How to convince someone that Aqaba coast is safe?
Replies: 14 - Last Post: May 18, 2012 1:45 AM Last Post By: dmiller11
Apr 22, 2012 9:40 AM
How to convince someone that Aqaba coast is safe?Please, I need advice on how to convince my worrisome GF that staying in beach camps north of Nuweiba is safe. She is of the opinion, based on German travel warnings (see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700106052/Germany-issues-travel-warning-for-all-of-Egypt.html) and past kidnappings/bombings/dangerous activity, that anything north of the road toward St Catherines Monastery that splits the Sinai is too risky. We will be there in a week, and I need some concrete evidence to show her that will convince her that it is not worth the worry.
We just want to stay in some of the beach camps, and perhaps to do 2 or 3 camel treks or something like that.
We also were considering the ferry to Aqaba to go visit Petra, but that's completely out of the question for her :P
Apr 22, 2012 11:39 AM
1OK well try this for starters.
North Sinai is the area north of the road that goes east to west from Israel to Cairo. Nuweiba is south of this on the coast. So any security warnings re north Sinai (and also the St Catherines area though this is closer) aren't relevant. This coastline hosts huge numbers of tourists from all over the world every year. The resorts on this coast managed to continue to operate even when Cairo and other cities were at the height of the turmoil. I don't know where you come from but statistically It's probably safer than any major western city. On a more personal note I was in the Sinai for 3 weeks last September/October and never felt remotely unsafe.
Apr 22, 2012 11:57 AM
2Or, you could just chose a different location. I learned a long time ago, trying to convince someone with facts once their minds have already been made up is an excersize in futility.
You're in a no win situation. If you coerce into going she'll be miserable the whole time worrying that something bad is going to happen. You will then, by association, also be miserable. It won't make any difference that nothing bad happens, the trip will be over and you won't have had any fun.
It's big world out there. Go somewhere else that she wants to go and you'll both have much more fun.
Apr 23, 2012 1:05 AM
3Well another solution would be leave her in Germany, go enjoy the Bedouin camps on your own and get a cooler German girlfriend there.
Seriously, I agree with Laketraveller. Some people enjoy traveling, other people are scared from setting foot abroad.
Apr 23, 2012 1:05 AM
4@itchyfeet38 - Some good points, thanks. I think that saying "statistically It's probably safer than any major western city" is the right path to follow. While it's clear that the tourism industry continues to thrive, or at least operate, regardless of the unrest in Cairo, the fact that kidnappings happened on the road to St. Catherine's as well as the road between Nuweiba and Taba in the last few years, and the fact that Dahab is apparently full of armed policemen, will make her a bit uneasy.
@laketraveller - Thanks for the advice, but flights have been booked. There's no turning back. And I don't think she's beyond convincing, she just needs some strong evidence (e.g. government travel warnings, statistics or an objective, credible synposis) to go by.
Apr 23, 2012 1:13 AM
5@catw - It's our first time on the African continent, a Muslim country and in a region with so much recent political strife. Is it really so far-fetched to be wary of the situation? Like I said, she can be convinced, she just needs a good reason to be.
Just because you've traveled there and have a firsthand opinion doesn't mean others who haven't been should also be without reservations. Traveling doesn't go hand-in-hand with living on the edge, regardless if that's your approach.
Apr 23, 2012 3:36 AM
6I was in egypt during the revolution and it was amazing and perfectly safe. I was in Cairo for two weeks and then after photographing i relaxed on the red sea for 10 days. Apart from a shark attack which hurt 6 people there was no issue at all, cant really prepare for sharks (this was the shark that at the time was claimed to have been a terrorist attack as it was said it was trained to kill certain people! the craziness)
Apr 23, 2012 5:39 AM
7First, there is no resentment against foreigners visiting Egypt, quite the contrary. Currently there are fewer foreigners in Cairo's Khan Al Khalili, and I can tell you that you cannot walk in without being greeted by dozens of Egyptians on the way, they're all very happy to see tourists.
