By ; Saber Mohamed
The key role that the Grand Egyptian Museum is expected to play in showcasing the country’s historical artefacts and supporting broader tourism growth is explored by Osama Bishai, CEO of Orascom Construction, and David De Visscher, country manager of BESIX, in interviews they gave recently to Oxford Business Group’s online broadcasting channel, Global Platform.
Bishai described the decision to construct the museum as timely, while also highlighting the careful consideration that has been given to its design and location.
“I think it is now our time to have something that's really inspiring, not only for the Egyptians but for the people who are interested in the Egyptian history,” he said. “Other than its unique architecture, it’s a particular building just in front of one of the Seven Wonders of the World; your view is the pyramids. I think all these factors make that particular project a unique one.”
Bishai added that the museum had heightened the need for an infrastructure overhaul and upgrades to other facilities, saying these would help to boost visitor numbers, while encouraging repeat tourism. He also voiced his confidence that investors would be keen to contribute to the development of the surrounding area once the project is completed.
“We should be quite ambitious - we should hit 20m or 30m tourists a year and we need more restaurants, more services and improved infrastructure. I wouldn’t be surprised that having that opening of the museum you start seeing that the people will be excited to invest,” he told licence holders. “I think we need to look at the quality of life that we need to provide to the tourists and allowing tourists to have good food, good services, better hotels, more flexibility and going in and out, better connections from whether outbound or within the country.”
De Visscher highlighted both the scale of the museum, which will have a built-up area of 165,000 square metres of galleries and spaces, and the way in which the building has been integrated into the landscape of the pyramids.
“The architects have chosen to align the external walls and the whole project is aligned with two mini pyramids and the slope of the project is itself aligned with the tip of the third pyramid,” he said. “It’s really impressive how this project is part of this environment, of this whole plateau environment, how these lines that continue the spirit of the pyramids in the way they were done 3000 years ago.”
Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of PR and Video Content, said the video provided licence holders with a valuable snapshot of Egypt’s plans to take the presentation of its historical attractions and, more broadly, its tourism offering to the next level.