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Jordanian tourists stranded at Taba Heights port, Egypt

Roughly 40 Jordanian tourists found the gate at the Taba Heights port in Egypt closed as they were preparing to return home, witness tells Ahram Online

Bassem Abo Alabass, Wednesday 22 Jun 2011
Samih Sawiris
Samih Sawiris the chairman of OHD,owners of Taba Heights port
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About 40 Jordanian tourists staged a sit-in at the Taba Heights port in Egypt, according to witnesses.

The tourists protested because they were prevented from entering the port on their way back to Jordan, as it was closedwith iron clasps. 

The protesters refused to leave through the Israeli port of Eilat, while a group of 60 other tourists entered Egypt through it.

"The Egyptian Consul in Aqaba, Yasser Salah has intervened to avoid the situation from escalating and to provideappropriate accommodation for protesters ... and to persuade the travel agencies to bear the costs," the witness told Ahram Online

"We hope that does not impact tourism and Egypt-Jordan relations or distort the reputation of the Egyptian tourism" the witness quoted the Egyptian Consol. 

The Taba Heights port is owned by Orascom Hotels and Development (OHD) and is chaired by Egyptian business tycoon, Samih Sawiris.

The director of Taba Heights port Tariq Rehan told Egypt’s official news agency, MENA, in April 2011 that the OHD companyreceived a warning from the Egyptian Ministry of Transport on 6 February 2011 to desist activities that were not part of the conditions of their port license. Their license only permits yachts, entertainment and water sports, but the company allowed commercial ships to enter through the port, which is contrary to theprovisions of the law and  Ministerial Decree 935 for the year 2003.

Located in close proximity to three different countries: Israel by land, Saudi Arabia and Jordan by sea; Taba Heights is the ideal port of call, especially now, for seafarers who wish to take a voyage up the Red Sea and cruise the Gulf of Aqaba.

Granted an International Tourist Marina license in July 2005, the Taba Heights Marina is the first legitimate port of entry in the region.

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