Tourism

Egypt’s tourism sector has revitalized, with the number of tourists increasing by 30 % in 2018. In January 2018, alone, Egypt saw 712,000 tourists come into the country, and by the end of the year, approximately $ 9 billion was generated from the tourism sector in its entirety. There are several existing reasons why the sector is reviving, including the renovation of the Giza pyramids area, the discovery of several new ancient artifacts which have sparked international attention,as well as the opening of several new airports. Moreover, the political climate continues to stabilize, thus encouraging more inbound travel. Overall, the sector contributes to around 11% of the total GDP, and accounts for approximately EGP190.3 billion from direct contributions. This number is estimated to increase at a steady rate of 4% per annum from 2018-2027. In terms of employment, the sector provides around 2,425,500 jobs, equating to 8.5% of the total job market, with this number also due to increase by around
2.3% per annum by 2027.

Due to the myriad options which are available, investing in the tourism sector is both lucrative and relatively risk free. Even during times of turmoil, domestic tourism helped to fill the void left by a reduction in the number of international visitors. Today, Egyptians spend significantly more money on internal travel than they previously spent traveling abroad, which has in turn caused diversification within the sector.

Luxury hotels have long had prominence throughout the country however; other highly promising sectors include niche experiences such as ecotourism, health and medical tourism, therapeutic tours, providing nature and desert safaris, residential tourism, and adventure travel. Though leisure tourism remains the largest market segment, business and conference tourism is also on the rise, as is health tourism, with Cairo as a principal healthcare hub within the region.

Religious Tourism

After his visit in 2018, Pope Francis voiced his desire to include Egypt as an official Roman Catholic Church pilgrimage destination, beginning in May of 2018. The Ministry of Tourism has since supported this plan, stating that the path of the Holy Family through Egypt, as they fled from King Herod in Bethlehem, is now a part of the Vatican pilgrimage program. The original trip made by the Holy Family took its members from Bethlehem to the Gaza Strip. They then entered Egypt via the Zaranik Protectorate in Northern Sinai, moving down to central Cairo before finally reaching the Asyut governorate in southern Egypt. To assist in the replication of this trip, a 25- sight route, (eight of which are archaeological sites) has been prepped to receive pilgrims. They include the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, the Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo (also known as the Hanging Church), the three monasteries of Wadi El Natrun — Saint Bishoy Monastery, Monastery of the Syrians and the Paromeos Monastery — the Church of the Holy Virgin in Jabal al-Tayr, the Monastery of Al-Muharraq at Mount Qosqam and the St. Mary Monastery in Mount Drenka. This announcement has the potential to change the tourism sector in the country since it is estimated that it could attract up to 20% of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians. The result of this will be a huge incline in religious tourism which at the moment only accounts for around 3% of the entire sector, and is mainly concentrated around St.Catherine’s Monastery in southern Sinai.

Areas for Investment

1 | Hotels

Currently the country is well-served by five-star properties, however there is considerable room for investment in the three- and four-star hospitality segments. Over the last few years there has been an influx in companies which cater to foreign investors looking to purchase smaller hotels. The existence of such companies offers peace of mind for any investor since they provide consultancy services which cover everything from market analysis to investment strategies. Further indicators suggest that the tourism industry will continue to rise, due to numerous government reforms and incentives aimed at increasing luxury hotel developments. As a result of these reforms, a number of additional high-end hotels are expected within 2019.

