Memento retailers in Egypt pin hopes on resurgence of tourism after enterprise being impacted as a result of COVID-19-World Information , Alenz
A whole bunch of small enterprise homeowners and artisans have been pressured to mothball a lot of their exercise, choked by cancelled flights and motion restrictions around the globe.
Cairo, Egypt: Pyramids, Tutankhamun masks, Nefertiti busts — Egypt’s souvenir-makers are pinning their hopes on a brand new lease of financial life, after tourism was battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Within the shadow of the magnificent Giza Pyramids, Eid Yousri manufactures polyester Pharaonic collectible figurines from a humble workshop erected on the roof of his household dwelling.
“We have misplaced almost 70 % of our enterprise,” he advised AFP, lamenting the plunge in guests to one of many seven wonders of the traditional world.
Earlier than the pandemic, “we had about 15 staff — in comparison with 5 immediately,” he stated, noting that even the remaining employees weren’t full-time.
He sells his merchandise from as little as 20 Egyptian kilos (about $1.30, or one euro) to 200 kilos.
A whole bunch of small enterprise homeowners and artisans have been pressured to mothball a lot of their exercise, choked by cancelled flights and motion restrictions around the globe. Yousri hopes that overseas vacationers are lured again to Egypt within the latter a part of the yr, “particularly Individuals”, with some teams from the US anticipated in September.
In 2019, the final full yr earlier than the pandemic struck, tourism made up about 12 % of Egypt’s GDP. After an extended interval of political instability dented earnings, revenues from the sector reached $13 billion that yr.
However in 2020, a yr when Egypt had initially eyed an extra rebound to $16 billion, takings collapsed to $4 billion.
In a current interview with AFP, Tourism Minister Khaled El-Enani welcomed a partial restoration in customer numbers. Round 500,000 have flown in month-to-month since April this yr, greater than double the quantity in January and up from a median of simply 200,000 vacationers monthly in 2020.
‘Good advertising train’
On the opposite facet of city, within the slim and labyrinthine alleys of Khan el-Khalili in Islamic Cairo, vacationer Caroline Bucher is on the hunt for “domestically made” merchandise to convey again dwelling to her native Dominican Republic.
“We’re searching for handcrafted and high quality souvenirs, which can be about native tradition,” she advised AFP. “It must be a reminiscence of the journey.” In a memento market that was for a few years flooded by low-cost Chinese language imports, the federal government is in search of to fulfill demand for high quality merchandise sought out by vacationers like Bucher.
On the jap outskirts of Cairo, a brand new vintage copy manufacturing facility has since March been getting ready to capitalise on the a lot hoped for post-pandemic period. The manufacturing facility, named Konouz (treasures in Arabic), produces furnishings, statuettes and work that retrace 4 main intervals of Egyptian heritage: Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic.
Reproductions, in 1:1 scale or miniaturised, are accompanied by an official government-issued certificates of authenticity.
The huge 10,000 sq. metre (roughly 107,650 sq. foot) manufacturing facility is run by Hisham Sharawi, a retired basic, who supervises round 150 staff, painters, cabinetmakers, sculptors and designers.
“We opened a present store on the Nationwide Museum of Egyptian Civilisation” in April, he advised AFP. Different Konouz reward retailers will open at museums and key archaeological websites in a while.
“When vacationers come again, we might be prepared,” pledged Ahmed Aboul Gheir, who can also be engaged on the ‘Made in Egypt’ initiative.
Authorities-driven funding beneath the scheme totals 80 million Egyptian kilos and focusses on high quality manufacturing.
In 2015, the ministry of business prohibited “the imports of products and merchandise of a well-liked artwork nature”, together with “fashions of Egyptian Antiquities” as a protecting measure to safeguard its home-grown crafts business from cheaper overseas competitors.
A lot of the manufacturing facility’s duplicate objects are forged in polyester, plaster or steel. Specialised machines give a “ultimate contact” to the replicas earlier than they’re painted by hand or coated with gold leaf.
However the cheaper gadgets created beneath the initiative additionally threat crowding out native craftsmen who’re unable to provide in such excessive volumes. Objects at Konouz vary from a small amulet promoting for 50 Egyptian kilos to a three-metre statue setting again prospects 1000’s of kilos.
Tourism knowledgeable Elhamy al-Zayat calls the federal government initiative a “good advertising train”.
However he warned towards flooding the duplicate items market. “You shouldn’t produce an excessive amount of, in any other case it loses worth,” he famous.
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