MEO had the pleasure, to conduct an interview with Mr. Samy Soliman, President of Investors Association in Taba and Nuweiba.
Can you tell us more about the investors association in Taba and Nuweiba?
Well we are an organised entity that includes several investors who have got investment projects in South Sinai, Nuweiba and Taba.
How do you regard the strategic importance of the South Sinai zone?
There is no doubt that South Sinai is Egypt’s strategic border and it is actually a very significant area that deserves more attention. Nuweiba is also a very important area, as it is located in a central area in relation to Dahab, Sharm El Sheik and Cairo, this makes it a very strategic zone.
It is also a very fertile land; Wadi Watir in Nuweiba might be the most fertile area that receives rainwater every season. It also has Nuweiba harbor, which is very strategic as well. Safari and diving activities might be the most common touristic activities in the South Sinai area.
In your opinion, what were the most successful tourism projects that took place in Egypt?
In my opinion, El Gouna is one of the most successful tourism projects that took place in Egypt. It is a very well studied project, a place where all the facilities of a good lifestyle is present. Big hotel chains, perfect weather, perfect use of natural resources, good use of solar energy, [along with] available health and educational facilities have made El Gouna a very successful example that must be duplicated.
What is your opinion about choosing Sharm El Sheik to hold the World Youth Forum?
It was a good choice, Sharm el Sheik is a big city; with a big number of hotels, a very secure area as well, with an international airport. However, I believe there must be more attention given to infrastructure and establishing roads and large high ways around Sharm el Sheik.
How can we fasten the procedures of removing the bans that the United Kingdom and Germany forced on trips to Egypt?
Well, I believe this is a purely political matter; however certain projects could be held to encourage them to come and visit and perceive Egypt as a safe country.
For example, we must invite more famous British and German singers and artists and organise concerts in Egypt.
Is Internal tourism a temporary solution to solve tourism crises?
Well I have done several initiatives, related to internal tourism; for sure it is important. We need to make more tourism initiatives tailored to various categories in Egypt. Furthermore, university students must be encouraged to visit various touristic spots in Egypt.
Internal tourism has a positive impact on the tourism sector, however it cannot solve a crisis as we need foreign currencies and this can only be accomplished through tourists coming from abroad to visit.
Are there current significant projects in the South Sinai area?
Well we are constantly working and communicating with the Egyptian Ministry of Investment; we called for establishing a free zone by Nuweiba harbor.
We are also calling for having an international airport in Nuweiba and expanding Taba airport.
There is a very significant point I would like to stress on it, which is the role of the media; media needs to stop promoting Sinai, as a dangerous area. We need to stop the negative promotion.
I also believe that the national banks of Egypt must design special programmes tailored to the tourism sector in Egypt.
In your opinion, how can we best develop the tourism sector in Egypt?
I believe that the sector will only flourish when the different ministries and parties collabourate to work together; it is not only the duty of the ministry of tourism; the ministry of interior has a role, ministry of antiquities, ministry of transportation has other vital roles; it is a circle that must be completed and worked upon.
What can be done to develop one of the most significant touristic destinations in Egypt, the Pyramids?
I believe, this area did really suffer from neglect for a very long time; all the services and facilities around the pyramids area need to be developed. There is also an idea I have previously suggested, which is opening the touristic spots in the afternoon; in the afternoon, there are fewer visitors; tourists will be able to enjoy the sights more. Streets will be prepared and cleaned to receive the tourists.
Strict laws must be applied as well against any violations.
This idea can be applied as well in the Egyptian museum, as this area is full of hotels, and many tourists, with late flights, coming to Egypt stay in these hotels; so why not give them the chance to enjoy night tours.