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In Pictures
Cairo's craft market hit by tourism collapse
With visitor numbers plummeting, markets have been hit by the resulting microeconomic crises.
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2012 17:51

Cairo, Egypt - Khan el-Khalili is an ancient market area which has housed handmade arts and crafts since the 14th century. Once a flourishing hub for craftsmen, today it faces a sharp economic decline.

Just 18 months ago, tourism was one of the main sources of Egypt's economy, generating more than $12bn a year.

But since the revolution erupted on January 25, 2011, the country's tourism sector has been decimated. According to the Egyptian ministry of tourism, there has been a $3.8bn fall in tourism revenues, due to 32 per cent fewer visitors to the nation famed for its pharoahs, pyramids and ancient monuments - at it has been Cairo bearing the brunt of the street fighting in recent months.

A huge range of industries have been affected, with small family-owned factories and shops paying much of the consequences.

The perceived lack of security noted in the past few months is the main reason why tourists no longer choose Egypt as a favourite destination, said officials, yet the craftsmen of Khan el-Khalili remain welcoming to all.

They produce everything from lamps to bags, bowls to chandeliers; they work with a huge range of materials: wood, glass, mother-of-pearl, alabaster, ivory and copper.

Some of these workers have inherited the crafts and businesses started generations ago by their great-grand parents. And now these basic economic activities are in jeopardy.

Nonetheless, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egypt's minister of tourism, predicted to Al Jazeera that tourists would return in greater numbers in the next tourist season, following the election of the new president and the nation's return to "normality".


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Hossam, is an 18-year-old craftsman working in a workshop opened by his great grand-father. "I started working here When I was eight," he said. "Now things are changing, the raw materials are getting too expensive; taxes are too high. We keep on producing for export but our main income is from tourists and the revolution was a sharp blow to us."


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Metalwork and other crafts have been hand-made and sold by artisans in this district of Cairo since the 14th century.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
The Khan el-Khalili market used to be one of the busiest tourist sites in the whole of Cairo, with thousands of bargain-hunters packing its narrow streets.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Tamer works with mother-of-pearl to create decorative boxes, tables and other items.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
The craftsmen often work hidden away from the main shopping area in tiny upstairs workshops.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Nagiub has been working with brass in his workshop for almost 50 years, but now is unsure of his future.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
The once-teeming market is close to the famed Al-Azhar University and mosque - one of the most senior seats of Islamic learning.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Mostafa is a 12-year-old woodworker who makes buckets in his father's workshop. "So far, we've been working only wood," said his father. "Now we are using other things, because wood is not enough anymore."


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Carpenter Zizo (left), makes all manner of wooden items, from baskets to signs. He complains about the sharp decrease of the tourism. "Please tell your fellow citizens to come back here," he said. "We need them."


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Mohammad produces arabesque artwork. "The work is so slow in this period," he says. "It was much better before"


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
The craftspeople start young - this boy is just eight years old, carefully cutting out a letter to be used on a necklace.


Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo/Al Jazeera
Mahmoud builds coffee machines, and says that he has almost got used to not seeing foreign tourists. "You are as welcome as my family is," he says. "Tell it to your friends: It's not dangerous here."


