Is it safe to visit Egypt?

Is it safe to visit Egypt? May 20, 2019


The three largest pyramids in the famous Giza complex near Cairo are, from the rear, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (aka Cheops); the Pyramid of Khaphre (or Chephren), which still retains some of its original limestone exterior near its apex; and the significantly smaller Pyramid of Menkaure (aka Mycerinus or Mykerinos) in the front. (Wikimedia Commons public domain)


“Egypt explosion: Tourists on bus injured near Giza pyramids”


A number of people have written to inquire whether we’re alright.  We are.  We (and the other members of our group) have been out of Egypt for several days now.


But, of course — and very troublingly to the Egyptian government and to those who care about the economy on which the well-being of Egypt’s roughly one hundred million people depends — incidents such as this one raise urgent questions in the minds of those who are thinking about visiting the land of the Nile.


Accordingly, I feel an obligation to comment.


Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say here.  It’s disgusting that certain vile people deliberately target innocent tourists.  But . . .


Out of a hundred million Egyptians, the number of those who actively seek to harm foreign visitors is tiny.  (If it weren’t, the situation there would be vastly worse than it is.)


I’ve been in and out of Egypt for more than forty years — including four years of residence there at the beginning of my marriage.  My eldest son was born in Egypt.  My wife and I have made three significant visits to Egypt over the past twelve months or so.  I can truthfully say that I’ve never felt any fear or tension there.


Now, I grant that concerns about political/ideological/religious violence along the Nile are relatively recent.  Until a few years ago, the only real worries were about pickpockets, petty theft, and so forth.  Of late, though, certain terrorists have sought to target tourists as a way of undermining the Egyptian economy and, thus, weakening the Egyptian government.


But the numbers are important.  How many tourists visit Egypt annually?  One figure that I found on the internet puts the figure somewhere between nine and twelve million.  Curiously, though, another source tells me that roughly fifteen million tourists visit the pyramids of Giza every year.  How the two numbers are to be reconciled eludes me for the moment.  For my present purposes, though, the precise totals aren’t especially relevant.  The point is that the tourist numbers for Egypt are extremely high — while the number of those directly impacted by terrorist incidents is extremely low.  Microscopically low.  Which, to put it another way, means that the risk posed to any given tourist or tourist group in Egypt is strikingly small.


Terrorism is a serious matter, obviously, but tourist travel in Egypt is quite safe.


Posted from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England



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