Egypt has announced plans to auction off more than 28 million square metres of land in an ambitious bid to double tourism income by the end of the decade.
Hisham Zaazou, Egypt’s tourism minister, said several plots of land could go under the hammer next month, with the mass sale expected to be completed by the end of next year.
Mr Zaazou confirmed some of the sites, including Red Sea resorts such as Ain Sokna and Marsa Allam, had already attracted interest from developers in Europe and the Gulf.
Speaking to Reuters, Zaazou said: “I will start auctioning [the land] maybe next month and, before the end of 2013, all of the 28 million square metres will have been put on offer.”
EasyJet currently offers flights to three Egyptian destinations – Hurghada, Luxor and Sharm el Sheikh – from various airports around the UK, but tourism to the Land of the Pharaoh has suffered since the Arab uprising last year.
The minister said holidaymakers were slowly drifting back to Egypt and that he hoped next year’s tourism levels will match the 14.5 million visitors in 2010, which earned the nation an estimated $12.5bn (£8bn) and accounted for 10% of the nation’s economic activity.
The Egyptian government hopes the mass sell-off will attract up to 30 million tourists to the new resorts by 2020.