Red Sea Holidays Managing Director Peter Kearns has mobilised his team to reassure customers both already in resort and travelling to the Red Sea. This follows the rare attacks that have seen reef sharks attack humans over the last week leaving three hospitalised and one elderly German lady dead.
“We are providing clear, transparent information to our customers at a time when they may feel uncertain. We are reassuring customers already booked and updating them on what is being done to resolve the situation. We are also communicating regularly through our reps with clients in resort and making sure they have the most up to date information and are able to carry on enjoying their holiday with minimum disruption.”
Part of the company’s efforts includes updating the agent’s facebook page, communicating information through TIPTO (Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisers) and speaking to all agents who work with Red Sea Holidays directly. In addition Red Sea Holidays health and safety expert is on hand in resort liaising with the authorities and acting as a liaison office between the authorities and customers.
“We are obviously regretful of the situation and our sympathy is extended to those who have been affected. However we want our customers to carry on enjoying their holiday. We are offering increased excursions, doubling the contact between reps and customers and advising new customers to book the larger resort style hotels with multiple pools and on site activities.” Kearns continues.
The attacks are believed to be caused by hungry, migrating sharks passing near to areas of interest for snorkellers and divers who have been feeding fish in order to attract larger numbers. The hungry sharks are attracted by the smell of food and straying off their course and into the paths of humans.
This is extremely rare and the Red Sea has never seen an incident of this type before.
The Egyptian authorities have been quick to react. The incidents come at peak time for the destination with many customers booking to travel to the resort for a guaranteed sunshine break over the Christmas period.
CWDS (the regulatory diving authority in the Red Sea) has announced that whilst all diving and watersports activities are currently suspended with beaches closed, the majority are expected to open tomorrow and CWDS members and their clients will be able to dive (07.12.10). It is expected that all snorkelling will still be banned. This follows consultations with international shark experts and a series of exploratory dives in several areas on the Red Sea. In a measure of how seriously the Red Sea is taking this issue and how quickly they are seeking to resolve it, shark behaviour experts are currently on their way to the destination to advise and work with the Egyptian team on this.
The Egyptian authorities have contacted marine biologists from around the world to investigate the causes. Dr Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, is the first one to arrive in Sharm el Sheikh on Monday evening. According to CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Watersports) this kind of shark behaviour is causing disbelief amongst the Red Sea diving community.
Mr Khaled Ramy, Director of ESTO UK and Ireland, commented: “international experts have been called in and we await their advice regarding further steps to be taken. This is an extremely unusual situation and one which we are doing everything possible to resolve.”
Kearns finishes “Whilst this is undoubtedly a knock for the Red Sea the destination is still currently unbeatable in terms of price, quality and guaranteed weather. As the largest independent to the region we can provide a wide range of holidays throughout the Red Sea and we have the specialist knowledge to enable us to advise on the best type of holiday and resort.”