CAIRO: Travco Group, an Egyptian travel leisure group, in partnership with TUI AG, the largest integrated German travel and leisure group, announced the inauguration of the Almaza Beach Resort on May 30, the first of five hotels that will be launched as part of Almaza Bay Resort, a mega tourism project developed by the two companies in Marsa Matrouh, under the auspices of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Minister of Tourism
Tourism has been the lifeline of the economy for decades. The government is keen on developing the industry further, aiming to lure foreign capital by developing an Egyptian tourism brand, capitalizing on working with the domestic tourism market, the government is creating new initiatives to boost the industry.
The Almaza Bay Resort is the first project of its size to be launched in the area following a two-year campaign by the government to turn the North Coast into a prime tourist destination.
“They (the government) truly believe in our cause and are doing the necessary to facilitate our role in promoting tourism to the North Coast area, which is on top of the ministry’s agenda, says Yara Salib, director of marketing and public relations at Travco.
In late 2004, El Maghrabi, who was at the time minister of tourism, signed a number of cooperation protocol with TUI Deutschland, the world’s largest travel conglomerate and leader in the European market, Travco Group, Matrouh Governorate and the Tourism Development Authority, to develop the first international tourist project in the North Coast.
The North Coast, a popular holiday spot for locals, has long been a problem for the government and tourism companies alike, who were unable to attract tourists to the area due to its inaccessibility and lack of hotels and resorts.
However, with the recent launch of Matrouh International Airport, making the area accessible to all tourists and creating greater prospects for inbound tourism year-round, the North Coast is being outfitted to become the next “it destination in Egypt.
“The Mega Tourist Project/Almaza Bay Resort, in addition to Matrouh International Airport, is anticipated to attract tourists from all over the world and we are expecting to compete with other Mediterranean countries like Cyprus and Greece and other similar destinations for the unique characteristics of the resort, says Salib.
According to her, the name Almaza derives from the word “diamond, an accurate appellation for the clean beaches of the area.
“The crystal clear sea water and sandy beaches provide a most unique combination, unmatched by any beach in the Costa del Sol, or the Cote D’Azure or the most beautiful beaches in Italy, says Salib.
This 3 million square meter project will eventually offer a host of facilities, including five resorts, bringing the total capacity of the bay to 2,300 guest rooms, in addition to 1,000 residential and tourist villas. A tennis academy, shopping mall, golf course, spa, horseback riding tracks and movie theater will also be launched to lure tourists to the spot.
According to Salib, the Almaza Bay Resort has already started hosting tourists from Italy, Germany and Belgium, who have scheduled weekly flights throughout the summer.
“The project aims to help tourism flourish in the North Coast all year round and not just as a summer destination, says Hamed El Chiaty, chairman and CEO of Travco Group, the owning company of the project. “Almaza is expected to compete among the rest of the Mediterranean destinations whether in Europe or the Middle East.