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Red Sea Development Co.’s study reveals diversity of habitats as it calls for responsible tourism 

RIYADH: The Red Sea Development Co. has revealed rich diversity of habitats, flora, and fauna in one of the world’s largest environmental surveys of wildlife ecosystems, carried along the Saudi Arabian coast.

The 11-month long study has included a number of endangered species such as the Halavi Guitarfish, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Sooty Falcon, according to a statement. 

Released at the UN World Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the research has also included an eight-meter-high single coral colony estimated to be around 600 years old. 

Conducted from January through November 2021, it has revealed that many threatened and endangered species inhabit the area, which shows the environmental protection and regeneration efforts in the region. 

“We want to prove to the world, and our peers in the tourism industry, that creating world-class destinations can go hand-in-hand with protecting and enhancing the environment,” CEO John Pagano  said. 

“We’re challenging ourselves and others to do better and be better as global pioneers in responsible development and are issuing a call to action for tourism as an industry to step up when it comes to the impact on wildlife and biodiversity,” Pagano added. 

A lion fish observed by TRSDC scientists (Supplied)

The tourism industry places significant stress on local land and marine areas if action is not taken. 

UN Environment research shows that the growth of tourism and its impact on the environment is growing at an unsustainable rate, with a 154 percent increase in energy consumption, 131 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and 152 percent increase in water consumption expected by 2050 if action is not taken.

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