The tourism sector is on its toes as Egypt approaches springtime, and countless activities are going on all over the country in preparation for a high season, and the sector, as always, is ever keen on seeking new ways and concepts to further develop the competitiveness of the sector.
In this spirit, throughout the 4th-7th of February 2014, the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) showcased the activities of the EU-Funded project, Shmile2: Sustainable Hotels for the Mediterranean, in the HACE Hotel Expo 2014 held in the Cairo International Conference Center (CICC) in the booth of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority (ETA). This Expo was chosen to showcase Shmile2 activities in due to its consistent success in attracting large numbers of all stakeholders of the tourism industry, especially hoteliers, at all levels and all over Egypt.
The exhibition was very successful as thousands of visitors had the opportunity to learn about Ecolabels and Ecolabel criteria and their relevance for the competitiveness of the sector.
The first day was inaugurated by the Minister of Tourism, H.E. Hesham Zaazou, who concluded his tour throughout the exhibition with the booth of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Agency and CEDARE presenting Shmile2 project. Visitors later flocked to the booth over four days expressing interest from various viewpoints such as hoteliers interested in applying the EU Ecolabel and learning more about it, or suppliers interested in marketing their environmentally friendly products, and also public officials interested in expanding the outreach of Shmile2 to other areas in Egypt.
There are about 90 Ecolabeled hotels in Egypt and the potential for more than 1300 hotels to pursue this opportunity. Together this powerful sector can have a great impact on conserving the natural resources of Egypt and improving the country’s international competitiveness as much as its quality and beauty.
Activities in Egypt over the past two years have been capacity building programs, surveys, international networking, experience-sharing events, and tailoring online tools to support hotels through certification, among other activities that were explained at the exhibition.
Thousands of visitors enjoyed the HACE exhibition and many learnt about the opportunities ahead in Ecolabels for Hotels. It was also an opportunity to see many representatives of hotels that have been part of Shmile2 activities as well as past trainees visiting to celebrate the project activities and progress.