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Eco-Tourism with Social Dimension

Make Tourism Work for Sustainable Development NSCE

ECO-TOURISM DEVELOPMENT BENEFITS • Valuation and preservation of natural heritage • Valuation and preservation of cultural heritage • Economic empowerment of the local population through direct participation in generated local economic activities


Ecotourism in Egypt • National strategy (diversification of tourism products) • Not applied – not well understood • Very few examples: • Basata Camp – South Sinai • El Karm Ecolodge St. Katherine – South Sinai • Siwa Ecolodges – Marsa Matruh • Desert Lodge Dakhla – Wadi Gedid • Nature Camp Bahreya – Wadi Gedid


Unutilized Potential 1) Ecotourism is a new type of tourism in Egypt • Lack of understanding of market demand • Non existing market supply

2) Lacking Management and Coordination • • • •

Inventory of Resources Management of resources Coordination and planning Stakeholder involvement

3) No Integration of Local Communities • Local capture of tourism revenues • Capacity building • Strengthening of local networks NSCE

The Fayoum Oasis 90 km south of Cairo Linked to the Nile through a canal 2 Lakes: Lake Qarun and Wadi Rayan 3 characteristic landscapes: rural, desert, wetlands 2 Million Inhabitants Governorate has one of lowest per capita incomes in Egypt Low literacy and school enrollment rates


FAYOUM ASSETS • Desert Tourism – sand, geology, world paleontology • Nature Tourism – the flight of the birds • Culture Tourism – the voice of the monuments • Rural Tourism – the hands of the craftsman • More Tourism – ancient irrigation and traditional agriculture NSCE

PROJECT OBJECTIVES • To contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction though generation of Ecotourism based economic activities undertaken by the local population. • To transform environmental, social and cultural resources and heritage of Fayoum into sustainable economic assets. • To tap the fast growing international ecotourism market NSCE

PROBLEMS TO BE ADDRESSED • Limited human resources capacity to meet the requirements of eco-tourism • Marginal economic benefits for local population from Egypt maintream tourism • Deterioration of the fragile environment • Limited enforcement of existing conservation and environmental policy


STRATEGY • To develop local public and private capacity to design, implement and manage eco-tourism services. • To support the development of a satisfying win-win relationship between tourists and local communities. • To facilitate the creation of tourism based economic activities led by the local population in Fayoum NSCE

STAKEHOLDERS • Local communities • Local, national and international businesses • Representatives of governmental agencies • Bilateral and international agencies • Tourists • Future generations NSCE

KEY ACTIVITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL CAPACITY • Skill development and business training for Ecotourism • Creation of Eco-activity centers • Integration of Eco-tourism activities with Protected Area Management • Support to creation and or enhancement of local shops, tour services and handicraft producers and linkages to emerging markets NSCE

KEY ACTIVITIES FOR MARKET DEVELOPMENT • Development and implementation of strategies to market Fayoum (& Egypt) as an Eco-tourism destination • Support growth of pilot Eco-tourism tours and design of new local cultural products/events


RESPONSE OF THE MARKET • Very positive feedback of tour participants • 35 out of 40 international tour companies interested, Viaggi Solidali (CTS), an Italian has already fielded trips in 2004 and 2005 • Designed tours could be taken over by private sector, if major remaining challenges are addressed: site management, security management, infrastructure and services NSCE

RESPONSE OF LOCAL POPULATION • High motivation and willingness to learn • Fast skills acquisition in the areas of nature guiding and foreign language speaking • Substantial personal investments in building new and attractive pottery outlets, purchase of communication tools • Major investment in the building and operation of a rural lodge in the village of Tunis


RESPONSE OF THE LOCAL POPULATION Private local investments

Local small scale investments in tourism related businesses NSCE

FUTURE ACTION FROM LOCAL POPULATION Reinforce the development of a core of ecotourism professionals through the creation of a specialized non governmental organization


RESPONSE FROM GOVERNMENT AGENCIES • First licenses for desert tour guides issued on temporary basis • Visible improvement at the security gate of the North entrance of Fayoum governorate


Further Development Potential Establishment of tourism development plan for Governorate Integrated management of protected areas and cultural heritage sites Provide support to local small scale businesses Capacity building at different levels Better capture of tourism revenues


FUTURE ACTIONS NEEDED FROM GOVERNMENT AGENCIES • Formalize the licensing procedures of local ecotourism guides • Allocate resources and authority for management of sensitive sites such as Whale Valley and Djebel Qatrani • Allocate resources to enhance management of antiquity sites such as Qasr Qarun, Dimeh, Hawara… • Facilitate less intrusive security management for tourism with Security Department • Allocation of resources to implement a solid waste management system in Nazla • Allocate financial resources for information signage for tourism areas • Support effective cross sectoral coordination of key governemtnal agencies NSCE

Theme no 1: Experience the desert – hiking and camel trekking in Wadi Rayan

Do you know that you can follow the traces of Alexander the Great on a camel in Fayoum?


Theme no 2: Geology/Paleontology/Culture – interpretative tours to world heritage areas

Do you know that there are whales in the desert?


Theme no 3: Birdwatching

Do you know that you can get close to the birds in Fayoum?


Theme no 4: Handicrafts/pottery – Nazla and Tunis

Do you know where to find the famous Fayoumi pottery makers?


Fayoum Ecotourism Project: The Fayoum: History and Guide. Neil Hewison. AUC Press, 2001. Egypt’s Pocket Guide: The Fayoum and Wadi el Rayan. Alberto Siliotti. AUC Press, 2003. Official website of the Wadi Rayan Protected Area: NSCE



Ecotourism with a Human Dimension  

GEC 2007: Graziella Rizza, Programme Manager Research Unit North South Consultants Exchange - Ecotourism with a Human Dimension

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