At its December 2013 meeting, the TCC Board of Directors added three new destinations to its Approved List of Countries & Territories, bringing the total to 324. The updated list will be mailed with the March edition of the Centurian, and it is available on the Countries & Territories page of this Web site. Nueva Esparta (Margarita Island) brings the South American total to 14; Egypt, Asia (Sinai Peninsula) brings the Middle East total to 21; and Equatorial Guinea (Bioko Island) brings the Africa total to 55. Below we explain the rationale for the Board’s decision to add these three destinations:
Egypt in Africa and Egypt in Asia (Sinai Peninsula)
Acting on a suggestion by a Texas member, the TCC Board, after a lengthy discussion online and in person, decided that Egypt fits the definition of a divided country under rule #2. The issue was: Where does the continent of Africa end and the Middle East/Asia begin? After examining historical, geographic and tectonic evidence, it became obvious that the Sinai Peninsula is the demarkation line, but the exact line is nebulous. Therefore, it was decided to consider all the provinces in the Sinai as being part of Asia, thereby dividing Egypt into Egypt in Africa and Egypt in Asia). The Suez Canal, itself, was not a factor because it is a man-made construction; it just happened to be that all the Sinai provinces ended at the canal.
Nueva Esparta state (Margarita Island) off the coast of Venezuela
Nueva Esparta now has a population of 490,000 and is a separate province of Venezuela which puts it in the same situation as has occurred with Jeju Island and Hainan Island. Therefore it qualifies under rule 4(a)1.
Bioko Island, off the coast of Equatorial Guinea mainland (Rio Muni)
We had looked into the situation with Bioko in the past–perhaps twenty years ago–however, at that time its population was less than 90,000. The discovery of an oil field in the waters off the island has led to a population explosion akin to what happened in Cabinda. The current population of Bioko is now close to 260,000, therefore Bioko also qualifies under rule 4(a)1.