Lonely Planet Writer

Egypt introduces new law to protect tourists from pestering touts

In its latest bid to protect its resurging tourist industry, Egypt has promised harsh penalties for anyone caught annoying tourists.

Services like guided tours or camel rides can often be offered to visitors. Photo by Jose Ignacio Soto/Shutterstock

The law will target aggressive touts who are found bothering travellers “with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service.” Such behaviour is often found at the country’s famous archaeological sites, such as the pyramids at Giza or the temples of Luxor.

There have been countless complaints from visitors who say their experience was somewhat marred at these amazing sights by continuous pestering from people selling souvenirs, hawking camel rides or offering their services as tour guides.

Egypt is reviving its fragile tourist industry. Photo by Sherif ali/500px

Egypt’s parliament has now approved the law which will fine anybody found harassing tourists up to EGP 10,000 (€460). Some felt the law should go further, with a couple of politicians proposing that the fine be doubled.

The law as it stands covers museums and archaeological sites although many visitors also pointed out that the pestering can continue throughout busy city streets. It remains to be seen if it will actually bring about change on the ground but it was greeted with general positive reaction on social media.

The new law is part of Egypt’s plans to revive their valuable tourist industry after the security concerns of recent years. It’s made great leaps forward in the last year, with an increase of 30% of visitors in the first quarter of the year. British tour operators have also confirmed a renewed interest in the destination.