CAIRO: Tour guides in Hurghada and Luxor are planning to hold a strike Thursday over safety concerns of poor conditions on part of the road they use in their daily overland sightseeing between the Egypt’ two top touristic destinations.
The strike is triggered by the government’s “unjustified” delay in inaugurating the Qena-Luxor desert road through the eastern desert, Khaled Sedky, a tour guide based in Hurghada, told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
“If the government does not care about the lives of tens of tour guides traveling on the tired road everyday, it should care about the lives of thousands of tourists traveling on that road,” said Sedky.
The drive through the desert road from Hurghada to Qena is fine as the road is made according to international standards but “the only road linking between Qena and Luxor is an agricultural road with speed bumps made by individuals in front of their houses to ensure buses would slow down and their children are not run over,” said Sedky.
When buses slow down through the 60 kilometer-long road, children hurl stones at the tourist buses, said Sedky adding that “such irresponsible acts harm Egypt’s reputation.”
Officials from Transportation Ministry said the delay in opening the Qena-Luxor desert road is due to a lack of financial resources, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Tesday.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced the formation of a committee to reexamine the condition of roads in the Red Sea coastal cities of Hurghada and Sharm al-Sheikh, along with the highways linking them with touristic attractions in Luxor and Cairo, according to a Cabinet statement in November.
The formation of the committee followed a crash involving a school bus and oil tanker truck on the Egypt–Alexandria road near the Beheira governorate that killed 18 and injured 18 others in November.
According to Sedky, several tourists have submitted complaints to international tour operators concerning the roads’ poor conditions and the hundreds of improper speed bumps along the 60-kilometer ride.