22 February 2024 12:14 AM

The “Rewarding Investments in Facility Management in Cultural Heritage Sites” Tourism Forum

Tuesday، 28 November 2023 - 12:00 AM

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MOTA) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted the “Rewarding Investments in Facility Management in Cultural Heritage Sites” Tourism Forum in Cairo on Tuesday 28/11/2023.

The forum was attended by investors and partners interested in investing in services at archaeological sites, in addition to development partners and donors interested in contributing to the restoration and preservation of heritage.

Activities

Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa inaugurated the opening session of the forum, in the presence of Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Major General Hisham Amna, Minister of Local Development, and Major General Khaled Abdel-Al, Governor of Cairo.

The opening session witnessed the participation of Dr. Ziad Bahaa El-Din, former Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Policy Advisor for the Integrated Management of Cultural Tourism IMCT Project, Dr. Laila Iskandar, former Minister of Environment, and a number of ambassadors of foreign countries in Egypt, including the ambassadors of Greece, Italy, and Kazakhstan, and the cultural advisor to the Embassy of the United States of America. In Cairo, and representatives of various embassies, including Germany and China.

It also featured the participation of Dr. Ziad Bahaa El-Din, former Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Policy Advisor for the Integrated Management of Cultural Tourism IMCT Project, Dr. Laila Iskandar, former Minister of Environment, and a number of ambassadors of foreign countries in Egypt, including the ambassadors of Greece, Italy, and Kazakhstan, and the cultural advisor to the Embassy of the United States of America in Cairo, and representatives of various embassies, including Germany and China.

Also, Mr. Sean Jones, Director of the Mission of the United States Agency for International Development in Egypt (USAID), and Mr. Olivier Messmer, Director of the Integrated Management of Cultural Tourism Project (IMCT), participated in the opening session.

This is in addition to a number of leaders of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, heads of its affiliated bodies, assistants and advisors to the Minister, and heads of its central departments and directors.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa delivered an opening speech, in which he expressed his happiness for participating in this forum.

He said the forum is for investing in services in archaeological and heritage areas, and rehabilitating and exploiting some areas to provide investment opportunities.

Issa added: “It offers huge opportunities for investment in Egypt to provide a unique experience for all tourists interested in cultural heritage. It also develops investment by the private sector in the tourism industry.”

Issa said his ministry has many partnerships with the private sector to provide and operate services in important archaeological sites such as the Giza Plateau and the Grand Egyptian Museum.

He pointed out that the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) has 2,000 archaeological sites throughout the country, of which only 130 are open to the public. There are 40 museums, of which only 30 are open.

He said: “Therefore, we have ample scope for co-operation as we entrust the private sector with the management and operation of services.”

Issa noted that the forum will highlight the successful model of partnership with the Integrated Management of Cultural Tourism (IMCT) project, which is funded by the USAID with $13 million, it is implemented by a group of local and international companies under the supervision of the Ministry.

Issa said: “This project has worked with the Ministry over the past three years to simplify the legislative and regulatory environment and develop models for public-private partnerships in the field of investment in services in archaeological areas.”

He added that in addition to developing adaptable reuse plans for sites that would allow investors to establish businesses in historic sites and integrate local communities.

He pointed out that the project has identified 11 sites in Historic Cairo and Luxor, and the project is working to rehabilitate them to be ready when concluding upcoming partnerships with the private sector.

He also announced that, during the forum, about 20 other sites that were rehabilitated by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), will be presented for investment through the Ministry.

For her part, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, stressed that tourism investment is one of the most important investment models, as it includes the elements of investment in human capital and investment in resources, with the aim of increasing the state’s revenues and encouraging and supporting all businesses that enter into this field.

In his speech, Major General Hisham Amna, Minister of Local Development, expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for his invitation to participate in this great event, as this forum represents an important platform for exchanging information and strengthening ties of trust between investors, Egyptian government officials and donors, and a tool for advancing relevant policies by enhancing the investment environment and climate in the field of cultural tourism.

USAID Egypt mission director Sean Jones said the US government, through USAID, acknowledges the significance of tourism in bolstering Egypt’s economy, generating millions of jobs, and attracting vital foreign currency.

Jones said: “In Historic Cairo, USAID is partnering with MOTA to develop a portfolio of investable properties.”

He also said: “Historic Cairo is part of Egypt’s broader cultural tourism investment portfolio which, if developed to its full potential, will help the country keep pace with global tourism competitors.”

The goal, he added, is to catalyse private investment and bring tangible, sustainable benefits to the Government of Egypt, private sector partners, and communities for generations to come.

Jones noted that since 1995, the United States Government has invested over $120 million to conserve Egypt’s monuments and masterpieces.

He pointed out that the two governments work together to identify significant sites throughout Historic Cairo and Luxor’s West Bank for adaptive reuse strategies, revitalising these locations while preserving their unique characteristics.

He said: “This process includes comprehensive collaboration and discourse with the community, restoration specialists, and the private sector.

He added: “The goal is for these locations to flourish as hubs for cultural exchange, social interaction, and economic development.”

During the forum's activities, Minister Ahmed Issa inspected the pavilion that was set up on the sidelines of the forum.

The pavilion comprised a number of artists and craftsmen from the local community in the Darb Al-Ahmar region, who were trained and qualified within the framework of the project and under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.


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