Sunday, May 17, 2015

Iran, Egypt Offer Best Value for Tourists

According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, this year the countries that offer the best value to tourists are topped by Iran, Egypt and Indonesia. A story in Cairo Scene ( points out that Egypt is especially enticing, with hotels averaging just $73 per night per room, and many that are much cheaper.

In addition, Egypt boasts the longest river in the world, one of the ancient wonders of the world, the Great Pyramid of Cheops in a Cairo suburb, warm weather and friendly people. If you travel beyond Cairo you can explore many more ancient sites of interest such as the Valley of the Kings at Luxor and others along the Nile as far as the border of Sudan.

I agree that Egypt is a great place to visit, though it can be daunting for Westerners with its chaos, poverty and incessant requests for baksheesh (tips.) I last visited in the 1990s, so I cannot say anything useful about current conditions or safety in the country.

It is a sad fact that virtually all the top ten countries for value in tourism present significant challenges for Westerners. Some such as Iran are very difficult for female visitors or Americans of any gender, and the number four country on the list, Yemen, is so dangerous that U.S. special forces had to be evacuated from there recently.

Still, it is good to know that it remains possible to travel inexpensively, especially if you are willing to take some risks.


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