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Senzo Club: Breathing New Life Into the Red Sea Through Sports Tourism

Senzo Club: Breathing New Life Into the Red Sea Through Sports Tourism

senzoclub

Last weekend, Senzo Sporting Club was opened in Hurghada, on hopes that the 105,000 square meters will revive tourism along Egypt’s Red Sea.

The sports complex, which is only minutes from Hurghada International Airport, aims to attract athletes, both amateur and professionals, locally and globally, to use the sports club facilities in tournaments and seasonal training camps.

“I can promise you that this enterprise will be one of the Red Sea’s major attractions,” owner of Senzo Club Kamel Abu Ali told Egyptian Streets.

Ibrahim Abu Ashra, Egyptian Swiss Company’s CEO, stressed that tourism is no longer limited to visiting ancient ruins. Instead, the new global trend is to link tourism with sports as majority of people prefer to spend holidays and leisure time to exercise or watch aspects of sports activity in developed countries.

An investment of EGP 350 million was put into four swimming pools and three soccer fields, handball, squash, volleyball, and tennis courts, three multi-purpose racetracks, as well as a snack bar, a children’s area, and an amphitheater.

Captian Abdelrahman Soliman, who supervised the workouts of about fifty players throughout the opening day, said that the club is one of the best he has ever seen.

“Nothing is missing [in the club]. They tried to gather everything in one place,” the trainer said.

Although Soliman thinks that the club will depend upon Hurghada’s inhabitants and tourists, and that it would be hard for people to come from Cairo to there weekend, he expressed willingness to train in the club if asked.

The second phase of the club, which is to be completed by the end of 2016, consists of a hotel to serve campsites, including the national teams and clubs, as well as a global medical health center.

When the second phase is done and the stadium is built, the club will encourage European teams to come and train here in winter like they do in Dubai and other countries, Abu Ali said.

The owner hopes that next winter the club will host four European teams.

“Training here will be good marketing for tourism, and this is our main target,” he said.

The idea started two years ago, and it took around a year and a half to be implemented.

“We had hoped to finish it sooner, but the last six month’s incidents that took place in Egypt affected us,” stated Abu Ali.

Red Sea governor Ahmed Abdelrahman told Egyptian Streets that the absence of the Russian tourists affected the occupancy ratio.

“The club is a new addition to the Red Sea area because we were missing the sports tourism field,” Abdelrahman said.

Three international tournaments were held in Hurghada in the past ten days, starting with the World Karate Championships and the World Equestrian Games, and ending with the World Open Squash Championship, the governor pointed out.

“All these tournaments were covered by world media which enhanced the image of Egypt abroad showing the truth about the Egyptian situation regarding the safety of our resorts,” Abdelrahman said, adding that “all the tourists that visit us praise our security situation”.

Abu Ali asserted that the project faced no problems with the government, and that the paperwork was finished smoothly.

“The project should inspire the government to build and innovate things that help our country,” the businessman believes.

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@AyaNaderM

Aya Nader is an independent journalist based in Egypt, published in Open Democracy, Daily News Egypt, The National, and Al-Monitor, among others. She is an MA candidate in International Relations at the American University in Cairo.

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