Archive for Sharm el Sheikh
For a few days in late 2010, the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh was in the spotlight as a number of shark attacks between Middle Gardens and Ras Nasrani struck horror into travellers. 4 people were injured and a 5th died. This was the 1st fatal shark attack in Egypt for a year and the 1st in Sharm for 6 years.
As with every shark attack anywhere worldwide, there is mass hysteria. The government bodies sealed seashores and diving operations although a number of people still ventured into the sea. It was not very long before two sharks were caught and shown the globe as the ones at fault. However, the Oceanic White Tip to blame for one attack was photographed by scuba divers and had different markings compared to the one which was captured.
Just as suddenly as the attacks started, they stopped. Shark gurus had travelled to Sharm from just about all over the entire world in an attempt to clarify what happened. The behaviour certainly wasn’t normal which means the only real explanation was that some type of man-made intervention were to blame.
In more remote parts of the Southern Red Sea, shark feeding will occur although it is against the law. A much more probable conclusion was that the vessel taking live sheep to Saudi Arabia threw dead livestock into the water. The busy shipping channels near the Straits of Tiran aren’t far from the spot in which the shark attacks occurred.
In reality, the reasons may never be known but things must be kept in perspective. Even though shark attacks are shocking, they’re astonishingly infrequent. In contrast, 3 tourist coach accidents in October, November and December claimed an overall total of 22 lives yet was given very little publicity. Happily, tourism in Egypt is rather tough and it has bounced back powerfully in the aftermath of a number of tragedies. Sharm is Egypt’s most well liked holiday location and will definitely be going strong in 2011.
Egypt is on track to meet its tourism growth targets despite a scare following a rare series of shark attacks that affected bookings, the country’s Minister of Tourism, Zoheir Garranah, told CNBC.
Half of the beaches at the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh are now open again after shark attacks that killed one and injured four had alarmed even the scientific community.
“We’re seeing there’s a slowdown in bookings, but not a frightening figure. It has to be dealt with,” Garranah said in an exclusive interview.
Although the Red Sea has always been home to sharks, Sharm El-Sheikh, widely held to be one of the world’s most pristine diving sites, has seen few accidents in previous decades.
With more than 11 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product stemming from tourism, the government quickly flew in top scientists to find an answer as to why the behavior of sharks would change so abruptly.
“It’s not normal. There is something that happened”, Garranah said.
There is a growing consensus that a collusion of factors explains the recent spate of attacks. Among them is that a cargo ship is said to have illegally dumped animal carcasses into the sea near the beach, offering sharks easy access to food. Add to that the ecologically-disruptive fish and shark feeding, as well as unusually high temperatures in the area and the risks of a possible attack simply surge.
Aside from safe swimming areas in natural lagoons and protectorates, experts have now advised implementing general safeguards such as patrol boats, specially-trained lifeguards, stricter enforcement of feeding bans and standard operating procedures.
Despite the recent shock, the government is “definitely on track” to reach its tourism growth targets for 2011, Garranah said. The number of tourists, year-to-date in November, came in 17.5 percent higher than in the same period in 2009.
Garranah expects to close out the year with a tally of 14.7 million -14.8 million tourists, and $12.6 billion to $12.7 billion in revenues.
With some 212,000 rooms under construction, Garranah sees significant growth potential in non-beach tourism, such as wellness, second-home and shopping tourism. By 2020, the government hopes to reach 25 million tourists per year; but it needs to spend some money to achieve it.
“We need to invest more in people”, Garranah cited as the main challenge. Continued investments in expanding airports, accounting for 82 percent of arrivals, and highways, offering key accessibility to resorts across the country, are also part of the equation.
The UK is the second-largest source of tourists for Egypt and Garranah was highly critical of the departure tax brackets, also known as the Air Passenger Duty (APD), which taxes air travel according to the distance between the UK and the country of destination.
At a time when travelers are more price-conscious, Garranah was concerned that Egypt was not in the same tax category as countries like Turkey, Tunisia and Cyprus.
“I’m not against the departure tax. It’s nobody’s business to contest countries as to how to implement tax, but I’m with unifying the tax,” he said.
