Investment adviser to the Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou
(DNE photo by
Tourism is a strategic asset, and it has not received the attention it deserves recently, said
"We will work to issue a bundle of laws and mechanisms to incentivise investment in the sector and attract huge foreign companies."
He was in the running to possibly take over the
Q: First, how do you plan to improve the Egyptian tourism sector and create opportunities to invest in it?
Of late, the process of investing in the sector has lacked direction. All of the tourism industry's many resources have been focused on creating small-scale projects that did not meet tourists' demands.
Q: How can we attract such numbers? We face a number of infrastructure and cultural impediments.
No, no. These issues can be easily resolved. All we need do is benefit from the examples set by neighbouring countries that have surpassed us, despite the fact that they do not possess
Did you know that tourist spending in
In 2010, tourism accounted for
Q: However, the revenue from the sector declined over the past three years.
Yes, revenues have decreased. Last year it dipped to
Security will return to
Q: Will there be a new investment body overseeing the sector in the near future?
Yes, there is a ministerial committee that will convene on Sunday to consider Law No. 14, which governs ownership of land in the Sinai. It will also consider new mechanisms for selling property.
Q: Can you explain more?
There are many complaints amongst investors regarding Law No. 14 for the development of Sinai. We will work to resolve these issues and attract investors to the region, while adhering to the laws of the state.
As for the new mechanisms for selling property, we will consider other modes of selling property, so that the ownership model is not the only mode available.
Q: In what ways could property be exchanged in the future?
We will consider the usufruct system and joint-ownership with a dimension of developing infrastructure.
Q: The Egyptian investor does not respond well to usufruct land deals. This was the system used in 2012, and not a single person came forward.
I am against the land sales. We ought to try the experiment again, and change the investor culture by using a range of incentives through public auctions for long-term usufruct systems, up to 99-years. We will also incentivise joint infrastructure projects. Privatisation can be done in 28 different ways, so we need not be restricted to the ownership model.
Selling means that the state will get paid by the metre just once, regardless of the price. In
For instance, we will auction off land under the long-term usufruct system in several regions with joint infrastructure projects.
This method will lure private investors, especially foreigners. However, foreign investors will not come to
We will require that Egyptian investors coordinate with foreigners on tourism projects. Both groups will benefit from Egyptian capital and expertise.
Q: Are there other ways to attract investors?
There is a comprehensive system of land management under the jurisdiction of the
Land areas managed by the authority that are potential investment opportunities exceed 3bn sq metres. As of now only 300m sq metres have received investment. We have a large portfolio of land, and we must work to utilise it so as to ensure the state secures its rights and the future for generations to come. This will maximise the value of the area by adding developmental projects.
Q: Foreign investment on the authority's land does not exceed 5%. What are your plans to attract foreign companies?
Total investments on the authority's territory stands at approximately
Q: You participated in a tourism investment conference in mid-April in
We put forth private residence projects in some areas of
These accommodations were able to create a first class tourist sites in the western Mediterranean,
These units will increase the rate of reoccurring tourist visits to
Q: Are there investment opportunities that you are promoting in other conferences?
We are already working on marketing schemes for four huge projects, one of which accounts for 5m metres in the
Q: How many of these projects are there?
We hope that there will be a hundred separate projects. We have contacts with the Emirati expert houses. These projects will be put to auction back by the guarantee of the Egyptian government.
Direct investment is a lifeline for the Egyptian economy.
Q: But there are contracts tainted by corruption.
Yes, there have been some cases of corruption; the majority have not been as such. We must renegotiate these contracts.
New investment contracts and limiting the right of appeal to the investor and the state will once again restore confidence regarding investing in
Q: Returning to tourism, will you be advertising hotel projects?
We will reduce the amount of hotel projects. We will promote integrated development projects that comprise 1m sq metres. We will offer commercial and recreational facilities and services. This will raise average spending levels, which have fallen to about
Q: But how do you price land under the usufruct system? Investors always ask about the price of the land.
The price per square metre used in many countries is 10% of the value of the price of the land. However, I prefer that the price be set at 1%. Many countries are working to attract foreign investors, such as
It will benefit from the participation of the investor as well as the reasonable annual increase.
Q: What about the
The airport will help revive the tourism sector and industrial parks Ras Sidr in parallel with the Authority's plan to link the east and west banks of the
We aim to attract investments towards residential units amounting to
Some countries, including
A Turkish company requested land be made available to it in which it would invest
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