World leader in diving boats to enter Egypt's Red Sea tourism market

Ahram Online, Sunday 2 Mar 2014

The Red Sea Aggressor, a five-star live-aboard diving vessel, arrives for diving trips in Red Sea

Divers dive in the Blue Hole in Dahab
Divers dive in the popular diving area called the Blue Hole, in Dahab, Sinai, October 2, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

The world's largest fleet of touristic diving boats is set to enter Egypt's Red Sea diving market this month, thanks to the addition of the Red Sea Aggressor, a luxury scuba-diving yacht offering five-star accommodation and direct access to the some of country's most famous reefs.

The international marketing group TVB signed a franchise agreement with Aggressor Fleet to bring the boats to Egypt. Aggressor Fleet's boats are divided among 20 destinations worldwide. 

"With cooperation from Egyptian authorities, we believe that we can transform Egypt into a global leader in live-aboard scuba-diving hospitality and attract divers from outside of the European market – Egypt's primary source of diving tourism," said David Home, CEO and managing director of TVB Group International, an owning partner in the Red Sea Aggressor franchise.

The touristic diving company has already listed introductory packages on its website for the month of March, with a 16-day diving holiday on the Red Sea Aggressor costing about $1500 per person, a package that includes luxury accommodation on board, five dives a day and service from the crew.

The boat company's expansion to the Egyptian market comes amid recent downturns in the country's tourism sector from ongoing political turmoil and economic strife.

Red Sea resorts and South Sinai tourist towns were mostly exempted from travel warnings issued on the back of political turbulence following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in August of last year.

However, the security situation in South Sinai has deteriorated under a growing militant insurgency in Sinai. While the attacks have largely targeted security personnel, the bombing of a tourist bus in Taba, South Sinai last month which killed three South Koreans and their Egyptian bus driver has raised concerns that Red Sea beaches are no longer safe for visitors.

Germany has since issued a warning against travel to Sinai and travel agencies have begun evacuating German tourists from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

In an attempt to save the ailing touristic sector, Egypt's tourism minister Hisham Zaazou hosted a delegation of British experts in Sharm El-Sheikh last Wednesday to assess the safety of Sinai's touristic resorts.

Zaazou has said that the bus bombing in Taba could happen anywhere in the world and that a repeat will be prevented by the implementation of British surveillance techniques.

He said that the tourism ministry was eyeing visitors from emerging markets like India, which exports 18 million tourists annually.

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