What can happen in 12 months? They say that 2011 was the year with the greatest number of Global changes or events in memory.
One of those changes which spring to mind is of course the Arab Spring. It is now one year since the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution when 18 days of protest saw the ending of a 30 year reign by its President. We also witnessed the fighting in Libya and Tunisia and are unfortunately still bearing witness to conflicts in Syria.
These are all countries that Explore and our customers love to visit. We have been operating in Egypt since we started operating as a Company in 1981. Our Felucca tour was one of our first tours and it continues to delight people to this day.
The number of emails, Facebook comments, phone calls and requests asking after our Tour Leaders and Agent and their families in Egypt from customers was really touching. As soon as the Foreign Office deemed it safe to return to Egypt, our Product Manager, Alison returned there straight away to visit our leaders and agents, to offer our support and show our loyalty but also to try to understand as best she could what had happened and was happening to a country that she herself had spent 6 months working in as a Tour Leader 6 years previously. She wanted to try to understand it so as to help our customers understand and try to get to grips with such a huge change.
12 months later and the changes are still coming. We have had elections in Egypt where more than 70% of the voting population are said to have participated. The elections are still not complete but it certainly looks like more change is yet to come. I am the Operations Manager for Egypt and this September I visited our Tour leaders out there, something which we do every year. This year, our conversations were quite different. People are keen to talk, discuss, debate and analyse all that has gone on and is going on. They told me, when you have 2 Egyptians in a room you will always have at least 3 opinions! And as you can imagine, about the elections and the Uprising, everyone has an opinion. That’s when I decided that our tour leaders should share their opinions with us. They are the people our customers meet; they are the ones who give us our cherished memories of Karnak Temple or nights on the Felucca or snorkelling in the Red Sea. They are the ones that build our opinions and feelings about Egypt, their country, their culture, their history. And it is their lives that are changing …fast. I wanted to know how they felt so I asked them 3 simple questions:
How did you feel about your country? How did you feel about yourself? How did you feel about your life? Before, during and since the revolution and this is what some of them had to say:
Page 1 of 6