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Sharm El-Sheikh, site of the EEDC

Article - March 27, 2015

The economic conference, seen as Egypt’s coming-out party, will be held in the idyllic Sinai Peninsula, which will help to promote MICE tourism

Out of all the locations that make up Egypt, CEO of Travco – Egypt’s travel, tourism and hospitality giant – does not hesitate to name her favorite destination: “I would tell you to go to Sharm El-Sheikh, with the best beach,” advises Amani El Torgoman. By coincidence, this is where the the Egypt Economic Development Conference is now taking place.

Specifically, the EEDC is being held at the Maritim Jolie Ville International Congress Center, one of the largest and most state-of-the-art in the Middle East. The facility is an ideal venue for the conference and is demonstrating that Sharm El-Sheikh’s charms are business-savvy as well as beautiful. The founder of the Jolie Ville empire, kindly dubbed the “Father of Sharm El-Sheikh” owing to his enormous role in developing the area with some of the biggest and best hotels, Hussein Salem is delighted to be back in his saddle after being acquitted of corruption charges that had been put forth in 2011, when the Muslim Brotherhood took over the country.

Also known as the ‘City of Peace’ – due to the fact that it has hosted a significant number of international peace conferences – Sharm el Sheikh is situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the coastal strip along the Red Sea.

Taking advantage of the opportunity that comes with hosting an international conference, Egypt couldn’t have picked a better place to show off the pristine, crisp and welcoming landscapes that nature endows this country. Despite being over 135 miles north of the tropical zone, Sharm El-Sheikh experiences the warmest night-time temperatures of all other Egyptian cities and resorts, endowing it with a winning combination: constant sun and the sea.

Diverse marine life, warm and calm seawater and hundreds of species of Red Sea coral reef have placed Sharm El-Sheikh as an increasingly popular site for scuba diving, snorkeling and eco-tourism. Located some 7 miles from Sharm El-Sheikh, Ras Mohammed National Park offers some of the Red Sea’s most famous dive sites, with 2,600-foot deep reef walls, coral gardens, underwater caves that have formed as a result of earthquakes, and even a ship wreck – the SS Thistlegorm – which continues to be a popular attraction for those who fancy a more challenging few hours under the water’s surface.

It is no surprise that – by looking at the diversity of marine life that exists around the bay of Sharm El-Sheikh – this city not only attracts tourists but also nature enthusiasts and even science tourists. More than 220 species of coral exist in the Ras Mohammad area. This area is also the home to more than 1,000 species of fish, 40 species of starfish, 25 species of sea urchins, more than 100 species of mollusk, and 150 species of crustaceans. Various species of sea turtles also frequently visit these warm waters, naturally being a popular attraction for scuba diving tourists.

Meanwhile, the area’s beaches offer endless activities especially catered for tourists – such as windsurfing, kite-surfing, parasailing, boating and canoeing – with the comforting, bright colors of a turquoise sea and white sand as an endless backdrop.

As the sun sets over the exotic landscape, Sharm El-Sheikh offers a different side to a life by a beach: warm, sultry nights by the sound of a calm sea, sipping on a cocktail in one of the various clubs and bars – some open until the sun comes up again – that, due to the influx of tourism, have not only increased in number, but also in sophistication.

Despite its position, Sharm El-Sheikh is not limited to beach or water-related activities. Egypt – by virtue of being a country rich in history and in touch with culture – has remnants of this aspect throughout its land.
The Coptic Church of Sharm El-Sheikh has long been praised by visitors as not only a truly beautiful place, but, despite its little fame, one of the most impressive cathedrals in the world. With an interior filled with walls of murals and paintings that depict touching biblical stories, and long noble chandeliers hanging from dome-shaped ceilings, the Coptic Church is no doubt an impressive example of Egypt’s particularly unique architecture and dedication to religion.

With the abundance of activities, entertainment, cultural sites and wildlife that make up Sharm El-Sheikh and its surroundings, together with the promise of sun, it is no surprise that despite the decline in Egypt’s tourist arrivals over the last few years following the January 25 Revolution in 2011, the sector was hardly affected in Sharm El-Sheikh.