Eco tourism is part of Desert Divers’ DNA.
- have seen Dahab as a tiny Bedouin fishing settlement
- know the Bedouin life in the desert and next to the sea
- and have dived the pristine reefs of the Red Sea
… you work hard to protect these things and develop life here in a sustainable way.
That’s not to say it’s easy. Egypt, like many large and developing nations, has huge challenges.
For us, sustainable tourism has 3 sides: environmental, cultural and economic. Here are some of the initiatives we’ve been involved with over the years, and some ways you can help!
EU grant for developing sustainable tourism (SSRDP)
From 2007-10, Desert Divers participated in the South Sinai Regional Development Programme (SSRDP). The programme was funded by the EU, and based on this realisation:
South Sinai is blessed with amazing cultural and natural resources. Growth based on these resources offers great opportunities for the area, but there are also threats. If natural resources like the reef and desert eco system are degraded, or if the Bedouin culture is eroded, growth will not benefit the people – especially long term.
Desert Divers project was to expand and promote eco adventures, for the benefit of Bedouin communities. The project focused on Camel Diving Safaris, Deep Desert Safaris and Rock Climbing – all of which bring employment and income to Bedouin in remote areas.
We’ve used the same principles to develop and launch other intiatives as well:
2012: ‘Bedouin in Tourism Charter’, a summary of how tourists and tourism companies can benefit local people.
2017: Bedouin Fingerprints, a craft and clothing shop owned and operated by local women. For carpets, cushion covers, wall hangings and local clothing, visit their shop 4-7pm except Friday.
Beach & reef clean-ups
Keeping our beach and reef clean is an ongoing activity, especially in a place with winds like Dahab! April and September (Earth Day & International Clean-up Day) are our favourite times of the year to shut down for the day and tackle a problem area. More often though, you will find us and other Dahab families/businesses tackling the day to day problem of rubbish disposal on land, encouraging residents to take responsibility for their street and to work with city services to properly maintain their area.
Project Aware – Online Activism
It might seem a small thing to click and sign online, but online activism works! PADI’s Project Aware cited the 135,000 shark petition signatures, and 245,000 letters sent direct to CITES delegates (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), as a key contributor to adding five species of highly traded sharks, both manta rays and one species of sawfish to the CITES Convention.
What is CITES? It’s the largest, most effective wildlife conservation agreement in existence. To date, more than 30,000 species of plants and animals are listed under CITES and the agreement has been a major factor in the recovery of, for example, the Nile Crocodile, the South African white rhino and some populations of African Elephants.
Want to help?
You’re helping already, just by reading this! Here are a few more things you can do:
- Follow Active In Tourism and share stories that interest you on facebook.
- Anywhere in the world, choose travel and adventure sports companies that genuinely benefit the local community. Training, employing and learning from locals is key.
- Follow Project Aware (Desert Divers share many of their posts on our facebook, but not all).
- Next time you take a PADI course, ask for a Project Aware card and donate 5 GBP to their work.
- Participate in beach, reef and mountain clean ups – anywhere in the world!
- and if you’re in Dahab, and want to get involved with local activities, we’d love to hear from you!