Towards Sustainable
Tourism  in Egypt

 

Tourism is a vital sector in Egypt’s Economy

 

During its peak tourism year in 2010, Egypt had 14.7 million visitors. The sector was on an upward growth pattern that is going to return after the recent 4 years of political dynamics.  With approximately 225,000 hotel rooms and over 200,000 planned for addition, the hotel sector offers an active source of employment and hard currency income. This of course comes at the cost of putting pressure on the Country’s natural resources and environmental landscape

 

The inevitable return of rising tourism actives in Egypt requires the sector to be proactive in protecting its natural wealth and establishing some environmental sensitivity norms.  Efficient use of energy and water sources, adequate waste management and sewage treatment, mitigation of threats to the sensitive marine life are prime examples of some of the key practices that should be put in a sharper focus.

 

Buildings, people and products are key movers in developing protective measures to sustain the environmental health of the hotel sector. There is a need for a collective effort that aligns public and private interest to do this.

 

Public-private collaboration to work towards tourism sustainability …

 

Recognizing the importance of conserving Egypt’s natural resources and heritage as well as maintaining regional competitiveness for the tourism sector, key players of the tourism industry from both the private and the public sectors took the initiative in 2007 to establish the Green Star Hotel Programme. In order to sustain tourism activities, it was critical to promote environmentally sensitive operation for Egypt’s hotels – clean beaches, healthy marine life and lower carbon emission are only examples of demonstrating environmental responsibility.

With support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and technical assistance facilitated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), two of the leading hotel industry investors: Orascom Hotels and Development and Travco Group joined forces with TUI AG , the leading tour operator and investment group in Europe and managed a collaborative process that led to the development of the first national program that distinguishes hotels for responsible environmental performance

 

… A national certification system with international support and recognition

 

The Green Star Hotel Programme is unique as it is customized to the local tourism environment in Egypt yet it is internationally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).  Moreover, it is managed by Egyptian professionals that are supported by international experts who have vast experience in environmental tourism certification systems.  It is a perfect example of public, private, national and international cooperation that led to a tangible mechanism to support Egypt’s green transformation.