Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) focusing on Tourism Development in the South of the Egyptian Red Sea Coast Belt (Red Sea Governorate)

  • Recognizing the role biodiversity plays in the tourism industry, Egypt has launched a national project entitled “Mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into the tourism development and operations in threatened ecosystems in Egypt. The project targets ecologically sensitive areas exposed to tourism development pressures in the short to-medium term with the objective of mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into tourism sector development and operation.
  • Tourism cumulative impacts on biodiversity and environmental resources is one of the issues tackled by the project. Currently, each tourism development in Egypt is assessed the rough an Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). The EIA approach have some limitations, particularly in overlooking the external negative effects that one investment may have on a wider scale. It may also underestimate or neglect cumulative impacts on biodiversity of several developments. Moreover, EIA is often undertaken at a later stage of the planning process, thus it does not consider higher levels planning.
  • Environics was accordingly commissioned to carry out the SEA focusing on tourism development in the south of the Egyptian Red Sea coast belt, from Quseir to Southern borders of Wadi ElGemal PA.
  • The assignment addressed the following through the development of a high-level assessment instrument:
    • Feedbacks and indirect impacts that some developments may have on one area/one sector.
    • Assess options and alternative plans proposed in an early stage of planning, which may result in different development proposals.
    • Consider cumulative impacts of investments/interventions/activities that take place in one area/ecosystem.
    • Take into account the impact of small-scale activities that individually may have negligible impacts but collectively may result in environmental degradation.
    • Assess and evaluate other activities that do not have to undergo a formal EIA, but that have important environmental consequences and are difficult to regulate. For example, increased number of visitors producing solid and water wastes.
    • Consider other national plans in the project area that may impact of may be impacted by the tourism development plans.
    • Ability to identify hazard areas that may affect the tourism development and areas where the tourism development plans may pose threats to nature integrity and accordingly increase natural hazards.
  • Moreover, the SEA:
    • was developed based on a participatory process, involving all stakeholders & community representatives that affect or likely to be affected by a policy/plan/program.
    • included reporting on the quality of stakeholder participation and how the participatory approach benefited the planning through decision making support, and eventually changes.
    • involved continuous consultation with relevant authorities and decision-makers.


Related Projects