There has been considerable debate throughout the year among policy makers, industry executives and vacationers alike about the APD. Many countries are complaining their tourism industry will be hard hit as families may have to pay hundreds of pounds more for holidays.
Germany has followed suit with introducing ADP and other European countries are contemplating similar measures.
“They say it was for environmental reasons, everybody knows it’s for the general budget deficit,” Garranah said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing some 230 airlines, also said departure taxes dampen demand and add costs for businesses.
Source: CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/id/40713996/)
Egypt says it will reopen beaches at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after a spate of shark attacks temporarily forced their closure.
New measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of swimmers in the future, authorities said.
A German woman was killed and four other tourists injured in a series of attacks a week ago.
Many of the resort’s main beaches were closed to swimmers and snorkellers after the fatal attack on 5 December.
“We have allowed the beaches to reopen on condition hotel owners adhere to new controls to ensure the safety of foreign tourists while diving or swimming,” South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told reporters.
He said watch stations, manned by divers, would be set up to monitor the coast, and that speed boats would continuously patrol the waters.
Swimmers will also have to remain within designated areas and refrain from feeding sharks, Mr Shousha added.
Egypt has been concerned about the impact of the shark attacks on tourism, which provides a crucial source of foreign currency and jobs in the country.
The 70-year-old German was fatally mauled just metres from the shore one day after the last time the beaches were reopened.
They were closed following shark attacks that injured two Russian snorkellers on 30 November and another one on 1 December.
The 5 December killing was the first death from a shark attack in Sharm el-Sheikh since 2004. But in 2009, a French woman was killed while diving much further south off the Red Sea coast, near the town of Marsa Alam.
An investigation is underway to understand what caused the sharks’ behaviour.
Experts and local observers have speculated that overfishing in the Red Sea may have driven sharks closer to shore.
Meanwhile, some believe predatory sharks could have been drawn to the area after a ship carrying Australian sheep and cattle for sacrifice during last month’s Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha dumped the carcasses of animals which had died during the voyage.
Source: BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11980249)
EasyJet services to and from Egypt have been disrupted by a dispute over fuel, with flights to the UK from Luxor, Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik delayed overnight.
The budget carrier announced it would change its fuel supplier immediately after passengers at Sharm el-Sheik were told their flight was delayed due to unpaid bills.
EasyJet insisted it had no outstanding invoices. The carrier only recently expanded its services to Egypt by adding flights to Luxor.
It confirmed three flights were disrupted overnight – from Luxor to Gatwick, Hurghada to Gatwick and Sharm el-Sheik to Luton. EasyJet reported delays to some departures today.
Sharm el Sheikh is rife with a great many varied activities that you could possibly undertake in the daytime, and my favorite activity is snorkeling in the sea. Its enjoyable identifying a large number of vibrant, little fish swimming all-around the reefs. After you get going, you get ever more interested in the sea life you would never see in the seas about Britain.
Besides this, I definitely take delight in watching the various stage shows in the hotels. As it is starting to get dark lots of hotels present a range of interesting disco’s, youngster’s fun pursuits or shows only to entertain their guests and passers by and to tell the truth, being there and experiencing the daily entertainment does cheer the customers up. Undoubtedly one of my favourite shows was where several actors changed into different Michael Jackson costumes and they pretended to be the characters out of the Thriller music video. I adored that show and I’m certain if you were there as opposed to me so would you too.
During the day there are a lot things to check out and explore. As an example, there are a lot of glass-bottom boats which go around 3-4 kilometres away to observe the vibrant coral reefs and the marine creatures which dwell there.
Whenever folks get closer to the town these people decide to go shopping. Shopping is amongst the enjoyable past times because once you happen to be anywhere overseas you always want to get your family a memento and Sharm has lots and lots of outlets brimming with traditional or modern day goodies.
If you get a lttle bit bored or want to explore more of Sharm el Sheikh then you definitely should head out and see old Sharm el Sheikh. It is the old town of Sharm and is the original area of Sharm el Sheikh prior to when it grew as a tourist destination and its not as crowded and quite an interesting spot. Its a change of scenery and its more peaceful than Na’ama Bay.
These are my favourite things to do once I’m in Sharm el Sheikh on holiday and I can’t wait to return.