In collaboration with AMP and ASEZA:
PERSGA implemented an ecotourism project in Aqaba

The short coastal strip of Aqaba is getting increasingly crowded with human activities and visitors. The Aqaba Economic Zone Authorities (ASEZA) along with Agaba Marine Park (AMP) administration exert substantial efforts to protect marine environment and ensure safety of tourist swimmers and divers. AMP is a part of the Regional Network of MPAs, which PERSGA has established and run since 2005.
In the framework of the On-the-ground Activities Program, a joint ecotourism demo project was implemented by PERSGA, ASEZA and AMP during September-October 2009 at the AMP coastal area. The project objectives were to carry out a rapid assessment study to identify problems related to conservation of marine environment and safety of tourist visitors at the AMP coast; and in light of the assessment results, to make out and apply some actions.

The assessment study carried out by the project team indicated that the numbers of visitors and glass boats are significantly rising, which will increase risks of boat grounding or accidental crash of swimmers, drowning and impacts on coastal environment unless additional regulative actions are undertaken to endorse and enhance the efforts by ASEZA and AMP. Hence, the project implementation was designed to include extending the number of mooring buoys to assure their adequacy for boaters an eliminate boat anchorage on reefs; delineating clearly labeled sites for swimmers and snorkels to avoid them the risk of boat collision; defining specific routes for boat sailing form boarding and disembarking sites; in addition to implementing some measures to ensure sustainability of the applied tools and actions.
Consequently, the project team has implemented the planned project activities, which included:

  • Installation of 26 mooring buoys, including 19 for servicing diving tourism boaters (marked as orange buoys), and 7 for excursion boaters (marked as white buoys).

  • Delineating shore zones for swimmers and snorkels by ropes supplied with small yellow buoys.

  • Selecting entry sites and sailing routes for boaters and delineate them with labeled ropes.

  • Putting informative signs along the shore and warning signs indicating locations with submerged sharply ridging reef rocks;

  • Locating coordinates of installed buoys and incorporate coordinates in AMP and ASEZA database maps and satellite images.

Development of outreach materials in the form of leaflets, instruction booklets and an electronic newsletter for visitors and other stakeholders, and training of AMP staff on follow up and routine maintenance of mooring buoys/ ropes and sustainability of the project plans and activities.

    The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden