Much emphasis in the literature on Bedouin tourism in the Arab world has been given to the demands, perceptions, motivations and experiences of international tourists while domestic demands are not fully understood. Thus, this study challenges the status quo, being one of a few studies in which Egyptians are represented as tourists consuming Egyptian ethnic culture. A mix of qualitative research methods, including 29 semi-structured interviews with domestic visitors, observational data and document analysis, was employed to explore Egyptian visitors’ perspectives and assessments of Bedouin cultural attractions in Egypt. The findings revealed that the concept of experiencing existential authenticity through interactions with the workers and performers appeared to be outside the visitors’ sphere of thought, as they focused almost exclusively on tangible elements of the site offerings. This study has important implications for Bedouin tourism suppliers as well as tourism researchers. Egyptian visitors can be viewed as a powerful potential market for Bedouin attractions. Thus, site management should reconsider their approach to Egyptian visitors, as well as rethink the mission and goals of their site. Theoretically, the findings of this study strongly contest the notion that objective authenticity is no longer essential in ethnic tourism.


Bedouin, Ethnic Tourism, Egyptian Visitors, Objective Authenticity, Sinai, Domestic Demand, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Ahmed Abdelfattah received his PhD. from the Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand. Currently, Ahmed is a lecturer at Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), Macau. He teaches qualitative research methods, tourism management and heritage courses. Ahmed has practical experience in a variety of hotel/tourism industry and heritage tourism industry in Egypt, United States, Australia and New Zealand. He has a broad range of research interests and currently his research centers on special interest tourism, established and emerging qualitative research methods in tourism studies, cultural heritage interpretation, visitor management and post-colonialism. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: ahmed@ift.edu.mo.

Mary Eddy-U has been teaching English at IFT since 2010. Mary received her MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester . She has previously worked with English learners of all ages and abilities, and was involved with management of Concordia English Center in Macau. Aside from being in the classroom, she enjoys mentoring students and newer academic staff. Her research interests include language learning motivation, and cross-cultural interaction and motivation in education and in tourism. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mary@ift.edu.mo.


The authors would like to thank the postdoctoral researcher Mr. Mohammed Abdel Naim from the faculty of Arts at Cairo University for his effort and for his willingness to review the interview transcripts in Arabic. Besides, we are grateful to all the staff and management at the Bedouin site in Sinai who offered unconditional support and the easy access to the site’s facilities, materials and visitors. We are also very grateful to the domestic visitors who so willingly and generously gave of their leisure time to share their views and thoughts with us about the Bedouin attraction.

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