6th october city gains in prominence


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Viability's Guy Wilkinson writes a monthly column for Hotelier Middle East Magazine. This article originally appeared in September 2010.
For more information about Viability, please visit http://www.linkedin.com/company/2347942 or http://www.viability.ae/

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6th october city gains in prominence

  1. 1. 22COMMENT th 6 October City gains in prominence Viability director Guy Wilkinson reports from Cairo in Egypt, where he predicts a shift in the city’s traditional tourist havens and asks how established hotels will compete in the future The US $550 million, 100,000m² museum was designed by Ire- land’s Heneghan Peng following the world’s largest architectural tender, involving 1557 entries. The iconic Egyptology museum, shaped like a chamfered triangle, will house 150,000 artefacts and include vir- tual reality exhibits, a children’s museum, a conference centre, a training centre, a theme park and replica Pharaonic workshops. To be located more or less on COLUMNIST the doorstep of the old Mövenpick Resort Cairo Pyramids, the project he traditional patterns of is now entering phase three of devel- T The view from Le Méridien Pyramids Resort & Spa, located in the upcoming ‘Pyramids/6th October City’ area. tourism in Cairo are about to opment. Phase two of the project, change. Cultural attractions comprising conservation labs,a fire in the Egyptian capital re- station and an energy centre, has ceived 6.2 million visitors in 2008, MANY HOTELS IN THE PYRAMIDS DISTRICT just been completed and local hote- of which 2.7 million alone went to ARE ADDING SIGNIFICANT NEW ROOMS liers are confident that at least part the Egyptian Museum, arguably STOCK IN ANTICIPATION OF THE OPENING of the new museum will be open in one of the greatest museums any- where. The 15,000m², 58-room Vic- OF THE GRAND EGYPTIAN MUSEUM 2012. At that point, there will be far less reason for tourists to be based torian edifice built in 1902 houses downtown, as by staying at a hotel the world’s largest collection of in the Pyramids/6th October City ancient Egyptian exhibits (totalling or a half day by tourists based in crossed the Suez Canal into Israeli- area, they will be able to visit the some 120,000 items). It is reputed the grand downtown hotels. To occupied Sinai. Founded in 1979 museum, the Pyramids at Giza and that many of its collections never the disillusionment of many a by President Anwat El Sadat, the even those at Sakkara far more eas- see the light of day, being hidden starry-eyed tourist, the Pyramids location is home to Egypt’s larg- ily — without getting embroiled in away in dusty vaults that only top are hemmed in on two sides by the est industrial area, the Egyptian the dreadful traffic and air pollu- TV Egyptologist Zahy Hawass, or ugly urban sprawl of suburban Media Production City (EGPC) tion that unfortunately blights the perhaps the fictional ‘Bembridge Cairo, and one place to glimpse the where many of Egypt’s famous downtown areas. Scholars’ from the film The Mum- famous night-time ‘son et lumiere’ soap operas are made, a number of With faster roads, cleaner air my, ever see. show is upstairs at the scruffy KFC universities and scores of upscale and quieter nights, the 6th October Located in Tahrir Square over- that faces the entrance! Neverthe- housing projects that benefit from hotels will soon have even more looking the Nile, the Egyptian less, there is a whole sub-section of the area’s somewhat cooler weather going for them, so expect also to see Museum is a stone’s throw from the Cairo’s hotel stock located in close than downtown Cairo. For hote- their numbers swell in the future. historic Khan El Khalili bazaar and proximity to the Pyramids, several liers, the area is considered an exten- It will be fascinating to see how within easy driving distance of the on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert sion of the Pyramids district, while Cairo’s giant downtown hotels, Citadel and Cairo’s Coptic attrac- Road, with the fertile green lands also benefiting from local corporate as well as the former Nile Hilton tions. With these glorious destina- of the Nile Delta on one side and the demand. The hotels there com- — the region’s oldest chain hotel, tions firmly downtown, it was natu- brutally arid desert on the other. prise Hilton, Sheraton and Swiss which thanks to Emaar will re- ral that large hotels would grow up Among these are the famous Mena Inn properties within the upscale open as a Ritz-Carlton right next to along the banks of the Nile to serve House Oberoi hotel, built in 1886 as Dreamland residential resort com- the old museum — will reposition them, not least the massive Mar- a royal hunting lodge for Khedive munity, a Mövenpick serving the themselves when the main cultural riott, Ramses Hilton, Semiramis Ismail, the King of Egypt, as well as stars at EGPC, and a Novotel, attractions ‘go west.’ HME InterContinental and Grand Hyatt more modern properties under the which is next to the renowned Dar properties, with 1088, 730, 818 and Le Méridien, Mövenpick, Mercure El Fouad hospital. 715 rooms respectively. and other local brands. Many of these hotels in the Pyra- Of course, Cairo’s main draw- Some 30km further out into the mids district are now adding signifi- card are the Pyramids of Giza, desert on Cairo’s western outskirts cant new rooms stock in anticipa- Guy Wilkinson is a director of Viability, a hospi- tality and property consulting firm in Dubai. which together with the Sphinx are lies 6th October City, named after tion of the much vaunted opening For more information, e-mail: guy@viability.ae often visited for just a few hours the 1973 battle when Egyptians of the Grand Egyptian Museum. September 2010 • Hotelier Middle East www.hoteliermiddleeast.com