Title: Development of a business plan for Sallum Marine Protected Area

Country: Egypt

MPA: Sallum MPA

Beneficiary: Environics Environment & Development Advisors

Thematic: Sustainable financing

Period of implementation (year): 2018-2019

Duration: 6 months

Total budget: 23 000 €

MedPAN financing: 17 000 €


Sallum Marine Protected Area (MPA) was declared in February 2010 as the first MPA on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. It is situated in the local units of Sidi Birani and el Sallum, Matrouh Governorate, in the North-West of Egypt, and covers an area of 383 km2.

Location of Sallum MPA
Location of Sallum MPA

The protected area includes tidal flats, sand dunes, ridges, salt depressions, coastal plains, sea grass meadows, and other shallow and intermediate depth marine habitats. As part of Egypt‘s protected areas network, Sallum MPA is under the management authority of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA).

Sallum MPA
Sallum MPA

Sallum MPA is still at an initial stage of enforcement. A management plan for the area is being elaborated with the support of the SPA/RAC as part of the project MedMPA network financed by the European Union. The development of the MPA is limited by the lack of financial resources and efficient resource mobilization, restricting the execution of activities.

In the Action Plan for Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Action 1 consists of reforming legislative, policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks to facilitate revenue generation and retention, effective expenditure and other aspects of sustainable financing of protected areas. In this context, the EEAA has been developing a policy and projects for pushing the self-financing of protected areas and took the initiative to develop three business plans in Wadi El-Gemal National Park, Wadi El-Rayyan Nature Protectorate and Ras Mohamed National Park.

MedPAN’s Small Project

In coherence with the EEAA Action Plan, the overall objective of this small project was to ensure the financial sustainability of the Sallum MPA. In particular, the project aimed at developing a Business Plan (BP) to achieve the MPA’s conservation mandate.

The specific objectives of the project were to:

  • Guide resource allocations based on the needs of the protected area;
  • Address the main opportunities and challenges including those related to the regulatory and institutional framework;
  • Ensure that public, private, and community actors participate actively in the implementation of the financial sustainability plans.

The development of a business plan for Sallum MPA allowed exploring revenue generation options, identifying potential donors, and promoting sustainable eco-friendly funding mechanisms for the protected area.

This project ran in parallel with a small project on communication led by Nature Conservation Egypt, entitled “Effective Management through Strategic Communication”. Within this other project, a communication strategy and a website for the MPA were developed.

Key outputs

Sallum MPA Business Plan Development Methodology

The Business Plan was developed following this set of steps and tools application:

  • Identifying data needs with a desktop literature review (including the review of existing governmental plans), field visit and meetings with relevant stakeholders;
  • Analysing the macro-environmental factors that may have an impact on the MPA using the STEEPLED1 framework;
  • Evaluating the MPA’s competitiveness and developing a business strategy using a SWOT2 analysis;
  • Assessing the MPA’s potential for nature-based tourism with an Ecosystem Services Assessment;
  • Undertaking a financial analysis including the identification of funding shortfalls, potential funding sources and income-generating mechanisms;
  • Developing a roadmap for implementing the business plan.
View of Sallum city from the plateau
View of Sallum city from the plateau

1Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political, Legal, Ethical, Demographics

2Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Management Programme proposal

Considering the lack of management plan at Sallum MPA, a management structure with five programmes of work was proposed within the process of developing the business plan. For the financial analysis, the funding needs and revenue generation were assessed in relation to these five programmemes of work.

Proposed programmes of work for the Sallum Marine Protected Area
Proposed programmes of work for the Sallum Marine Protected Area

SWAT analysis and Ecoystem Services Assessment

The analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats was made to facilitate effective planning and support decision-making. It may serve as a base for developing management solutions to use the strengths and realise the opportunities, while overcoming the weaknesses and minimising the threats. The main weaknesses identified were financial and organisational limitations. The main strengths of Sallum MPA are its biological richness and natural beauty, offering a high potential for leisure and ecotourism activities. Nevertheless, the development of such activities would need to consider threats such as the vicinity of the Libyan border and environmental degradation.

The ecosystem services assessment contributed to the identification and prioritization of revenue generation alternatives for the MPA. The main ecosystem services of the MPA are resumed in the Table below. Recreation and nature-based tourism services were found to represent the main revenue generation drivers for Sallum MPA. Three main tourism hotspots were identified, providing opportunities for sustainable tourism business development. The business plan therefore insisted on resources use and revenue generation focusing on ecotourism.

Results of the Ecosystem Services assessment
Results of the Ecosystem Services assessment

Financial analysis

The financial analysis consisted of comparing the actual (current) financial situation of Sallum MPA with projections for basic (satisfactory) and optimal (highly satisfactory) scenarios. The financial requirements of the park were projected for the basic and optimal scenarios, considering salaries, operational costs and capital costs for each programme of work.

Financial requirements
Financial requirements

The Resource Use and Visitor Management Programme was found to represent the largest programme in terms of amount of expenditures, representing 49 % in the basic scenario and 35 % in the optimal scenario. This is related to projected infrastructure and visitors facilities investments, which were estimated crucial for Sallum MPA to support nature-based tourism and recreation activities in the park.

Over a period of five years, the implementation of the management programmemes according to the basic and optimal scenarios will require EGP 17 604 593 (approx. 980 604 €3 total in five years) and EGP 48 151 668 (approx. 2 682 126 € total in 5 years) respectively. The amount of funds required to cover salaries, operation expenses and capital investments varied between the years.

Comparing the basic and optimal scenarios with the actual financial situation, important funding gaps occur. This is namely related to capital investments considered in the basic and optimal scenarios, including regular field equipment such as GPS, cameras, binocular, diving equipment; boats and cars for patrolling and research; as well as establishment of GIS unit, lab for research work and a mooring system for boats control.

Potential financing mechanisms and revenue generation sources proposed to meet Sallum MPA financial needs were compared in terms of ease of implementation and relative benefits in order to help prioritizing.

3 1 EUR = 17.9528 EGP, on 24/10/2019 from www.xe.com

Prioritizing among finance mechanisms for Sallum MPA
Prioritizing among finance mechanisms for Sallum MPA


The involvement of the stakeholders (local community, MPA managers, other protected areas experts/officials, private sector and NGOs) has been and will remain crucial for the development and implementation of the business plan.

Stakeholder consultation meetings and the review of existing governmental plans were very useful to identify investment opportunities and consider the potential impacts of regional projects on the MPA.

The business plan and the management plan in preparation should be aligned. The management plan is the main tool to guide the development and management of a protected area (with specific objectives, targets and relevant management actions).

Both the management plan and the business plan need to be endorsed and implemented; they should not just remain plans. They can be adapted over time based on results obtained. Legal and institutional frameworks and stakeholder engagement are required to create an enabling environment for their implementation.

Training staff on sustainable financing (at national and park levels) is important for making use of the business plan and the revenue generation, mobilisation and retention mechanisms it englobes.

What’s next?

An action plan with specific financing and revenue generation actions distributed over 5 years was designed to help the MPA managers start using the business plan in support of their activities. Actions were ranked in terms of priority. The responsibility of the implementation of these actions is mainly of the Nature Conservation Sector (NCS), Sallum MPA management and Northern Protected Areas Sector management. Priority actions include: using the BP to communicate and enquire budget and staff allocations for Sallum MPA, prepare and submit project proposals to the Environmental Protection Fund, and introduce entrance fees.

The outputs of the business plan were taken into account in the preparation of a management plan and a draft management plan was presented to relevant stakeholders during a meeting in September 2019 in Cairo.

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