The Red Sea is a large saltwater inlet off the Indian Ocean coast, separating the continents of Asia and Africa. Because the Red Sea is some of the warmest and saltiest water in the world, it has created a unique environment for diverse ecosystems. This has caused many people to flock to the Red Sea so they can participate in some of the best scuba diving in the world.
However, the influx of travel to the Red Sea has caused some environmental issues that cannot be ignored. To do so would be to sacrifice the health of the vibrant ecosystems thriving in the ocean waters.
This article will discuss some of the harmful consequences of tourism to the Red Sea and what you can do to travel sustainably and responsibly.
The Negative Impact of Tourism on the Red Sea
The increase in Red Sea diving has caused some severe repercussions to the natural ecosystem. In the 1950s, approximately 0.1 million people traveled to the Red Sea each year. Before the pandemic, that number reached upwards of 15 million people.
Many of these travelers stay at Red Sea resorts and explore the amazing ecosystems beneath the ocean. However, the protection of Red Sea coral reefs and other marine life has been very neglectful.
Irresponsible tourism has led to large quantities of pollution, loss of coral reefs and other habitats, disturbance of marine life, and more. Without adequate protection, the Red Sea is vulnerable to the negative implications of mass tourism.
Sustainability Initiative – The Red Sea Project
The Red Sea Project is a sustainable development project led by the Red Sea Development Company and owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
The company is working on sustainable tourism initiatives that will give travelers access to the Red Sea’s natural beauty while simultaneously protecting the natural ecosystem. They are currently building a luxury travel destination on the Red Sea informed by the largest marine spatial planning simulation ever built. The project was awarded the Environmental Standard ISO Award in 2021 by the British Standards Institution.
Red Sea Ecotours
Here are a couple of ecotour companies that provide sustainable diving in the Red Sea.
Red Sea Diving Safari
Red Sea Diving Safari is an ecotour company that offers impressive diving and safari experiences in the Red Sea. This company is one of Egypt’s leading sustainable tourism development agencies and is a member of the Green Fins initiative, a UN-supported NGO that works to protect coral reefs. Other than practicing sustainable tourism, Red Sea Diving Safari also organizes clean-ups, holds eco-diving workshops, uses waste and recycling efforts, and uses 70% solar energy on their accommodation.
Camel Dive is another Red Sea diving company located in Sharm el-sheik, Egypt. One of its core missions is to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems while diving. The tour company received the PADI Green Star award from 2010 to 2015 and is also a member of the Green Fins Initiative. They make regular donations to protect the coral reefs and monitor endangered species in the Red Sea. Every year, the eco-tour company hosts marine biologists that join the dive boats to inform travelers on the best ways to protect the environment while they dive and snorkel.
Camel Dive also runs a sustainable eco-hotel that you can stay at while diving, making your trip much more convenient. The hotel employs initiatives such as solar panels and not using any plastic.
Support Sustainable Red Sea Travel!
Support sustainable travel to the Red Sea by booking with an eco-friendly tour agency. Only dive with ecotours that have sustainability certificates and have pledged to do their part to protect the diverse ecosystems of the Red Sea.
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