The ninth Arab financing forum organized by Euromoney affirmed the importance of having a plan before building more hotels in Egypt.
During the meeting "Investment in tourism", Mohammad al-Chabrawy, CEO of American Express Travel Services, stressed that the current pace of construction of hotels in Egypt could double the number of rooms in five years, which can lead to a low occupancy rate in hotels if the number of tourists remained stable. A vision shared by the regional director of "Abercrombie & Kent Group" for Egypt and the Middle East, Amr Badr.
Regarding the obstacles to investment in tourism in Egypt, the participants affirmed the need to know what Egypt could offer as a tourism product. Badr said that this requires serious studies and correct rules on tourism development "where, when and how?".
As to the problems facing investors in the tourism sector in Egypt, CEO OF "Orascom Hotels Holding", Samir Sawiris, has highlighted the lack of charter flights to Cairo.
On the idea that the large number of tourists is likely to lower the quality of services, Mr. Sawiris has rebutted and called for diversifying the level of tourists visiting Egypt. An idea shared by Mr. al-Chabrawy who gave the example of airlines that offer different classes on the same flight.
The participants called on the government to implement the policy of "open skies" even if they have confessed that most countries supported the national airlines.
They also urged the government to consult them when it comes to decisions about tourism. "We are closer to the market and are well aware of the changes," they stressed.
In this context, they expressed satisfaction with the appointment of Ahmed al-Maghraby, Minister of Tourism, because he is one of the major investors in this market and informed of the nature of it.
The participants also recognized the need for more foreign investment in tourism given the lack of domestic capital. They argue that banks, having experienced the "credit crisis" in recent years, have become sensitive about the loans to tourism projects.