The Hurghada Quality Mark
When Hurghada celebrates, the town starts rockin…
14th November 2009, you can just feel the excitement and anticipation in the air… 19:30 hours, the whistle blows on the 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Algeria.
If you know anything about Hurghada or Egypt in general, than you know that football in Egypt is followed differently than we might be used to in Europe. Nobody sits alone, quietly at home in front of the tv - oh no - in Egypt is a celebratory event that you experience with others. All over the country cafes and restaurants are packed with families and friends who come together to cheer their team to victory! Today was no different…
Today, keeping your fingers crossed really seemed to work as Egypt won a well deserved victory 2-0 over Algeria, thereby putting Egypt in control of their own destiny as they try to book their flight to South Africa for this summers World Cup Finals. On this day Egypt was able to show the entire world that they are a footballing nation to be trifled with, one that can not be underestimated or taken lightly.
As well as the hot-blooded Arabs play football, so to can they celebrate. The whole of Hurghada, probably the whole of Egypt, where overwhelmed with excitement after the final whistle. The exuberant victory celebrations engulfed the entire city and naturally drew in all of the tourists as well. There was pandemonium in the streets that simply could not be contained as joyous fans sang and honked their car horns.
In any case we say: Congratulations on this outstanding achievement!!!
Hurghada Traffic – sensible system or simply chaos?
The streets of Hurghada have, for some time, enjoyed the services of traffic lights, which is of course, a good thing. However we Europeans like our traffic laws and driving style, which in Egypt can come across as a foreign language. - Why?
For example Egyptian traffic lights come equipped with an extra traffic light - blue. Automobile drives utilize the exact same color system (Red, Yellow, Green) that we use, however pedestrians cross the streets on blue…yes that’s right!
Another interesting difference in Egypt is the location of traffic lights. Someone might be inclined to ask as to why traffic lights are placed in front of a roundabout. However the answer is quite simple. The traffic system regarding the roundabout is exactly the opposite of Germany for example. In Egypt a driver may stop in the roundabout to let in another car. A situation that is unthinkable in Germany, but if you are used to it, it can be quite effective by allowing traffic to flow more freely and bring a bit of order to the system (if that’s truly possible). This is just one example of traffic differences in Egypt of which you should be informed if you wish to personally drive a car.
Everywhere in Egypt there is one really good rule to follow - Eyes on the road at all times!! Always expect and be prepared for the unexpected. Pedestrians in Egypt don’t pay a whole lot of attention when crossing the street and for most drivers the words “anticipatory driving” make no sense. Cars may pass one another on the right or the left generally make their intentions known through incessant honking.
This chaotic style of driving comes to be when one thinks about how the driving schools work in Egypt. Driving students learn how to steer a car in an enclosed area and practice other driving maneuvers such as going forwards and backwards. Some traffic laws are included in the driving test and are also discussed while learning how to operate the automobile, only then can the new student drive the car onto the street, but has, of course, no clue how to deal with the thick traffic.
Is this chaotic driving style a wonder? It is a real wonder that very few traffic accidents actually happen!
Therefore, my dear pedestrians and prospective drivers - pay attention!!! With a little foresight and caution you will reach your destination. On that note we wish you a pleasant drive!
Ramadan and it's heartfelt message
It is that time of the year again. The 21st of August 2009 is a special day for the one billion Muslims worldwide…it is the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
But what is it exactly and why do Muslims fast?
The word “Ramadan” is an Arabic word and represents the 9th month of the lunar calendar. It is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) at age 40 received his first revelations from God.
Because Ramadan is part of the lunar calendar, its year is only 354 days long and therefore within 33 years it falls in every season of the year. Muslims must learn to fast through overbearing heat and freezing cold temperatures. After puberty, every Muslim, both men and women are to begin fasting during the month of Ramadan. Only children, the elderly and the sick are exempt form fasting during Ramadan (also women who are menstruating or pregnant).
Muslims are to fast from sun up to sun down, neither eating, drinking, or smoking are allowed during daylight hours. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam that make up the foundation of the religion.
Ramadan is the time when every Muslim is to exert humility and patience towards their fellow man and is seen as a test from God. The goal is achieve a state of serenity and balance, which fasting is to help achieve by opening a door to a considerate and social community.
