Tourism syndicate head wants foreign tour guides out

The head of Egypt's tourist syndicate said Thursday that he has pleaded with the tourism minister to suspend all translation permits given to Israelis and other foreigners.

Twenty-nine Israelis holding permits from the Tourism Ministry are working as tour guides in Egypt, said head of the Egyptian General Tourist Guide Syndicate Mohamed Gharib in an interview with state-run daily Al-Akhbar.

He added that some 14,000 Egyptian tour guides are facing increased competition from foreign labor.

The request to suspend the permits would “protect the country’s history from manipulation by foreigners," Gharib said, noting that the foreigners in question are illegally working as guides under permits that only allow them to work in translation.

Gharib’s statements coincide with the recent deterioration in Egypt-Israel relations following the deaths of six Egyptian officers in an Israeli border raid in late August and the storming of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo by protesters Friday.

He warned that foreigners working in tourism pose a threat not only to local guides, but society as a whole, arguing that foreigners are not aware of the country’s history and culture as much as are local guides.

Intruders in the tourism profession sometimes tend to slander Egypt, Gharib added.

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