Between being one of PADI's top destinations for diving in 2019 and having its fair share of gorgeous freediving sites to choose from, Egypt's definitely better down where it's wetter. (Hint: under the sea). But the growing number of tourists snorkeling or diving in the Red Sea every year has also led to an increase in the number of accidents and drowning incidents, prompting the Ministry of Tourism to issue tighter regulations surrounding water activity – namely in the South Sinai region.
In its most recent statement, the Ministry of Tourism addresses travel agencies and diving centers in the South Sinai region about the restrictions of diving and water activities in natural parks and in Sinai's Aqaba Bay. The new regulations entail that travel agencies can only get permission for water activities by doing them in collaboration with licensed diving centers for the safety of tourists. On the flip side, tourists will have to be accompanied by a licensed guide while snorkeling or diving, and will need to sign a contract that includes all their contact information, as well as all the information about their chosen diving center and the location of the water activities.
This decision comes after repeated incidents of drowning or near-drowning experiences, especially near Ras Mohamed.