The World Youth Forum (WYF) is boosting tourism flow to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh which is now hosting hundreds of young people, public figures, leaders, senior officials from all over the world, the forum’s spokesperson Sara Badr said.
“It was a genius decision to hold the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh which is one of the country’s top tourist attractions,” Badr told Egyptian Streets in an interview.
Badr added that the forum is giving a boost to Egypt’s tourism industry “in a creative way”. “It is reinvigorating tourism by gathering people from all across the world in this large event that seeks to create a platform for dialogue among people from different cultures,” said Badr, who is also part of the Presidential Leadership Program (PLP). The program was launched by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in 2015 in order to qualify young people for leadership posts.
The international forum is attended by a total of 3200 participants, 1200 of whom are foreigners from 113 countries. The forum also has 222 speakers, 64 of whom are from foreign nationalities.
Sharm el-Sheikh is one of Egypt’s best tourist destinations, attracting a large number of Russian tourists and representing a huge part of the tourism flow to the country.
According to official figures, Sharm el-Sheikh used to attract four million tourists before the January 25 revolution in 2011.
Badr said that the idea of the forum dawned upon them during the third national youth conference which was held in Ismailia last April. “We presented the idea to President Sisi during the third national conference in Ismailia. It was announced at the fourth national youth conference in Alexandria and from there we started to turn the idea into reality,” she added.
“We then were divided into work groups for the organization of the forum. Some of us were concerned with the content. Some others arranged the invitations for the participants,” Badr said.
The young PLP student also said that they were keen on giving an opportunity to all people from all over the world to take part in the forum without taking into account any political affiliations.
On the budget of the forum, Badr said that the state “did not spend a penny on the organization of the forum”. “The organization of the forum is funded by a group of sponsors, including banks, hotels, EGYPTAIR among others,” she added. “Such sponsoring has made promotional campaigns for Egypt’s tourism for free.”
Badr also expected that the coming national youth conference will be held in an Upper Egyptian governorate as “the country is now very keen on carrying out developmental projects in such region”.