Sometimes lives of development workers take strange courses. Wanting to support farmer field schools in Egypt plagued by civil unrest made me seek refuge in one of the resort hotels at the Red Sea, offering project staff and myself a relatively cheap opportunity to meet and discuss annual plans together. We discovered that we were not the only ones attracted by the all-inclusive rates of less then 50 euro's a day.
Egyptian families that can afford it as well as plane loads full of Russians were flying in. It offers a rare opportunity to the likes of myself to take note of this not unimportant tourist industry, offering employment opportunities for a substantial number of people that would otherwise occupy the crowded Nile valley of Upper Egypt (around places like Aswan and Luxor). However, one may also perceive it as a kind of disaster capitalism amidst a country in disarray.
However, despite the Russians and Egyptian families showing up towards the end of the day, the empty beaches bear witness to the devastating impact of civil unrest on international tourism. No farmer field school will be able to compensate for these loss of income for labor migrants. You just hope that embassies and tour operators will be able to read the context properly and inform the public accordingly, as fear of the unknown generates anxiety. There is no better way to conquer terrorism but to fight poverty and provide alternative income opportunities for rural populations.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
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Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.