Egypt's Tourism Minister Rania El-Mashat said on Monday that focusing on sustainable cities, untapped locations and regulatory reforms are all part of a plan by the tourism sector to attract more tourists and investors to the country.
In an interview with Bloomberg, El-Mashat said that part of her ministry’s strategy to boost tourism is to create sustainable cities, one of which has already been built near the Mediterranean coastal city of El-Alamein.
The newly built eco-city aims to develop Egypt's tourism, agricultural, residential, and industrial sectors.
Al-Ahram reported that more projects are set to be launched in Al-Galala city near Ain El-Sokhna.
"We have areas that are untapped along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, we want to open these up for international bids," El-Mashat told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition in Dubai, which is being held from 22 to 25 April.
On Sunday, El-Mashat told Al-Ahram that Egypt is seeking investors for the development of upscale tourism projects in these untapped areas.
"We want to remove many of the structural impediments to pushing the sector forward," El-Mashat said during the Bloomberg interview.
The minister said that the tourism sector contributed 15 percent to the country’s economic growth in the last quarter, which registered an overall growth rate of 5 percent.
El-Mashat added that the tourism sector has always traditionally been a big job creator for Egyptians.
"We have a number of laws that govern the tourism sector that have not been touched since 1970, so regulatory reforms could attract investments to hotels and tourist facilities," Al-Mashat said during the interview.
Al-Mashat also said that training is an extremely important structural reform that the ministry is working on in different governorates.
During her participation in the ATM, El-Mashat met with different tour companies that specialise in market studies and reviews of tourist impressions on all booking sites and social networking platforms.
The minister called on the companies to develop plans to increase the number of tourists from the Arab market as well as find ways to ease procedures to obtain entry visas to Egypt.
El-Mashat said that bookings by tourists to Egypt look “promising,” and that 2018 is expected to be stronger than last year.