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Community Chat
Your views
What is the best way to educate tourists about the serious impact
they cause by walking on the reef or littering?
‘Tour Operators could be more responsible by providing their clients
with valuable information about the underwater environment when
arriving to Egypt – they have a captive audience. Once the client
arrives to their hotel it is often too late,’ andrew Day, dive centre
manager, taba.
‘The hotels need to educate guests on reef awareness and should
police the beach to stop visitors walking on the reef. I any guest is
found walking on the reef, then there should be a system where the
hotel is fined,’ Jaimi mclean, dive instructor, sharm el sheikh.
Protect the reef
this is your red sea watersports community magazine and
we want to hear from you. share your views with others in the
Cheap flights and package holiday deals have led to a huge growth
industry, email: blue.magazine@cdws.travel. letters should be no
in the number of non-diving tourists flocking to major red sea
more than 200 words. letters may be edited for reasons of space or
destinations. While it is great for the tourism economy and an
clarity.
opportunity for diving and watersports centres to bring in more
punters, there is an increasing need to educate people about care of
the reefs and marine environment as a whole.
education is key. When tourists have an understanding of the
marine world, there are less likely to be incidences where people
walk on the reefs and discard rubbish into the sea. that’s why a
I Heard a Rumour That…
number of dive centres are supporting projects aimed at increasing
awareness among the non-marine savvy tourist about important
Rumours, rumours, rumours, you’d have to
information such as what damage walking on a reef can do.
have your head buried in the sand underwater
simply shouting at a reef walking offender has little impact when
not to hear a few rumours when living Egypt’s
compared to educating and making someone understand why they
hot spot diving destinations. And, it seems,
shouldn’t kill marine life.
sometimes too much desert sun and salt
water in the ears can make you believe the
‘it is interesting issue that needs more publicity,’ says Dr Constanze
craziest of things. To help us filter out some of
Conrad a marine biologist at the marine Biology College (mBC).
the best and funniest community rumour stories,
‘especially snorkellers and beach tourists are not informed that the
our Sharm el Sheikh resident gossip guru reports in
reef top is a living and important eco-system and by walking on the
their own unique style straight from the divers’ mouth
reef to access the red sea they are destroying it piece by piece.’
‘i heard that if you wear shoes, you won’t damage
the mBC (www.blueheavenholidays.com) is affiliated to Blue
the coral! that’s the rumour some guys and gals were
Heaven Holidays diving center at tondoba Bay, 14 km south of
telling their mates in a hotel. then they had a pretty good discussion
marsa alam. it has been working for many years on environmental
on which shoes to buy, where from, how much to haggle them for,
protection projects, scientific research and public awareness.
whether the pink or the blue was best, or have the ones with go faster
‘We are offering special courses and seminars not only for divers,
stripes. they were a bit big for their boots, so i didn’t want to shoe
but also for snorkellers and beach walks for beach tourists,’ Dr
them off, but i’d love to have put my foot in their mouth. at the end of
Conrad explains. ‘in these programs participants learn more about
the day, maybe it’s not their fault. they don’t know they can go ‘to sea
the fragile eco-system coral reef and their inhabitants. they also can
in a beautiful pea-green boat’, or white, or blue and they have the sea
join scientific projects and talks with marine scientists. ‘only what
right on their hotel doorstep, so who needs a boat?
you know you can protect’ is our saying.’
it’s going to be a bit difficult to tell the shoe sellers that these boots
if your centre cannot run courses, but you are keen to get involved
ain’t made for walking on coral. putting signs up ‘Don’t walk on coral’
in educating tourists about the marine environment, there are other
doesn’t really help either, cos they can’t always see the coral and some
options available. project aWare will send out free information
would not always know the difference between a rock and a hard coral
pack, with brochures including its living reef and go eco leaflets
place. and would argue if it’s hard then why can’t i walk on it? i wish
(also available in arabic and russian). a donation is requested
we could float them out to the outside of the reef like good angels.
for multiple amounts of materials. to find out more email info@
We could also do with more bins for their ice cream wrappers. a few
projectaware.org.uk.
more life guards wouldn’t go amiss, then they can sell them the ice
creams and fish and coral slates, so that they can identify what they
For divers courses are available through organisations such as
are looking at in the masks and snorkels they hired to them.
the international marine conservation group reef Check (www.
reefcheck.org). reef Check’s ecoDiver programme encourages
mmm sounds like a good business on top of the good business this
divers and snorkellers to take part in half-day to three-day courses
great environment has given us over the years.
to learn techniques used for monitoring coral reefs and learn more
anyone got an ice cream van for sale?’
about best practices. there are three reef Check training Facilities in
egypt. in the sinai: red sea environmental Center in Dahab www.
[Ed’s note: shocked about how many songs and poems and phrases have
redsea-ec.org and sinai Divers www.sinaidivers.com. in Hurghada
been written about shoes and how many our gossip columnist managed
and safaga, courses are run by magic Divers www.magicdivers.at
to fit in their column.]
8 www.cdws.travel
issue 2 august / september 2009
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