Setting the agenda for Egypt

Feluccas on the Nile at sunset

ONE success story in Sharm El Sheikh is a cluster of resorts owned and managed by the Makadi Star Group.

Three resorts, three brands: Jaz, Iberotel and Sol-Y-Mar, all side by side, complimenting each other, yet each of which has full facilities of its own. Guests can make use of any of the facilities each of the three properties are offering and are located in a secured area, all along a single street.
This street creates the ambience of an upscale urban life style with lovely quaint boutiques and a great disco as well. I was wondering where the magnificent outfits came from as surely, no tourist is carrying these with them on a holiday in which the aim is relaxation, sunshine and more sunshine. With less than a day’s rain per year, sunshine can be guaranteed.
The resorts are located about an hours drive from Hurghada.
TTN sat down with Eberhard Graupner, chief operating officer of Iberotel and Sol Y Mar Hotels & Resorts (Egypt). Excerpts:

Can you define the three different brand?
Jaz Resorts are the upmarket five-star superior properties, while Iberotel is a traditional five-star property and Sol Y Mar is the targeting the young and trendy families. Graupner dismissed any confusion between the different brands and properties, due also to the fact that all facilities can be used from any of the three properties, no matter in which property you are residing in.
Currently there are 14 Iberotels, 15 Sol Y Mar and two Jaz properties across Egypt with the lion’s share clearly located in Sharm El Sheikh, with a total of 7,104 rooms available.
Your company both owns and manages properties?
Nine out of the 31 properties are managed while the rest is owned and managed by the group and further expansions will depend on opportunities and how these fit into our portfolio, but could also be developed by the Group.

Is there room for expansion within Egypt and the region over the medium term?
Fujairah, in the UAE will see two properties coming up with a total of 440 rooms while another property is going to be developed in Dubai, planned for 2008. With a growth rate of four or five resorts to be opened per year, across the three different brands, further expansion could be seen into Europe, the Far East as well as MICE and incentives sectors as the ambience of resorts is more of an incentive than being typical MICE properties.

Any new brands to be developed for the home or regional markets? What about a spa brand?
No, currently we are not thinking of developing new brands and as the year 2007 is our year of consolidation on quality standards, we wish to ensure that this is implemented across al of our properties.

With targeting so clearly the German, Italians and the English market, what are you doing for the local and the Arab target sector?
Although the Arabic target is traditionally the source market it is also a new and upcoming market with the Arabic market clearly trying to find good alternatives closer to home. This is where we fit in perfectly, and with our expansion into developing golf courses and setting up golf academies, designed by John Stanford, with two currently under development.
The spa business is to be developed further based on quality and shall be run individually by reputed companies.
A five-star upmarket hotel (500 rooms), including conference facilities, spa, an up-market shopping mall is being planned in Cairo, with having clearly the Arabic traveller and tourist in mind.
by Hink Huisman