Sharm El Sheikh: the Perfect Investment
Already back in the 60s I would ask myself “what is the closest place to Europe with the ideal conditions to welcome tourists?” In November of 1991 I was invited to see a resort on the Red Sea, which was completely unknown at the time, the name of it was Hurghada. There was nothing there. However, the sea and the sun were perfect, wonderful. Straight away I understood that it could be a great business, the spark was lit but it was not yet perfect. I wanted perfection. At the Red Sea, which at the time was bare, I continued to look for something. But there was nothing to be found.
The first building site
One day, at the start of December we went out on the boat and just before it became dark while we were returning to the harbor, I noticed bay where the Coral Bay stands now. I saw perfection in front of me. Immediately I thought that it was the bay of my dreams, the one made for me. There was and still is a coral reef surrounding the bay, two never ending beaches, and it was placed in a way that allowed the sea to be seen from all the angles. I went to the governor of South Sinai and he told me “Do whatever you like. It is all desert anyway”. That was the start to the biggest investment adventure.
A good deal
The sellers of the terrain made a good deal; they bought one square meter at the price of one Egyptian pound and sold it at the price of three pounds. Of course today, even in the less beautiful areas of Coral Bay, the terrains are valued at the price of a thousand pounds per square meter.
The winning card
The sales went well straight away and this procured the cash flow to complete the investment. The winning card was to use Alba Parietti and Omar Sharif as testimonials as at the time they were at the top of their careers. I started to organize flights to Coral Bay with journalists and possible buyers. There was a special feeling for the place, even if the services at Sharm were not as they are today. For example there weren’t any restaurants and so I made a deal with the local fishermen. Thanks to them we have a natural cuisine, fresh fish and freshly fished lobsters. Then there were the dinners in the tents of the Bedouins who became our friends. It all worked out: the first 15 villas were sold immediately and the investment took off.
A big project
A project that is very important for me is the creation of a miniature of the Lake of Como behind Coral Bay; I am sure that I will be able to do it. Naturally it will be a salt-water pool that people can swim in or go by boat. It will be without the coral reef but that does not matter. This way people can have what they want: a villa in the first row to the water and behind the lake the mountains of the Sinai Mountain. It is a big project with a 2 billion investment in six years. Sharm el Sheik was a great investment that could have been much more important.