EGYPT Tourism to Egypt is like oil to the Gulf! It is the engine of its economy and has been for a long time. Upheavals after the events of 25th January 2011 have profoundly affected the foundations of the country and, by extension, all vital sectors.
Today the new government says it wants to implement fast and effective strategies to stop the bleeding and stimulate activity. A study conducted in October 2012 by the Department of Research at the Ministry of Tourism will be used as the basis of a series of measures.
So, short-term commercial activities will be undertaken in the most important tourist markets internationally such as Russia, Germany and Great Britain, to try to recover lost ground. Neighbouring countries that are now stable such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait will also be targeted.
Quaitbay Citadel in Alexandria also attracts local tourism. Photo Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Egypt also wants to explore other tourist markets such as China, Australia, Japan and Turkey. The country hopes to use cultural and sporting events such as the Pharaoh’s Rally to demonstrate the return to security and stability.
The action plan also includes launching a national campaign to educate Egyptians about the vital importance of this sector and to eradicate behaviour that negatively affects tourism.
28 million m² of land available for tourism projects
Diversification appears as one of the key words of the Ministry’s programme with the promotion of activities such as scuba diving (Egypt was named best diving destination in 2011), safaris, thalassotherapy spas, golf, cruises on the Nile between Cairo and Upper Egypt (interrupted for safety reasons since 1994 and reopened a few weeks ago), discovering the desert, eco-tourism, and sports tourism.
A major project is opening up with the modernisation and expansion of hotel accommodation. The Government is to make available 28 million m² of land to national and foreign investors for building spas, thalassotherapy spas, tourist resorts and artificial forests in various regions like Ain Sokna and Sharm El Sheikh.
In financial terms, the study recommends expanding the areas covered by tax exemptions for hotels and tourism projects, lowering interest rates on debt for tourism investment, particularly the ones under construction.
To consolidate and carry out this new strategy, the Ministry is installing eight think tanks (security, communication and advertising, economic development of tourist services related to banks and investments, the environment and safaris, energy, the development of tourist sites, the workforce) in collaboration with businesses and experts.