Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, is making preparations to host the Mediterranean Travel Fair next month. A major power in the international tourism industry, Egypt received 8.6 million global visitors in 2005, a number which is expected to increase by 10 percent in 2006.
Amir Fahim, a board member of the Egyptian Travel Writers Association, said: ‘Last year’s event was a fantastic success showcasing the best of the Mediterranean. We have 33 countries being represented at this year’s Travel Fair in Cairo and are confident of further enhancing the excellent reputation of the area.’
The Mediterranean as a region is currently the world’s largest tourism market, claiming millions of visitors each year. Egypt has about 1,000 kilometres of pristine shoreline along the Mediterranean, stretching from Libya, across the Sinai Peninsula until its border with Palestine.
‘We are very proud to host this year’s Mediterranean Travel Fair,’ said Ahmed El Khadem, Chairman of the Egypt Tourist Authority.
‘Egypt has one of the longest-standing legacies of tourism in the world, and in such an important region. We have 1,000 kilometres of what are arguably the most beautiful beaches found anywhere, so for us to host such an event will help reveal to the world the diversity of Egyptian tourism in a region consumed by travellers.’
Famed for its rich history, its ancient Nile River, and the spectacular beaches and coral reefs found along the Red Sea, Egypt is stepping up its efforts to include its Mediterranean shores as a primary attraction to draw visitors to the country.
Until now Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, called Sahel Shimali in Arabic, is regarded as the 500 kilometre shoreline spanning from the resort town of Agami just west of Alexandria, until the remote village of Marsa Matrouh approaching the Libyan border. Historically frequented by Egyptians living in Cairo and Alexandria looking to cool off during the summer months, the white, sandy beaches and blue turquoise waters are now looking to attract Arab and European visitors seeking year round sun and relaxation.
Helping to drive the development of Egypt’s North Coast are new access points including international airports and marinas. In March 2005 El Alamein international airport opened and has been receiving a steady flow of tourists since. The airport, which is privately owned and managed by the International Company for Airports (ICA) under a 50 year build, operate and transfer (BOT) concession is expected to be operating at three-times its current rate within the coming year.
This year’s Mediterranean Travel Fair will be held at the Cairo Convention and Exhibition Centre from September 5-7 with more than 1,600 leading travel industry professionals expected to attend.