2 | Residential Tourism

Egypt has much to offer the foreign investor: Its year round warmth offers high rental potential especially for winter sun holidays. This, teamed with its ability to cater to an array of tourists makes any property purchase here extremely profitable. At the same time, investors can enjoy a beautiful holiday home while the property is unoccupied and watch its value increase at a steady pace each year. Guaranteed rental agreements offered by many real estate agents can also prove to be very lucrative and remove the hassle of finding tenants for periods of up to 5 years. The country also boasts tax breaks (no stamp duty), no capital gain tax on resale, no sales tax, low death succession duty 7% (to transfer property ownership), ease of access to banks (easy to open accounts and to transfer funds) and 0% tax on bank interest, all of which make investment in property undeniably good value for money. A further advantage is the growing availability of off-plan investment in Egypt (buying property from developers before the building is completed, sometimes even before the foundations are laid), which have proven to be more beneficial to investors in terms of overall net income as the plot of land/property is sold for a fraction of its price upon completion. As soon as

the erection of the property has been completed, a profit will be made with purchasers being able to achieve returns between 10-100% in just 24 months. With this type of investment, investors can benefit from an excellent finance structure with deposits as low as 10 – 30% of the value of the purchase being required. The remaining balance is then paid upon completion and can be financed by a mortgage. Popular Areas for investment with new properties include the North Coast, Red Sea, South Sinai, and Hurghada, particularly since the existence of international events hosted in the ‘Gouna’ district of the later governorate.

3 | Therapeutic Tours

The therapeutic qualities of Egypt have been recognized since ancient Greek times. Rich with a wide range of natural resources, such as hot springs and sea minerals, it is easy to see why this area of tourism is picking up quickly.
The estimated number of springs allover Egypt reached 1356 including five in Helwan, three in Ain Assera, 36 in Fayoum, four in Rayan Valley, 33 in Sinai, 315 in Baharia Oasis, and 106 in Siwa in addition to a large number that reached 564 in Dakhla Oasis, 188 in Kharga, 75 in Farafra and the rest are spead in Gulf of Suez, of Qattara, Natroun Valley and Gara.- The desert cities such as Siwa, New Valley, Oasis and some regions in Sinai are characterized by burring the body in sands for certain periods. It leads to unprecedented results in curing rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid and pains caused by the spine and other causes of acute and chronic pains.
Aswan’s dry weather is ideal for enjoying sand bathing during the period of May to September, which is particularly useful for curing various diseases such as rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis. In Aswan, many hotels have physiotherapy centers manned by efficient and highly trained staff experienced in various types of massage therapy. Moreover, rheumatoid patients can be treated in hot sands surrounded by a calm and beautiful landscape and pollution free environment which also contributes to speedy recovery.

Aswan’s year round clear sunshine teamed with its dry weather provides an ideal atmosphere for curing rheumatism and bronchial asthma.

Further south, Abu Simbel, with its high rate of ultraviolet rays and low humidity rate during the period of December to March, also provide a  congenial environment for the treatment of these diseases. Healing springs can also be found across the country from Sinai to Helwan providing countless potential locations for interested investors. Since the focus of therapeutic holidays is to improve the clients’ well-being, the shift can be moved away from luxury, allowing a new business to be less costly in comparison to its counterparts.

Egypt holds a recognized position on the therapeutic tourism landscape and has become a popular traveling spot for people seeking treatment. The tourists arrive at Egypt for the healthy weather and medical healthcare under supervision of medical experts in all modern hospitals which include top tier equipment ran by experts in physiotherapy, exercises with an added perk of visiting Egypt’s amazing landmarks.

All in all, Egypt has 16 inland and coastal locations, where natural treatments for many diseases are available, namely:

– Helwan
– Ain Assera
– Ain Sokhna
– Hurghada
– Fayoum Oasis
– Aswan
– Sinai and Safaga on the Red Sea Egypt also has mineral and sulfurous springs which has a compound chemical that exceeds others of its kind, in terms of.

Ecological Recovery

The Ministry of Health introduced 6 new regions in the field of ecological recovery including the Pharaoh bath, Moses springs and Siwa in Marsa Matrouh, in addition to the sulfuric wells and springs in New Valley and Baharia Oasis. Additionally, the Safaga hospital was turned into a medical center for Ecological recovery. The main purpose of the therapeutic tourism programs in Egypt was to highlight the wide reaching capabilities

of Egyptian resources, with the overall aim of turning Egypt into the largest therapeutic tourism center and ecological recovery hub worldwide.