Through fasting one is supposed to be able to understand better the daily problems of the poor. Well off individuals quickly realize that wealth and well-being are not given commodities. Economic and social differences lose their significance during Ramadan and special significance is placed on “Iftar”, which is ritual breaking of the fast at the end of each day, and is to be done with family as well as the poor, thereby strengthening the community. This also represents one of the 5 pillars of Islam, the “poor tax”, sharing your wealth with the less fortunate.
The festival celebrating the end of Ramadan is called “Eid ul-Fitr” and is, for obvious reasons, a very celebratory occasion. It is one of the most important festivals in Islam and is one that is to really bring the community together. Another special element of “Eid” is the settling of disputes within the family and between family and neighbors.
It is a festival of peace with a very clear message: Ramadan is the return to absolute spirituality, love and humility.
We have “Equal Time”…
Whoever visits Hurghada in the next several days doesn’t need to worry about dealing with the time change. On 20th August 2009 the “Winter Time” has already been initiated and the clocks have been set back an hour throughout the country. Granted, this may seem a bit premature, however Egypt has a good reason…it is Ramadan!
Acutally, Ramadan has nothing to do with time change directly, but most Muslims are fasting during the daylight hours of the month, so this is a way of making the day light hours shorter so as not to have problems during the long, hot, arduous days.
Honestly this as a truly logical idea, if for no other reason than human decency and who does it really bother anyway? We are on vacation are we not?
A small tip: Especially during the month of Ramadan it is possible that some services can be limited or delayed.
We ask you please, dear guests: “Be patient and understanding”.
Your hosts will do their bests to fulfill your needs and they will be very appreciative of your cooperation and understanding.
1. Summer Book Fair
From 15. July to 30. July 2009 Red Sea Bookstores is organizing it’s 1. Summer Book Fair in front of Mac Donalds at Esplanada Mall in collaboration with the public Library, Hurghada.
In this Fair thousands of different titles in different categories - including Fiction, Language Studies, Egypt’s History and Culture, Tourism, Cooking, Diving, Children’s and School Books, and more - are exposed in pavilions at the pedestrian zone.
Longman, Pearson, Oxford, Cambridge, Penguin, American University Press Cairo, Dar al Shorouk, Langenscheidt and more publishers welcome you there.
The ambition of Red Sea Bookstores is to support education in Hurghada and make reading more popular again.
Visit the 1. Summer Book Fair in Hurghada 2009!
Germany’s reputation in Egypt falls...
The cultural and religious differences between Germany and Egypt have come under scrutiny like no other time in history. A highly sensitive and emotionally charged murder case has put a large strain on the once peaceful relations.
A young Egyptian women, Marwa El S, was a witness in a libel court case. The suspect, Alex W., a 28 year old Russo-German, who came to Germany in 2003 from the Russian Permian and is also a known Nazi sympathizer, stabbed the young women 18 times in the courtroom in front of her husband and the entire jury. Any intervention came too late due to misunderstandings and poor decisions. So much for safety first in German courtrooms.
Until now, Germany has always been viewed by Egyptians as a country of tolerance and understanding, but this is changing. Sad, but true. In Egypt and in other Islamic countries there are public outcries of anger, incomprehension and allegations of racism and Islamophobia.
Marwa El S was a highly educated young woman in her third month of pregnancy, who also had a three year old son. In the Quran as well as the Bible perpetrators of cold blooded murder are usually given the death penalty due to the concept of “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.
This is, however, a different case because Germany does not have the death penalty and there is also the fact that many times there is an inappropriately mild dispersion of justice. Therefore the decision handed down by Angela Merkel and the German government is very important.
The transfer of Marwa El S’s body to her home city of Alexandria has been met with countless protests and demonstrations. The frustration and anger directed at Germany will not dissipate in one day, which is why we ask all of our guests to view this far-reaching tragedy in the right light and to behave accordingly. Many Egyptians can’t understand why Germany does not have the death penalty, which in their eyes and probably the eyes of others, is totally justified, especially for such a heinous act.
We would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and survivors of Marwa El S.
American President Barack Obama and “Soft Tourism“ in Egypt
The 4th of June 2009 was no ordinary day, especially not in Egypt. This date will be remembered in Egyptian history for years - but why?
On this day the American President Barack Obama visited Cairo, the largest and most important metropolis in the Arab World, in order to extend the hand of friendship to this great country and to Islam.
