack Obama appears in one clip saying, “Egyptians changed the world.” Another clip presents famous Brazilian novelist Paolo Coelho saying, “The world only gets better because people risk something to make it better. Thanks Egyptians.”

Some tourism companies are inviting tourists to visit Tahrir Square, where millions of Egyptians gathered each Friday until they forced Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Al-Wedian, a tourist company based in central Cairo, wrote on its website that one of its most important advantages is its location near Tahrir Sqaure.

The company’s manager Alaa al-Din Mursi said the location near Tahrir Square “means our business will boom in the near future.”

For Mursi, tourism in Egypt might suffer at times, but it will never stop and despite the drastic drop in hotel occupancy and the losses sustained by travel agents, foreigners will want to visit the scene of the revolution.

A travel website listed Tahrir Square as one of Egypt’s tourist attractions,

“The Greek were the first to book trips to Egypt and many of them even expressed their wish to meet with some of the protestors,” said Diaa Gamal, himself one of the protesters.

Gamal said Tahrir Square was bound to become a historic site when Egyptians from all walks of life rallied there around one cause.

“At that time, I knew this place will be a monument.”

Edna Wilson, an American, said that she is very proud of the Egyptian revolution and that the first place she visited when she came in her last trip was Tahrir Square.

“I wanted to see the square because of the people who died for the revolution and because of the youths I saw there,” she said.