The Sustainable Development of the Red Sea and Improved Water Resources Management, International Resources Group (IRG), USAID (2003-2004)

This project was designed to enable marginalized communities to partake in the tourism industry by drawing on their local natural and cultural heritage to provide travelers with unique ecotourism experiences. Furthermore, it aimed to stimulate diversification in the types of tourist lodgings available in the southern Red Sea zone by encouraging investors to opt for ecolodge designs. This move away from mass tourism hotel construction aims to attract the nature-minded traveler seeking a quality over quantity experience. The desired long-term result of this shift in trend was a more appropriate valuation of natural resources for the tourism sector. Under a subcontract with IRG, EQI assisted in achieving the above-stated objectives through: 1) raising the awareness of key stakeholders regarding ecotourism and ecolodge development; 2) conducting on-site investigations to determine the business viability and environmental impact of community-generated ecotourism ideas; 3) establishing linkages between viable community ecotourism initiatives and Banque du Caire for eco-loan access, 4) creating market linkages to ensure the success of the small community ventures; 5) providing technical assistance to private developers to ‘green’ existing lodgings to conform more closely to a nature-based lodge design; and 6) encouraging community participation in ecolodge development and aiding in establishing marketing links for such undertakings.

Siwa Sustainable Development Initiative, EQI, Matruh Governorate, UNDP, British Embassy, Ford Foundation, et al (1996 – Present)

This private investment by EQI in a number of commercial ventures aims to promote economic development that respects Siwa’s rich natural assets and revitalizes its unique cultural heritage. The initiative has safeguarded centuries-old systems for managing the environment that were becoming obsolete, revived old trades that were becoming extinct, and created hundreds of jobs for the local community. Components include: 1) A world-class ecolodge built from rock salt using traditional architecture, local materials and local skills; 2) A poverty reduction fund relying on innovative financing mechanisms based on traditional informal investment strategies. The fund has revitalized the traditional handicrafts of 300 poor and housebound Siwan women who are currently applying their embroidery skills to a line of garments, accessories, and household items that are being marketed in Egypt and several cities in Europe. Another investment is focusing on improving the processing, production and marketing of agricultural products, including high-quality olive oil and olive-based products; 3) Community ecotourism through the restoration and adaptive reuse of dilapidated homes in and around the old fortress of Shali; 4) Restoration of two springs, revitalization of the marketplace, and redesign of the site and facilities for the annual October festival; and 5) Development of a solid waste management strategy for the oasis and implementation of pilot projects.

St. Katherine Protectorate Development Project, European Commission (1999)

EQI conducted a feasibility study to examine the socioeconomic, ecological, and infrastructural ramifications associated with the development of a model project for sustainable Bedouin-managed ecotourism. The study involved: 1) a socioeconomic assessment/legal study of the proposal, involving participatory analysis of the social/tribal context, local community attitudes to the proposal, ecological impact in terms of water consumption, fuel wood and waste generation, social impact, local organizational and management capacity, legal implications, land rights, and benefit sharing; 2) a market study to determine international demand, capacity and promotional requirements, financial viability, and site carrying capacity; 3) an infrastructure/architectural needs assessment and preliminary design study, focusing on the potential for sensitively converting established Bedouin houses to ecolodges, proposing sustainable, passive or low maintenance operational systems for space/water heating (solar power - Trombe wall), cooling (passive, wind traps - badgeer/malqaf and shading), and waste disposal (composting), identification of service needs for the ecolodges such as sources of supply and delivery of water and its reuse, determining service needs and estimating building costs; and 4) a preliminary financial viability assessment of the enterprise, involving an analysis of potential revenue flow to all stakeholders, estimates of development costs, and options for financing.

