At least 7,000 bazaars were shut down out of 14,000 licensed bazaars during 2014, and those that remain open only remain because the owner does not pay rent, according to Chamber of Tourist Antiquities member Hussein Al-Gabry.
He said that the counterfeit goods have negatively affected the bazaars market, and they have increased due to the recession imposed on buying and selling movement.
“The most affected bazaars are located in Cairo and Giza, such as the Khan El-Khalili, Nazlet Al-Seman and pyramids, followed by Luxor and Aswan,” said Al-Gabry.
Chairman of the Chamber of Tourist Antiquities Mohammed Al-Qattan said that lack of sales is due to the decrease of the Russian rouble value, which led to a severe decrease compared to 2013, despite the fact that the number of tourists had increased in 2014 compared to the previous year.
“Chinese goods and antiquities are scattered in the Egyptian bazaars for two reasons; the first is the cheap prices and low cost of importing these goods, and the second reason is that the tourists who visit Egypt are less affluent than previously,” said Al-Qattan. “The tourists now want cheap gifts regardless of their quality, in addition to a decline in handicrafts and their inadequacy of the local market”.
Al-Qattan added that the most affected bazaars are located in Luxor, and throughout the past four years more than 75% of the bazaars were shut down.
He explained that some tourism companies direct tourists to visit and purchase from certain bazaars for a commission, and often these companies are Turkish, which negatively affects other small bazaars.
Chamber of Tourist Antiquities member Ramadan Al-Gabry said that sales movement in the bazaars is zero, which led to the reduction of bazaars’ employment, because those bazaars do not generate any income for their owners. Sales from bazaars are not enough to pay the electricity bill.
Al-Gabry hopes that Economic Summit in March may contribute in activating tourism movement in Egypt because of the increase and the presence of foreign delegations during the summit period.
Head of the Chamber of Goods and Antiquities in the Red Sea Mostafa Ezzedine said that bazaars’ sales reach 75% compared to 2013 due to the European market’s travel warnings to visit Egypt in the current period. Further, the low rate of rouble has affected bazaars’ sale as Russian tourism in Egypt recently constituted about 70-75%.
“If there are no Chinese goods bazaars will not work because they are cheap, unlike handmade products, because their cost is high,” Ezzedine said.