Case Study of Development of the Peripheral Coastal Area of South Sinai in Relation to its Bedouin Community
Ali, Dina Fathi
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The peripheral region of South Sinai in Egypt is experiencing large-scale tourism development on the Gulf of Aqaba coast. Its Bedouin community is facing great challenges in its struggle for livelihood and transformation from a pastoral and fishing community to an urbanized one. This case study employs a political ecology approach to examine development on the coast in relation to its Bedouin community. The study revealed that the contextual sources of rapid development beginning in 1986 included urban, economic, and national defense policies; increased integration within international tourism markets; and support from international aid agencies. The study concluded that the tourism development boom contributes to Bedouin marginalization. Bedouin livelihood no longer depends on fishing and grazing as means of subsistence as expansion of tourism resorts along the coast has displaced other land-uses and denied Bedouin fishermen access to the sea. Tourism resorts and tourism operations controlled by multinational corporations leave little economic benefits to local Bedouins who engage in marginal tourism-related activities. Migrant entrepreneurs from other parts of Egypt compete with Bedouins over work opportunities. Regional and local plans point to increased tourism development and in-migration. This will result in further marginalization of Bedouins if development planning does not consider Bedouin interests. This research comes at a critical time to address some of the issues related to Bedouin marginalization and to recommend alternative development approaches and Bedouin community-based projects. It sets the stage for further research on regional development of South Sinai; the role of national parks in sustaining Bedouins; and future role of civil society.
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