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  #1  
Old December 29th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Default Aggressive vendors in Cairo/tourist areas

An article in our national paper was describing how the usually aggressive vendors at tourist spots have reached a new high, or is that low!

Cars and buses are being forced to stop as they are surrounded by vendors demanding that people stop in their shops, or simply straight out demanding money. Many tour operators have reduced their services or even stopped. Tourists are being told to dress even more carefully than normal and perhaps alcohol being banned from sale due to strengthening Islamic law. Some even regard the pyramids etc as being idolatrous to Islamic principles and at risk of damage or destruction.

And on the other hand the government is worried about declining revenue due to drop in tourist numbers. Hmm, something to do with safety perchance? Yet surprisingly 11 million tourists travelled to Egypt in the 9 months to September.

Last edited by Pushka; December 29th, 2012 at 06:04 PM.
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Old December 30th, 2012, 07:10 PM
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We returned a month ago today from Cairo. The vendors are persistent but no more so than anywhere else. (They were worse in Turkey)..You just have to be firm with them if you do NOT want to buy. Don't lead them on.
They came up to our bus as we were getting off but our guide told them
to go away and they did. A lot of time we laughed as they got funny trying to get the business and then they would laugh back! We always had tourist police with us and all buses do. vendors have a hard time when you negotiate with them and you have a fellow with an AK47 on your side!
Don't worry..it was fine..just stay with your group as you should anyway.
Enjoy it..Egypt is FABULOUS! And not to be missed.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 03:24 AM
John Bull John Bull is offline
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Can't help thinking that persistent vendors lose more business than they gain.
If you show the slightest interest, you'll be hounded - so you tend to walk past, eyes front, able to only wonder whether mebbe they had anything you might want to buy. And wheres giving them a friendly smile and a cheery "no, thanks" is the polite thing to do, totally blanking them means they're more likely to go worry someone else.

I bought a cheap & silly little souvenir near the Sphynx - from a guy who had a little table off to one side, & who didn't hassle folk. I was confident that if I didn't see anything I fancied, I could walk on without being trailed.

Same thing in plenty of other places around the world.
Great shame all-round.

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Old December 31st, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Our ship overnighted in Alexandria the last of October. Most people went to Cairo. I did not hear of anyone having problems like OP relates.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 02:29 PM
tvmovielover tvmovielover is offline
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Default Not more persistant than many other places

We were in Cairo earlier this month (and also at pyramids and on Nile Cruise) and yes there are many persistant vendors but not worse than elsewhere (compare it to China where they also did not take no for an answer). They would meet you at the bus and follow you back to the bus if you mistakenly looked their way or politely answered their questions but they did not stop either large or small tourist vehicles and they did not enter the vehicles. But yes in Islamic Cairo (which I loved even with vendors), it was nice to have our guy with the AK-47 iin case anyone got too insistent though still not in any way dangerous. There were many opportunities to buy the good and the cheap without intense pressure-sometimes the guides try to help sell good postcards, etc. for some vendors. OTOH, there are also many cute kids and sad cases selling stuff and so it is nice (as I read before I went but did not act on) to carry a bunch of $1 bills to give to some if you are moved. It is hard to get small change in either Egyptian or American money once you arrive and many times when a small tip or purchase would be a good thing.

Last edited by tvmovielover; December 31st, 2012 at 02:33 PM.
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Old January 1st, 2013, 05:28 PM
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Good point..and anyone going to Egypt..take a whole bunch of US $1 bills!
We had 50 and used every one!
Sherry
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 03:25 PM
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There are more vendors than tourists at the pyramids in Giza! They were annoying but it's best to just not even acknowledge them...if you even say "no", they will hound you. We also found that there were tourist "traps" for lack of a better word, in a few other places in Egypt, where the only way into the site was through a marketplace. The valley of the kings comes to mind.

Tourist stuff is really cheap in Egypt though. You can get a pack of 10 postcards for $1 USD, and they make a nice souvenir. Keep $1 bills handy - if they see you have more money, they will ask for more.

