Is Egypt Set To Become A Yachting And Sailing Hotspot?

Egypt is famed for its calm and atmospheric sunset felucca rides amidst the chaos of Cairo and for luxurious Nile cruises as seen in jealousy-inducing Instagram posts and as immortalized in Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile; but what about luxury yachts? For sure, Egypt doesn’t immediately conjure up images of the luxury yachting scene as seen in the Greek islands and around Italy, but Egypt does have a yachting scene consisting of Egyptians and foreigners and may be set in the future to become a major destination in the world of luxury yachting and sailing.

Via Thomas Pinn

Egypt’s potential to become a yachting hotspot is strikingly apparent to Egypt Yachting, a leader in the country’s yacht chartering industry, who told us that Egypt’s Red Sea is unparalleled in ‘its nature, coral reefs, its best diving spots, and fantastic conditions all year around. With new regulations being developed by the Egyptian government and increased investment in the private sector, we may start to see some of this potential emerge over the next few years.

Wind in Their Sails and Money in Egypt’s Pocket

Looking to capitalize on tourism catering to the world’s elite that holiday on yachts, who on average, according to Egypt’s previous tourism minister, spend 94% more than other tourists, the government has recently approved new regulations to simplify the process of holidaying by yacht in Egypt. While details remain unclear, it is understood that the new regulations will provide a comprehensive restructuring and simplification of everything from the process of docking at any of Egypt’s 23 marinas, entering and exiting the country, to the need for permits. Most importantly, however, is the stated plan by the Egyptian Ministry of Transport to streamline everything regarding yachting in Egypt into one digital platform, getting rid of much of the suffocating bureaucracy that is said to have prevented many from yachting in Egypt. It is hoped that efforts to promote yacht tourism will in particular attract foreign tourists as this increase in revenue will help shore up foreign currency revenues, which have been steadily used to help the country get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Via Thomas Pinn

Egypt currently has a total of 23 marinas across the Mediterranean and Red Sea, with others planned or under construction, that serve approximately 1000 luxury yachts flying the Egyptian flag, in addition to many more Egyptian-owned yachts flying the flags of other nations, according to Enterprise. However, its share of the international yacht tourism market is relatively small and pales in comparison to the Mediterranean’s roughly 30,000 luxury yachts a year, and is seen by many in the government and in the private sector as a potential growth industry. Egypt Yachting described to us how Egypt’s yachting scene is still not that large and has a lot of room to grow, particularly domestically, as the majority of their clients were foreign tourists that mostly come from the USA, Qatar, Kuwait, and Switzerland.

The proximity of Egypt’s Red Sea towns of El Qussier, El Gouna, and Hurghada to the Gulf states positions Egypt to attract the growing fleet of Gulf yachts and their wealthy owners, in addition to many non-Arab yacht owners that are increasingly visiting Dubai. While the proposed regulations aim to capture some of this wealth, they also serve the purpose of solidifying Egypt on the map of global yacht tourism by becoming a link between the growing yachting hotspot of Dubai with the established yachting culture of the world’s rich in the Eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

Via Thomas Pinn

Egypt Connecting the Mediterranean with the Gulf

Along the western side of the Red Sea, you have fancy restaurants and exciting nightlife in El Gouna, the immense natural beauty of Marsa Alam, and the charming historic port of Al Quseir, while in the Sinai you have world-renowned windsurfing at Ras Sidr, luxury resorts at Sharm el-Shiekh, some of the world’s best diving spots in Dahab, and pristine and secluded beaches in Nuweiba. Egypt’s Red Sea by all accounts should be on the global yachting calendar, especially when sailing in the Mediterranean begins to get a bit too cold in the winter months. Egypt’s North Coast also boasts beautiful beaches and a blossoming nightlife scene to attract wealthy tourists who holiday on yachts. Arguably, however, bureaucratic red tape and the difficulties involved in crossing the Suez Canal to cross into the Red Sea have prevented Egypt from becoming a popular yachting destination as yachts tend to stay stationed in the Mediterranean.

In addition to an increased stream of yacht tourism directly related to the new simplified process, these new proposed regulations may have the effect of helping connect the yachting hotspots of Dubai and the Eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. An improved and simplified process for private yachts crossing the Suez Canal opening up a new trend for yachts to travel between Dubai and the Mediterranean would introduce some of Egypt’s fantastic places to port to the international yachting scene and give them the recognition they deserve. If such a trend were to emerge, the historical and picturesque port of Al Quseir along with the stunning natural beauty of Sharm el-Shiekh and Egyptian ports along the route between Dubai and the Mediterranean could become an important part of the global yachting season as temperatures began to drop and holidayers seek warmer climates.

Via Thomas Pinn

Egypt Yachting similarly told us that not many of their clients crossed through the Suez Canal due to the often complicated process that comes with it. However, they were positive about the government’s efforts to make the “process of yachting simpler”, and hoped that it will help “yachting charters become more popular and provide more options. Additionally, Egypt Yachting also told us that an issue facing the Egyptian yachting scene is that, unlike Dubai, Italy or Greece, much of the chartering options available require a minimum charter of seven days, and as such close off a large part of the potential market.

When the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, ships entering from Port Said were initially planned to be met by a large statue of a woman holding an illuminated torch entitled Egypt Carrying the Light into Asia. This proposed statue, whose design was coincidentally later used as New York’s Statue of Liberty, summed up both the poetic and economic potential that the canal could have in terms of positioning Egypt at the crossroads of Europe and much of the rest of the world. While international shipping freight currently moves through the Suez Canal, connecting the world’s supply chains, we may in the future see the Suez Canal hosting a considerable number of luxury yachts, connecting the two of the capitals of luxury yachting, Dubai and the Eastern Mediterranean, with Egypt in the middle, with its natural beauty, historic port towns, and luxurious resorts waiting to be discovered by the global yachting scene.

Via Thomas Pinn

The potential of Egypt to become an international destination for yachting is without doubt due to its incredible natural beauty, exciting nightlife, luxurious resorts, and potential positioning as the link between the Eastern Mediterranean and the growing yachting hotspot of Dubai and affluent Gulf citizens. However, whether this will come to fruition is still unknown, but private investments into new marinas and the government’s increased efforts the often tricky regulations around yachting, point toward a new booming tourism industry developing in Egypt over the next few years.

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