The Kuwaiti-led group working on Egypt’s first private airport project at Marsa Alam, on the Red Sea, is now moving ahead with a tourism development scheme in the same area, which it says will involve investment of more than $1,000 million. The group has completed extensive studies on the scheme, to be named Port Ghalib, and has awarded the first infrastructure contracts. It is also negotiating with a leading international resort operator about a contract to run the first cluster of hotels.

The 40-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession for Marsa Alam airport was awarded in 1997 to a venture led by Kuwait’s Mohamed Abdulmohsin Kharafi Group. The deal included the right to develop some 22 million square metres of land along a 20-kilometre stretch of coastline near the airport, which is due to open in October 2001 (Aviation, MEED Special Report, 2:6:00, page 24).

Kharafi and its local partners have formed Marsa Alam Tourism Development (MATD) to turn the area into a major new resort. The masterplan for Port Ghalib was drawn up by France’s Francois Spoerry, urban planning was carried out by EDAW of the US, and architectural designs by Bostonbased Sasaki and the UK’s WAT&G. Bechtel of the US is working as project manager.

A $12 million contract has been awarded to Germany’s Hute-Sete to do the first stage of the dredging for a 1,000-berth marina and Denmark-based Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractors has a contract, also valued at $12 million, to build the 33-MW first stage of a power station. It will incorporate diesel generators supplied by Germany’s MAN. Contracts are now being negotiated for water and wastewater facilities, which will include a reverse osmosis desalination plant.

The contract to manage the first four hotels is being negotiated with an international resort operator. Kharafi has declined to disclose the identity of the company involved.

Several contractors have also been invited to bid by a revised closing date of 26 October for the construction of the first buildings in the resort, including a central tower and sports facilities. They are understood to include EMAK – the local arm of Kharafi – Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), and Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company), Kolaly, Mediterranean Construction Company, Hassan Allam Sons and Industrial Construction & Engineering Company (SIAC), all local.

James Pringle, involved in the project as a senior counsellor for the Kharafi Group, says the vision for Port Ghalib entails: ‘Creating a world-class integrated resort community, recognised globally as a model for environmental conservation, cultural preservation, design creativity and beauty and diversity of experience and facilities.’

Marsa Alam: key facts

Location On Red Sea coast, 250 kilometres south of Hurghada, and 200 kilometres east of Aswan Airport

BOT contractor Mohamed Abdulmohsin Kharafi Group of Kuwait.

Investment costs estimated at £E 160 million ($44 million)

Airport operator Aeroports de Paris of France Resort studies and designs Francois Spoerry (France), EDAW (US), Sasaki (US), WTA&G (UK) Project manager Bechtel of the US Power station contract Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractors (Denmark – $12 million) Dredging contract Hute-Sete (Germany – $12 million) Water and wastewater Under negotiation Resort operator contract Under negotiation MATD shareholders Kharafi Group, local partners Commercial International Investment Company (CIIC), Triangle and Royal Garden , and ‘other investors from the area’