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Saturday, Aug 13, 2022

Environmental study of Red Sea coast sets new standard for responsible tourism

Environmental study of Red Sea coast sets new standard for responsible tourism

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has released the findings of one of the world’s largest environmental surveys of wildlife ecosystems, carried out in the Red Sea area.
The study was released at the UN World Ocean Conference in Lisbon (27 June – 1 July), where the world’s leading scientists and governmental organizations are meeting to mobilize for global ocean action.

The eleven-month-long research study along the Saudi Arabian coast revealed an exceptionally rich diversity of habitats, flora and fauna. These include a significant number of endangered and critically endangered species such as the Halavi Guitarfish, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Sooty Falcon, as well as a thriving, eight-meter-high single coral colony estimated to be around 600 years old.

The survey conducted by TRSDC is by far the largest effort ever undertaken by a private development company to understand and assess a natural ecosystem ahead of and during development. It is more comparable to initiatives undertaken by Government agencies on a national scale. It serves a crucial purpose in creating a baseline understanding of the state of the local environment through analysis of the populations, behaviors and habitats of the wildlife over 200 km of vibrant Red Sea coastline within TRSDC’s flagship destination – The Red Sea Project.

"We want to prove to the world, and our peers in the tourism industry, that creating world-class destinations can go hand-in-hand with protecting and enhancing the environment. We’re challenging ourselves and others to do better and be better as global pioneers in responsible development and are issuing a call to action for tourism as an industry to step up when it comes to the impact on wildlife and biodiversity," said CEO of TRSDC John Pagano.

The research forms the marker against which TRSDC will measure progress towards its ambition to deliver meaningful net conservation benefits through biodiversity enhancement efforts and plays an important role in identifying and highlighting areas of environmental concern, and which require future mitigation and action.

The tourism industry is one which places significant strain and stress on local land and marine areas. UN Environment research shows that the growth of tourism and its impact on environment is growing at an unsustainable rate, with a 154 percent increase in energy consumption, 131 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and 152 percent increase in water consumption expected by 2050 if action is not taken

The survey along the Red Sea coast, conducted from January through to November 2021, revealed that many threatened and endangered species inhabit the area – highlighting the importance of environmental protection and regeneration efforts by TRSDC and others in the region.

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