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News: Egypt hits 'hole in one'

Tue, 27 Nov 07

Egypt is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing, most popular emerging golf destinations in the world in terms of the number of international standard courses being developed across the country and in terms of the number of international visitors attracted to the stunning Egyptian golf courses annually...

The World Travel and Tourism Council is predicting almost an 8% rise in tourism arrivals in Egypt in 2007, many of whom are drawn to Egypt’s golfing scene as part of their overall Egyptian holiday experience.

There are already around 16 international standard golf courses currently operational across Egypt - from the incredible Mena House Golf Course which directly overlooks the Pyramids, to the Cascades Golf Resort on the Red Sea which has played host to national and international tournaments - and there are more courses and golf resorts being developed at the current time, particularly along the Red Sea Riviera.

Putting Egypt on the Map

It is the general intention of the investors behind these development projects to attract PGA tour action to Egypt in the coming years, and to firmly place Egypt on the world golf tourism destination map. These financial backers are being supported in their aims and efforts by the pro-business Egyptian government which is keen to embrace golf based tourism as part of its overall plans for broad economic diversification.

A large part of the general attraction of the nation as a golf destination lies in the diversity of courses being created with the signatures of the likes of Fred Couples and Gary Player attached for example - and also in the fact that one can genuinely golf year round and across all four seasons in Egypt.

Other traditional golfing destinations like Scotland and Portugal may have a large market share of European golf tourism already, but according to the very latest Golf Benchmark Survey from KPMG Golf Advisory Services, locations that offer true year round course accessibility such as Egypt are overtaking the more traditional destinations and are likely to become the most popular in the near future.

33% of all golf tour operators surveyed for the KMPG report stated that they expect 'spectacular' growth in the golf travel market over the next 15 years and a further 56% committed to at least an outlook of 'steady' growth which bodes exceptionally well for emerging and popular golf destinations like Egypt.

Huge foreign investment

The Golf Benchmark Survey really highlights the undeniable fact that locations such as Dubai, Turkey and now Egypt are overtaking more traditional destinations as the most rapidly advancing centres for golf based tourism, and it’s not a surprise when you consider the amount of foreign direct investment being received by such ‘emerging’ golf destinations from international backers keen to see the most intensive return on investment possible.

With regards to Egypt in particular, the nation has become a shining light on the world economic stage in recent years thanks to the government’s concerted efforts to attract sustainable investment and transform the country into a desirable business, second home and tourism location.

So successful have the Egyptian government’s plans been to transform the nation economically speaking that the World Bank rated Egypt as the "World's Top Reformer" last month in its ranking of developing economies' efforts to introduce market reforms. Because Egypt rose faster than any other nation, (growth has reached 7.1% according to the very latest government statistics), it was awarded this illustrious title.

Everywhere you look in Egypt the growing economic strength of the nation is evident. And nowhere is this fiscal emergence more obvious than in and around the resorts of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada and El Gouna on the Red Sea Riviera where the most intensive construction work is focused on golf resorts, where the affluent domestic and international set centre to play golf and where Gulf Arab investors in particular have been ploughing significant investment into Egyptian real estate.

Investors eye Red Sea Riviera

According to Tahir Ali, the Managing Director of Egypt Revealed: “It’s Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera where the new money is headed. There have been over 8 courses planned and constructed in recent years in this location and the construction of golf courses and golf based resorts is not at an end. Investors are aware of the fact that golf based tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world and that generally speaking, golf tourists are more affluent, more willing to spend out and more inclined to pay for quality than other form of tourist.”

Individual property investors are also focusing their attentions on the Red Sea Riviera as well, and they are buying into the golf property boom that Egypt is witnessing in direct relation to its emergence as a popular golf holiday hotspot – annual property price increases of 25% have been witnessed in this area of the country and two of the most popular projects currently receiving intense investor focus are the Pyramids 2 Red Sea Resort in Hurghada and Paradise Gardens in Sahl Hasheesh.

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