In the course of his impressive speech, he addressed people all over the world in an urgent attempt to appeal for greater tolerance, respect and openness.
These are the essential building blocks for a peaceful and friendly co-existence of peoples, cultures, traditions and religions.
For this reason Egypt was certainly the perfect choice, due to its collective behavior and religious tolerance of Muslims and Christians, which is, unfortunately, not consistent in other countries where the differences lead to national and religious tensions.
Tourism is an important facet of every country which thrives on the global and multicultural spirit. Only with a clear understanding of acceptance and tolerance can misunderstandings, which potentially lead to violent or terrorist attacks, be minimized and hopefully completely prevented. This makes predominantly Muslim countries, like Egypt, seem more safe and attractive in the eyes of Western tourists.
Hopefully through the words of Barack Obama, we, hosts and guests alike, can begin to properly understand foreign cultures, traditions and religions properly and create a sustainable tourism sector in the economy.
One fact is abundantly clear: In the hearts of billions of people world wide pulsates the unshakable faith and desire to achieve a sustainable path towards equality and tolerance that will bring us together and give any concerned traveler the ability to make inseparable friendships which will enrich our lives.
In this spirit, we wish to welcome all our guests in Hurghada and along the Red Sea, a warm welcome and a relaxing, exciting vacation with your family and friends!
For visitors who would like to learn more about the message of American President Barack Obama, we have published the impressive speech here.
Black on White: In 2009 tourism in the Red Sea decreased by about 20%.
The analysis of the latest available statistics for the tourism sector has shown an appalling record. This year the Red Sea Governorate has experienced an almost 20% reduction in the number of tourists. One result speaks volumes!
This difficult situation, a direct consequence of the world economic crisis, has prompted many guests to be more frugal when spending than before. Upon closer examination of the analyses it turns out that, strangely enough, less Russian tourists are coming to Red Sea than other Europeans for example. The English are the most steadfast in their visitation of Egypt, which we are, of course, very pleased about!
Unfortunately the smaller tour operators are extremely disadvantaged and struggling to compete with their “bigger brothers” in the business. Larger tourism companies have, over the years, experienced unexpected difficulties and dealt with them accordingly. With such experience and their risk management assessments allow them to continue to survive and even thrive even in difficult economic times.
Small businesses have a serious problem, because they have little possibility to finance such a risk management operation, change their product line in the short-term, or effectively reduce their fix costs.
As we have recognized the importance of small businesses in the region, we would like to reach out and try to offer an effective form of assistance.
Hence our urgent appeal to all lovers of Hurghada and Egypt:
Whoever wants to lend a helpful hand to small businesses and tour operators should take this opportunity to provide us with accurate information and photograph of the company. We will then translate the information into five languages for free and put it on our website. Please do not forget rate and give your opinions of the company so it is accessible to everyone.
We truly hope that with this contribution, we can throw a small company a life line in these difficult times. Thank you very much for your help!
Honking remains constant in Hurghada
The persistent honking of cars, taxis and buses is part of Hurghada, such as the rubber boots to the farmer. This can be confirmed with the utmost certainty upon visiting the city.
Actually there are too many cars in Hurghada. Taxis are constantly on the lookout for potential passengers. All you need to do to hail a cab is to merely look at it.
In this tourist metropolis of Egypt there are currently 904 mini buses and 331 taxis. Most are on the “hunt” for adventurous guests in the packed city center.
But do not worry, Hurghada’s daily Concert will continue in the future, because there is, according to the decision of the local governorates, a licensing prohibition until 2012.
Well then, have a good ride and enjoy Hurghada!
The Egyptian government and the Interior Ministry wish to fulfill a long-awaited goal for all visitors to Egypt
It may be hard to believe, but the Egyptian Interior is finally allowing visitors to travel freely between Cairo, Hurghada and Luxor.
Unfortunately tourism in Egypt was forever changed after the attacks in Hatshepsut in 1997, therefore, in order to protect all tourists and visitors it was impossible to travel throughout the region without police notification and monitoring, especially from Hurghada to Cairo and Luxor. For 11 years all tourist buses ran on fixed time schedules and collection points as well as registering the total number of tourists and their nationalities. Of course, such a trip was a safe and pleasant thing as you arrived at your destination faster, however on the other had, it was irritating because your trip was not determined by the opening and closing times of the temples; you were at the mercy of the convoys. The most unpleasant thing was, however, the number of buses that would continue to jockey for position, trying to arrive first, which would often lead to traffic accidents and deaths.
