New Safety Measures at Sharm el-Sheikh
by Jimmy Dunn
Sharm el-Sheikh has, and will continue to be called the City of Peace. The reason for this is because of the many meetings held here between international leaders which have resulted in peace accords. Of course, it has also been known as a safe haven, where European and other vacationers could frolic in the sun without worry, at least until the recent event in the city.
Already, those who love Sharm el-Sheikh, and many do, have written us to say that they will not let terrorists control their travel plans to this great resort. And while some tourists have cancelled their Sharm vacations, many others have not, and the city is now returning to normal, with beach goers returning to its beautiful beaches, crystal clear water and hot night spots.
Sharm has always been a very secured area, demonstrated by the fact that two out of three of the attacks were never able to reach their intended destinations. Indeed, were it not for Sharm's considerable security, many more foreigners would have probably died. Instead, two of the terrorists were stopped at check-points where they detonated their explosives, killing mostly ordinary working-class Egyptians.
Of course, any loss of life in the City of Peace is unacceptable, both to vacationers and to the government of Egypt. Sharm el-Sheikh is a showcase of the Egyptian tourism industry, and the government intends to earn the trust given it by those who continue to make it their beach vacation venue of choice. Therefore, in addition to the already tight security, Sharm el-Sheikh is going high tech. In addition to the already extensive security measures, in order to prevent future problems additional safeguards, many of which have already been implemented, include (we wish to thank South Sinai Travel for supplying this information):
New surveillance procedures include monitoring cameras fixed at all the entrances and exits of Sharm El Sheikh as well as in all streets and gathering places. The cameras are connected with a main operation units where they are monitored real-time by trained security staff to insure comprehensive safety measures.
Security has been intensified on all streets, beaches and the ways leading to the city with additional security personnel.
Electronic gates will be fixed at all entrance and exit points using gamma ray technology. Gamma ray technology is used to screen larger objects, such as cars and trucks (it is also used for examining ocean containers, for example) that are densely loaded and the technology is capable of detecting suspected contraband, weapons and other potentially dangerous goods. It gives its operators an image similar in many ways to an X-ray, but is safer than X-rays. This sophisticated (and rather expensive) equipment is also capable of outputting spectrum graphs that can detect various elements, including radioactive materials.
New fixed and movable check points will be spread throughout the Sharm region, with specific equipment for examining all cars coming through the outlets for explosive devices and other weapons. Areas to be secured in this manner not only include the direct approaches to Sharm el-Sheikh, but also remote regions, including mountain areas near Sharm.
An agreement was made with the hotels owners to put barricades in front of their hotels gates. Many of them have already done so.
It should be noted that these represent only some of the new efforts being put into place to prevent any further problems in Sharm. Clearly, in a world where terrorists events may happen anywhere, and where beach resorts throughout the world usually have very little in the way of security measures, Sharm el-Sheikh will be one of the safest of all vacation spots.
In addition, there are a number of tourist incentives being given to bring vacationers back to Sharm. These include the subsidization of charter airline carriers who transport tourists to Sharm el-Sheikh and a 50% discount on bus fare to and from Sharm el-Sheikh from within Egypt. There are also a number of local promotions from travel operators, hotels and other tourism vendors.
I would also like to remind our readers that, as of next week, we will have one of our staff writers stationed in Sharm el-Sheikh He will be reporting live from Sharm with stories and video, and will be digging out some of the specials, as well as reviewing daytime tourists activities, nightly entertainment hotspots and also talking to tourists about their vacation experiences in Sharm. Look for this on our Sharm News Blog.