It seems extraordinary then that in 2004, HEPCA and its fellow Red Sea NGO, the Red Sea Association for Diving and Water Sports (RSDASS) were plunged into a campaign to save Giftun Island from an Italian tourism development of apocalyptic proportions. A massive campaign was immediately put into action to save Giftun Island from development. Hundreds of dive boats and thousands of protestors gathered at Giftun Island on World Earth Day, clad in striking ‘Save our Giftun’ t-shirts, the back printed with ‘Not For Sale’. An online petition gathered more than 10,000 signatures, the majority of them from outside Egypt. Indeed, the campaign was deliberately focussed on the international community, in order to exert considerable pressure on the government to back down. And back down it did. Just two weeks into the campaign, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak issued a decree declaring that the Giftun Island protectorate would remain as is. The decree also stated that no further tourism development could take place on any of the Red Seas 36 major islands (22 of them already protectorates) until comprehensive environmental studies are completed. HEPCA, RSDASS and all of Giftun Island’s many supporters and fans had declared a victory; albeit one that left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Egypt Today article about the fight for Giftun
Business monthly article about the fight for Giftun (Jun 2004)
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