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For 3 decades, Egypt has embarked on relentless development of infrastructure in this city, putting up dual carriage roads,water, power and transport.
21.11.22 | Interesting article at Business Daily

For 14 years, Kenya has harboured an ambitious plan to establish three resort cities to strengthen its tourism sector.

Kenya’s Vision 2030 provides for the construction of Lake Turkana, Lamu and Isiolo resort cities by the turn of the decade.

A resort city or town is an urban centre where tourism or holidaying are the main components of the local economy and culture.

Such a city is designed with an efficient transport system, financial, communication and trade infrastructure. A resort city will usually have an airport or waterway, roads, hotels and restaurants, souvenir shops, banks and shopping malls.

According to Vision 2030, these grand undertakings would be financed by the private sector for Sh145 billion. They would also form part of the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project.

Meanwhile, the government would have to put up the necessary infrastructure as a condition for these projects.

Eight years to the deadline, however, critical works have yet to begin on these sites as government records show that all three projects are still at the planning stage.

By May this year, renovation works at Manda Airport in Lamu, for instance, were still incomplete. At the time, the works had fallen behind schedule by 10 months.

The airport was to be upgraded and its taxiway and main terminal expanded to accommodate international tourists. Today, there is still no designated parking lot for aircraft at the airport.

At the current sluggish pace, meeting the 2030 deadline remains a pipedream.

Kenya, though, has many lessons to learn from Sharm-el-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort city in the Sinai Peninsula.

When the city was selected to host this year’s UN global climate conference, COP27, it was a celebration of its tremendous transformation from a nondescript town to one of the Middle East’s cultural and financial centres.

Only 60 years ago, this municipality south of Mount Sinai was a bare, sun-scorched and windswept outpost with little promise.

Today, Sharm-el-Sheikh, or simply Sharm, is a thriving trade, tourism and cultural hub that earns Egypt millions of dollars in revenue every year.

Its quaint white sandy beaches are always teeming with tourists, lounging in sunbeds, swimming or parasailing. According to the travel website, the English alone account for 9,000 visitors here daily.

Agriculture, trade at the Suez Canal and tourism are the key pillars of Egypt’s economy, currently valued at $404 billion, according to World Bank estimates.

Sharm-el-Sheikh is at the heart of this equation, providing a lifeline to the predominantly desert country.

So, what did Sharm-el-Sheikh get right and what lessons can Kenya pick as it develops its resort cities?

In the last 20 years, organised development, heavy investment in infrastructure, aggressive promotion and a thriving hospitality industry have seen Sharm’s fortune turn a corner.

For three decades now, Egypt has embarked on relentless development of infrastructure in this city, putting up dual carriage roads, and water and power connections. Mass transport