As of now, 01.12.2008, the laws has been loosened and thus opened a new freedom of movement between these cities with the exception of night travel. The Red Sea Governorate has also established 5 new checkpoints on the journey in an attempt to build up security during the long overland journey. Excessive traffic controls will also be held so that the speed limit of 100 km/h is not exceeded and to ensure that each bus has an extra driver on board.
We would like to thank the Interior Minister Habib El Adly and the Red Sea Governor Magdy Koubaisy.
Hurghada-tourism.com breaks the 5 million visitor barrier
Hurghada-tourism.com has now reached a new milestone due to your excellent support. With more than 5,000,000 page impressions since the implementation of our web portal at the beginning of last year, the number of visitors has steadily increased and that certifies us in our work. Recently we have been recording 500,000 page impressions per month which has been rising continuously. Through these page views you have made us the most frequently visited information portal about the holiday region of Hurghada.
Also in the future, we would like to thank you for your interest and your loyalty by extending our web portal permanently. Furthermore we are introducing on the spot added values to you like attractive lotteries and additional enticing price advantages on our website.
We are currently celebrating the establishment of a cooperation with the only Egyptian tourism television station, RedSea TV, and we are pleased to be allowed to present station programme information from the lineup on RedSea TV exclusively on hurghada-tourism.com and also to offer you interesting program highlights outside the broadcasting area worldwide.
Simply have a look at RedSea TV's schedule.
New Egyptian Visas
The team of Hurghada-tourism.com is constantly on the lookout for current information which will help you in preparing your trip to Hurghada. Here we provide you with information about the new entry regulations and other changes to the laws.
Some of you have already been to Hurghada or somewhere else in Egypt and are familiar with the two visa stamps which are pasted and stamped into your passport. Some people may have had a bad experience with this process, as there has never been an officially stated price for the visas, and travel agencies have demanded a certain amount of money for their processing even if the reason and the given price was not comprehensible to you, the customer. The time for an alteration of this regulation has been long overdue, and finally the Egyptian government has reacted and simplified the visa regulation.
Since August 1st 2007 there has been a new standardized visa featuring an eagle impressed on silver paper, which, starting immediately, will be pasted into your passport and enables you to stay in Egypt for a maximum duration of 40 days. Furthermore, on the lower right corner of this new visa the official price of $15 US is printed in order to create more price transparency. When you pay in foreign currencies they will be converted to current day exchange rates. For example, if you pay this fee with €15 then you will receive about 25 Egyptian pounds (25 LE) in change.
The team of Hurghada-tourism.com has tested the new visa procedures and gotten in touch with an official at the passport and immigration office, who confirmed this new information and who also, cited further reasons for the change. The main goals were to create a forgery-proof visa and to establish price transparency, especially for tourists who are visiting Hurghada or other cities in Egypt for the first time. Hurghada-tourism.com welcomes this change and the steps taken by Egypt towards a tourism-friendly policy. Nevertheless, in the case that you entered Egypt in the first half of August, the old stamps which have been used up to now are still valid up to the 15th of August 2007.
Starting immediately, Hurghada-tourism.com will provide information in 5 languages
Since the start of hurghada-tourism.com at the turn of the year, more and more internet users have been informing themselves daily on hurghada-tourism.com about their next holiday in Hurghada. In July 2007 alone, we registered visitors from 87 countries on our website. Because of this we are all the more pleased to be able to present all of our information and profiles in French and Russian, in addition to German, English and Arabic, to friends of Hurghada from all around the world.
Hurghada is becoming ever more popular among travelers from around the world and has occupied a solid place in the portfolios of international travel agencies for years. The team of hurghada-tourism.com, the first professional travel information portal on the city of Hurghada, accompanies this process with detailed information about customs and culture in 5 (!) languages. Our team also offers internet users additional integrated functions such as hourly updated weather data and forecasts and the latest currency exchange rates, including a currency conversion calculator.
Moreover, we are constantly working on the development of hurghada-tourism.com so that you can better and more effectively create and configure your holiday from the comforts of your own home. Simply come by now and then and discover the improvements at www.hurghada-tourism.com.
