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Soft power, investment, and tourism promotion: Egypt transforms into hosting hub for major tournaments - Daily News Egypt

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Soft power, investment, and tourism promotion: Egypt transforms into hosting hub for major tournaments

Country is set to organise and host 31 major tournaments in 2021

Egypt has recently succeeded in grabbing the world’s attention and gained the confidence of international sporting federations and regional organisations.

This is in large part thanks to its repeated success in hosting major sporting tournaments and events at the regional and global levels. This has brought significant investment returns to the country, in addition to the soft power gained from its success in organising these tournaments.

Egypt has also undertaken large-scale promotion at the tourism level, despite the difficult conditions caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has seen sport tournaments and events cancelled worldwide.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy has said that Egypt has been witnessing a major boom in the recent period in terms of hosting major tournaments. This is largely due to the renovations and development of the country’s sports facilities and infrastructure, ensuring increased popularity among tourists. The efforts have also ensured that a positive image of Egypt is presented abroad.

The minister added that Egypt will host 31 regional and international tournaments during 2021, the first of which was the recently held, and highly successful, 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship.

The event, which took place across several sport facilities in Cairo and Alexandria, saw 32 teams participate, the first time such a large number of teams took part in the tournament’s history. The last World Men’s Handball Championship was attended by only 24 teams, and was jointly hosed by Germany and Denmark.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy

Sobhy emphasised that Egypt’s successful hosting of the World Handball Championship has had a global resonance. The minister also noted that it proves a strong indicator of Egypt’s ability to organise major sporting events, even under the exceptional circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In 2021, Egypt is also set to host the World Youth Fencing Championship, the World Cup for Artistic Gymnastics, and the modern pentathlon.

Sobhy told Daily News Egypt that Egypt is preparing to host several other events, including the 2021 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championship. Work on the track at the Cairo International Stadium was recently re-started, having been on hiatus since 1992, and has already been completed. The EGP 27m track is set to be formally opened in a major event in the near future.

Sobhy pointed out that Egypt has become one of the best countries in the world to attract international sporting events, due to its distinguished sport infrastructure that have been constructed according to international specifications.

Egypt’s experience in hosting the 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship was well received and praised internationally. The tournament’s next hosts, Poland and Sweden, have requested coordination and joint cooperation with Egypt, especially in exchanging experiences and benefiting from Egyptian expertise in organising such an event.

Egypt hosted 61 official tournaments during 2019, in which more than 100,000 participants from 94 countries participated. The most prominent of these was the African Nations Cup for both the first team and under-23 years, which resulted in great returns on the sports and tourism level of more than one million tourist nights.

In 2020, Egypt hosted 11 world and regional championships, despite the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus. However, as with other tournaments worldwide, Egypt was affected by the global health crisis.

These achievements and efforts during the last period resulted in improving Egypt’s ranking in the global and international competitiveness indicators related to sport.

In 2019, Egypt ranked 38 out of 90 countries on the index for global sporting impact issued by Sportcal, and came in 56th position among the 205 countries in the International Sports Index issued by Live Football Tickets.

A total of six Egyptian cities have improved on their ranking in the cities index for global sporting impact. Cairo, Hurghada, Alexandria, Luxor, Sharm El-Sheikh, and El Gouna came in first place at the level of Africa and the Arab world and ranked 72 globally out of 608 cities around the world. Egypt came in 29th place out of 140 countries in the global index for the availability of huge stadiums with a capacity of 20,000 seats or more.

Hotel occupancy during World Cup will reach 4,000 tourist nights: Shooting Federation Head

Egypt is set to hold the 2021 ISSF World Cup Shotgun from 22 February to 5 March, at the Egyptian Shooting Club in 6th of October City.

Hazem Hosni, head of the Egyptian and African Shooting Federations, said that the tournament is the first to be held after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He added that the tournament is expected to achieve great popularity for Egypt, with visitors projected to stay for between 3,000 – 4,000 tourist nights during the event.

Hosni said that there will be 400 participants in the tournament, including players, administrators, and technicians. They represent 31 countries, namely: Argentina; Armenia; Spain; France; Denmark; Germany; India; Kazakhstan; Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Lebanon; South Africa; the Netherlands; Qatar; Russia; Sweden; Slovakia; the US; the UAE; Senegal; Ukraine; Canada; Croatia; the Czech Republic; England; Ireland; Luxembourg; Libya; Norway; Poland; Sudan; in addition to Egypt.

Hazem Hosni, head of the Egyptian and African Shooting Federations
Hazem Hosni

He also said that the championship gives shooters points that are added to their balance and affect their ranking in the posts and the classification. This in turn boosts their interest in participating in the tournament, as it provides technical friction in preparation for participation in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, in which Egypt will participate with a team of 12 players of both genders.

