Egypt revokes two hotel licenses where British tourists allegedly harassed
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou - YOUM7/Hussien Tallal
By YASMINE SAMRA

CAIRO: Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou revoked the licenses of the Sharm Holiday and Hilton Sharks Bay II late Monday, due to failing to take the necessary procedures after two British holidaymakers were allegedly exposed to rape and sexual harassment in Red Sea resorts.

The decision came a day after a British woman was allegedly raped in Hilton Sharks Bay II. The ministry ordered immediate investigations into the incidents.

“The decision to revoke the licenses of the two hotels will have a positive impact on tourism, not a negative impact, since those responsible must be penalized strictly,” the Ministry of Tourism Spokesperson Rasha el-Azzayzi told The Cairo Post.

The administration of the two hotels will be responsible for redistributing their staff in other branches, added Azzayzi.

Further, Sharm Holiday’s license cancellation comes after a British female resident was exposed to sexual harassment in the sauna.

Zaazou had also assigned the ministry’s legal advisor to study the phenomenon of sexual harassment, according to a statement released by the ministry Tuesday.

Egypt’s Penal Code includes a number of sexual crimes and imposes a specific penalty for each case according to its legal interpretation, but there is no penalty for what is referred to as “sexual harassment,” according to the statement, adding that using the term “sexual harassment” while leveling accusations is a fatal mistake, allowing the criminal to flee from punishment.

The ministry has also notified the Attorney General to inform the prosecutors about the dramatic consequences of sexual harassment on Egypt’s reputation, in order to take the necessary procedures against the perpetrators of such crimes.

The Foreign Tourism Committee at the Egyptian Chamber of Travel Agents met Tuesday to discuss the issue. The board members agreed on notifying all travel agents about the legal and administrative procedures in the case of receiving any reports about sexual harassment incidents from their clients, head of the committee Adel Zaki told The Cairo Post Tuesday.

“Of course these incidents will dramatically harm the tourism industry, already suffering from lower revenues amid the current political unrest, terrorism and riots,” Zaki said.

With a recent UN report stating that more than 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have been exposed to sexual harassment, female holidaymakers and their families will not want to risk meeting such a destiny, added Zaki.

Further, Zaki expressed regret that there is no penalty for sexual harassment in the Egyptian Law. However, he noted that speeding up the approval of harassment law, currently being drafted, will help stamp out the widely spread phenomenon which negatively affects Egypt’s reputation abroad.

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