Egypt lifted the ban at Sharm El Sheikh Beaches after the resort was closed down as a result of series of ghastly shark attacks. As Egypt fears tourism downturn in the peak season, the authorities believe illegal shark feeding as the reason for the attacks.
The authorities stated that new safety measures are going to be in place to ensure the safety of people venturing into the beaches for swimming and snorkelling.
“We have allowed the beaches to reopen on condition hotel owners adhere to new controls to ensure the safety of foreign tourists while diving or swimming,” South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told reporters.
The controls comprise of constant sea patrols by boat as well as setting up of watchtowers along the beach shoreline from where expert divers can monitor proceedings against any shark attacks.
Tourists will also have to remain within designated areas and refrain from feeding sharks.
Tourists, who meticulously planned their holidays, procured cheap tickets on flights to the region and landed up in the governorate faced disappointment in losing the opportunity to enjoy at most enthralling and famous diving spots in the world.
The lifting up of the ban no doubt comes as good news to such tourists as well as local shop keepers who felt threatened for their livelihoods. As Sharm El Sheikh is a completely tourism-based economy, it is generally believed that the authorities were under pressure to maintain the local economy along with the responsibility of keeping tourists safe.
Sharm El Sheikh Tourism Hit
Sharm El Sheikh is a popular beach resort that is renowned for its incredible reef diving spots. A great number of adventure tourists from all across the world book cheap flights and travel to the region to enjoy diving and snorkelling.
Remarkably popular among Britons for winter sun holidays, airline tickets to Sharm El Sheikh from UK are extremely sought after. A number of airlines operate flights from different parts of the United Kingdom to the Egyptian governorate.
However, Sharm El Sheikh has presumably suffered a set back in terms of business and tourism after the series of attacks. The figure of tourists landing up at the Sharm El Sheikh International Airport has surely dwindled a bit as tourists from different parts of the world are taking a stock of the situation before actually buying flight tickets.
Officials, however, assert that there have been no cancellations for holidays in the region that attracts up to 4 million tourists each year.
Shark Attack Blamed On Human Actions
Experts believe that illegal feeding might have instigated the rampage by killer shark. Different shark experts who converged upon the resort have reportedly reached a consensus on a common truth – shark attacks are more or less a result of humans disturbing the environmental balance in the region.
“It is safe to say that the situation where you have a clump distribution in attacks, occurring after another in a limited geographical distribution, is very rare indeed,” George Burgess, head of the International Shark Attack File, told AFP, adding that the unusual behaviour of the sharks was possibly the consequence of human action.
Director of South Sinai Conservation, Mohammed Salem told AFP that illegal shark feeding is the most feasible cause. “We think someone accustomed the sharks to being fed and whoever did it has stopped,” Salem said. So the sharks began to look elsewhere for its prey.
Some investigators believe a vessel carrying sheep and cattle from Australia for sacrifice during last month’s festival of Eid al-Adha to be a possible suspect. The vessel had reportedly tossed the carcasses of dead animals into the sea. Sharks have an extremely strong sense of smell and experts believe that this may have attracted the predatory sharks.
Overfishing in the region and change in climatic conditions were also mentioned as other possible reasons by the experts which they believe could have driven the sharks closer to the shallow waters in search of food.
More Than One Shark behind Attacks
Egypt authorities are convinced that more than one shark is responsible for a series of ghastly attacks on holiday travellers in Sharm El Sheikh. The statement contradicts Egyptian authorities’ previous statements that a single shark is behind the spell of attacks on swimmers at the Red Sea resort.
The revelation came as international experts started investigating the attacks that have left the otherwise packed beaches virtually deserted at the peak of the holiday season.