26% of female tourists visiting Giza Pyramids sexually harassed: Study
Giza Pyramids - REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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CAIRO: A total of 26 percent of female tourists at the Giza Pyramids area are harassed; 78 percent verbally and 22 percent physically, according to a study by Mohamed Assayed, a lecturer at Fayoum University.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry’s Planning, Studies and Training Sector (PSTS) released a special report on means to tackle negative behavior towards tourists to apply solution in the area of Sphinx and the Pyramids, Youm7 reported Friday.

“Egypt can no longer achieve high tourism growth rates without countering some challenges; they must be addressed firmly and strictly, such as harassment, begging, overpricing, and [lack of] cleanliness at tourist and archeological sites,” head of PSTS Mahfouz Ali said in the report.

Fayoum University’s Assayed, who works at the Hotels Studies department of the Faculty of Tourism, also noted that 32 percent of female tourists in Egypt are harassed in streets, hotels, resorts and tourist sites with 50 percent of the cases inside hotels.

In 2014, British and Russian holidaymakers alleged they were raped in Sharm el-Sheikh in two separate incidents. A report released by the United Nations in June 2013 calculated that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed, either verbally or physically.

The studies focused on the “mental image” of Egypt, affected by Egyptian movies subtitled and disseminated internationally with contain scenes of violence, slums and thugs. Such movies especially affect the perception of Arab tourists, who depend on the Egyptian movie industry to know more about the locals, according to one study of PSTS.

Among the recommendations in the report is to follow travel forums on social media where tourists write about their personal experiences when they get back home, and whether their experience would make them return to Egypt or recommend the destination to other tourists.

The Giza Pyramids has been a controversial topic on social media recently, with Egyptians reporting their own experiences or the experiences of foreign friends in the archeological area.

The reported visits included being stalked by vendors selling souvenirs, overpricing by owner of horses and camels for rides and every picture with the animals, with the police standing idly. Some users recommended clearing the area to establish a tourist compound.

Additional reporting by Mervat Rashad

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