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Press Release

Alexandria Business Association Partners with U.S. Consulate General and U.S. Agency for International Development to Host Joint Tourism Conference

October 22, 2012

Alexandria – The Alexandria Business Association (ABA) partnered with the U.S. Consulate General in Alexandria and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on October 21 to host a day-long conference entitled, “White Med: The Future of Tourism in Alexandria and the North Coast.”   Two hundred business owners, government officials, and representatives of the tourism sector in Alexandria attended this event, where industry experts discussed ways to improve traditional site tourism, as well as options for conference centers, cruise line visits, marina development, and expanding into niche markets like green, religious, and health tourism.

Chairman of the Alexandria Business Association Dr. Mohamed Ghatwary said, "Three factors make this conference significant: the timing, given Egypt's recent political and economic events, the focus on the North Coast, because small administrative changes, especially in the sector of marinas and cruises, will yield more tourists, and our cooperation with our friends from the U.S. Consulate and USAID, because together we can greatly impact the tourism sector. Egypt has had a lot of mismanagement in this sector. With the right management of resources and cooperation of these partners, we have the potential to grow economically in the future."

“Tourism obviously holds the great potential to quickly create revenue and jobs…  Alexandria and the North Coast have a rich history and magnificent natural resources to offer tourists,” the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, remarked at the opening of the conference.  “We see four areas to examine in this sector: identifying the infrastructure improvements needed in transportation and facilities to support growth and new jobs in tourism, marketing and branding of the current and future attractions, training a first class workforce to serve tourists, and updating laws and regulations that have hampered development and discouraged investment... I want to restate the U.S. commitment to support and encourage investment. The U.S. stands ready to work with the Egyptian government to attract investors.”

During the conference, participants helped draft several recommendations for Egyptian tourism agencies and officials in the Ministry of Tourism, encouraging these actors to develop new marinas and yacht-specific tourism, facilitate simpler transportation and immigration services for international cruises, enhance marketing of tourism sites in the region, and develop training in the restaurant and hotel sectors, amongst other recommendations.

U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson, ABA Chairman Dr. Mohamed Ghatwary, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism Ahmed El Khadem, U.S. Consul General E. Candace Putnam, Chairman of the Maritime Transport Sector Admiral Sayed Hedaya, and several international experts participated in the conference.