Egypt sovereign fund to establish 2,600 new hotel rooms in downtown Cairo

Muhammed Khalid , Thursday 4 Jan 2024

The CEO of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) Ayman Soliman unveiled ambitious plans for downtown Cairo and the Ministries Square, including the establishment of 2,600 hotel rooms, the development of 15,000 square metres of green spaces, and the revitalization of historical buildings.

Tahrir Complex
File Photo: Tahrir Complex (Mogamma El-Tahrir) in Cairo, Egypt. Al-Ahram

 

During a meeting of the parliamentary Planning and Budget Committee on Wednesday, Soliman said the SFE has served as the investment and development arm of the state since its establishment in 2018.

Soliman emphasized that hotel accommodations are one of the key components of tourism in Egypt.

Recognizing the pivotal role of tourism in bolstering foreign currency inflow, Egypt aims to attract 30 million tourists annually by 2028, doubling the current projected figure of 15 million.

Egypt now has 216,000 hotel rooms capable of accommodating 15 to 16 million tourists.

"The maximum number of tourists Egypt can attract per year currently ranges between 14-15 million," Minister of Tourism Ahmed Issa said last year.

"We have to double our hotel rooms, offer low-cost air travel and diversify our tourist products to achieve the target of attracting 30 million tourists per year," said Issa.

Egypt received 11.7 million tourists in 2022, up from eight million in 2021, marking a 46.2 per cent increase.

As many as seven million tourists visited Egypt during the first half of 2023, with officials initially expecting the number to reach 15 million in the entire year.

Meanwhile, Soliman said seven assets have been transferred to the SFE. More than 16 other assets in downtown Cairo are being prepared for transfer.

In November, following relocation to the New Administrative Capital, Egypt’s prime minister ordered the closure of the former ministries headquarters in Cairo until the authorities conclude their plans for repurposing these state-owned assets, limiting the activities within these buildings to security and maintenance work.

A 2020 presidential decree cancelled the public benefit status of several public properties, including the former downtown ministries headquarters.

The decree transferred the ownership of these public properties to the SFE, established in 2018 to offer and manage investment opportunities in state-owned assets.

Currently, plans are in place to convert the seven-building complex that served as the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior for decades into a multi-purpose destination.

The new design will include a tech and business hub, a French university, serviced apartments, and a hotel as per a deal signed between the SFE and real estate development company A Developments.

In December 2021, Egypt signed a deal worth more than LE3.5 billion with a US consortium to upgrade the 14-storey Mugamma Al-Tahrir, also owned by the SFE.

In August 2022, the consortium  — led by Oxford Capital Group, Global Ventures Group, and Al-Otaiba Investments — announced it would invest $200 million to transform the Mugamma into a luxury hotel.

By July 2023, assets under the SFE had recorded $12 billion.

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