A year after the Arab Spring the few travelers who have returned to the Middle East are finding a new spirit of hospitality, eagerness to talk about democracy, and a determination to update history with a new chapter of open cultural exchange.
Ann Arbor, MI (PRWEB) March 18, 2012 -- The few travelers venturing to Egypt and Tunisia feel very fortunate and privileged.
Just a year ago, a fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest government policies and the conflagration spread across the Arab world igniting hope for open societies and more responsive governments. While new institutions have been slow to rise from the ashes, current beneficiaries of the revolutions in places like Tunisia and Egypt are the few tourists who are venturing back to famous sites which have been nearly absent of foreign visitors for many months.
Journeys International, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a 30-year record of sending intellectually curious travelers in small guided groups to more than 50 destinations around the globe including Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. After suspending many trips, the company has resumed tours in these countries with positive reports of recent traveler experiences.
People are delighted to find there are no lines and no waiting at popular attractions,” Will Weber, a director of Journeys, reports. “We are hearing that our travelers are often drawn into conversations about government and freedom that would never have been possible before.
The tourism sector suffered an almost complete shutdown in this part of the world in February 2011 due to cessation of international flights, embassy travel warnings and fears of violence. It is taking some time for business to rebuild now that none of these concerns are valid, but those travelers who are going feel uniquely privileged and delighted.
We feel completely safe. There are no restrictions on our movement and virtually no other tourists at the ancient sites we are visiting,” reports Robin Weber Pollak, president of Journeys, who is currently escorting a Carleton College alumni group on a Nile luxury cruise in Egypt. “This a very special experience with no waiting and everyone willing to talk candidly about their hopes.
In Tunisia, Journeys guide Mohamed Halouani reports that while investors from Europe and North America have returned, tourists have been slower to follow. In my twenty years of guiding, there has never been a better time to help my guests get closer to local people,” Halouani reports. “The situation is actually very stable and peaceful. The visitors who are coming right now are enjoying a very special experience of Tunisia. Local people really appreciate the foreigners who have started to trickle back.”
t is still possible to join a small Journeys group guided by Halouani, June 7-22, 2012. The comprehensive itinerary, titled Timely and Timeless Tunisia was created to explore the country's newfound openness, as well as ancient sites and natural wonders from Tunis and Carthage through Berber villages and mountain oases to Djerba Island.
About Journeys INTERNATIONAL
Journeys INTERNATIONAL is the longest standing family-owned global ecotourism company in the US. Journeys offers full-service exotic, guided cross-cultural explorations, nature safaris, treks and eco-tours in remote corners of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific. Founded by current directors Will and Joan Weber in 1978, Journeys boasts an extraordinary record of client and staff satisfaction and several industry awards.