Tour operators in the Red Sea are brushing off recent reports of terrorist attacks in the area by encouraging tourists to drop in for some of best dives in the world. The dive ship franchise Red Sea Aggressor will make its debut this month, and offer dive adventurers a five-star experience.
First-class dives coming to the Red Sea
TVB, an international marketing group, has signed a deal with the Red Sea Aggressor franchise fleet to start dives at the end of March. “With cooperation from Egyptian authorities, we believe that we can transform Egypt into a global leader in live-aboard scuba-diving hospitality,” said David Home, a partner in the franchise.
The Aggressor franchise is offering a sweet 16-day tour at a cost of $1,500 per person. It includes five dives per day, luxury accommodations on the ship, and three experienced dive guides among the crew.
Service includes an on-board chef and free beverages. Meals are à la carte, so that will appeal to Eastern Europeans who want to dive and still enjoy their borscht.
The boats should boost the Red Sea as a global diving destination. The Aggressor brand carries an unofficial imprimatur of the leading divers in the world. It will cater to an international diving clientele that seeks luxury and first-class diving experiences.
Travel dollars are critical to Egypt
This move by one of the world’s premier dive franchises is a vote of confidence for the fledgling Egyptian government as it begins measures to thwart the increased terrorism that forced a downturn in Red Sea tourist travel this past year. The Egyptian government has paid keen attention to its travel industry because it’s a critical source of badly needed hard foreign currency.
For the most part, foreign embassies didn’t issue travel warnings about the South Sinai areas and Red Sea resorts after a popular military uprising threw out the much despised Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi last year.
Terrorists remain keenly aware of the importance of tourism and travel, however, as do government officials and Egyptian tour operators. Overall, terrorist attacks have mostly targeted security personnel in the Sinai.
However, that changed last month after a terrorist detonated a bomb on a tour bus that killed three South Korean tourists. The attack raised concerns that popular Red Sea beach resorts have become dangerous.
Egypt moves to thwart terrorism
To calm those fears, Hisham Zaazou, Egypt’s tour minister, sought the aid of Britain’s top security experts. It’s believed that various British high-tech surveillance techniques have been implemented to guard against future terrorist attacks.
Egypt is not out of the woods yet, though. By the end of 2013, Egyptian tourism declined by 31 percent. More than 70 percent of the country’s tourism dollars are generated in the South Sinai and Red Sea.
Terrorist incidents certainly spooked many travel investors. Half-finished hotels and resort towns dot the area.
The arrival of the Aggressor franchise may be a signal that tourists once again have a safe alternative to mid Mediterranean destinations. The Red Sea features one of the top 10 wreck dives in the world, and if Egyptian travel is to be revived, it might be led by the daring and adventurous Red Sea divers.