Siwa – under threat from tourism?

An article on Bloomberg by Daniel Williams looks at the threat to Siwa oasis by tourism.  Siwa is a remarkable place and due to the difficulties of actually getting there it has only recently become a focus for tourism.  As well as many Dynastic era sites within the towns and villages (including the temple of the Oracle which Alexander the Great came to consult)  there is a vast prehistoric legacy in the desert areas surrounding the oasis, which has been barely investigated by archaeologists.  Williams focuses on the impact of tourism on the quality of life for the Siwan inhabitants.    Over 15,000 visitors a year now visit Siwa, resulting in souvenir shops, donkey-taxis, motorbikes and vast new construction works.  The author says that, at the time of writing, there are 770 hotel rooms in an oasis barely 70km square.  Ouch. The proposed conversion of a nearby military airport into something suitable for tourism is a real concern.  Siwa is changing for good.

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