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Session5 03 Mahmoud Sarhan


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Presentation made at the Sustainable Tourism in Small Island Developing States conference, 23-24 November 2017, Seychelles. A partnership of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation, IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group, University of Seychelles, Paris Tourism Sorbonne (IREST), and Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

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Session5 03 Mahmoud Sarhan

  1. 1. A Public Private Partnership Model for Ecotourism Development in Wadi el Gemal National Park in Egypt Mahmoud Sarhan Project Manager Financial Sustainability of Protected Areas Project UNDP Egypt
  2. 2. Wadi El-Gemal National Park Red Sea, Egypt Total Area: 7450 Km2 IUCN category: National Park Declaration: 2003 Ecosystems and natural resources: Marine and desert, coral reefs, mangroves, islands, coastal areas, beaches, birds, fish, large marine mammals, reptiles,, ancient artifacts, temples, and local people
  3. 3. RESORT MAP Gorgonia Resort Map
  4. 4. Gorgonia Occupancy 9 Year Overnights Rate 2008 10,836 10% 2009 68,624 28% 2010 156,310 65% 2011 135,182 56% 2012 197,031 81.1 2013 165,128 67.7% 2014 107,693 85% 2015 110,167 87% 10% 28% 65% 56% 81% 68% 85% 87% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Occupancy Rate
  5. 5. Environmental Practice 10 Support to Wadi El Gemal National Park Support to Local People Environmental Certifications and Awards Own sewage treatment plant Own desalination plant Own garbage separation / Recycling by HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association) Test run for solar water heating covering 22 guest rooms Frequent clean up days
  6. 6. Opportunities 1. Designated National Park since 2003 2. Location close to Europe 3. Outstanding desert, coastal and marine environment (coral reefs, islands, desert areas, mangrove, dolphins, beaches,…) 4. Unique ecotourism selling point 5. Tourism infrastructure (hotels, lodges, roads, airport, nearby city)
  7. 7. Key issues /Problems 1. Local people marginalized from tourism sector 2. The mainstream business is mass tourism 3. The Park is singly managed by government with very little consultation/involvement of local people or key stakeholders 4. No organized ecotourism business in place just random tours and activities 5. Only few companies build their marketing plans on the Park 6. No/minor direct returns for the Park or local people 7. Park and ecotourism underfinanced and in some cases funds being misused
  8. 8. Challenges • No system/models in place for cooperation between government (the Park), local people and private sector • Current governmental institutional frameworks do not allow for official co-management or benefit sharing • Concessions system at Egypt’s National Parks System needs reform to be able to attract and manage qualified concessionaires • Large tour operators prefer to sell (cheaper) large scale tourism packages rather than ecotourism • Most players in the sector don’t use local people • Lack of trust, capacities, willingness to co-operate, legal frameworks
  9. 9. • Communications/consultations with potential partners/field visits • Assistance from international sustainable tourism expert (Barabara Fritz) who helped in preparing a proposal for a 2-years PPP project to develop ecotourism in the park. • Funds became available for the project, Euro 500,000 (2014-2016) • 65% from Gorgonia Beach Resort (Johannes Girardi, the Project Manager) • 35% from DEG-KFW • Park contribution is in-kind The Intervention
  10. 10. Project Goals • Develop the framework conditions for the commercial and sustainable development of ecotourism services in the Park. • Sustainable ecotourism services shall be developed based on the ecological and socio- cultural resources of WGNP. • The Park will have established a public-private run visitor center, a signage system, ecotourism activities, educational and awareness raising programs
  11. 11. Park Resources Gorgonia Beach Resort Park Authority DEG- KFW Ababda Tribe • Co-funding 65% • Planning and promoting the PPP • Design, market and sell ecotourism product • Technical assistance in ecotourism planning and PPP design • Permissions for eco-tours • Ensure PPP agreement compliance • Enforce sustainable practice • Implementing tours • Give access to land and resources • Share traditional knowledge • Co-funding 35% • M&E The PPP for Ecotourism Model
  12. 12. Project Results • Result I: institutional framework for the sustainable public-private management model is set up. • Network of key stakeholders built. • Development of a sustainable business and management model • Written agreement on ecotourism development and benefit sharing between all PPP actors (Local people NGO, Gorgonia Resort, and the Park)
