Egypt suspends diving start-ups
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism has ruled that no applications for licences to operate new dive-centres or liveaboards will be considered for a year in either the South Sinai and Red Sea governorates.
The condition of Red Sea coral reefs has benefitted from the downturn in the number of visiting divers and snorkellers in recent years, and the government appears determined to maintain that state of affairs.
With an expected increase in visitors in 2020, the decision will also benefit existing dive-centre and liveaboard operators that have been able to maintain their services through the downturn. However, they will not be allowed to add any new activities or boats during the year-long suspension period, which started on 20 November.
Governing body the Chamber of Diving & Water Sports (CDWS) said that one of the most important reasons behind the decision was damage to coral reefs that had been registered in the course of environmental studies, and fears that further damage could be caused by exceeding an acceptable number of divers, snorkellers and other water-users in key Red Sea areas.
21 November 2019
The ministerial decree followed consultation with the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said the CDWS.
Diving and watersports centres and liveaboard operators that had already submitted their applications for licences were exempt, as were liveaboards already under construction with prior approval to operate, and kite- and windsurfing centres.