The Tourism Development Authority (TDA), the Ministry of Tourism’s economic arm, has postponed offering lands to investors in the North Coast area this year, according to a TDA official.
The TDA official added that the general plan is yet to be finalised.
According to the official, who requested anonymity, the plan is facing obstacles related to tourism investment in the region. This comes in light of the urban buildings and appropriation by Bedouins in the region, along the North and West Coast.
TDA CEO Serag El Din Saad had previously told Daily News Egypt that developing the region relied on the necessity of integration between the different ministries.
The official said: “The executive entities, including the Ministry of Tourism and Matruh Governorate, held more than one meeting in the past two months to study the situation. They settled on the importance of including all the local society to benefit from the region development, to be a developmental partner.”
Hotel capacity in the North Coast area now stands at 3,000 rooms, according to the official, who added that many of the region’s projects expand in establishing tourism units.
According to Saad, TDA aims to develop the region to be integrated, in light of the huge capabilities, adding that the authority prefers to start with hotel projects, tourism housing units, and then entertainment and service projects.
Former minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou said in statements that the ministry targets offering lands in the North Coast by the end of 2014 in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing.
“I paid more than EGP 300,000 for each acre to resolve issues with Bedouins in the region, even though I purchased the land from the Ministry of Tourism,” said an investor who preferred to remain anonymous.
He added that land appropriation is one of the biggest obstacles facing investors in the region, in addition to slums which are near the tourism communities.
He pointed out that slums have been increasingly spread near resorts in the recent period, and investors cannot conflict with Bedouins because it would mean overstepping assets.
These tourist investors pay Bedouins money to protect their assets, according to the investors, in fear of overstepping the assets or stealing them. These amounts of money vary from one resort to another.
The TDA has proposed lands in the Red Sea and South Sinai in the last year. The TDA, however, hopes to propose 10m sqm of land in South Sinai and Red Sea by the end of this year. However, the official said that no projects in the North Coast will be in the proposed lands until the blue print of developing the area is finished.
The official believes that most of the lands that are expected to be offered by the end of this year would be in the Red Sea. They are extra areas of already established projects, taking place behind these projects, which increases the added value of the lands and the projects.
“Proposing the rear areas of the already existing projects means not expanding in the investment opportunities in the front areas that are directly overlooking the sea, which increases the state’s income in the future, with the possibility of increasing the price of the metre when the current projects complete,” according to the official in TDA.