New ferry links Egypt and Jordan

The Red Sea ports of Sharm el Sheikh on the Sinai Pensinsula in Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan are to be linked for the first time by a scheduled catamaran service.

The Red Sea ports of Sharm el Sheikh on the Sinai Pensinsula in Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan are to be linked for the first time by a scheduled catamaran service.

Starting this week, the trip takes about three hours and costs £60 return. Passengers can continue on to Hurghada in Egypt, which takes an extra 90 minutes and costs £30.

The service is an attempt to "boost tourism in the region", according to Hussein Abbadi of the Al Jawad Travel and Tourism Agency in Jordan, and will run weekly at first, moving to twice weekly in March.

A spokeswoman for the Jordan Tourist Office said it is hoped it will also encourage travellers to take "two-centre" breaks to the Middle East. "A lot of people mix Jordan and Egypt together on a holiday, and this could be the quickest way to get between the two countries," she said.

And a spokeswoman for the Middle East specialist tour operator, Regal Holidays, added that it would also encourage tourists to the region to mix adventure and cultural activities on the same holiday. "We have found that people like to go to Sharm el Sheik for the diving, then go on to Aqaba in Jordan for a more cultural experience," she said.

* A decade after the Cold War ended, a Moscow politician, Viktor Razbegin, has come up with a once-unthinkablefeat - a 60-mile tunnel between the old Soviet empire and America beneath the icy Bering Strait.

Infrastructure specialist Mr Razbegin has done a feasibility study for the Russia-Alaska tunnel, which he intends to put before the World Bank and the two governments concerned. He is currently working on a tunnel between Japan and Russia via the island of Sakhalin, which is due to be started this year and which will enable travellers to drive continuously from Britain to Japan.

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