The only resentment there was directed against foreign journalists, and more specifically against TV foreign journalists, since Mubarak cronies incited people to arrest them, saying they were defaming Egypt and trying to bring the regime down. I assume you will not be walking around with a professionnal Beta Video Camera, so you'll be fine.
Kidnappings of foreigners in Sinai have nothing to do with anti-Westerners resentment, and everything to do with a will to attract the attention of the central governement. If you're a Bedouin tribe and need a school in your village, talking nice to the central governement will not work; however, abucting a foreigner for 24 hours will get you a school promptly. Local tribes used to do exactly the same in Yemen, for the same purpose. You have to understand that all tourism revenues in Sinai went straight into the pocket of Mubarak's cronies and of the Egyptian central administration, but that almost none of this money benefited the Bedouins who've been roaming Sinai for centuries. Some of their land was even confiscated and given to Mubarak's friends when seaside resorts were built, so now they demand public services and revenues in exchange. There was not even one university in Sinai!
The main concern in Egypt right now is a rise in pickpocketing and bag snatching in Cairo, but this does not extend to the countryside.
If the gf is worried, simply spend all your time at the beach and don't go and visit the Sainte Catherine monastery, which is reached by smaller roads, and is where the two kidnappings occured. The Taba / Nuweiba / Dahab / Sharm beaches are all reached by the main road crossing Sinai, which has been securized by checkpoints for many years. You can tell the gf that the roads in Egypt have been barred by checkpoints manned by the Egyptian police for years. This scenery is linked to security, but also to the need to give a job to young Egyptians.
Apr 23, 2012 6:24 AM
8That's very useful background, thanks catw. I really appreciate it!
Based on what you say, there does seem to be a link between tourism revenue and hostages, especially if this blackmail approach to social services is even remotely effective. But since the problem is directed more at government than tourists, then the potential benefits from tourism should also be well understood and appreciated. Towards a strong argument against the gf, probably the best/safest approach (like in most tourist destinations) in this context is to contribute directly to the local community, e.g. Bedouin camps.
Apr 23, 2012 7:31 AM
9In Egypt there is a very obvious police presence (often armed) and it can be unsettling. Plus having procedures like police escorts in certain places can make tourists think there are things to be afraid of when there aren't. This isn't a consequence of the Revolution, it's been this way for years. In fact if anything in many places things are probably more relaxed now than a few years ago.
Whilst not meaning to belittle the experience for those that went through it, the kidnappings were pretty mild as these things go. This wasn't people being abused, threatened, imprisoned whilst ransoms were sought etc but rather stopped for a few hours so the Bedouin could make their point.
The most telling thing though is that Egypt quite simply has a colossal tourist industry, even now, and that in itself means that tourists are not at serious risk.
As others have said the average Egyptian will be very pleased to see you and their standards of hospitality and general courtesy often put the West to shame.
I hope you both have a lovely holiday.
PS Try and get her to think again about a side trip to Jordan. The ferry is like a European liner (and priced accordingly!) and Jordan is very civilized. Very western in fact. Petra is quite simply one of the wonders of the world.
Apr 23, 2012 7:42 AM
Apr 23, 2012 9:15 AM
Apr 23, 2012 9:17 AM
12Just a small thing: it's worth noting that many policemen you will see have weapons but... no ammunition. Following the attacks in Luxor years and years ago, someone around Mubarak decided that tourists would feel safe if they saw a lot of policemen and a lot of weapons, so they hired many policemen and gave them many weapons, but no ammunition since it was deemed unnecessary. Usually only some specific police units and all the officers carry ammunition.
May 10, 2012 7:56 AM
I don't know if I'm in time, but I really love Nuweiba and want to do something concrete to help tourism in that place...it's sad to see empty camps and beach restaurants there (ok, I wouldn't love Nuweiba if it would look like Sharm, but responsible tourism would be a great opportunity for that area).
I am in my fifth month of pregnancy, and next week me and my mate will spend 10 days at Blue Bus Camp, north of Nuweiba. It will be our third time there, and simply can wait for being there. There's no danger, believe me, only peace and kindness there.
I really hope your gf will change her mind!
May 18, 2012 1:45 AM
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