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Tourism in Egypt Essay

Introduction

Every single research has a purpose which should be outlined by a proposal. It is this part of the research that builds the topic and makes it sound realistic. The intention of this proposal is to suggest a research summarizing the perceptions of the British (and in particular English) tourists regarding the tourism industry in Egypt and its drawbacks.

Research Background

‘Tourism is a major force in the economy of the world, an activity of global importance and significance.’ (Cooper et al, 2008, p.3) Because it is a broad and complex activity, a sophisticated management is required in order to realise its full potential, as well as its sustainable economic, environmental, social and cultural force. (Weaver and Lawton, 2006) Impacts, caused by tourism activity on a certain place may be both positive and negative. They vary according to different factors, including the number of visitors, the nature of destination and the scale of tourism activity. According to Eber (1992) dependence on such an unstable industry is risky. This refers mainly to the developing countries for which tourism is a single industry needed to bring in crucial foreign currency.

A segment and significant part of tourism industry is the heritage tourism. Timothy and Boyd (2003) argue that heritage, according to most researchers, is linked to the past. This includes historic buildings and monuments, sites of important past events, or even traditional lifestyle patterns. Consequently, heritage tourism is related to visiting those historic relics, endured throughout the times. Being unique and fragile in its nature, heritage should be greatly appreciated and preserved. Egypt is an example of a country for which tourism is a major part of the economy and means of existence. It also is a country that relays on and attracts tourists with its heritage sites and remnants. Continued development of tourism is vital for the place, because it is a generator of funds and provider of job positions. Egypt is an ancient country situated in North-Eastern Africa and South-Western Asia. It is best known for its pyramids, temples and pharaohs.

The country is one of the cradles of the human civilization, possessing a historical legacy of world significance. (Ninomiya, K., no date) And, as Robinson (2000) suggested, it would be hard to imagine tourism without heritage. The ancient monuments and the diverse historic sites serve as magnets for millions of visitors. The capital city of Egypt and a major tourist destination is Cairo. The city is one of the most densely populated cities in the whole world. It attracts plenty of visitors every year. The main tourist attractions of the city are the Pyramids of Giza (tombs, constructed for the great pharaohs) and the Ancient Sphinx, situated nearby Cairo. The pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world; therefore they are a unique and incredible site to be seen.

Also, they are the only wonder, still enduring, playing a multiple role for the different people. (Excell, J., 2007) The oldest and biggest pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Cheops, was built around 2560 BC. (Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, no date) The pyramids are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979. (ibid) English tourists represent one of the biggest segments of visitors, coming to Egypt. ‘Over one million British tourists visited Egypt last year; an increase of 23 per cent from 2005 reports the African country’s tourist board. Statistics released by the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) claim that Britons were the country’s largest holiday market, reports Travel Weekly.’(Egypt attracts over 1m British tourists, no date) Therefore, their participation in this research is of an essential importance. This proposal suggests a research to be done about how those tourists perceive and evaluate their experience in the country.

The aim of the research is to outline the negative observations of those visitors, so the industry can work towards improving those setbacks. Although Egypt has a relatively stable economy, the tourism industry in the country and in Cairo in particular, suffers from a range of setbacks. Those include terrorism threats, lack of average accommodation, lack of government planning, street disorders. (Problems, facing tourism in Egypt, 2006) This proposal will explore in details the harshness of the problems related to the tourism industry in Egypt. In addition, it will provide research aims and goals to be accomplished towards improving this industry. Methodology will be included, using the participation of British citizens. This will be followed by research limitations and justification for the chosen investigation. The inspiration for the idea of the research comes from the significance of Cairo as a world heritage centre and the importance of its conservation and preservation.

Tourists play a major part in it. They are the ones to feel responsible for the protection of the legacy, because it belongs to the world. In addition, as Hall and McArthur (1993) suggested heritage can also determine a sense of place and people use it to gain attachment to a particular area. (Hall and McArthur, 1993, cited in Dallen, 2003, p.13) Terrorism concerns are the major setback in the tourism industry in Egypt. There are people who are concerned about their safety and avoid travelling to countries like Egypt. It is an important issue because it has decreased the number of tourists. (Problems, facing tourism in Egypt, 2006) According to ‘Tripadvisor’ tourists should be aware of petty crimes such as purse-snatchings. Moreover, it is recommended that women should not travel alone as they may become victims of verbal and sexual abuse. Latest terrorist attack happened in 31 December, 2010.

