Environment Minister Launches Sustainable Tourism Campaign
Egypt's Ministry of the Environment, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, has launched an 'Eco Egypt' campaign to raise environmental awareness among its population, promote the importance of natural resources, and support ecotourism.
The programme falls under the remit of the United Nations Development Programme and was launched in Ras Mohammad National Park, a protected area of the South Sinai peninsula, by Egypt's Minister for the Environment, Dr Yasmine Fouad, and Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, Dr Khaled Al-Anani. The campaign 'aims to support unique ecotourism in Egypt, encourage the visiting of natural reserves and learning about the different cultures of the local population, including their heritage, and make them a key centrepiece for protecting the natural environment and biodiversity.'
'Eco Egypt' will develop infrastructure and tourism services to 13 existing protected areas, including the establishment of visitor centres in Ras Mohammed National Park, and Wadi El Fayoum Oasis, approximately 2 hours south of Cairo. The Ministry of the Environment has projected that the new facilities will provide local Egyptians with employment opportunities expected to substantially raise their income during the course of the first year.
Dr Fouad said that the campaign is designed to attract sustainable tourism in the form of camping, diving, bird watching and stargazing, among others, and hopes to attract tourists from a range of different countries in order to explore Egypt's 'distinctive curltural heritage and natural resources'. The intention of Eco Egypt is 'to clarify the message that tourism does not conflict with development efforts and conservation of the environment, including natural reserves as a attraction for tourism.'
In light of the downturn in tourist business caused by the global pandemic, the Minister for the Environment also announced that fees for daily trips to the national parks in the South Sinai and Red Sea Governorates will be reduced by 50 per cent until the end of March 2021.
According to Dr Fouad, the Eco Egypt campaign will continue promoting ecotourism in Egypt for the next three years through the creation of a website and across a variety of social media platforms. The campaign's launch has been broadly welcomed by members of the tourist industry, which has increasingly moved towards green initiatives in recent years, after the recognition that large-scale developments were having a negative impact on the local environment.