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A $1 billion private equity fund is backing a plan to revive Egypt’s tourism sector which has been battered by four years of turmoil and instability.
The country’s tourism ministry’s objective is to reach pre-crisis tourism revenue of $11.6 billion by 2016 and $15 billion by 2018.
The strategy to reinvigorate the sector focuses on six main policy actions including stronger marketing, improved accessibility by air to a greater number of Egypt’s tourist hubs, and improving links with other destinations.
Tourism revenues have dropped by 55% over the past four years, but the return of political stability coupled with a focus on developing higher-value added tourism activities, has encouraged the launch of the Papyrus private equity fund to support the development of tourism projects.
In addition to the $1 billion Papyrus fund, the government announced that it is offering areas of land in prime locations for investment in the tourism sector.
These include a prime location on the Red Sea coast at Marsa Alam; a large area in Gamsha Bay for the development of a leisure complex; a development opportunity in Sahl Hasheesh as a co-investor with the Egyptian Tourism Development Company and a leisure complex at Port Ghalib.
The government plan involves increasing average spending per stay of leisure travellers, fully exploiting the nation’s potential as a major cultural destination, which currently accounts for only 10% of total tourism spending, and boosting business travel.
The strategy also calls for extensive training to boost productivity, increasing tourists’ average spend per night through fostering tourism SME development, and fast-track the development of new projects with simplified approval procedures.
New tourism minister Khaled Ramy said: “Egypt is privileged to have an amazing dual inheritance of historical monuments without parallel and a beautiful natural environment.
“In the last few years, political instability has hit the tourism sector hard, but the fundamentals remain and we are confident that within a few years we can not only meet, but exceed our previous highs.
“Private sector investment is crucial to this recovery ensuring that both our standards and facilities are among the best in the world.”
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