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Disclosure & Image Rights: Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport is one of our flight sponsors. Germania Airlines is one of our air travel sponsors. The country of Egypt, represented by the Ministry of Tourism, sponsored various services on the occasion of a trip to Egypt in December 2011: Visa fees for Egypt, a domestic flight from Hurghada to Cairo, transfer costs, entrance fees for various sights and accommodation as well as a flight from Egypt to Germany. 

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{Replica} When Tourism Marketing Meets Reality: Bikini or Burqa? Impressions from Egypt

In Egypt the last stage of the elections is taking place. If the Islamists win, bikinis on the beaches may soon be a thing of the past - even if the leaders hope for the power of reason. The problem of the country is also educational problems. A contradictory situation that this image from the holiday paradise El Gouna excellently demonstrates: bathing with Burka is expressly forbidden!

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Like in fairy tales?

El Gouna means "The Lagoon" in English and is located about 22 kilometers north of Hurghada directly on the Red Sea. A place like in a fairy tale from 1001 nights: 365 days of sun a year, the sea never below 20 degrees. There are also hotels, houses and villas made of clay and natural stone, some in traditional Nubian style and some in modern Arab architecture, palm trees, gardens, beaches and pool landscapes. All of this criss-crossed by bridges and canals that were specially dredged.

Palm trees and Christmas trees

It is quiet here, almost totenstill, the hotels are currently only about 40-50 per cent loaded, and very clean. Whoever wants to go to El Gouna, must pass through the security controls, also in front of every hotel light barriers. The mobile masts are hidden in palm trees. And in the hotel lobbies now, in the middle of December, there are Christmas trees.

The founder of El Gouna, the Egyptian entrepreneur Samih Sawiris, is himself a Christian, but it is said to be more than a reminder to foreign tourists in an Islamic country. There is also a coptic church in El Gouna next to the mosque.

Sawiris: From the angler to the city developer

In 1989, Sawiris only wanted to go fishing here in peace, but Egyptian law required him to "develop". So he started building. In the beginning it was just a hotel, a staff area and a supermarket. Today there are 18 hotels, and Sawiris' Orascom Development Holding has also sold more than 2,500 villas and apartments to private individuals to date. The square meter prices are now from 1000 dollars upwards.

Finally, the necessary infrastructure was added to the hotels: restaurants and shops, a private telephone network, a boat and boat shuttle service, international schools, a hospital with a decompression chamber for divers and a small airport. So far, however, only a third of the total 36.8 million square meters of desert area is cultivated and leaves room for more.

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Pioneer for ecological tourism?

However, El Gouna sees itself not only as a luxury holiday resort, but as a pioneer of ecological tourism in Egypt: Fresh water is purified from the seawater, the waste water is clarified and then used for irrigating the plants.

Because you do not have enough water for it, even sewage from Hurghada is bought. Different amphorae are available for the separation of waste. But the pride of the city is the recycling system, which is also a pleasure to show the interested tourists:

Here, the waste is sorted by hand and processed as plastic waste to hangers and granules for the road surface. El Gouna makes an environmental officer. And in the future, the city wants to become CO2-neutral.

"People identify with El Gouna"

Approximately 20.000 lives today permanently in El Gouna, as PR boss Dorothee Picht tells. She has been there since 15 years - first she had a diving school, later she was hired by Orascom. There was little trace of the revolution. And anyway, whoever was here, did not want to leave:

“The people here identify with El Gouna. On average, the people here also earn better than elsewhere, ”says Picht, who gives instructions to the Egyptian boaters in English and not in the local Arabic language during our little excursion. But she does not want to generalize the statement with the merit: “That ultimately depends on the hotel chain.” In principle, as she emphasizes, Egyptians are not paid less than Europeans. "The decisive factor is the qualification!"

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Education according to European pattern

However, this is all too often a question of the point of view: In El Gouna there is a German Hotelfachschule, which ends with an IHK degree. The teaching language is German. If you can not speak German, you must first attend an intensive language course. However, the visit to the hotel school is subject to charges. There is a nursing school where the English curriculum is taught.

And the Technical University of Berlin is setting up a satellite campus in Egypt as a scientific branch. The Master’s courses “Energy Engineering”, “Urban Development” and “Water Engineering” are offered here, which cost 5000 euros per semester. After all: Both the TU Berlin and the Sawiris Foundation offer scholarships.

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Living in Cairo

At the latest, if you compare El Gouna with the reality in Cairo, you could believe PR lady Dorothee Picht that there are many advantages to living and working in the “European colony” on the Red Sea. The Egyptian capital, with a thick haze hanging over it, has 21 million inhabitants - and 4,5 million cars.

On the outskirts there are the so-called Mirage Citys, isolated places where the rich can live in peace. Nearby farmers have devastated their own farmland to be used as building land sell. They then moved into the half-finished houses themselves. And the garbage that people simply dump here lies meters high in open sewers. In the meantime the canals have started to be filled in and covered over with greenery.

The educational problem in Egypt

Tour guide Tamer Rahmy explains that although there is a garbage disposal, many people are not that well trained and therefore do not understand what the garbage disposal is doing. “So they think they can just throw the rubbish on the street. We believe, but when a new government comes along to organize the garbage collection, everything will be better. "

In fact, the lack of training is a problem in Egypt: One in five Egyptians can neither read nor write, because, for example, parents take their children early from school early to help them on the field.

But even if the children complete the free state schools and universities, that is no guarantee for a good job, because many university graduates do not find a job. Private universities offer better prospects, but they cost a few thousand euros in the semester.

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The Revolution witnessed

"Some of the demonstrators in Tahrir Square are among the very well-educated people who want to change something in the country," says Rahmy, who lives very close to Egypt's most famous square. He was therefore able to experience the revolution up close - and also its effects:

“I used to work for at least two weeks a month for free in the high season, but this year I worked for a maximum of one week every two months.” Nevertheless, Rahmy, like many others, does not want to turn back the clock: “Many Egyptians are confused at the moment because they don't know what to do next. On the other hand, there is this feeling of freedom. "

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3 responses to “{replica} when tourism marketing meets reality: bikini or burqa? Impressions from Egypt ”

  1. Pink says:

    Sometimes I can't click the menu on your site - why is that?

  2. Simone Janson says:

    Egypt: bikini or burqa bans, educational problems and tourism marketing - impressions full of contrasts

  3. Liane Wolffgang says:

    When Tourism Marketing Meets Reality - Part 2: Bikini or Burqa? Impressions from Egypt: In Egypt I run ...

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