JEDDAH, 21 July 2005 — Prince Sultan ibn Salman, the secretary-general of the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT), and Prince Mishaal ibn Majed, governor of Jeddah, officially launched the “Leave No Trace” program in the Makkah region yesterday.
“The ‘Leave No Trace’ program, which is being organized by SCT in coordination with relevant public and private sector organizations, is an internationally recognized program about environmental awareness,” Prince Sultan said at the ceremony.
He highlighted the strong bond between tourism and the environment with ecotourism representing a key environmental sector in the world with a growth rate of 10-20 percent annually.
“Creating deep awareness of the importance of preserving the environment, whether land or marine, has become a paramount concern especially with the rising population of the Kingdom where the number of visitors to the various natural areas has doubled, resulting in negative factors which have reduced the attractiveness of these areas and endangered the natural habitats of wildlife and marine creatures.
“This can only be counteracted by educating and training the citizens and residents on the principles of responsible behavior and rejecting negative practices in order to preserve the natural environment,” Prince Sultan added.
He said the first activity of this program in the Makkah region will begin next week on Thursday and Friday when the Jeddah Corniche will receive a long overdue and much-needed clean-up by more than 200 skilled divers.
Prince Mishaal commended the efforts of Prince Sultan and Prince Abdullah ibn Saud to make this project a resounding success. “The Jeddah governorate will cooperate with the SCT and other government departments to clean the environment in order to help everybody live in a hygienic atmosphere,” the governor said.
The clean-up campaign is sponsored by Express Foods Company Ltd. (Al Baik), Coca-Cola, Al-Ahlam Group, National Paper Company Ltd. NAPCO, and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The Kingdom’s leading dive operators are participating in the campaign by providing technical support and equipment to the divers. They include: Dream Divers, Red Sea Divers, Desert Sea Divers, Blue Reef Divers, The Diving Center, Durrah Al-Arous, Jeddah Marine Club, Alkhorayef Scuba Centers, Makkah Divers, United Diving Center and Red Sea Pearl Divers.
The beach clean-up campaign will feature a number of support activities along the Corniche including a promotional tent for diving gear, a series of competitions for the visitors on the estimated weight of waste, and a media center to coordinate with visiting members of the press.