A new dimension to tourism

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 27 Feb 2024

The Ras Al-Hekma investment project is poised to advance Egypt’s tourism industry, writes Nevine El-Aref

A new dimension to tourism

 

In a significant stride towards bolstering Egypt’s tourism sector, the Ras Al-Hekma investment project has emerged as a beacon of hope, promising a first-of-its-kind Mediterranean tourist destination and offering a diverse array of attractions and amenities to cater to both domestic and international travellers alike.

With its strategic location between the vibrant cities of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh, Ras Al-Hekma holds immense potential to become a premier tourist destination, offering a blend of sun, sand, and sea along with a plethora of recreational and entertainment options.

To gain deeper insights into the project’s potential impact, Al-Ahram Weekly talked with Ahmed Al-Wassif, president of the Egyptian Tourism Federation.

“The Ras Al-Hekma development project is the creation of a new complete destination in Egypt. It will be a new Sharm El-Sheikh on the North Coast,” Al-Wassif said.

The development will be a premium international tourist destination adopting the latest cutting-edge digital and technological smart city solutions, he added.

A world-class destination on the Mediterranean with unmatched attractions, including hotels, yacht marinas, and entertainment facilities as well as a new state-of-the-art international airport will increase the capacity of tourism in the area.

“All these aspects will lay a solid foundation to enhance the competitiveness of the Mediterranean region,” Al-Wassif said, highlighting that it will offer a competitive advantage in the Mediterranean that has not been seen before as earlier developments were fragmented.

There are only about 5,000 hotel rooms on the North Coast located far from each other and making their full use difficult despite their possession of all the natural tourist components as well as having the advantage of the warmth of the climate as compared to other destinations overlooking the Mediterranean.

“According to studies, Egypt’s coastal temperature is on average four per cent higher than other Mediterranean destinations, making it suitable for receiving visitors throughout the year,” Al-Wassif added.

He said that Ras Al-Hekma has the potential to draw in eight million tourists annually, invigorating tourism across the entire North Coast region. “Tourists will view it as an opportunity to explore other Egyptian destinations, particularly given the substantial enhancements in road infrastructure and connectivity between areas,” he added.

He pointed out that Mediterranean tourism introduces a fresh dimension to Egypt’s tourism portfolio, different from the leisure-focused beach tourism prevalent in the Red Sea resorts.

The North Coast stands out for its historical and archaeological significance, coupled with its proximity to other attractions like the Siwa Oasis, Alexandria, Cairo, Giza, and Luxor. This accessibility enables tourists to explore these destinations and appreciate their wealth of historical sites, museums, and other captivating locations.

“This will prolong the average tourist stay, leading to a boost in revenue and thus playing a role in rejuvenating the national economy,” Al-Wassif said.

The development will not only offer abundant opportunities for Egyptian young people in terms of employment, both directly and indirectly, but it will also directly inject foreign currency into the economy.

The influx comprises both the $24 billion investment to be disbursed within two months as well as the return on investment once the planned projects become operational.

“The Ras Al-Hekma investment project underscores investor confidence in Egypt and its tourism industry and underscores the size of government investments in the area, which have led to a significant advance for the region,” Al-Wassif said.  

This transformation has turned it into a new integrated city, contributing to the expansion of urbanised areas in Egypt.”

Al-Wassif believes that a well-defined investment plan will play a pivotal role in attracting investments, unlocking opportunities across diverse locations and bolstering confidence, a feat accomplished today.

“I am very optimistic regarding the future of Egyptian tourism and commend the state’s prioritisation of this crucial industry,” he concluded.

 


* A version of this article appears in print in the 29 February, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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