A recent proposal by a group of Italian investors to develop Giftun Island, off Hurghada, has been rejected by the Egyptian Government.
The proposal planned to build several thousand hotel rooms, luxury villas and a bridge to link to the mainland.
Recognising the enormous devastating environmental impact this would have on the island's nature, reefs and corals, HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association, of which Emperor Divers is a founding member) fought hard against the plans with a 'Save Giftun' campaign.
Yesterday (4 May, 2004) Emperor's dive team in Hurghada, who joined hundreds of people in an Earth Day protest, heard the plans have been over-turned and the development will not be going ahead. Everyone involved in protesting against the plans is delighted and relieved with the outcome.
And to understand the importance of the Government's decision, here are a few Giftun Island facts:
- Giftun is the second largest island in the Red Sea after Shedwan Island
- Below its waters exists two of the important eco systems; corals and sea grass
- Near to Giftun, there are 196 types of hard coral, representing 80 per cent of the biological biodiversity of the Red Sea
- Two endangered bird species live on Giftun; the Osprey and White-eyed seagull
- The Hawksbill turtle, one of five species around the island, nests here
- The endangered Whale shark has been seen more regularly around the island of late
- Giftun is part of a large archipelago, dating over 33 million years old
- 14 dive sites around the island represent 31 per cent of Hurghada's total dive sites
- Giftun attracts 187512 visitors each year
- Between 2001-2003, the island generated 5 million pounds, which was directed to the EEAA environmental fund.