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Tuesday
Feb082011

Egypt: Pyramids, Tourist Attractions Closed; Economy Suffering

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(GIZA, Egypt) -- As protests continue for a third week in Egypt, tourism has come to a standstill in the country, leaving a gaping hole in the country's economy.

Popular tourist attractions like the ancient pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx have been closed off to people since the protests began for security reasons.  For many, like Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass, it is the first time in memory that these attractions have been blocked off from the public.

"I don't remember that this site was ever closed," Hawass said.

As a result, Egypt's economy, which depends heavily on tourism, is taking a toll.  It is estimated that one million tourists have fled Cairo since the protests began on Jan. 25.

"All the people who live around here, they depend on the lives of tourists," Hawass said.  "If there is no tourism, there is no food for the people."

Hawass said he hopes to reopen the tourist attractions in the next couple of days.

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ABC News Radio