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Is Egypt Set Out to Become a Global Yacht Tourism Destination?

October 15, 2022

There is no place in Egypt untouched by culture and heritage: from the Nile River and the coastal turquoise-blue waters, to temples and tombs, palaces and museums – Egypt is an epicenter of tourism.

Egypt has been increasing its efforts to position itself as an emerging yacht tourism destination. The State Information Services (SIS) underscored that the Mediterranean Sea is considered an important center for yacht tourism globally, where more than 30,000 yachts sail.

In recent years, Egypt has launched several promotional campaigns hoping to stimulate Egypt’s touristic sector. It has been estimated that over EGP 30 million (USD 22 billion) was added to Egypt’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) because of travel and tourism in 2021 alone.

In similar capacity, Egypt has been making plans to position itself as an emerging yacht tourism destination, capitalizing on the yacht tourism plans put forth by the Egyptian government. In early September 2022, the Higher Ministerial Committee developed a strategy to maximize yacht tourism on a global scale, with the aim of attracting foreign yachts to Egypt’s ports.

The unique geographical standpoint

Egypt has a unique geographical location, with coastlines that stretch nearly 2.4 kilometers across the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Its islands are also home to prime diving spots and popular marine sport locations, which position them as attractive tourist destinatinations.

Currently, Egypt has 23 yacht marinas and berths, including Sharm El-Sheikh’s Naama Bay Marina, Taba Heights Marina, which can accommodate up to 50 yachts and provide them with maintenance services as well, El-Gouna’s Abu Tig Marina, and the Hurghada Marina, which can accommodate 188 yachts at a time.

There is also the North Coast’s Porto Marina, which is the first international yacht marina in eastern North Africa and can accommodate over 1.4 thousand yachts, and Marassi Marina, the latest addition, which can accommodate over 260 yachts. The state is working to build more marinas, including an international port in New Alamein.

Egypt also plans on establishing its first yacht ‘green marina’ powered by renewable energy, planned on an area of 25,000 square meters, with the capacity to accommodate 65 yachts. Osama Rabie, Chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority, explained that there are three yacht marinas in the course of the canal, including Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez.

The governmental efforts standpoint

The Ministry of Transport launched its first digital platform to manage, develop, and issue the necessary approval and permits for yachts. Through the digital platform, yacht owners can submit the necessary documents, pay a fixed fee on state-owned berths, receive invoices, and more.

The new regulations set daily docking fees at USD 4 to 14 per meter length of the yacht, with longer yachts paying more per meter. The fees are applicable to yachts 10 meters long and above.

The Ministry of Transport is also coordinating with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities the launch of a marketing campaign to advertise touristic ports and marinas to boost yacht tourism.

The clientele standpoint

Photo Credit: Square Space

Egypt is home to a sizable yachting community. From an economic standpoint, yacht tourism is a source of foriegn exchange inflows.

According to former Minister of Tourism, Khaled El Anany, yacht tourists spend on average 94 percent more than the average tourist.

Some of the most popular yacht tourism destinations around the world include Croatian islands, Greek Isles, St. Tropez and the Caribbean. What unites all these beautiful destinations is their turquoise waters and secluded beaches, and Egypt offers an array of such picturesque spots. With governmental efforts, associated economic benefits, and its unique geographical location, Egypt is on the road to becoming a global yachting destination in the future.

Every corner in Egypt houses distinct types of tourist destinations, such as spiritual and religious tourism, cultural and archaeological tourism, and resort and desert tourism. Egypt stands as an attractive destination for foreigners and locals alike.

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