There were lots of really great deals from the vendors right at the port in Alexandria! I got a great silver necklace and pendant for $15, and beautiful Egyptian cotton scarves for $5 each. Bargain hard, stand your ground on what you want to pay.

I actually found the vendors nicer there than in Jordan. In Jordan they would charge you more for water when they knew you were thirsty...going into Petra we paid $1/bottle of water and a few hours later when we were hot the same vendor refused to sell it to us for the same price - he wanted $2/bottle and would not budge. I found that rude.
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Old January 6th, 2013, 04:33 PM
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We too ran in to some very aggressive vendors at the Pyramids in Cairo. A policeman eventually came around and told them to back off a bit. We did wind up buying some piece of junk trinket from a kid just before our bus was leaving. I figured it's about the same as handing some cash to a "begger" on the street. And there were plenty of them too.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcellobirotto View Post
yes this is true about vendors .. they are such a terrible bull**** , they think we are ******* stupid wealthy people and we came here just to give them our money, i had to shout them every time SHUKRAN SHUKRAN as guide told me.. be careful folks if you are going to go there
but actually we did not face problem about dress code or something, guide to us the new president and his government is not very conservative as people think
Wow, some pretty strong words.

There are aggressive vendors in many places where people face extreme poverty and have trouble finding work or feeding their families. Tourism was the #1 or #2 source of jobs in Egypt prior to the toppling of the previous regime and the country has suffered a lot due to lack of tourists since then.

I suspect you would perhaps be aggressive too if you had no work and your family had no food.

I haven't been to Egypt since the revolution/new government, but I've certainly been many other places -- like the poorer Caribbean/Mexican/Central American ports -- where the vendors were just as bad if not worse than in Egypt.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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I think the issue is that with the massive drop in tourism since the revolution, the aggression has reached a level that comes close, if not actual now, personal threats to safety. Regardless of the reason for their aggression, taking their anger out on those who do travel to their country will come around to bite them back. I can understand someone getting angry and reacting if they feel personally threatened. If a tourist gets injured then govts will add their security warnings. I've been to many countries that have aggressive vendors but suspect that Egypt may well be the worst.

The article was talking about changes since the revolution so I don't think pre revolution experiences have an understanding of how bad the situation is right now. Egypt is at trigger point every day.

Last edited by Pushka; January 8th, 2013 at 05:54 PM.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushka View Post
I think the issue is that with the massive drop in tourism since the revolution, the aggression has reached a level that comes close, if not actual now, personal threats to safety. Regardless of the reason for their aggression, taking their anger out on those who do travel to their country will come around to bite them back. I can understand someone getting angry and reacting if they feel personally threatened. If a tourist gets injured then govts will add their security warnings. I've been to many countries that have aggressive vendors but suspect that Egypt may well be the worst.

The article was talking about changes since the revolution so I don't think pre revolution experiences have an understanding of how bad the situation is right now. Egypt is at trigger point every day.
I was responding to the post I quoted, not to yours. I don't doubt things are worse in Egypt than when I last visited and that vendors may well be more aggressive. Still, I've read reviews from numerous people who have been to Egypt since then and I cannot think of any who have reported serious issues along the lines of what you cite.

The whole "let's get rid of the pyramids" thing has been the campaign of a single, extreme religious leader.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 02:35 AM
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I'm not sure it matters who you were responding to, other than mention of strong language they used, the situation is the discussion point. I'd love to read the numerous reports but it seems many ships have cancelled so I haven't seen them but have been looking put for them. We are still going and want to go but others might feel differently.


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Old January 9th, 2013, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisemom42 View Post
Mostly positive reports of travelers who've returned from Egypt since the revolution/new government. Here are a few from Cruise Critic (all indivual, no repeats), most from the latter half of 2012:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=154

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...00&postcount=9

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...50&postcount=7

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...51&postcount=8

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...69&postcount=9

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=135

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=144

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=432

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=438

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=439

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=440

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...&postcount=444



And because cruisers are not the only ones who visit Egypt, some quite recent trip reports from Tripadvisor:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...vernorate.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...vernorate.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...vernorate.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...vernorate.html
Thanks for those links, looking forward to reading them to while away the time to my trip.