  13. 13. Project Results • Result II: Wadi El Gamal NP Visitor Centre is developed and installed as info point, selling point of ecotourism services and centre for awareness raising and education on cultural and biological heritage of the national park. • The Company applied to take the concession. The concession process stopped because of bureaucracy. • New VC established within Gorgonia. It promotes ecotourism in the Park and local people given permanent place to offer their products/traditional cooking in the resort. • Gorgonia is one the largest hotels in the area and receives thousands of visitors each year.
  14. 14. The Park’s Visitor Center
  15. 15. 3D Illustrations
  16. 16. The New Visitor Center
  17. 17. The opening ceremony of the Visitor Center
  18. 18. Project Results Result III: The “ecotourism product Wadi El Gamal National Park” is developed and in place and all related services offered by the Park • Several evaluation trips and site visits of experts (e.g. bird watching, star gazing, desert safari) and network partners (e.g. trekking and mountain biking) • Participatory workshops with the relevant cooperation partners and local stakeholders to propose and discuss the feasible ecotourism products • Development of a “strategic ecotourism development plan” as a common vision • Implementation of one pilot ecotourism product e.g. guided desert safari, star gazing, mounting biking or camel hiking tours (proposal ready pending on availability of funds)
  19. 19. • Locally guided desert safari tours • Made in Egypt Shop • Star gazing tours • Local people traditional cooking at Gorgonia Resort (weekly) • Mountain Bike tour with local guide (in the pipeline) Eco-tourism Product
  20. 20. Project Results • Result IV: Marketing, promotion and information material on the Wadi El Gamal Visitor center and the offered services in the park area are developed and in place. • A corporate design and “brand (logo and slogan)” for the park • Ecotourism marketing and promotion plan • Visitor information materials (website for the Park, Field Guides, Ecotourism Map, Short Documentary) • Promotion of the ecotourism product of the Park at international tourism magazines (i.e. Nat Geo) and nature fairs (i.e. ITB – Berlin, Road-show Thomas Cook – Neckermann, Vakantiebeurs – Utrecht (Nl) 2015) • Contracting PR company at Germany to promote the Park in Europe.
  21. 21. Made in Egypt Gift Shop Established by the Project with the resort and co-managed with local people
  22. 22. Made in Egypt Gift Shop
  23. 23. +30 articles in international travel magazines Regular promotion by the PR company at Germany
  24. 24. Benefits Social Economic Environmental • Job opportunities • Tourism sector support • Introduction of new tours and activities • Inclusion of local people • Promotion of traditional knowledge • First aid and medical center for the local people • School support program • Investment in ecotourism • International grants • Direct spending on the local economy • Revenues for the PPP partners • Reduced impact on natural resources • Promotion of nature- based tours • Education and awareness
  25. 25. Benefit Sharing Local People Gorgonia Resort The Park Authority • Income from jobs at guided tours • Sales of products at the shop • Income from the cooking show • Revenue from the tours • Increase of visitor satisfaction and number of visitors • Being more eligible for certification • Concessions fees (planned) • Park entrance fees • In-kind direct support from Gorgonia
  26. 26. • PPP is a sustainable approach for natural resources management and ecotourism development • It needs enabling environment (i.e. institutional and legal frameworks, organizations that are interested in cooperation, economic incentives, organization that believe on partnerships for long-term development, funding) • Planning, negotiating and signing a feasible and practical PPP agreement is a crucial • Learning from international experience and best practices is important • Consultation and working with relevant stakeholders is a MUST Findings
  27. 27. • This case study needs to be well-documented and evaluated in order to extract lessons, identify gaps, success stories and transfer/exchange the experience • It has a potential to be replicated at other locations • More work/research is needed in the area of PPP for Ecotourism Development in Protected Areas. Way Forward
  28. 28. Thanks to Johannes Girardi Luca Scarsini Amany Nakhla Barabra Fritz Niklas Esser Mohamed Gad Nady Hassan Abada Tribe People Gorgonia Beach Resort Team Wadi El Gemal National Park Team DEG-KFW Germany UNDP – GEF The Financial Sustainability of Protected Areas Project
  29. 29. •@iucntourism Twitter