(Photo: Courtesy of Red Sea Mountain Trail Facebook page)
Egypt's Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat has praised the founders of the Red Sea Mountain Trail and the local communities involved after the community tourism project was selected by Time Magazine as one the top 100 greatest places of 2019.
The Red Sea Mountain Trail is a 170-kilometre path near the beach city of Hurghada which takes around 10 days to hike. The initiative is managed by the local Maaza tribe and aims to preserve Bedouin heritage and empower local communities.
In a statement on Friday, the minister thanked the project's co-founders, mountaineer Omar Samra and British adventurer Ben Hoffler, for their efforts to encourage adventure travel in Egypt, and praised Egyptian communities who she said "have brought the trails to life."
Al-Mashat said the project supports the ministry's drive to boost Egypt's sustainable tourism and promote economic development of local communities in the region.
"It offers adventurer[s] or travellers a real experience to connect and learn about the culture of the region," Al-Mashat said, adding that the initiative goes hand in hand with Egypt's 'People to People' campaign, which aims to highlight the diversity of the Egyptian people.
The Red Sea Mountain Trail is the sister project of the award-winning Sinai Trail, Egypt's first long-distance hiking trail, which opened in 2015.
It is the first such trail in mainland Egypt.
Time said its list of the world's 100 greatest places of 2019, unveiled last week, was compiled by nominations from its editors and correspondents from around the world as well as industry experts.
The destinations cover a variety of categories including museums, parks, restaurants and hotels.