Since its return to Egypt, the Sinai has been developing at a dizzying pace.
The southern coast has experienced an influx of luxury hotels and dive operations, eager to capitalize on the natural beauty and resources of the Sinai. Leading the pack is Sharm el-Sheikh, which surveys estimate, has seen its population increase eight times during the past decade. Sharm has also become a popular site for international summits, recently playing host to a number of world leaders discussing the problems plaguing the Middle East. While there seems to be no discernible end to the development and construction, the recent Intifadah in Israel and Palestine has certainly been felt on the Peninsula. Many of the camps lining the eastern shore are empty and some construction sites have been abandoned, leaving half-built buildings and torn up land dotting the coast.
Aside from tourism, the Sinai has become the focus of ‘reconstruction’ and ‘resettlement’ with North Sinai being chosen to absorb more than 3 million Egyptians from the overcrowded Nile Valley. The government has built a new pipeline, the al-Salam Canal, to irrigate millions of acres of reclaimed land and enable development of industrial parks. Roads are being paved and desalination plants are being installed in coastal towns.