On November 6th, amidst Egypt's plummeting economy and declining tourism, the Sinai Trail, which follows a long distance hiking trail starting from the Gulf of Aqaba to the top of Mount St. Catherine, won the Tourism Awards' 'Wider World' category as part of the prestigious British Guild and Travel Writers' (BGTW) Awards.
Darb Sinai, or the Sinai Trail, is hundreds of years old, and was built by three Bedouin tribes – Tarabin, Muzeina, and Jebeleya – along with Ben Hoffler, a travel blogger and author, who collaborated for the convenience of hikers and walkers. The website, Sinai Trail, offers all sorts of maps, GPS tracks, and tours to offer more accessibility.
The Tourism Awards at the BGTW have three categories, including one for Europe and the UK, and an international category – which Sinai Trail won. Upon accepting the award, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Rashid of the Jebeleya tribe in St. Catherine says, "This will help people visit Mount Sinai and St. Catherine Monastery – this way, you can see real Bedouin tradition, see real Bedouin life in the desert. We will show you Sinai through the Bedouin eye [...] Sinai, as I always say, is safe. Don't worry. Matkhafsh."
Launched in 2015, the project is entirely run by Bedouin tribes; their goals included providing a resilient economy around the Sinai Trail by generating more jobs and livelihoods for the locals, as well as educating people about Egypt's wilderness and keeping in mind the importance of knowledge-sharing and preservation in Sinai.
Most of all, the Sinai Trail allows hikers from Egypt and all over the world to follow the same route that is marvelled with stories of indigenous tribes and their interaction with the world, as well as remarkable geographical sites that people from the world over have passed through for centuries, on a path that successfully connected Europe and Africa to Asia and the Middle East. As Abu Rashid says, "The Sinai Trail brings together the whole world."