Promotion of Environmentally Sustainable Tourism, USAID (1996 – 1998)

This project aimed to provide USAID with technical assistance services to help implement the Environmental and Natural Resources Policy and Training (EPAT) Project. As a subcontractor to Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, EQI established a Regional Office for Technical Coordination (ROTC) in the Red Sea Governorate to identify, initiate, and coordinate the implementation of all tasks implemented under this project. To help tourism planners better understand the magnitude and character of tourism in the region, and the potential for developing the region's natural, cultural, and historical resources, EQI developed a tourism resources database for the Sinai and Red Sea region. A comparative advantage review of the region's tourism industries was also conducted, to identify ways of enhancing the tourism sector's ability to improve the quality of facilities and services. EQI also assisted in the analysis of potential problems of over-capacity, economic dislocation, and environmental degradation, to serve as a planning document by the Government of Egypt (GOE) for the Red Sea and Sharm El Sheikh regions. In addition, EQI prepared a policy framework for an environmentally sustainable tourism strategy for the area. The document recommended policy reforms and other actions to be undertaken by the GOE, USAID, private investors, NGOs, and other participants to improve the planning, design, construction, and operation of tourism services and facilities. Technical assistance was also provided in the preparation of regions such as Wadi El Gamal for possible investor commitment and in reviewing the Shoreline Protection Plan of the South Hurghada Zone.

Other activities implemented under this IQC included the following:

Local Environmental Services Project, USAID (1995 –1999)

As part of the technical assistance services provided to USAID for activities related to the Sustainable Tourism Component of the US-Egyptian Partnership for Economic Growth and Development, EQI coordinated and provided logistical support for study tours to and from Egypt and Jordan for representatives of the government of Egypt (GOE) and USAID. The tours were designed to develop stronger linkages in regional eco-tourism. EQI also conducted a feasibility study for the holding of a regional tourism conference, as well as a pre-feasibility study for the establishment of adaptive re-use activities in two historic sites in Cairo's Gamalia District.

Private Sector Tourism Infrastructure and Environmental Management Project, The World Bank (1998)

This project, which runs from May 1993 to December 2003, aims to implement measures to improve the policy environment in the tourism sector; develop a coastal zone environmental management plan and initiate the implementation of the plan for the Red Sea Coast; provide technical assistance to the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and training for TDA, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), and local governorate staff; and provide financial support for the development of infrastructure and tourism facilities by the private sector. EQI’s role on this project was to assist the TDA, the implementing agency of the project, in preparing bid documents and specifications for two private sector participation projects:

The first project, which was to be implemented on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis, entailed the Development of a Solid Waste Management System to Serve the Red Sea Coast. EQI conducted viability testing regarding the feasibility of financing (through World Bank loans) the private sector entity that was to Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer the solid waste management project. This entailed examining potential revenue from collection and disposal, payment options, options and costs related to the purchase or leasing, preparation, and equipment of landfill sites, costs related to the acquisition of collection equipment, and other costs related to operation and maintenance, project promotion, environmental assessments, etc. Based on the financial analysis, EQI presented concrete recommendations for the development of the bid documents.

The second project, which was to be implemented under a Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement, involved the Financing and Development of The Infrastructure Facilities for a Nile Cruise Information and Safety Center that would establish on-line communication with vessels on the Nile waterway from Luxor to Sohag. EQI conducted a viability analysis of the project. EQI updated details on the project provided through a World Bank study, to reflect changes in fixed asset costs and composition, revenue structure, financing structure, and others. EQI also reviewed initial bids for the project to test compliance with requirements. Based on the analysis, EQI developed recommendations to ensure the financial viability of the project. The recommendations served to feed into the second and final bidding stage. EQI also participated in the evaluation of the final stage of the bidding process.

Sahl Hasheesh Development Project: Environmental Impact Assessment, Egyptian Resort Company, 1996

EQI performed an environmental impact assessment of the Sahl Hasheesh Development Project located in the Red Sea Governorate. Activities included the following: 1) evaluating the pre-existing physical, ecological and biological setting of the Sahl Hasheesh Project area; 2) evaluating the Sahl Hasheesh Master Plan for environmental considerations, including, but not limited to, general layout of the development, size, capacity, preconstruction and construction activities, operation and maintenance plans, plans for providing utility, waste disposal and other services; 3) analyzing legislative and regulatory considerations governing environmental quality in touristm developments; 4) analyzing potential positive and negative environmental impacts of the Sahl Hasheesh Project; and 5) analyzing alternative actions to mitigate potential adverse environmental impacts. EQI produced an EIA report for submission to the Tourism Development Authority and the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency.