A car exploded near a Christian church in Alexandria, killed 7 people and wounded another 24. (Chronology of attacks on tourist targets in Egypt, 2011) In 2009 there was an analogous blast in Cairo which killed a French teenager. Taking those statistics into consideration, it becomes natural that visitors are becoming increasingly protective and avoid travelling to Egypt. Further on, the unregulated flow of tourists is another problem. ‘Crowdedness can not only ruin the resource being conserved, but it can also spoil the visitor experience.’ (Timothy and Boyd, 2003, p. 166) The reason for that could be the poor Government planning. It is essential that this flow would be handled, because the excessive visitation to the heritage sites, such as the Pyramids of Giza, causes their destruction and erosion. Their age is a symbol of their fragility. In addition, stones from the pyramids were stolen like the top of the Great Pyramid, causing reduction of its real height.

People tend to take parts of the heritage site to ‘keep the memory alive’, without thinking about the importance of its preservation. The degrading actions of the tourist may be highly harmful. ‘Heritage resources are irreplaceable; they are non-renewable resources that require conservation and good management.’ (Timothy and Boyd, 2003, p. 133) The various disorders on the streets of Cairo represent another predicament for the tourism industry. The unregulated traffic flow and crowds, the dirt dispersed throughout the city, the multitude of beggars, following the visitors and asking them for money is a repellent factor for the visitors.

Tourists face difficulties in crossing streets, because the cars never give way to the pedestrians. (Cairo: Health & Safety, 2010) Those setbacks along with the increased fear for their own safety are the major factors for tourists’ draw back. Most of the accommodation options in Cairo consist of 5-star hotels, thus being really expensive. (Yahoo answers, Problems, facing tourism in Egypt, 2006) There are not many people who can afford the luxury of a 5-star hotel. Therefore, a segment of average people who cannot have the funds for resting in such hotels is left behind. Thus, the economy and the tourism in particular would suffer from the loss of potential customers, hence further profits.

Research Aim

The main goal of the research is to determine the various measures that could be taken to prevent the setbacks, causing problems within the tourism industry in Egypt, and to come up with an idea about possible solutions regarding the improvement of the tourists’ experiences in Cairo. This is to be done by researching what the complaints of a certain fraction of British Tourists about their experiences in the city of Cairo are. In addition, the investigation will strive to uncover the opinions of different English visitors of how this improvement is to be accomplished, as it concerns the preservation of this world heritage site.

Research Questions

As a natural consequence, the aim of that research leads to certain questions related to the area of the investigation. Those questions are provided below to help the reader understand the importance and meaning of that research: * What strategies should the Government of Egypt employ to improve the nature of the tourism industry and tourist experience? * What could be done to improve the positive impression of the tourists visiting Cairo? * How the money flow generated from the visitors shall be used to stimulate preservation of the Pyramids? * What measures could be taken to ensure the safety of the tourists and to prevent terrorist attacks? * How can the tourists’ flow be regulated in order to achieve the optimum protection of the heritage sites?

Methodology

The methodology is the beating heart of a sound research. This is a set of all the methods chosen to conduct a certain investigation. In order to collect the necessary and accurate data, the researcher has to choose the research techniques very carefully. There are different types of research methods, including qualitative, quantitative or mixed research. Quantitative research could be numerical, planned, structured or objective. Important factors are reliability and validity. This type of research is mostly related to facts and figures. On the other hand, qualitative research ‘involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach to the world. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or to interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.’ (Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S., 2000) Key characteristics of that kind of research are openness, flexibility and communication. The communication between a researcher and a researched individual is essential for achieving in-depth results. I would conduct that research mainly by interviews, which will be conducted during the following research process. I would collect further information regarding a research from books, magazines, Internet, articles or newspapers. Mainly quantitative and online surveys will be used. One way of collecting data would be through statistical analyses.

Using online resources and articles, as well as contemporary books and reports, will assist me in estimating the total number of tourists visiting Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza in particular. That information will be useful for the allocation of the tourists in a way that would not be harmful to the remnants. Having the exact number of visitors could be divided by the total number of days per year and the answer could be used in spreading the newcomers fairly and sustainably during daytime visitations. Further on, I would prepare questionnaires and distribute them throughout the tour agencies and the citizens of London and the county of Kent. Different places throughout the centre of London will be the chosen grounds where the interviews with the locals will be accomplished.

Those places shall be famous tourist sites, such as Big Ben and the Parliament, the Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge or the British Museum. In addition, the seaside resorts in the county of Kent will be used as a major point for questioning the residents. The main arena of the survey will be Canterbury. Being residents in a significant historic centre such as Canterbury, the participants are expected to provide more responsible opinions regarding the topic of the research. The surveys shall contain questions regarding participants’ knowledge on the problems in the tourism industry and shall request their opinions on what should be done to limit those setbacks. By asking residents to fill in the survey, it is expected that they will start thinking sustainably and responsibly about the importance of the cultural heritage.

