By Mariam Iskander
Employees at the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Promotion Authority will hold protests on Thursday in front of their Cairo offices against the new governor of Luxor, according to a tourism ministry official.
“Appointing a member of an extremist movement to govern the city that has one third of the world’s historical monuments is a blow to the Egyptian tourism,” said Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism for International Relations and Public Relations Wessam El-Khair.
Luxor’s new governor, Adel El-Khayat, belongs to Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, an Islamist group which claimed responsibility for attacks on the governorate’s Hatshepsut Temple in 1997 killing 58 foreign tourists.
Tourism workers and employees in Luxor meanwhile entered their fourth day of sit-ins on Thursday against the governor’s appointment in front of the Luxor governorate building.
“We have been protesting since Monday, and we will not go unless the governor is removed,” said Medhat Ramadan, a member of the Al-Dostour Party who is participating in the demonstrations.
“[The great majority] of Luxor’s residents who work in tourism have been suffering since the January Revolution, and the appointment of the new governor has only made things worse,” added Ramadan.
Head of the Bazaar Owners’ Association in Luxor Bakry Abdel Geleel added that those working in tourism have been “terribly affected by the lack of security in the country, and this appointment [will not help] in securing foreigners coming to Luxor.”
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou had earlier submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Hesham Qandil. However, the resignation was rejected by the prime minister, and Zaazou remains in office.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism Rasha El-Azzazi however said that the Zaazou “insists on resigning as long as the governor of Luxor remains in office,” according to state-run news agency MENA.
President Mohamed Morsi appointed 17 new governors on Sunday, seven of whom Muslim Brotherhood members, a move which sparked a number of opposition demonstrations across multiple governorates.