More Blows to Egyptian Tourism

Cruise lines and tour companies continue to make itinerary changes to avoid Egypt, and it's unclear when tourists will return in significant numbers.

Royal Caribbean says in a statement this week its Brilliance of the Seas and Marina of the Seas will not visit Egypt this spring. The Azamara Quest, operated by Royal Caribbean's Azamara Club Cruises brand, will also skip port calls in Egypt through June. The ships had been scheduled to call at Alexandria. Instead the ships will visit alternative ports including Istanbul, Turkey, and Rhodes, Greece.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports reports monuments and museums around Cairo remain deserted. The Pyramids of Giza reopened to tourists on Wednesday after a 12-day closure, but few people came to visit. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo -- next to Tahrir Square, where many of the most heated political protest have taken place -- remains shuttered and heavily guarded after looters broke in and smashed showcases, damaging approximately 70 objects.

Among the damaged artifacts is a walking stick of Tutankhamen that was thrown on the floor, and a statue of the boy king on a panther that had an arm broken off.

"We will open the museum after the strike is finished. I don't know when the strike is finished," Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass tells the news outlet.

The country relies heavily on the tourism industry. Last year, nearly $11 billion in revenue was generated when 14.7 million tourists visit Egypt, reports the Egyptian Tourist Authority in New York. That number is about 11 percent of the total gross domestic product for the country.

The Egypt Tourism Authority optimistically predicts the tourism industry will turn around quickly, citing the fact that no reports of injured tourists have been reported.

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