‘The cultural diversity of the historic environment is an interaction of the influences of the past with the populations of the present.’(Gazaneo, J. O., 2003) A type of questionnaire shall be provided to those who have visited Cairo, asking for the type of experience the tourists have had during their stay there; also what they consider the repellent factors of the city are and what could be suggested as a measurement to be taken. If their experience is negative, this would provide with a useful and important feedback to the hotel managers and tour agencies. Using the views of the English visitors (the largest tourist market for Egypt) would give a solid basis for the aim of this research.

Research Limitations

Probably every single research proposal has specific limitations of a certain character. Outlining those limitations help achieving clarity of future actions. Knowing the extent of one’s possibilities is vital for a person, conducting the research, because limitations allow correct planning. Therefore, using the available resources in the best possible manner is highly essential. In this proposal there are a number of limitations, as well. The most obvious one is the availability of resources. This research needs a sufficient funding to be completed. In order to involve the participants, the questionnaire should look appealing and convey sense of importance.

People should seize the significance of the research and feel responsible to contribute by participating. However, the research is to be self-financed and funds will be used for the creation of the questionnaires and transport expenses. Another limitation is time. In order for this research to be of a great use and importance, a lot of opinions are needed. That means that a vast number of partakers should participate and people do not always agree to provide constructive judgments. Thus, it will take plenty of time for the research to be accomplished. In addition, the expected (or rather preferred) number of participants would be 2,000. This number shall be covered in nearly 7 months in the area of Kent and London by a single researcher.

Importance of the Research

The research and especially the results shall be of crucial importance to providing ideas for improvement in the tourism industry in Egypt. The country possesses historical sites of an extreme significance to the humanity as a whole. Preservation of this heritage is essential. The Great Pyramids and the temples serve as a link between the great past, the time of the pharaohs and the mummies, and the present. ‘Such active connections with the past are maintained in part through efforts to preserve or commemorate specific historic places, structures or moments.’ (Paulsen, K. E., 2006)

The nature of that research is vital for those, studying Tourism Management. Being able to cope with the whole process of the survey shall present a good basis for managing important initiatives. One needs to learn to take care and drive until the end certain courses of action. Also, one should delimit the important themes in the tourism industry. Being a good manager of a tourism organisation, a person should be able to manage and communicate with many and different people. By conducting a survey such opportunity is provided.

Conclusion

Tourism is truly important to people. It is often associated with leisure, which means relaxation. Usually, when visitors are on excursion, they expect having a good time and positive experiences. Tourists’ impressions and experiences are essential to tourism development, especially for Egypt. In addition, tourism is related to heritage. Without historic sites, the meaning of tourism will not be the same. The preservation of those places brings any tourism existence to a new level. Every country should strive for sustainable tourism industry. Sustainability is a key factor for positive tourists’ experience through preservation of the environment. ‘Sustainable development advocates leaving to future generations a stock of natural resources no less than that inherited by previous generations.’ (Eber, Sh., 1992, p. 5)

Bibliography

Excell, J. (2007) ‘Secrets of a lost World’, Engineer (00137758), p20-23, 4p Eber, Sh. (1992) ‘Beyond the green horizon: principles for sustainable
tourism’, Surrey Cooper, C. et al. (2008) ‘Tourism: principles and practice’ 4th ed., Pearson Education Weaver, D. and Lawton, L. (2006) ‘Tourism Management’ 3rd ed., Milton, Qld. Timothy, D. J. and Boyd, S. W. (2003) ‘Heritage Tourism’, New York: Pearson Education Robinson, M. (2000) ‘Tourism and heritage relationships: global, national and local perspectives’, Sunderland: Centre for travel and tourism Gazaneo, J. O. (2003) ‘Journal of Architecture’ Vol. 8 Issue 4, p411-419, 9p Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (2000) ‘The discipline and practice of qualitative research’ in ‘Handbook of Qualitative Research’ 2nd ed., Sage pp. 3 Paulsen, K. E., (2006) ‘Strategy and Sentiment: Mobilizing Heritage in Defense of Place’, Springer Science & Business Media, Inc., p. 3 Ninomiya, K. (no date), About Egypt, Available at: http://www.ehow.com/about_4811950_egypt.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask (Accessed: 21 November, 2010) Pyramids of Giza, Egypt (no date), Available at: http://www.unescoworldheritagesites.com/pyramids_of_giza.htm (Accessed: 21 November, 2010) Egypt attracts over 1m British tourists (no date), Available at: http://www.a-1hotels.com/html/feature___over_1_million_briti.html (Accessed: 08 December, 2010) Problems facing tourism in Egypt (2006), Available at: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061119144927AAKTF4n (Accessed: 20 November, 2010) Cairo: Health & Safety (2010), Available at: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294201-s206/Cairo:Egypt:Health.And.Safety.html (Accessed: 06 December, 2010) Chronology of attacks on tourist targets in Egypt (2011), Available at: http://www.usdivetravel.com/T-EgyptTerrorism.html (Accessed: 02 January,2011)


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