Alternative Egypt Travel Guide
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Responsible Tourism in Egypt  

Responsible Tourism in Egypt

What is ‘responsible tourism’?

Responsible tourism is an umbrella term that refers to various alternative strategies and categories of tourism through which individual tourists and travellers can have a positive impact on the people, places, and cultures they come into contact with.

Read more about how to be a responsible tourist in Egypt

Although no single agreed definition exists, the Cape Town 2002 declaration on responsible tourism defined it as tourism that:

  • Minimises negative economic, environmental and social impacts
  • Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities
  • Improves working conditions and access to the industry Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
  • Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity
  • Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
  • Provides access for physically challenged people Is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence

With this definition in mind, there are a number of categories of alternative tourism in Egypt that can be considered to be responsible.

Sustainable Tourism

According to the United Nations Environment Program on Tourism, sustainable tourism ‘…meets the needs of the present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing the opportunity for the future.’

While responsible tourism puts the onus on the individual traveller, sustainable tourism refers to projects and initiatives operated by organisations, businesses and government bodies in Egypt.

In the past this is not something that Egypt has done well and the negative impact of tourism is apparent. Most obviously beneath the surface of the red sea where large coral graveyards now exist in place of the brightly coloured reefs that once thrived there.

The government is starting to wake up on sustainable issues but the road is long and fraught with ignorance.

As alternative travellers become more clued up so too are operators that run alternative or adventure holidays. Several European adventure tour operators that work in Egypt now tout their green credentials as a USP. The mainstream however is less pro active in this endeavour.

Eco Tourism

The International Eco Tourism Society defines eco tourism as "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people".

In Egypt there are now a growing number of eco lodges that are founded upon and exist according to these principles. Read about eco lodges in Egypt


This may have once been described simply as volunteering abroad. But since the trend has become so popular with mainstream tour operators and travel agents offering volunteering experiences as part of a leisure package, the term volunteering and tourism has been combined.

In Egypt voluntourism usually takes the form of teaching English, volunteering with animals or community based tourism. Read more about volunteering in Egypt.

Community Based Tourism

Community based tourism involves short and medium length stays within a local community. Here the traveller or group of travellers stays with local people and works along side them on various initiatives. For example doing housework, farm work or working on a building project such as a house or a school.

There are number of ways in which travellers can become involved in community based projects in Egypt.

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