Year Completed: 2007
The relationship between protected areas, nature conservation and tourism is a critical issue. Tourism depends on well planned, designed and managed protected areas to enhance the tourist’s experience. At the same time, protected areas need tourism and related incomes for their sustainable management including capital improvements and on-going operations that will help tourists better understand, appreciate and enjoy the protected areas and their overall experience in the South Sinai.
Unplanned tourism can potentially destroy protected areas and natural resources that attracted tourism development in the first place if not managed carefully. The introduction of tourists into protected areas should be a calculated process under which tourism activities are harnessed, well regulated and monitored. In addition, there needs to be well planned and designed visitor use services and facilities for interpretation, orientation developed in visitor use management plans to guide the enhance the visitor experience. Otherwise tourism activities could easily destroy the natural and cultural characteristics of the protected areas that were the major attractions in the first place.
As a subcontractor to PA Consulting, IBI conducted an assessment of the main tourism resources in South Sinai, particularly those in coastal and marine areas. The assessment emphasized the physical aspects of protected area management with a focus on determining visitors’ impacts on these areas and potential for tourism development. As part of the analysis, IBI assessed the environmental and physical assets, including sites with high visitation levels such as the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, dive/snorkeling sites, town beach fronts, heritage sites such as St. Katherine’s Monastery, Gebel Musa, etc.