Destinations Africa

Egypt Selling Off Its White Sand Beaches To Lure Tourism Investment

May 04, 2014 11:00 am

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Good luck. Mass executions by a corrupt government have a way of turning off visitors.

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Egypt is seeking to lure tourism investments from Gulf Cooperation Council states as the Arab world’s most populous nation prepares to sell more coastal land, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said.

Egypt aims to sell land on a 65-kilometer (40-mile) stretch of the Mediterranean coast near the town of el-Alamein, Zaazou said in a Dubai interview. The government wants to find investors by the end of the summer to increase the number of hotels rooms in the area to 15,000 from 7,000 in five years, he said.

“I want to target big companies,” Zaazou said. “I don’t want to mention names, but some of them are Gulf companies, and they’re interested. This area is fantastic, it has pure white sand, you feel like you’re in the Caribbean.”

The number of tourists visiting Egypt fell to 9.5 million last year, a drop of 2 million from 2012, as violence in the country claimed hundreds of lives and led some governments to issue travel warnings.

Tourist revenue is set to grow to $9 billion this year from $5.8 billion in 2013, Zaazou said. The government is targeting 25 million tourists and $25 billion in revenue by 2020, he said.

The six-nation GCC, which includes oil-rich Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, has pledged $15 billion since the ouster of former President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dana El Baltaji in Dubai at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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