Privatization of the Shepheards Hotel, USAID (1991)

Under an indefinite quantity contract with USAID, EQI undertook the basic investigations and analyses for the privatization of the Shepheards Hotel. This included market assessments, institutional and legal investigations, evaluation of the hotel's physical plant, assessment of financial liability of current operations, valuation, financial projections, and development of a marketing plan. A complete prospectus was prepared for offering the hotel to prospective investors.

Tourism Infrastructure Project, The World Bank (1989 – 1990)

The objective of this project was to provide the Ministry of Tourism with technical assistance to enhance its capacity to implement an economic development program focusing on tourism. The program was aimed at directing public and private funds towards investments for improvement in infrastructure services and facilities. The program also aimed to promote private sector investments in tourism-related services.

As a member of the World Bank project appraisal mission, EQI analyzed the role of local government in providing infrastructure and facilities for tourism development in Egypt. The relationship between local government and the Ministry of Tourism was outlined, and the organization, management, and financial resources of local government analyzed. The financial analysis included a budget analysis for four priority action areas identified under the project, namely Qena, Aswan, the Red Sea and South Sinai. As part of the efforts to develop these four areas as major destinations for recreational tourism, EQI presented a framework for instituting a delivery mechanism for infrastructure services and facilities at the local level. The recommendation was to reinstate the existing Tourism Development Unit as an autonomous agency that would have the requisite jurisdictional authority to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain all facilities within the tourism zones under the control of the Ministry of Tourism, and to provide technical assistance and financial intermediations services to the governorate and concerned authorities responsible for the operation and maintenance of infrastructure in tourism development areas under local government control. EQI provided practical guidelines for the establishment of an autonomous entity to be affiliated to the Ministry of Tourism, and provided technical assistance to the Ministry in drafting the Presidential decree. The result was the establishment of the Tourism Development Authority (TDA).

EQI went on to examine alternative arrangements for rendering TDA services, providing practical guidelines to consolidate the relationship between the Authority and local government. The firm assessed the relative merits of alternative institutional arrangements for establishing Regional Development Corporations (RDCs) responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of infrastructure (roads, water and wastewater, solid waste management, and beautification) in the urban centers and tourist zones of the priority Governorates. The proposed TDA/RDC framework was designed to accommodate potential changes in public policy related to private ownership of infrastructure services or private sector participation in the ownership of the company. EQI developed the organizational framework and designed the structure and operating requirements of a prototype RDC, presenting a workable framework for institutionalizing, organizing and operating an RDC for the city of Hurghada, Red Sea Governorate, to service approximately fifty thousand permanent inhabitants and four thousand daily visitors.

Dahab Touristic Development Project, EPIC (1989 – 1992)

EQI studied the feasibility of developing a 700-bed holiday village at Dahab in South Sinai. EQI developed the holiday village and was also responsible for the interior design. EQI prepared a tourism package for EPIC to present to potential investors, complete with land already purchased, off-site infrastructure, detailed architectural designs, a feasibility study, architectural drawings for necessary government permits, and a financing structure. EQI undertook the promotion of the package to investors.

Morena Resort Development Project, The Arab Development Group (1988 – 1991)

EQI developed a 125,000 sq.m. seafront tourism resort project in Hurghada in the Red Sea Governorate. Project designs included the site and layout plan, the avant-project, and the master plan with general infrastructure layout, individual units, and detailed working drawings. Different architectural systems were investigated and tested. A new system was developed, according to comparative costs, that was suitable to the area and to available local material. A financial analysis was carried out, after which the designs were modified, making the project both financially viable and architecturally attractive. EQI supervised the construction of three model villas, and was responsible for the interior design of the resort.

