Institutional Cash

Would You Invest in an Egyptian Hotel?

The question is not as flippant as it sounds. According to hotel-industry sources, there may be more than 10,000 branded hotel rooms being rolled out in Egypt over the near-to-medium term. Local executives claim that the outsized building boom represents a commitment to tourism-industry potential, especially from markets like China and India. But the travel business is a mature sector in Egypt. There is plenty of hotel-room inventory; the exception is niche-location demand. The dark side of the story is that local investors are hedging exposure to a fast-tumbling currency. Hotels in the developing world act like hard-currency ATMs. For those companies with an existing footprint in Egypt, the language of proactive commitment enshrouds their commercial activities more effectively than government criticism.

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