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Topics include Transportation, Dining Scene, Egypt: For Foreign Visitors & more!
One of the reasons for going to Marsa Alam is the diving and snorkelling - the Red Sea coast between Port Ghalib (where the airport is located) and Marsa Alam town has a fast growing reputation for fantastic diving including famous sites such as Elphinstone reef and Sha'ab Samadai (the Marine Park reserve nicknamed Dolphin House).
Often there are questions on the forum about dive operators at the hotels as the hotel or tour operator sites may only mention that there is a dive school at the resort, and not give further detail. This often means travellers have to rely on people on the forum who may or may not have used the facilities. Choosing the right dive centre can be an important part of people's holiday, for both certified and student divers. This article has been posted so that people can check out this element of their holiday before they go as, it is important to use an accredited, safe and professional operator.
This is a useful but outdated link:
...which takes travellers to the CDWS travel website. The Chamber of Diving and Water Sports in Egypt was created by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism in 2007 with a goal to improve quality, safety and standard of services in the diving and water sports industry, as well as to preserve unique environment of the Red Sea. The CDWS was responsible for auditing dive centres up until 2011 and up until this point were on the way to achieving their goal of getting centres and safari boats to meet ISO standards EN 14467 / ISO 24803 for diving. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism has since taken direct control of the audit and license program now and has done for 2 years (at time of writing), and unfortunately does not have any resource to allow divers to check out the status of dive centres before travel. Upon arrival you could theoretically ask to see the official license, but as the original is often used to create daily permissions and is sent away for renewal, it is possible that a legitimately licensed centre may not even be able to display it at all times.
Thankfully Tripadvisor has grown to allow review pages of attractions and activities in destinations, not just hotels and restuarants anymore. When you choose a destination, in this case Marsa Alam, you will find a link for 'Things To Do' and on this page you will find a few tabs where you can filter by activities, attractions and possible others. A correctly listed dive centre should be listed under the 'activities', although there is always a chance it could be listed in another section by error. While a review page cannot show if a dive centre is licensed correctly, it will show honest traveller (diver!) ratings and reviews, so giving you a feel for the safety, service and professionalism of that centre. Each page may also have photos (both professional and guest uploaded) of the centre and useful information, along with contact detail. Bear in mind most dive centres also welcome non divers and can cater for snorkelers with the same high safety standards.
Happy Diving & Snorkeling!