Nader Bakkar, spokesman for the Salafi Nour Party, told a conference of tour guides in Aswan earlier this month that tourists should not be allowed to buy alcohol but could bring it with them and drink it in their rooms. Tourists should also be encouraged to wear conservative dress, he said.
‘‘We welcome all tourists but we tell them ... there are traditions and beliefs in the country, so respect them,’’ he said. ‘‘Most tourists will have no problem if you tell them’’ to bring their own alcohol.
One Salafi sheik earlier this year said the Pyramids and Sphinx should be demolished as anti-Islamic — like Afghanistan’s then-Taliban rulers destroyed monumental Buddha statues in 2001. Bakkar dismissed the comments as the opinion of one cleric.
But tour guide Gladys Haddad sees the Salafis’ attitude as a threat, saying the constitution should have said more to protect Egypt’s pharaonic heritage. ‘‘We are talking about a civilization that they do not acknowledge. They see it as idolatrous.’’
‘‘Why would a tourist come to a resort if he can’t drink?’’ said Fawzi, of Sabena Management. ‘‘People are coming for tours and monuments, and to relax on the boats. If they feel that restriction, why should they come?’’
Nahla Mofied of Escapade Travels said the Islamists might restrict what tourists can ‘‘wear and do’’ but, given its importance to the economy, ‘‘they may not destroy tourism fully.’’
Complicating attempts to draw tourists back is the lawlessness gripping Egypt the past two years. With police supervision low, tourist touts increasingly assault guides and even tourists to demand business. In September, 150 tour guides held a protest against attacks by vendors.
‘‘We have struggled with this problem since before the revolution, but now the situation is completely out of control,’’ Ibrahim said.
At the Giza Pyramids, police seem indifferent to the touts. Camel-riding police even join in, pushing tourists to take rides.
Gomaa al-Gabri, an antiquities employee, was infuriated at the sight, shouting, ‘‘You sons of dogs’’ and a slew of other insults at a policeman trying to get money off a tourist.
‘‘They’re trying to take away my income,’’ said the father of 11. ‘‘In Mubarak’s time we wouldn’t dare talk to them like this. Now I can hit him with a shoe on his head and he can’t speak.’’
For some tourists at the Pyramids, the chaos is part of the experience.
‘‘I just love it,’’ British tourist Brian Wilson said. ‘‘You can’t blame people wanting to make money.’’