Egypt: an Oasis in the credit crunch climate
As the world experiences credit crunch, Egypt's coastal resorts are an oasis in the midst. Low property prices offer investors an affordable entry point and combined with its position outside of the euro zone makes it a very attractive emerging real estate market to consider.
Its physical location too means that it is a prime winter sun destination giving the country year round tourism appeal. As the arid credit crunch continues what does this mean for one of the world's most ancient civilisations?
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) saw a steady growth of tourism in Egypt in 2007 and in a recent report has stated that the expected growth for the travel and tourism economy for the country in 2008 is expected to be 5.5%. Experience International is a leading specialist in emerging property markets such as Egypt. They have seen an increasing number of people taking the step and investing in its strong economy, its stable political system and stable currency. Steve Worboys, Director of Experience International says:
"Egypt is a modern state and as a country we have seen it grow as a tourist destination over many years due to its rich history and unique attractions such as the pyramids; now though people are increasingly seeing its potential as a place of investment for both remuneration purposes and the fact that it is a year round holiday destination."
The increase in the number of visitors to Egypt has boosted the country as a whole with the travel and tourism sector seeing rapid growth. The WTTC reports that it expects to see a rise in the number of people employed as a direct result of tourism in Egypt, hitting a record of 1 in every 6.9 jobs by 2018. Currently the figure is 1 in 7.4 jobs with 2,833,000 people being employed in the tourism sector.
In a recent article published on Arabianbusiness.com Ahmed El-Nahas the chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) commented on Egypt's current position: "The past couple of years have been very positive for Egypt. We have seen a major increase in tourist arrivals. In 2006, we had over 9 million tourists visit Egypt. The plan was an annual increase of 1 million, which was surpassed in 2007 when the arrival figures reached 11 million tourists. The ongoing efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourist Authority will hopefully reap 14 million tourist arrivals by the end of 2008."
It is not just the tourism sectors that have seen positive shifts in position. The Jones Lang LaSalle's most recent report, Global Real Estate Transparency Index, shows that Egypt is now 59th out of the 82 countries and in the top 10 most improved countries around the world; which is a significant achievement. Its practices, integrity and the opportunities available to investors to get a good deal have all been factors in its move up the table. Steve Worboys goes onto to say: "According to the WTTC Egypt is 17th in long-term growth and as more developers and companies look to invest there we at Experience International expect to see a significant increase in those looking to purchase property."
As well as Egypt's continuous economic growth one of its fundamental appeals is its year round visitor appeal. Egypt sees a mere 80mm of rain a year and even the winter temperatures stay around a very comfortable 22c to 31c. The sea is also still warm during the winter months which is good for the thriving water sports that resorts such as Oasis Marina in Hurghada host. Located in the fast developing Al Ahyaa district to the north of Hurghada, just 3km from the luxury resort of El Gouna, famed for its lagoons, marina and PGA Championship golf course Oasis Marina is situated on the Red Sea Riviera with 50,000 metre squared of beach front. Steve Worboys concludes: "With a diving and aqua centre, beach club and state of the art spa centre Oasis Marina boasts fantastic facilities in a thriving area."
As the UK dries up in financial uncertainty, springs are forming in the Egyptian property market and this is something that Andy Parkin an investor in Oasis Marina testifies to: "I first visited Egypt back in 2005 and was intrigued by the culture and history of the country. I found the people really friendly and I bought a book that not only expanded my mind on the country as a whole but gave me a good overview of the potential the country has as an emerging market." Andy goes onto say: "The fact the government are investing inwardly is a good sign to me that the expansion of the tourist and property market is no short term plan. I look forward to using the property myself as well as reaping the rewards in making such an investment."