Khaled Fouda, governor of South Sinai, during the interview with Egypt Today at Sharm El-Sheikh. Sunday, November 5, 2017. - Egypt Today
CAIRO – 5 November 2017: “I reassure all citizens no funds were paid out of the state treasury at all,” Khaled Fouda, governor of South Sinai, stated exclusively to Egypt Today in an interview on Sunday.
Fouda discussed with Egypt Today the details of the preparations undertaken to ensure the World Youth Forum’s readiness for its launch later on Sunday.
The full interview is included below.
At first how do you see the establishment of the World Youth Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh?
It is a message to the whole world that Egypt is safe and able to host and organize international events in a manner befitting the name of Egypt. We are able to organize all international events and I assure you that tourism will resume stronger than before.
Tell us about the preparations made by the city of Sharm El-Sheikh to host this global event?
Initially on the security side, 700 cameras were installed to monitor the entire city, plus there was an air cover to secure the conference. The Navy is securing the city, in addition to the second and third field armies and the extended operations room that is supervised by all the different security agencies to coordinate the course of the days of forum and Special Forces. Everybody here is working as hard as they can.
What about internal preparations and how do you prepare to receive all these delegations?
We are exerting all efforts possible in that regard; Sharm El-Sheikh has 60,000 hotel rooms prepped and top-level hotels, plus up to four high-level conference rooms. There is another room still under preparations currently and is being equipped at the highest level. This room will be ready to receive even larger numbers. Even the cleaners have worked for 48 hours straight without rest in order to finish as soon as possible.
Will that help revive tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh gradually?
Indeed, it will contribute to the reviving of tourism; it will send a message to the whole world that we have built a new city, one that competes with world cities and is able to host tourists from all over the world.
Many have said that Sharm El-Sheikh has been wronged a lot over the past period?
Indeed, it has been greatly wronged. In spite of the many difficulties and problems and the difficult conditions of tourism in this region, the political leadership has helped remove impediments facing Sharm El-Sheikh and, despite all odds, businessmen have not laid off employment and have also endured the difficulties. We built a new city in every sense of the word.
Has the state taken charge of some of the costs of the World Youth Forum?
The state has not spent one penny and nothing was paid out of the Treasury. I reassure all the citizens no funds were paid out of the state treasury at all. There are businessmen and international corporations and also other organizations that participated in financing the World Youth Forum.
Do you think the forum has changed some peoples’ point of view on Egypt and that tourists will resort to Sharm El-Sheikh for tourism in the upcoming period?
Yes, I do. I believe tourists will resort to Sharm El-Sheikh soon enough and I assure you that Sharm El-Sheikh is one of the cheapest world-class tourist resorts. Hotels provide great privileges for tourism companies through special offers and facilities to attract the largest segment of tourists possible from all over the world.
Are there hotels and bazaar owners that have been affected by the current recession?
Yes, there has been a significant impact on hotel and bazaar owners as a result of the low percentage of tourists, but they are gradually seeing resuscitation. Nevertheless, the state has also supported them with many measures where we have given additional grace periods for the payment of water, electricity and gas bills. Bazaar rental fees have also been reduced 25-30 percent, since some rents have rose to cost between LE 20,000 and LE 30,000.
Does Sharm El-Sheikh need more propaganda?
The World Youth Forum is the biggest advertisement for Sharm El-Sheikh, and I assure you the world proudly looks at Egypt now because it is capable of hosting events with such magnitude. Egyptians should be proud of their country and we thank the political leadership that is working to eliminate all obstacles facing us.