In a new article, Lorraine Brown and Hanna Osman discuss their research on female tourist experiences in Egypt.
In recent years, the study of female travel has seen more attention. This body of literature has been dedicated to the understanding of female tourists in different cultures and what this entails. In Islamic destinations, and particularly in the Middle East, Western female tourists are challenged by having to negotiate their way through patriarchal cultures whose local norms are so different from their own.
This paper adopts a qualitative approach to investigate Western female tourists’ experiences in Egypt, as an Islamic destination in the Middle East, it pays special attention to the different ways gender affects their experiences.
The paper also identifies and discusses the coping strategies adopted by the participants to deflect or minimise the male sexualised gaze that they encountered while travelling in Egypt. It also sheds light on the measures taken towards keeping themselves safe during their trips.
The key findings from this paper suggest that the experiences of Western female tourists in Egypt were greatly shaped and altered by unwanted male attention and in some cases sexual harassment. In many cases, women felt the need to conform to local female norms of behaviour and socially accepted gender roles in order to enjoy their holiday.