The Integrated Management of Cultural Tourism (IMCT) project was inaugurated at the Al-Azhar Park with the aim of improving the environment for private investment in cultural heritage tourism with a special focus on the partnership between the public and private sectors.
The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with Family Health International (FHI360) international nonprofit and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities as well as the Ministry of Culture.
The event started out with a speech from USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed who emphasized the significance of the project, explaining that “today’s partnership with EBRD demonstrates our commitment to supporting the vital tourism sector in Egypt and the thousands of people working in this sector. Together with our Egyptian partners, the United States has contributed more than $100 million over the past 25 years to preserve dozens of cultural heritage sites throughout Egypt, from Aswan to Alexandria.”
The EBRD’s Deputy Head Khalid Hamza stated, “the EBRD is proud to be working alongside the USAID-funded IMCT project in Egypt, which champions our strategic engagement in tourism in Egypt and our vision for economic inclusion for women, youth, and local communities. We look forward to engaging with IMCT and the private sector, to further strengthen access to finance and skills development programs, and promote sustainable tourism.”
Riham Arram, community engagement and product development specialist at IMCT, elaborated on the project, saying “when the tourist comes to Egypt, we aim that he/she lives the true experience, we want them to spend as much time as possible in the historic area and that will increase the money spent in the district. The development of the district shall be implemented by the hands of the people of this district. The project’s duration is four years in Historic Cairo and Luxor with the aim of enhancing the government efforts to attract investors in the realm of heritage tourism.”
Arram added, “we want to bring investment to Al-Darb Al-Ahmar and allow the locals to benefit, we want to rehabilitate the heritage and cultural sites. How many times have you passed across a monument that needed restoration and development? All of those elements will be part of our project. We aim to create a new touristic product from your heritage, one that only you know, how the traditional craft itself can create a touristic product, tourism is no longer limited to antiquities, now the tourist aims to see the origin of the craft, explore the authentic arts, traditional Egyptian meals or try authentic Egyptian activities. And the last thing is to promote the heritage and cultural tourism. the project shall enhance the marketing skills.”