4 | Eco-Tourism Adventures

Ecotourism, or green travel, has become increasingly common due to the rising awareness of the negative environmental impact tourism can have on any given country. Ecotourism recognizes these problems and aims to reduce these negative effects as much as possible. In Egypt, there is a rapidly growing market for this kind of travel, with locals and tour operators taking more of an initiative to protect some of the fragile environments so interesting to tourists.

The Aswan governorate has taken this one step further by creating 2 solar stations named Kom Ambu and Faris, which hold 32 power plants, making it the largest private-sector solar photovoltaic facility in the Middle East and North Africa. Since the very purpose of these projects are to reduce waste and contribute to the local environment, investors can benefit from educated and eager locals who are willing to work with comparably lower wages, the developing renewable energy sector, and the low start-up costs associated with starting eco-lodges.

5 | Medical/Health Tourism

Another rapidly increasing sector within Egypt is that of medical tourism.
There are many reasons as to why this field is growing with such success, the most recurrent of which is Egypt’s competitive geographical location between the Middle East, Europe and Africa, as it provides ease of access to travelers from across the globe. Additionally, those traveling to Egypt for medical treatment can enjoy high quality services for a price which is significantly lower than that in their country of origin (it is estimated that US patients can save up to 60% on medical treatments including travel and accommodation). More importantly however, there are no waiting lines for procedures, allowing for those who need immediate care to be seen too quickly.

Ongoing Projects

1 | The Grand Egyptian Museum (“GEM”)

Situated near the Giza Plateau within two kilometers of the pyramids are the first signs of the monumental GEM project. The museum will cover 491,000 square meters of land making it the largest archaeological museum in the world.

The museum is currently under construction, and the first phase of its development was unveiled earlier this year. In total, the project will house over 50,000 artifacts, the most awaited of which is the full tomb collection of King Tutankhamun consisting of 5000 items. The remainder of the artifacts will be sourced from storage locations situated across the country.

In January 2019, the General Supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum completed the examination process of the tender pre-qualification documents for the management and operation of the GEM facilities, which were submitted last September by eight major Egyptian and international companies/consortiums.

2 | Egypt to Build Africa’s Highest Tower

One of Africa’s tallest buildings is being built on one of the last patches of land along the Nile River.

In a difficult feat of engineering, the project will twist from a thin triangular base to form a rectangular skyscraper, rising 70 stories and providing a panoramic view of the Nile and the pyramids. The “Nile Tower” will be part of a plan to transform the area between downtown Cairo and the Nile River into an upscale district. The budget for the project is set at $600 million.

3 | Giza Pyramids Development Project

The first phase was completed prior to 2011 and included a new building for ticket offices, new gates and a wall around the area. The Antiquities Ministry has now progressed to the second phase of the development project in the Giza Pyramids archaeological area, which will be inaugurated in May 2019.

Almost 99 % of the project’s second phase is finished, including an administrative building, a visitor’s center and an office for the Minister. The new main gate is planned to be on the Fayoum road instead of its current location near the Mena House hotel. The cost of the second and third phases in the development of the Giza Pyramids project is approximately EGP 90 million and the total project cost is estimated to be at EGP 349 million .

Orascom, Egypt’s largest construction company will be managing this new area, and has already committed to building a new parking lot for tourist buses off Fayoum Road and providing a non-polluting internal transport network for tourists within the site. Additionally, Orascom will provide 30 buses and 30 eco-friendly vehicles to carry tourists in, out, and around the Pyramids plateau. It will also set up 20 mobile toilet units, a mobile medical centre, as well as fast-food and snack trucks. Finally, the company will provide highspeed WiFi services and lay the groundwork for a comprehensive digital guide to the site.

As for horse and camel riding, the company will invest in training stable owners to adequately deal with tourists, and work on providing them with stable incomes and uniforms to wear on site so they would be easily recognizable by tourists.