If the global recession caused a dent in Egypt’s tourism numbers (arrivals last year dropped 2.3 percent to 12.5 million) – the rebound is set to be spectacular, with predictions of 14 million visitors for 2010.
Egypt has a long term goal of 16 million visitors by 2014, and 25 million in 2020 and driving this ambition is Tourism Authority chairman, Amr El Ezabi. This year 20,000 new rooms will be added, airport facilities have nearly doubled in five years and new terminals are under development at Cairo, Hurghada and Sharm-El-Sheikh. New beach resort cities have also sprung up on the Red Sea such as Port Ghalib, Marsa Alam, El Gouna and there are upcoming attractions like Marina El Alamein, Porto Marina and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean.
While Egypt has gained a reputation as a mass market destination, a new era of upscale resorts could change all that, and a swathe of luxury brands – such as Jumeirah, Angsana, Four Seasons, Rocco Forte Collection, Address, Armani and Taj – are soon to enter the market, bringing a new style of opulence to the sector. “The destiny of Egypt is as a destination for all kinds of tourism, including both luxury and budget,” said El Ezabi.
On top of this El Ezabi is spearheading better training and development in the hospitality sector.
A ministerial decree was recently signed to create a Higher Council for Tourism Training, aimed at consolidating government and private sector efforts in this area.