Follow Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo on Twitter: @uchria


images:
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captions:
Hossam, is an 18-year-old craftsman working in a workshop opened by his great grand-father. "I started working here When I was eight," he said. "Now things are changing, the raw materials are getting too expensive; taxes are too high. We keep on producing for export but our main income is from tourists and the revolution was a sharp blow to us.";*;Metalwork and other crafts have been hand-made and sold by artisans in this district of Cairo since the 14th century.;*;The Khan el-Khalili market used to be one of the busiest tourist sites in the whole of Cairo, with thousands of bargain-hunters packing its narrow streets.;*;Tamer works with mother-of-pearl to create decorative boxes, tables and other items.;*;The craftsmen often work hidden away from the main shopping area in tiny upstairs workshops.;*;Nagiub has been working with brass in his workshop for almost 50 years, but now is unsure of his future.;*;The once-teeming market is close to the famed Al-Azhar University and mosque - one of the most senior seats of Islamic learning.;*;Mostafa is a 12-year-old woodworker who makes buckets in his father\(***)s workshop. "So far, we\(***)ve been working only wood," said his father. "Now we are using other things, because wood is not enough anymore.";*;Carpenter Zizo (left), makes all manner of wooden items, from baskets to signs. He complains about the sharp decrease of the tourism. "Please tell your fellow citizens to come back here," he said. "We need them.";*;Mohammad produces arabesque artwork. "The work is so slow in this period," he says. "It was much better before";*;The craftspeople start young - this boy is just eight years old, carefully cutting out a letter to be used on a necklace.;*;Mahmoud builds coffee machines, and says that he has almost got used to not seeing foreign tourists. "You are as welcome as my family is," he says. "Tell it to your friends: It\(***)s not dangerous here." Daylife ID:
1343230076220
Photographer:
Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo;*;Mariagrazia Petito Di Leo
Image Source:
Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
In pictures: Tourism collapse hits Cairo's craftshttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmenWith the collapse of Egypt's tourist industry after the revolution, traders and craftsmen have been hit hard.en-usAl Jazeerafeedback@daylife.com10Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:28:01 GMTWed, 25 Jul 2012 16:25:04 GMT http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=09OFbubdWI5VWHossam, is an 18-year-old craftsman working in a workshop opened by his great grand-father. "I started working here When I was eight," he said. "Now things are changing, the raw materials are getting too expensive; taxes are too high. We keep on producing for export but our main income is from tourists and the revolution was a sharp blow to us."Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=09OFbubdWI5VWMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesHossam, is an 18-year-old craftsman working in a workshop opened by his great grand-father. "I started working here When I was eight," he said. "Now things are changing, the raw materials are getting too expensive; taxes are too high. We keep on producing for export but our main income is from tourists and the revolution was a sharp blow to us." http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=05343wK8rO8RzMetalwork and other crafts have been hand-made and sold by artisans in this district of Cairo since the 14th century.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=05343wK8rO8RzMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesMetalwork and other crafts have been hand-made and sold by artisans in this district of Cairo since the 14th century. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0e4Nfkf0A840pThe Khan el-Khalili market used to be one of the busiest tourist sites in the whole of Cairo, with thousands of bargain-hunters packing its narrow streets.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0e4Nfkf0A840pMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesThe Khan el-Khalili market used to be one of the busiest tourist sites in the whole of Cairo, with thousands of bargain-hunters packing its narrow streets. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=04cU9JW6IR1aoTamer works with mother-of-pearl to create decorative boxes, tables and other items.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=04cU9JW6IR1aoMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesTamer works with mother-of-pearl to create decorative boxes, tables and other items. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0gIQeWB3h1d4LThe craftsmen often work hidden away from the main shopping area in tiny upstairs workshops.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0gIQeWB3h1d4LMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesThe craftsmen often work hidden away from the main shopping area in tiny upstairs workshops. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0a0n5Ow4OV5jPNagiub has been working with brass in his workshop for almost 50 years, but now is unsure of his future.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0a0n5Ow4OV5jPMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesNagiub has been working with brass in his workshop for almost 50 years, but now is unsure of his future. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=07y67PHfQ4d37The once-teeming market is close to the famed Al-Azhar University and mosque - one of the most senior seats of Islamic learning.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=07y67PHfQ4d37Mariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesThe once-teeming market is close to the famed Al-Azhar University and mosque - one of the most senior seats of Islamic learning. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=01x16Dm4R46U0Mostafa is a 12-year-old woodworker who makes buckets in his father's workshop. "So far, we've been working only wood," said his father. "Now we are using other things, because wood is not enough anymore."Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=01x16Dm4R46U0Mariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesMostafa is a 12-year-old woodworker who makes buckets in his father's workshop. "So far, we've been working only wood," said his father. "Now we are using other things, because wood is not enough anymore." http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0bwT7DSaA6gjVCarpenter Zizo (left), makes all manner of wooden items, from baskets to signs. He complains about the sharp decrease of the tourism. "Please tell your fellow citizens to come back here," he said. "We need them."Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=0bwT7DSaA6gjVMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesCarpenter Zizo (left), makes all manner of wooden items, from baskets to signs. He complains about the sharp decrease of the tourism. "Please tell your fellow citizens to come back here," he said. "We need them." http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=03dKaTDcEZ0uNMohammad produces arabesque artwork. "The work is so slow in this period," he says. "It was much better before"Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=03dKaTDcEZ0uNMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesMohammad produces arabesque artwork. "The work is so slow in this period," he says. "It was much better before" http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=00nO4WK7sYck2The craftspeople start young - this boy is just eight years old, carefully cutting out a letter to be used on a necklace.Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=00nO4WK7sYck2Mariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesThe craftspeople start young - this boy is just eight years old, carefully cutting out a letter to be used on a necklace. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=09n2enlcWbe5fMahmoud builds coffee machines, and says that he has almost got used to not seeing foreign tourists. "You are as welcome as my family is," he says. "Tell it to your friends: It's not dangerous here."Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/In-pictures%3A-Tourism-collapse-hits-Cairo%27s-craftsmen?image_id=09n2enlcWbe5fMariagrazia Petito Di LeoAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesMahmoud builds coffee machines, and says that he has almost got used to not seeing foreign tourists. "You are as welcome as my family is," he says. "Tell it to your friends: It's not dangerous here."

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