|Project Details|| Wadi el Gemal Protected Area (WGPA) was established in 2003 as a marine and terrestrial protectorate in the Southern Red Sea, located 325 km south of Hurghada. It has an area of over 6,000 sq kms, terrestrial and maritime. However, although sustainable tourism development is stated as one objective of its management plan and despite the magnificent ecotourism potential in the park, the park is not developed for ecotourism till now. Bedouins commuity |
inhabits the national park. Tourists must pay a fee to enterr the WGPA.
According to a IUCN blog entry written in 2016 by a member of a "public-private partnership" (1) interested in eco-tourism," Egypt has developed an effective protected area system with significant investments in the development of staff capacity and protected area information, plans and infrastructure. The prevailing tourism model, particularly in the national parks, are mass tourism activities (e.g. bus tours in the park) that do not create substantial income for the local communities living in and around the park, nor contribute to the protection of the park’s biodiversity. Wadi el Gemal national Park is the third largest national park in the Arabian Desert and was officially declared a national park in 2003, including an area of 4,770 km2 of land and 2,000 km2 of marine waters. Due to its delta, its mountainous landscape, its 120 km of Red Sea coastline as well as its extensive coral reefs, it counts as one of the most beautiful national parks in Egypt. Wadi el Gemal is the home of about 7,000 Bedouins from the Ababda tribe which mostly live on shepherding camels, sheep and goats. Tourism activities do not significantly contribute to their income. The park’s tourism infrastructure is poorly developed, and locally produced sustainable ecotourism products are not offered. The park hardly generates any income and faces growing environmental problems such as increasing waste disposals in the park’s region and on the coastline. Also, any visitor information system is completely missing within the park, thus visitors and even locals are not aware that they are visiting a fragile protected area. Especially untouched nature and marine biodiversity are the main attractions for the hotels and resorts in Wadi el Gemal National Park and the surrounding Marsa Alam area.
It was crucial to advocate for a well-maintained Wadi el Gemal National Park offering unique authentic local tourism products would be an “USP “(unique selling proposition) for the region, attracting a different, nature and culture oriented target group, replacing cheap all-inclusive mass tourism.
To reach that target, a public-private-partnership (PPP) project (www.wadielgemal.org) ‘July 2014 – July 2016’ between Wadi el Gemal National Park, Gorgonia Beach Resort in Marsa Alam, Egypt (http://www.gorgoniabeach.com) and DEG - KFW Development Bank to develop the ecotourism business in the area and promote the Park as an ecotourism destination for international tourists. "