Back to the complete issue
Monday, 12 December 2022

Make local investors happy and the foreigners will come, says Moataz Sedky, general manager of Travco Holidays

We recently had breakfast with 20 top CEOs to talk about why exports and FDI are key to our economy going forward. After reading our five-step recipe for turning Egypt into a global export hub and FDI magnet, every participating CEO has agreed to answer two questions on the record.

We’ve already heard from: GSK’s Mohamed El Dababy | McKinsey’s Jalil Bensouda | Somabay’s Ibrahim El Missiri | ALC Alieldean Weshahi & Partners’ Bahaa Alieldean | HSBC Egypt’s Todd Wilcox | Actis’ Sherif El Kholy | Amazon’s Omar El Sahy | BII’s Sherine Shohdy | Mansour Automotive’s Ankush Arora | Apex’s Tom Maher.

Moataz Sedky (LinkedIn) is the general manager of Travco Holidays, tour operator Travco Group’s outbound and domestic arm. Sedky has nearly 30 years of experience in business operations and has had a huge hand in launching the Travco Holidays brand, which offers pre-packaged holidays to tourists and corporate visitors, under the wider umbrella of Travco Group.

ENTERPRISE- Which industry would you put on a focused short list — and why?

MOATAZ SEDKY- Agriculture. We depend on food big time in our industry. Everybody talks about how lovely the food is in Greece — it’s all made in Greece. They don’t import any of it. Now if you look at the small breakfast buffets at Egyptian resorts, half of it is imported items. If I have a strong agriculture sector, this could form the backbone of the price structure of any resort.

Tourism is a giant industry, so we must also talk about other related industries that feed into it. Egypt has always been a cultural destination, especially for big spenders. Let’s not say that we have one third of the monuments of the world. We have sun for 12 months a year. We have 3k km of fine sand beaches, from Marsa Alam in the south to Marsa Matrouh in the north. We have beautiful water temperatures.

There are ways that we can improve ourselves, just by opening up doors for different types of tourism. We need to be an attractive destination for high-end events and conferences. Look at Spain, for example: 75% of people going to Barcelona go for business travel and business events, and 90% of global pharma events happen in Spain.

Our target for tourism should be to net USD 30 bn, not 30 mn guests. You might be giving a lot of support to charter flights coming from Europe to the Marsa Alam, Hurghada, and Sharm el Sheikh, and you’re helping travelers that come and spend very little money because the resorts are all inclusive. But how about open doors for people who are waiting to attend great events and who are willing to spend more?

Another part of it is technical and vocational training. Investment in this area is very important, especially when you see how many Egyptian technicians are working abroad in factories for brands like BMW in Germany. Targeting certain markets to penetrate them can unlock huge massive remittances when those talents end up transferring money from abroad into Egypt.

E- Why are exports and FDI the way forward?

MS– If you start with something like airports, you’ll see that here in Egypt, we have the lousiest duty-free shops. In Europe, right outside of the terminal, you find yourself in the middle of the duty-free shop. It's an amazing way to generate a lot of revenues. This is a money making machine that could unlock tns. It’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s simply bringing the best guys who worked on the best and most attractive duty-free shops in the world to Egypt and giving them the chance to invest.

We also need laws that encourage investors. When Egyptian investors look to neighboring countries to buy land and manage properties, this signals to foreign investors that it’s not the right place to invest. When our local investors talk negatively about the investment climate in Egypt, this is a very alarming signal for outsiders not to come. If local investors are happy and foreign ones can see that, the least they will do is be interested in joining them.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.