The future of Egyptian tourism depends on being part of the “eco-tourism sector,” according to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou. He added that the state should start encouraging the use of clean energy and “green tourism.”
“Cultural tourism makes up about 20% of the tourism market, while beach and entertainment tourism makes up the largest share of the industry. There is a need to introduce the concept of clean energy and encourage tourist facilities to abide by environmental standards, which will help in maintaining some standard level of tourism in the country,” explained Zaazou.
The remarks came during a conference on the future of clean energy in Egypt. The conference was also attended by Dr Laila Iskandar, the Minister of State for Environmental Affairs and Engineer Ahmed Imam, the Minister of Electricity and Energy.
Zazou pointed out that since last year he has been pushing for the rationalisation of energy subsidies. The problem with the current method, he said, lies in government’s failure to differentiate between the consumption of energy by the rich, companies and factories, and the poor, who do not consume much energy.
He added that a mechanism should be put in place with new standards for the subsidisation of energy. This would include implementing new standards for subsidisation to make sure that it is not misused by unintended sectors such as the black market.
Zaazou explained that encouraging the tourism industry to turn to green energy depends on banks providing the needed funding with appropriate interest rates (from 5-6 %.)
Dr Laila Iskandar confirmed that Egypt is facing many challenges in the energy sector, and that the initial plan should be created for the clean energy project. She added that a group of experts dispatched from the German, Belgian and Egyptian governments are working on a study for the project.
“A financial balance is the most important element in providing electrical energy. The Ministry of Electricity is required to pay huge amounts of money to the ministry of petroleum to attain enough energy to operate the countries power plants. The state does not currently have the needed funding,” explained Imam.
Earlier this week, the three ministries signed a protocol concerned with helping Egyptian tourist facilities become “carbon-neutral.” The protocol aims at finding the best mechanism to provide these facilities with renewable energy, which will help, decrease their green house gas emissions.
Translated from Al-Borsa Newspaper