Egypt is looking to attract more investments from the GCC to develop its North Coast and the South Sinai region, while also re-starting several tourism developments that were delayed as the country struggled through a financial crisis and geopolitical tensions in the region.

Speaking at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Dr Ghada Shalaby, Vice Minister for Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt revealed the government was actively courting more investments from the GCC to further develop popular tourist destinations such as Luxor and Aswan as well.

“We have set a target to hit 30 million tourists by 2028, and we are actively meeting with investors from this region to fund more tourism developments in select areas of the country,” Shalaby said. “There are a lot of projects in the South Sinai region in particular that would be attractive for investors, and we are looking to develop these further.”

Last week, Fitch Ratings revised Egypt’s outlook from stable to positive and affirmed the country’s rating at ‘B-’, attributing the revision to stronger foreign direct investment (FDI), and additional foreign capital.

The revision comes on the back of February’s $35 billion Ras Al Hekma deal led by ADQ, the Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company, followed by an expanded $8 billion financial support package in March from the IMF.

Egypt is now counting on an Israel-Hamas peace deal to resurrect some of the stalled developments that would allow the country to hit its tourism targets.

“We are looking at a 20% to 25% increase in [tourism] numbers, which have been affected by the geopolitical events in the region. Once a peace deal is declared, we can come back to our targets,” Shalaby said, which includes more than doubling their room inventory, from the current 222,716 key to 500,000 in less than five years.

“The IMF package has also earmarked 50 billion Egyptian pounds ($1 billion) of support to the travel sector in terms of loans, with a target in place to finalise a lot of tourism projects that had been announced earlier,” she continued. “These projects could also be target for new investors from the GCC.”

Shalaby added that to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment, Egypt has been offering golden licenses to investors – a one-stop shop granting investors approval to buy or rent land and operate projects without having to secure prior approval from multiple government bodies, along with offering relief on taxes, customs, and imports charges.

(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Daniel Luiz)