Hosni added that the government, represented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, is working to overcome all obstacles in order to hold the 2021 World Cup Shotgun on time. The ministry is also working to provide all capabilities to host 30 teams, in addition to Egypt, according to strict medical precautionary measures for all participants.

5 hotels to host 1,000 players from 80 countries at World Fencing Championship

Abdel Moneim Al-Husseini, President of the Egyptian Fencing Federation, said that Egypt will organise the 2021 World Cup for youth and juniors from 3-11 April.

The event will take place at the Cairo International Stadium, with the participation of at least 80 countries. This compares to the participation at previous versions of the tournament, which saw 95 countries take part.

The slightly lower downturn is due to the circumstances caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Al-Husseini added that hotel rooms have been reserved for 1,300 players, although it is expected that the number may be 1,000 due to the current circumstances. Five hotels in the Heliopolis district of Cairo have been chosen to host the players.

He said that holding the entire tournament at the Cairo International Stadium aims to facilitate control of the “medical bubble” system, and shorten the trip between the hotels and the stadium. This means less time take and less potential for contact, with the only difficulty being that participants will be in one place at the event.

He mentioned that the success of organising the World Men’s Handball Championship is the main reason for holding the fencing world’s equivalent tournament. Without the assurances of excellent organisation, as seen with the handball event, the International Fencing Federation would have chosen to postpone or transfer the tournament.

“A technical delegation from the International Federation, consisting of two individuals, will be in Cairo from 10 to 13 February, to inspect the halls at the Cairo International Stadium, to determine the locations of the stadiums at which the tournament will be held, and to divide the locations of the players,” Al-Husseini said, “After that, a delegation of three senior officials from the Federation will attend on 27 February to find out the final form of organisation.”

He added that the tournament will see significant benefit from the infrastructure that has already been built, which means that there is no financial cost for the upcoming competition.

Abdel Moneim Al-Husseini, President of the Egyptian Fencing Federation
Abdel Moneim Al-Husseini

He noted that, after obtaining the approval from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the contract was renewed with Absolute Fencing Gear, the largest arms company in the US and one of the sponsors of the Egyptian Fencing Federation for the last three years.

Under the contract, which was renewed following the previous contract’s having come to an end on 31 December, the Egyptian Fencing Federation will receive EGP 500,000 worth of tools which will arrive within a period of 30 to 40 days.

The competitions will be held at 49 halls, 29 of which will be set aside are for competitions, and 20 for training will be distributed in two halls equally.

He explained that one of the federation’s main sponsors for the championships is the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), with the contract set to expire at the end of March. The contract is being renewed this current period.

Another sponsor is the TIMA Sport Apparel Company, with further work being carried out to attract more sponsors.

Al-Husseini expects that there will be a large number of sponsors at the tournament, after the success achieved in sponsoring the World Men’s Handball Championship. On Time Sports will broadcast the championship.

He mentioned that it is natural that there are no subsidies from the International Fencing Federation in organising tournaments. Following a long hiatus of activity, due to the coronavirus pandemic, international fencing events will return from the beginning of March with a tournament in Hungary, followed by tournaments in Russia and Qatar.

The federation will provide each organising country SF 300,000. But as for Egypt, the amount that the International Federation will provide has not yet been decided.

Al-Husseini confirmed that he has submitted the tournament’s budget to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and coordination is underway on some matters related to its clauses before approval. But if Egypt receives the same amount that the International Fencing Federation granted Hungary, Russia, and Qatar, the tournament will achieve great financial returns.

He added that Egypt has recently succeeded in becoming a centre for hosting major tournaments, as sport is a soft power through which it is possible to indirectly promote tourism. This surge in visitor numbers was seen as a result of the recent handball championships, which may be a calculated risk and carefully studied, avoiding mistakes and achieving success.

In addition, there are long-term investments in the basic infrastructure that Egypt needed. Since 1993, there have been no new sport facilities built in the country. With regard to the organisation itself, there are expenditures as well as revenues for tourism, through the presence of players and stars sharing their photos through social media platforms.

Al-Husseini added that the sources of revenue in the World Youth Fencing Championship are the subscriptions of players and sponsors, and it can be said that the last fencing tournaments organised by the federation did not produce any financial loss.

There are tournaments that achieved financial profits of in the millions, including small tournaments whose profits reached EGP 500,000.

Al-Husseini also said that the stadiums that will be purchased for April’s tournament will also be used in the World Cup for adults next year, which means that the next tournament will have more revenue after the great savings that will occur in expenses.

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