We've booked a princess overnighter for Egypt but on recent cruises we've organised a private tour. The roll call is pretty much inactive, so its probably just me and hubby. Are there any tour companies where just a couple could be cost effective privately? And I think they all travel with armed guards in a convoy anyway?

A friend of ours was in an official sporting tour in India, near Pakistan. Their bus was hijacked and the driver was killed and a couple of people injured. They had armed guards but when someone wants to cause harm, they can. So safety is such a transitory thing. We've travelled to Sri Lanka in the midst of their civil war and a BA jet was blown up at the airport the week after we left so we're no strangers to danger I guess.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 04:27 PM
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We took a 12 day Cario & Nile Cruise in Feb 2012 and found at times the vendors where quite aggressive. Our guide told us to just be firm and not show interest in the wares, unless we really wanted something. He told us the major reason was the lack of tourism over the past year. So when some folks show up, its like a feeding frenzy.

But we did get some very good deals, as noted above. Packs of very nice postcards (10-12) or gobs of bookmarks made from papyrus (so we were told) for $US 1 or 5 Egyptian Pounds. During the Nile Cruise portion you had to either exit or enter the various tourists sites via the Tunnel of Aggressive Vendors. We got to dread this experience as time went on.

But overall we were very glad to have made the trip. It was especially nice, that since tourism was so down, we effectively had a private personalized tour, as my Wife and I were the only members of our tour group. That made up for a lot of the hassles as we got to see more and got detailed information from our wonderful Guide.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Having geared myself up for lots of hassling in Cairo I was surprised to find how little there was. However I was with a private guide with just my husband so perhaps we weren't viewed as such worthy targets as a loaded bus!
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 12:29 AM
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It didn't seem any more aggressive than what I've encountered in Jamaica or a few Mexican beaches...
Oh yes, going through the vendor traps at the end of the features... We started having a little fun with it. We'd change up which language we'd say "no" to the guys and watch how they react. The "stern German" seemed to work best
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 01:17 PM
hommar2 hommar2 is offline
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Hi, Am currently sitting in Cairo and have found the vendors no more aggressive than usual.

They are no worse than in many countries and at least they do smile
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Old March 26th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushka View Post
Thanks for those links, looking forward to reading them to while away the time to my trip.

We've booked a princess overnighter for Egypt but on recent cruises we've organised a private tour. The roll call is pretty much inactive, so its probably just me and hubby. Are there any tour companies where just a couple could be cost effective privately? And I think they all travel with armed guards in a convoy anyway?

A friend of ours was in an official sporting tour in India, near Pakistan. Their bus was hijacked and the driver was killed and a couple of people injured. They had armed guards but when someone wants to cause harm, they can. So safety is such a transitory thing. We've travelled to Sri Lanka in the midst of their civil war and a BA jet was blown up at the airport the week after we left so we're no strangers to danger I guess.
We booked with Alex City Travel in November of 2013 and we are now booked with them again for an overnight tour to Cairo and a tour from Safaga. We were greatly impressed with them.

Chris
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Old April 1st, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Im afraid I have to agree with some on this thread, my DH and I were on a Red Sea cruise in December last year. We went on ships excursions to Cairo, Giza and also Petra from Jordan. The beggars, some of them children, in Petra became more and more irritating as we tried to take in the wonderful things we were seeing. I felt quite threatened as the time went on and the men started driving the horse and carts around at ridiculous speed sometimes directly at us!
In Giza, the level of vendors approaching us while trying to take in the Pyramids became ridiculous. We estimated that every 10 feet we were accosted in an attempt to make us buy something,or just hand over money, sometimes (in my opinion) aggressively.
It put us off the next excursion to Karnak and we cancelled I'm afraid. I dont go on holiday to be hassled and stressed, I get enough of that in everyday life.
I'm happy I've seen Petra and The Pyramids and hope that the Egyptian Government gets to grips with its countries' problems, its people deserve to live better lives.
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