Investment in Egypt has skyrocketed in recent years. Ralph Nader, CEO of Amber Consulting, explains why this boom is far from temporary and how the country is attracting foreign brands.
A local global frontier
Egypt is optimistic about welcoming more visitors this year, with numbers increasing steadily since January 2021 to around half a million tourists a month, despite the global pandemic and its economic consequences. It is expected that recovery will commence in summer 2021, with major positive effects extending to the end of the year.
The Egyptian investor
Egypt’s private sector started to invest in the tourism industry following favorable political and economic indicators. Strategically, Egypt has offered two major attractions for international/global brands. Firstly, the country is an excellent destination for the growing demand of affordable and easily accessible recreational seaside/sunny tourism, especially from Europe. Secondly, global brands have been increasing their presence in Egypt, as this is becoming more relevant in their strategic geographical footprint.
Domestic tourism is the latest trend in Egypt. Encouraged by political stability in their home country, Egyptian expatriates are now seeking local tourism destinations, with holiday homes becoming more popular. This is naturally accompanied by the establishment of top hospitality spots in the form of cafes, galleries and nightlife hotspots.
Street food guide
Egyptian street food spots are taking inspiration from the quirky products of Cairopolitan, an art store and gallery in Garden City, Cairo, where products inspired by Egyptian daily life are showcased. The following is a snapshot of local and international restaurant concepts that opened their doors in Cairo between 2019 and 2021:
Benihana, Zoé , Dubai House, Heart Attack, Melt Bistro & Café ,Lexie’s , Sahtein’s Oven, The Terrace 961 , Semsom, Uncle Fluffy, Ahel El Karam and Meaet, among others.
A rising star
Tourism has become Egypt’s largest single source of foreign exchange earnings. It manifested itself noticeably in 2021, benefiting from a marked collapse in otherwise burgeoning tourist destinations in the region, like Lebanon.
Landmark Lebanese projects
BBQ Bros, spearheaded by Mario Aoun, kicked off its activities in El Gouna in October 2020, opening a catering division in Cairo in December 2020 followed by an outlet in Z Park Sheikh Zayed City in addition to locations in Sahel this summer. In October 2020, Cairo witnessed the opening of the famous Emm Sherif in Waterway 2 Tagamo3. SP Holding, owned by Lebanese restaurateur Nassar group, have granted franchise rights to L’avenue, Seray, Lilly’s Cafe and Kampai in Walk of CAIRO, in addition to partnering with local investors to operate Ni Caffe and Flandrin in Park Street, both in Sheikh Zayed City. Other brands on their way to Egypt include Al Mandaloun Group, Ginger & Co, Anthony’s Diner, Pizzanini, Al Falamanki and Double Shake. In summer 2021, Sahel welcomed famous Lebanese names such as BBQ BROS, MYU, Mariolino Pizzeria, Grecco, Em Ali, O By Michel Fadel, and SAX.