Incredibly in 2017, the number of tourists into Egypt accelerated by 54% compared to 2016. SITU recognises this increase, whilst also realising the great attraction appeal and strong business climate contributes to the growing demand for serviced apartments in Egypt.
Dominating the northeast of Africa and providing the only link between the continent and the Middle East, Egypt has a population exceeding over one hundred million people. The landmass covers one million square miles, sharing borders with Sudan to the south, Libya to the west, and Israel to the northeast. It is also one of the only countries with both Mediterranean and Red Sea borders, connected by the famously disputed Suez Canal. Along the iconic River Nile, is the country’s most populous city and capital, Cairo. The capital city is the business, financial and cultural hub, showcasing all of Egypt’s attractive qualities.
Home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations, Egypt has had inhabitants since the Predynastic period. The following Pharaonic dynasties ended with iconic Cleopatra VII’s surrender in 31 BC. Egyptian autonomy was relatively undisturbed during the Mamluk reign, Ottoman Empire interference emerged in the 1500s. The Turkish weakened the Mamluks before they fell victims to French and British interventions themselves. The British took advantage of Egypt’s debt issues, Suez Canal and River Nile resources and accessibility to its Indian colony. Anglo-Egyptian tensions were constant into the twentieth century. Full independence was finally confirmed though after British nominated King Farouk was forced to exile after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Since, Egypt’s road to present day has been bumpy, but signs of economic prosperity particularly have emerged.
Despite a period of national difficulty, Egypt’s economy has now re-emerged. International relations have been vital for this, evident through the European Free Trade Association agreement and free trade treaty with the US. Therefore, the EU and US are Egypt’s greatest partners, contributing to trade accounting for 30% of the national GDP. The main exports are fuel and oil, but a rise in non-oil exports has also enabled a GDP growth. Both the rebound from tourism deficiency of recent years and the currency stability have also enabled economic growth. Cooperation of the IMF and its proposed long-term prosperity programme have laid down the frameworks for the Egyptian Pound to continue profiting. For current exchange rates though, visit www.xe.com.
In 2017, the largest receiver of foreign direct investment in Africa was Egypt. It can be argued that this was due to the introduction of the new Investment Law in 2017, which set up special economic zones and guarantees residence in the country throughout the term of their projects. The economic zones work on certain regulations, allowing tax incentives, efficient administration, alongside better infrastructure. Investors can also except equal, if not better, business treatment socially and judicially. Geographical and demographical aspects are of course also beneficially for overseas corporates. Expats can utilise the massive consumer market, constantly-growing entrepreneurial population and transcontinental advantages. These benefits are most evident in the capital city Cairo, showcasing the most opportunistic business climate. The combination of the nation’s best infrastructure and the concentration of corporate accommodation make Cairo the ideal destination for business living.
Visa policy in Egypt is quite complex, with some nationals only eligible for visa exemption based on their gender or age. For sure though, residents of all EU countries, Australia, Canada and the US can apply for an e-visa in advance or accept a visa upon arrival. Only seven nation’s citizens are visa exempt, and these countries, with any other requirements, can be found at www.visa2egypt.gov.eg.
Egyptian law and social customs are greatly orientated around the Islamic faith. Islam in Egypt is a way of life, so you should certainly refrain from disrespecting the people’s faith. This can include leaving parts of the body (e.g. chest, legs and upper arms) visible, photographing military officials or buildings, and drinking alcohol publicly. These advisories are heightened during the holy month of Ramadan. Overall though, Egyptian travel can be immensely satisfying trusting you respect the culture and avoid potentially hazardous scenarios.
With local transport not always the most useful in Egypt, driving can eliminate these frustrations. However, driving comes with its own stresses at times, such as urban city traffic, unexpected obstacles, and tricky terrain. It is likely to be unlike anything you are used too but belongs as you drive on the right and avoid anything common-sense would deem hazardous, the experience should be satisfying! Before you set off though, you will require both your national and obtainable international driving licenses. Avoiding driving does not leave you stranded though. Even the smallest towns benefit from an extensive range of taxi services. Metered taxis are now becoming more prominent too.
Despite renowned mostly for its ancient history, Egypt has much to offer for the business traveller. The capital Cairo is a prime example of this. A must-visit aspect of the Cairo experience is the Khan el-Khalili bazaar, boasting one of the best shopping experiences, jam-packed with traditional and antique products. Along Al-Muski street you can find silver and gold workshops, whilst at Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah street there is a vibrant spice market. As expected, locations such as this and tourist landmarks, like the Citadel, mosques and the Egyptian Museum, attract many tourists. A great getaway option though is Al-Azhar Park. This luscious green space invites relation and overlooking the golden capital buildings.
Staying in Cairo serviced apartments does not limit you to just the city centre though. Some of Egypt’s greatest attractions sit just outside the capital, such as the Pyramids of Giza. As the only remaining wonder of the Ancient World, the pyramids attract over ten million tourists each year. Guarded by the unfathomable Sphinx, the pyramids and stunning surrounding desert are a must-visit whilst visiting Egypt. Equally expressive of ancient Egyptian history though is the River Nile. Spreading over four thousand miles, travelling along with river can uncover some of the country’s great secrets and stunning sceneries. Corporate accommodation in Egypt can aid you witnessing two of Egypt’s great, exclusive landmarks.
Egypt prospers greatly from its diversity, displaying incredible contrasts between ancient history remembrance and ambitious economic aims for the future. This exclusive climate is ideal for those settling into SITU’s relaxing serviced apartments.
Serving as the prime airline centre for EgyptAir, Cairo’s airport is the busiest in Egypt. Located in the northeast of the capital, the airport is no further than ten miles away from the city centre.
Other airlines functioning out of Cairo airport are EgyptAir Express and Nile Air. The airport has cemented a strong position as one of Africa’s most significant airports, providing flights to over eighty-one different destinations. The second busiest, Borg El Arab International Airport (HBE) is considerably smaller.
Considered the “backbone of passenger transport in Egypt” by Egyptian National Railways, the railway network assists over 1.4 million passengers every day. Connecting almost every major city in Egypt, the track stretches for over three thousand miles.
Train classes include Darga talta (3rd), Darga tanya (2nd) and Darga ula (1st). Upper train and Sleeper services are also available. It is advised that you pay for these services or at least the higher classes to avoid the worst train services. Visit www.enr.gov.eg for the specific train times and journeys.
Whilst trains are best for avoiding city traffic, buses act as great alternatives for connecting passengers across different towns and cities. Buses are either standard or deluxe, with the latter prioritising comfortability and minimalising overcrowding.
All controlled by the same company, the three different regional companies are East Delta Travel, West & Mid Delta Bus and Upper Egypt Bus. The newest company is Go Bus, operating in northern Egypt along the Red Sea coastline.
As the oldest system in Africa, Cairo Metro is also the only underground network in Egypt. Encompassing around fifty miles of network, this metro assists over three million passengers each day for travel in and around the capital.
The system functions of three lines, with a fourth prepared for construction.