Responsible Tourism

Sheikh Sina is a Bedouin run responsible tourism operation that significantly increases the local communities' income, employment and stability. Sheikh Sina integrates environmental and cultural factors with business and social concerns.

Vision

To establish the Saint Katherine Protectorate as one of the world' great mountain protectorates through the conservation and sustainable development of its natural and cultural resources and thereby ensure long-term local and national benefits for the people of Egypt.

We aim to actively preserve South Sinai's unique cultural and natural heritage by promoting and operating locally led responsible tourism. We - as native Bedouin tribesmen and owners of this initiative -- understand that the tradition and knowledge of our forefathers is best maintained by sharing it with other conscientious travelers. We are creating a self-sustainable and environmentally conscious tourism industry which will provide work opportunities for the local community, while maintaining our way of life and that of other Egyptian Bedouins.

The income generated by this industry will not only help us take control of our own local development, but will also allow our people to gain access to further education, professional training, health facilities, improved housing and utilities, and generally a better quality of life.

Ecotourism

Sheikh Sina upholds the principles of responsible tourism in South Sinai. This means:

1. Contributing to the conservation of biodiversity: Sheikh Sina protects the diversity of plant and animal life in the South Sinai region.
2. Employing local people: the guides and cameleers from 8 tribes are part of a rotation system employed by Sheikh Sina.
3. Providing a learning experience: All visitors receive an orientation upon arrival, knowledge is shared and questions answered during the hikes. Guides receive extensive language, management and cross-cultural training.
4. We work exclusively with, independent, eco-friendly tour operators and expect responsible actions on the part of the tourists and the tourist industry
5. We work primarily with small groups and small scale businesses: Sheikh Sina discourages mass tourism. Groups do not exceed 20 people.
6. We aim to consume the least amount of non-renewable resources possible. Sheikh Sina is especially careful with water consumption
7. We stress local participation, ownership and business opportunities: Sheikh Sina is an exclusively Bedouin run operation.

Responsible Tourism Policy

ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY:

. Sheikh Sina is locally owned and operated. All profits that come through booked hikes stay in South Sinai and its various communities.
. Sheikh Sina hires only local Bedouin guides and Cameleers.
. As much as possible, all of the food-stuff and other supplies needed during a trip are bought locally in the town of St. Catherine's directly benefiting local store owners.
. Nights in St. Catherine's are spent in locally owned and operated hotels/guesthouses
. Tea breaks and overnight stops in gardens or camps economically benefit surrounding settlements and communities.
. Ecolodges are built in or near communities further removed from the usual tourist track, thus spreading income generated from tourism away from the main hubs.
. Sheikh Sina customers are directed to locally owned business for souvenir purchases/gifts (handicraft, natural herbs shop, restaurants)

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY:

. We are doing our part to ensure the least possible impact on Sinai's unique ecosystem by:
. Installing composting toilets in chosen locations along the hiking routes.
. Maintaining deep water wells and dams
. Building our eco-lodges with natural materials
. Ecolodges use only solar power, composting toilets and grey water recycling.
. Ecolodge locations are subject to an environmental impact assessment.
. Cleaning up trash and taking responsible measures with our own waste
. Hikes are limited to groups of 15
. The number of hikers we send out on a given trail are limited each year
. Office staff is well aware of limiting the use of paper, ink and energy whenever possible. The training centre is solar powered for heating and water.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:

. Customers are provided with detailed pre-trip information via our website and e-mail follow-up upon booking.
. Customers are provided with orientation upon arrival receiving education regarding appropriate ways to interact with the local people.
. Every hike booked through Sheikh Sina contributes towards local community development. Not only do we solely hire local guides and cameleers, a portion of the proceeds of each booking go towards a Community Development Fund whose moneys are put towards various projects. Education, Healthcare and Training Local guides in First Aid, Group management and Language.