Q. How do you know when you are on the right track?

A. When amazing things happen along the way.

My first visits this morning were to the Sofitel Hotel and the Hilton Hotel in Karnak.  This was going to be my second visit to the Sofitel and my third to the Hilton with the objective of speaking with the General Managers.  Bummer, out of luck again – neither Mr. Gamal from the Sofitel nor Mr. Christoph from the Hilton were on duty.

Next port of call was the Maritim Jolie Ville at the other side of town.  This was also my third visit here.  I should perhaps explain – I am on a mission to find dynamic individuals from the various Luxor business establishments to work with me on some new projects aimed at reviving the tourism industry and improving Luxor’s image.  Hmmmm that seems rather high-handed of me, no?  Well, if we all thought “who am I to think of doing that?” or “It’s not my job, not my business, somebody else will take care of it.”  the world would be short of many inventions, many innovations and we would still be living in the dark ages.  I am not aware of anyone else actively planning or doing anything to revive the tourism industry, create employment or indeed clean up Luxor’s image – which, lets face it was never fantastic – we have some problems.  So, being the individual I am I can’t sit around doing nothing any longer and so I have been working on some ideas.  Now I am searching for others to join me.

Thankfully, unlike my previous visits I met the delightful Mr. Sakr.  It was great to hear his belief that things will soon be back to normal of their own accord, but as I am not a very patient person in times of inactivity I explained to Mr. Sakr that I wanted the Jolie Ville involved in my various projects NOW and explained some of my ideas.

Suddenly, his phone rang – he looked at it, looked at me and asked “Do you know Mr. Christoph from the Hilton?” I replied “No, but I am quite cross with him!” I went on to explain I had been unsuccessful to date in meeting up with him.  Just then the sliding doors opened and in walked the elusive Mr. Christoph with a group of people.

Greetings completed between the two gentlemen, Mr. Christoph turned to me.  I introduced myself adding that I was rather miffed at not have had a response to my various attempts to talk with him.  He turns out to be a rather dynamic guy exuding a confident and purposeful energy.  Within minutes he not only agreed to attend a meeting but also put the Hilton at our disposal for a meeting on the tourism projects for 11am on the 31st July – now that’s what I call a “man of action”!

That is also the kind of amazing event that lets me know I am on the right track – the Universe was helping me along by delivering a person I wanted to meet AND a meeting venue in one stroke.  Synchronicity at it’s best!

1.30pm – Meeting with Gen. Hafez of the Viking Group, former Chief of Tourism Police in Luxor.  The good Yahia from the Steigenberger Nile Palace had set up the meeting, telling me this man would be of great help to our endeavours.

I have to say I ‘clicked’ with the man immediately and listened spellbound to his humorous accounts of previous unsuccessful attempts to solve some of Luxor’s problems.   In the telling I could pick out a few little twists that, if implemented might have made them a success.   In particular he told me of his past efforts with the calesh, taxis, fellucca and bazaar people and how difficult it was to do anything with them.  He has been telling them they need to make their own committees to speak for them.

I showed Gen. Hafez the Souk Project I was working on with the men from the main Souk.  He thought it was a wonderful idea but that I should work to implement it through the Governor’s Office.  Coming from the Western World where local business is always encouraged to come together and work for their interests and improvement without need for government involvement, the idea of having to go through Government was odd to me.  The project was just about getting the guys to agree on a code of behaviour, make a few changes and in return for their co-operation I would market the Souk in a new way that would excite the tourists.  We would make the souk a place where tourists would WANT to spend 3 hours of an evening instead of running through it.  But I said I would see how it would go.   We found many areas of consensus and I am really looking forward to more in-depth meetings with the General and working on project details – I am sure that Yahia is right and he will be a tremendous help.

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  1. What you are doing is amazing Mara and definitely on the right track, you are trying to bring some initiative into the community to start helping themselves and it can be done. Little by little keep at these people and take all the help you can from such as Mr Christoph and Mr Gamal. Not an easy undertaking by any means but as you say their mindset has to change if they want to compete in such a difficult market even without the problems facing Egypt right now! I know I have to survive in it too and I thought the Greeks were bad ha ha! However, harsh times usually bring people together for the common cause. A note for the official who thought all was ok: if he simply thinks tourists will come flooding back he is very mistaken, obviously lessons from the past haven’t been learned and Luxor needs a serious revamp. Good Luck