Last weekend Hurghada Marina, a project that has been in the works for the past 10 years, celebrated its grand opening complete with a fireworks display and performances by two local and four international bands.
The new marina is being touted as an agent of change for the Red Sea holiday destination, which in the past has been viewed as sub par when compared to the reigning queen of Red Sea resorts, Sharm El-Sheikh.
“It will give us an opportunity to compete with the Sharm tourism on an even playing field. There was quite a big gap between what Sharm has to offer tourists and what Hurghada has to offer, and I think that Hurghada Marina definitely bridges that gap, if not surpasses it, said Paul Evans, managing director of Solutions – Red Sea.
Evans and his team took over the sales, marketing and advertising rights of Hurghada Marina just three months ago, and have since sold nearly all 8,000 square meters of the available retail space.
Evans also spoke of possible expansion plans in the future for Hurghada Marina.
Solutions – Red Sea also owns the franchise for Hed Kandi Egypt and Ministry of Sound Egypt, two well-known names in the world of house and techno music.
The grand opening kicked off Friday night with live music performances that were occasionally interrupted by screams coming from adventure-seekers riding Egypt’s only Rocket Bungee – a thrill ride located beside the Marina’s entrance that can only be described as a tamer version of bungee jumping.
European street performers – including human statues, stilt walkers and break dancers – entertained visitors along the 120 square meter strip that lines the Red Sea.
The opening was followed by an after party at Hurghada’s Ministry of Sound, which reportedly kept pumping until 7 am.
Nile FM’s DJ Carlos was just one of the DJ’s spinning for the international crowd, which numbered over 1,000.
When complete, Hurghada Marina will boast 180 apartments, a small hotel, close to 100 shops, international restaurants, cafes and bars, and the Marina itself, which was full of yachts from Egypt and abroad at the opening.
All apartments in the complex have already been sold.
Additionally, Hed Kandi Beach Bar is planning on moving from its location in downtown Hurghada to the Marina sometime this July, another step in the strategic relationship Solutions – Red Sea has facilitated among the Hurghada Marina, Hed Kandi Egypt and the Ministry of Sound Egypt.
Hed Kandi Beach Bar is the only beach bar in the world owned by the famous house music record label, and Evans is sure that it will be one of the most attractive elements of Hurghada Marina for tourists.
Although Hed Kandi and the Ministry of Sound are renowned worldwide for being synonymous with clubbing and partying, Evans doesn’t want the party scene to be the prevailing undercurrent at Hurghada Marina.
He says the Marina has something to offer everyone and will be a holiday locale for the whole family.
“If you are a tourist or a local living and working in Egypt or on holiday. whatever they really want to do, they’ll find when they get here, he said. Approximately 20,000 guests came to Friday night’s opening celebration, but keeping the number of visitors up will be the challenge.
According to Evans, the key will be creating partnerships with all-inclusive hotels in the area that won’t lose money by encouraging guests to eat at the Marina’s restaurants, drink at its bars and enjoy the entertainment on offer.
Yet, the possibility of people not wanting to leave the comfort of their hotels to go to Hurghada Marina does not worry Evans. “I’ve always been able to believe that if you build it, the people will come, irrespective of how far it is, he said.
Long-time Hurghada resident, Cairo-born Ahmed Shaker, praised the new marina and felt that it is a positive addition to his adoptive home.
“This will add value to tourism in general, having these yachts all around, it’s a very nice view. It will attract another kind of tourist and guest, Shaker said Saturday night during the grand opening festivities.
Only time will tell whether the Marina will keep up the success that it generated during the grand opening and if it will succeed in changing Hurghada’s image. However, if the confidence of the Solutions – Red Sea crew is on target, Hurghada is going to experience a new kind of development in the months to come.