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Egyptians outraged at plans to leave best beaches to tourists

Egypt has a bad record when it comes to tourist harassment, but keeping locals out of beaches in Alexandria may not be the best way to prevent it.
Egyptians crowd a public beach during a hot day in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria September 5, 2014. El Max, in Alexandria, where hundreds of boats dart through the canals, has been called the "Venice of Egypt" for its waterways and relaxed atmosphere. Its fishermen, however, worry about how they will make ends meet on meagre earnings they say are being reduced further by polluted waters that are making fishing more difficult. While the government has tried to fix the state's bloated finances by cutti

A government plan to promote tourism in Alexandria — Egypt's second-largest city, which is located on the Mediterranean coast 140 miles northwest of Cairo — has sparked controversy among the city's residents and holidaymakers. The plan, unveiled in recent days by Ali al-Manesterly, the chairman of the Alexandria Chamber of Travel Agencies, includes allocating private beaches exclusively for foreign visitors.

"It's insulting and deeply disturbing," Amro Ali, an Alexandria-based sociologist, said in reference to the decision. Denouncing the plan as "a form of auto-colonialism,” Ali told Al-Monitor that Alexandria was already losing its beaches due to rising sea levels and privatization. He added, "The few remaining public beaches are not well-kept, and citizens still have to pay to get in. The few good beaches that exist charge a lot of money and are beyond the means of the average Egyptian, so there is already a class barrier in place."

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