Egypt has launched a campaign to promote natural reserves and develop ecotourism.
The initiative, dubbed “Eco Egypt,” was launched on Friday in Ras Mohammed protectorate in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The campaign aims to support ecotourism in Egypt and encourage people to visit natural reserves to get to know the different cultures of the local populations as well as the role they play to protect the environment and biodiversity of the reserves.
The campaign is launched by the Ministry of Environment in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the State Ministry for Media and Information. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Integration of Biodiversity into Egyptian Tourism Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), are also partners.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Egyptian Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad said the ministry has prepared an integrated plan to support responsible and sustainable ecotourism, and to pump new investments into this sector in a way that supports the sustainability of natural resources.
The minister stressed that the campaign opens new horizons for sustainable ecotourism in Egypt as one of the results of the ministry’s strategy to develop natural reserves, noting that the strategy succeeded in developing the infrastructure and services provided to visitors in 13 reserves.
She said natural reserves are being developed and managed according to global systems in order to preserve them and maximize economic, social and cultural development.
According to the Egyptian Environment Ministry, natural reserves occupy 15 percent of the country’s total land area.
The minister added that the ministry is also keen to maintain Egypt’s biodiversity in a way that supports the environment and the national economy by attracting more investments to ecotourism-related activities, including camping, diving, star-watching and birdwatching.
“This would attract fans of this type of ecotourism from various countries of the world to get acquainted with the unique nature and distinctive culture of the nature reserves in Egypt,” the minister said.
She said the campaign provides a model for sustainable development as it takes into account the environmental, economic, social and health dimensions of ecotourism by promoting it to revive the national economy, especially in light of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fouad added that the campaign will last for three years, targeting the promotion of ecotourism in Egypt through the establishment of a website and a number of social media platforms, in addition to preparing publications to showcase Egypt’s wealth in nature reserves, including stunning landscapes, animals, birds, and unique plants.
For his part, State Minister of Media and Information Osama Heikal stressed the importance of raising awareness of sustainable development issues, including preserving natural reserves.
He noted that the Ministry of Media and Information is keen to simplify the language of environmental dialogue in the media with the aim of developing awareness of environmental issues and sustainable development as well as creating the necessary community participation in that direction.
On the sidelines of the event, an exhibition of environmental industries made by the local residents of Ras Mohammed Reserve was held, during which they presented industries such as ceramics, clothes, textiles, ornamental tools, antiques, accessories and gifts.
An exhibition was also held at the reserve’s visitor center, in which the most important types of coral reefs and photos of fish were displayed. The Ras Mohammed reserve is home to 220 types of coral reefs and about 1,000 different kinds of fish.