“Speaking about sustainable tourism means considering three key elements: the experience of the client, the local communities, and the surrounding nature,” says environmental advocate Noor Ayman Noor. As the Middle East goes for holidays to celebrate Eid el-Adha, we list 4 Egyptian travel companies that take sustainability as a core element of their business.
Founded by Omar Samra, the first Egyptian to reach the top of Mount Everest, the company designs ethical adventure trips in 18 countries all over the world, featuring innovative packages such as their latest ‘Great Tuk Tuk Rally’ in Sri Lanka and ‘Adrenaline Addicts Anonymous’ in Costa Rica. Their trips not only feature unique adventures, but also engage in socio-economic friendly practices and minimize their carbon footprint through a collaboration with environmental consultancy ERCC. “We’re daring, different and green,” says Samra.
Trips to interact with the Sinai’s Bedouin, run by the Bedouin themselves: this is the idea behind The Bedouin Way, an initiative that began as a blog to promote the Bedouin tribe, –a community deeply affected by Egypt’s political and economic crisis— and soon grew to a full-fledged itinerary of desert safaris and mountain dinners under the stars. “We are also linking tourists to other Bedouins who sell camel milk or galabeyas, and we promote Bedouin photographers; we are 100% co-operative,” says its founder, Sofian Noor. Whether travelers want to go fishing, on a safari, to climb a mountain or just to sit and chat with Bedouin women and learn to make bread, they can always find a Bedouin link.
The initiative, recently launched, focuses on creating environmentally friendly and socially inclusive alternatives for traveling in Egypt, involving eco-lodges, handicrafts makers and NGOs. The initiative evolved from a joint initiative of two programs implemented by GIZ along with community partners in various destinations in Egypt. To kick start, they are launching a photo competition themed “nature and community based tourism”, which will offer winners three free weekend trips in desert lodges and organic farms across Egypt’s oasis and the Sinai.
A model in educational journeys, Dayma takes visitors on experiencial journeys around Egypt, not only to connect and discover some of the country’s most astounding natural destinations, but also to interact with communities and individuals that embrace sustainable lifestyles and responsible forms of tourism. Initially focused on school trips, the company now offers exclusive journeys (for small groups of 10 or 12 people) and customized corporate retreats for companies.