Bazaar owners at the Queens Valley, Kings Valley and Hatchepsut Temple, have closed roads, preventing entrance to the sites, for the second day. The road leading to the Queens Valley, final resting place of Queens Nefertiti and Nefertari, was blocked by a small group of men, a few motorbikes and stones.
Coaches from Hurghada, taxis and tour buses from Luxor slowly arrived and turned to take their guests to alternative sites that remained open (Seti 1, the Nobles, the Ramessium and the temple of Medinet Habu)
Tourism has been hit hardest in Luxor and people have been struggling to pay to pay the varying,monthly rents required at Queens Valley, Kings Valley and Hatchepsut bazaars, since the revolution of 2011.
Ahmed is 37 years old and has worked with his father at the Queens Valley for 30 years. His father worked with tourists on the Qurna mountain, until he opened a bazaar in the Valley of the Queens. Ahmed now works in the bazaar, but the crippling economy, means he cannot pay the monthly rent of 250le.
Previously he sought help with the relevant authorities about the situation he and his fellow bazaar owners were facing. ‘Believe me, I don’t like to do this’ he said, he understands, that closing the road is not the answer.
He showed me his empty wallet, along with 2 papers he has been given to go to jail, for non payment of rent.
At Hatchepsut, the trains, ordinarily used to transport the tourists from the entrance to the foot of the temple, were used to stop anyone passing.
More limousines and taxis arrived, but left quietly, they understood and respected the reasons of the people.
The Antiquities ministry on Sunday announced that it planned to tie shop rents to tourist inflows in each district, with the aim of easing pressure on the bazaar owners.
‘We will restructure the rent structure for bazaars in Luxor to accommodate sharp declines in tourism revenue’ Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim stated on Sunday. ‘This way we hope to ease the financial burden on bazaar owners until tourism picks up again.‘Despite the minister’s statement, however, shop owners refused to open the road.