AIDA & Co. make a stop in Safaga
Who doesn't dream of traveling, at leat once, on board a luxury cruise ship around the world? If you decided to pass up your chance at navigating the high seas on a cruise ship this year, you can still find out here when you can catch a glimpse of one of these ocean giants in Safaga. In Safaga, located just south of Hurghada, cruise-travelers stop regularly to do a bit of sightseeing and view the massive temples of Luxor.
Moreover, on the 29th of April 2008 from 7 to 12 o'clock the MS Kolumbus of the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd will make a stop in the harbour of Hurghada.
|Stop in Safaga ||Boat ||Organizer ||Itinerary|
|5.5.2007 ||MS Orient Queen ||Delphin Kreuzfahrten ||Safaga - Hamburg|
|24./25.5.2007 ||Symphony ||Crystal Cruises ||Dubai - Civitavecchia, Italy|
|20.10.2007 ||Star Clipper ||Sea Travel ||Athens - Phuket, Thailand|
|8./9.11.2007 ||Silver Cloud ||Silversea ||Port Said, Egypt - Mombasa, Kenya|
|8./9.11.2007 ||Spirit ||Seabourn ||Alexandria - Dubai|
|22./23.11.2007 ||Silver Whisper ||Silver Sea ||Pireus - Dubai|
|23.11.2007 ||MS Deutschland ||Deilmann ||Aqaba, Jordan - Dubai|
|25.11.2007 ||AIDAcara ||AIDA Cruises ||Sharm El Sheikh - Dubai|
|1./2.12.2007 ||Nautica ||Oceania Cruises ||Civitavecchia, Italy- Singapur|
|3.12.2007 ||Marina ||Costa ||Savona, Italy - Port Louis, Mauritius|
|9.12.2007 ||Romantica ||Costa ||Savona, Italy - Dubai|
|13.12.2007 ||Europa ||Costa ||Savona, Italy - Dubai|
|14.4.2008 ||Albatros ||Phoenix ||Crossing the world starting from Monte Carlo|
All statements are without assurances because it could lead to unexpected delays in the travel plans. Please ask in your travel agency about the exact arrival and departure times of the cruise or take these from the Website of the organizer. Thank you.
Street party in El Gouna
A beautiful colourful street party takes place in Abu Tig Marina, the marina of El Gouna, every Friday evening from March to November. Visitors of the most different nations lured from a variety of entertainment possibilities like live music, belly-dancing, art and of course the most delicious local specialties of the Egyptian kitchen. Grant yourself and your beloved this experience of unforgettable cultural variety of Egypt, one visit with the whole family is worthwhile every time!
El Gouna is located on the Red Sea approximately 22 km north of the holiday destination Hurghada and is known through its architectural building style. Each apartment and hotel lies close to the water because of lagoons that have been constructed through the entire city and that make El Gouna appear like small Venice.
Bus tours to Luxor
Many local travel agencies in Hurghada organize numerous excursions; one among the most popular destinations is Luxur (Theben), the old pharaonic capital of Egypt. At these organized trips, it is necessary by law because of the security regulations that all overland buses drive through the desert on exact schedules and in convois accompanied by the police. In the meantime, however, discussions arised about the annulment of these measures and it could be that all travel agencies in foreseeable future have the freedom to decide themselves when their buses drive.
Some of Hurghada visitors don't attach importance to take part in the organized trips by travel agencies and want rather to travel to Luxor by their own and discover it. The trip to Luxor can be organised with the scheduled public-transit bus, this has the advantage to be able to experience the Egyptians and their tradition nearly and in addition that the price is very cheap with approx. 5 Euro per direction. On one hand you can enjoy the culture from your own perspective and in own timing, on the other hand there is no guarantee for the success of such an adventure. The reason is that you never know exactly, when the bus will come, depart and arrive. Unfortunately you can estimate it roughly and must have much time and patience for this. The bus drives daily only two times to Luxor and back and there is no possibility to book a seat, so that it might happen that you do not get any seat and must wait for the next bus on the following day.
Since the beginning of this year, we receive an increaing amount of inquiries on www.hurghada-tourism.com whether these local buses are still admitted because of the strict safety measurements for tourists. After our investigations on the spot we could occasionally also clarify how this rumour has been originated. For security reasons, there was actually beginning of this year a prohibition for tourists to take such buses to Luxor. As a result, there have been however big protests on the side of the bus companies, so that this prohibition was cancelled again within 24 hours. This means that your own organized trip to Luxor is still allowed.