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Egypt launches $1 bln Tourism Investment Fund

In an effort to support the Tourism sector, the private and public sector joined hands to start the Papyrus Tourism Private Equity Fund.

The Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Federation announced the fund yesterday, appointing Cairo Financial Holding (CFH) and Al Ahly for Development & Investment as fund managers, and HVS Global Hospitality Services as a consultant.

“This fund will bring Egypt back onto the global Tourism map,” Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour stated at the launch. Leading by example, the Ministry of Tourism and CFH each already placed EGP50 mln into the fund.

The fund roadshow will begin in July in the Gulf Countries, praising it an alternative solution to Egypt’s Tourism problem.

With an Investment Return Ratio of 25%, the fund’s first priority is supporting “companies that have a good track record, a viable business model, and good management, but have cash flow problems due to too much debt, for instance,” Karim Helal, economic advisor to the Minister of Tourism told Egypt Business Directory. In second place are viable projects which add to the tourism product but ran out of money before they could be completed, followed by complete green fields that provide a new addition to the tourism product offerings, he added.

In order to dodge the ball of fear of foreign investment in the Sinai Peninsula, two funds are in order: One which is only open to Egyptian investors, and another one which is global but restricts investments in Sinai, according to Ashraf Salman, Head of the Fund and CEO of CFH. “We are doing this out of love and conviction that the Tourism sector will quickly attract investments and create job opportunities,” he stated.

Although Egypt’s Tourism had been severely hit in the past three years, it still remains a key export earner and major contributor to Egypt’s economy, in addition to its importance in providing job opportunities. More than 14.7 million tourists had visited Egypt in 2010; however, after several fluctuations, the number had dropped to 9.5 million in 2013, due to increasing political turmoil and attacks on tourist destinations.