Qaroon Tourist Village, Private Investors

On the shores of Lake Qaroon in Fayoum, a 12,500 sq.m. site was selected for the construction of a tourist village. EQI developed a master plan for the village, using both the modern mode of construction and that of domes and vaults. This allowed for benefits from both styles; the former for constructing multi-story buildings and the latter for the unique atmosphere it conveys. The village contains a total of 450 units in addition to public space.

Tourist Village, Armed Forces Club Administration

The same building system is exploited in this project for developing a tourist village composed of cabanas and villas to conform to the village's small area (60000 m²). A number of villas were added to the village for use by high-ranking visiting officials.

Jabal Al Harim Resort Development Project, Kamal Al Korie (1989 – 1991)

EQI developed a 23,000 m² seafront resort project in Hurghada. The master plan included the architectural interior design of 36 luxurious villas to be built at different levels on a rugged mountain, as well as the landscape design and infrastructure layout. EQI prepared the bills of quantities and supervised the initial stage of the construction of each villa. EQI also conducted a financial feasibility study for the project, and formulated a sales and promotional plan.

Feasibility Study for a Resort Center: Hurghada, the Red Sea, Al Zahraa Construction and Trading Company

EQI prepared a study designed to help the client secure funds from three major banks in Egypt to establish a cost-competitive holiday village on the Red Sea coast. The study included projected cash flows; with design, construction start-up, and management costs. The feasibility study also included area sales, revenues, payment schedules, overhead costs, payback period, and rates of return on investment. Preliminary recommendations and specifications were given for a potable water generating facility, condominium ownership, passive and active architectural design to minimize energy costs, telecommunication, landscaping of roads and parking areas, and sewerage networks.

Ras Abu Soma Touristic Development Project, Abu Soma International, Ltd.

EQI conducted a feasibility study for the development of a fully integrated tourist village in the RAS region. As part of the study, EQI conducted research to assess the tourism industry in Egypt and the Red Sea, providing information on the number of hotels in the Red Sea area, their capacity, occupancy rates, and their accommodation prices. Based on the feasibility assessment, EQI produced a development plan for the construction of a self-sufficient complex of four 5-star hotels with 300 rooms each and a marina, and the provision of infrastructure. Upon completion of the feasibility study, EQI prepared an official memorandum to raise the equity and bank financing needed for the project.

Financing of a Resort Village, South Sinai, Dahab

EQI arranged for the financing of a 300-room Movenpick Resort Village, and obtained the first debt/equity conversion approval for a tourism project in Egypt.

Environmental Impact Study of the Export Development Bank of Egypt (EDBE) Resort, EDBE

EQI conducted an environmental impact assessment of the first phase of a self-contained tourist complex situated on the west coast of the Red Sea, 18 km south of Hurghada. Subdivision plans and conceptual engineering designs were reviewed, and field investigations were undertaken in order to make an environmental appraisal of the area and to assess the likely environmental impacts on air, land, and sea. Particular emphasis was placed on marine life ecology to safeguard against any damage that may occur during the course of construction or operation of the proposed resort. Findings of the study were analyzed, and recommendations for protecting the area's environmental assets were provided.

Environmental Impact Study of Sahl Hasheesh Tourist Resort Development Project - Phase I, Sahl Hasheesh Development Company

EQI undertook an environmental impact assessment study for the first phase of a self-contained tourist resort complex in Sahl Hasheesh on the west coast of the Red Sea, 20 km south of Hurghada. Divers, oceanographers, marine biologists, and environmental scientists and engineers were mobilized on site to carry out the technical investigations. The report illustrated and predicted significant, adverse, and/or beneficial impacts of proposed developments. It also recommended measures to attenuate, and whenever possible remedy anticipated adverse impacts. Furthermore, it indicated areas where monitoring programs need to be set up to detect unwarranted burdens on the environment in specific areas of concern.

Mansoureya Project, Kuwaiti Investment Group

EQI carried out a feasibility study for an integrated touristm project located in the Mansoureya area close to Cairo and including a restaurant, a health club and catering services. A market survey was undertaken, and the results used as a basis for the project concept. In addition, a financial forecast for the first ten years of operation was made in order to assess the viability of the project.