Large scale project to convert local area into international destination
CAIRO: The M.A. Kharafi Group is set to invest $1.2 billion in the local Red Sea area of Marsa Alam to create the international destination resort of Port Ghalib.
The group’s aim is to create a resort community that will be comprised of nine villages and boast 24 hotels, an international marina, conference center, residential properties and of course the requisite 18-hole golf course. All this is being built over an area of 8 million sq km. The Kharafi Group owns a total area of 26 million sq km in the area, including 18 km of virgin shoreline.
Part of this mass transformation of the area involves the building of a great amount of infrastructure, not least the Marsa Alam airport, one of the few private airports in Egypt, also built and owned by the Kharafi Group. A sum of $150 million has been relegated to the relevant infrastructure needed to sustain the project.
The Kharafi Group invited members of the press to visit Marsa Alam airport and Port Ghalib. Also in attendance was Minister of Civil Aviation Ahmed Shafiq. After a tour of the airport, a press conference was held before another tour, this time of Port Ghalib.
Head of operations in Egypt and Kharafi Group Vice President Loay Jassim Al-Kharafi said that 24,000 jobs had been created in the area so far as a result of the projects, and estimated that eventually the number would reach 60,000. He added that the building of the Marsa Alam airport five years ago was integral to the rest of the project and the infrastructure needed for Marsa Alam. The airport catered to 500,000 passengers this year, and 4 million are expected by the year 2020. Al-Kharafi added, “Marsa Alam airport is the first airport built with cooperation between the public and private sectors.
CEO of the Kharafi Group in Egypt Jim Pringle said, “The Port Ghalib project was made possible by the building of the airport. The initial investment was $50 million, which led to the $1.2 billion project of Port Ghalib. With further investments in the airport, the initial figure has risen to $90 million, and $175 million overall with utility infrastructure investments included.
Still in the initial building phase (the official opening is scheduled for October 2007), it is quite evident that Port Ghalib is an ambitious project. It is bigger than the average Red Sea resort. A yacht is already anchored at the marina. Of the 24 hotels to be built, the Coral Beach Diving Hotel is already up and running, sporting tourists lounging by the pool. A further three hotels are already being built by Sun International, a tourism group with resorts around Africa, which will also build the conference center. Administrative and staff buildings are already on the ground. Digging has begun on the sporting club, an immense expanse that will include all manner of facilities.
Port Ghalib aims to be a destination catering for an exclusive, mostly international clientele, whether Western or from the Gulf region. Residential apartments have been available on the market since October and will be ready for occupation by January. The resort boasts 8,200 units and 1,200 timeshare beds. The price of the apartments ranges from $2,800-$3,600 per sq m, depending on proximity to the marina. Land is also available for villas.