File Photo: Tourists who were due to participate in an aquatic exercise class, perform their exercises on the sand instead, at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 (Photo: AP)
The licenses of two hotels in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh were revoked after sexual harassment cases occurring at the hotels were ignored by management, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.
Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou's decision was taken against the five-star Hilton Sharks Bay Resort and the four-star Sharm Holiday Resort.
The decision comes after a holidaymaker, a British businesswoman in her 40s, told the Daily Mail she had been raped by a security guard in an unnamed five-star hotel in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Egypt's tourism ministry said on Monday it was investigating the alleged rape.
ZaaZou said in 2013 that the previous year the ministry discovered 3 cases of rape and 150 cases of sexual harassment in Sharm El-Sheikh alone.
The Ministry of Tourism notified the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels it will exercise its legal authority according to Law 1 of 1973, which grants it the right to withdraw hotel licenses when acceptable public conduct is breached or if the hotel contributes to "harming the country's reputation or security," according to MENA.
The same source also reported that the ministry directed the head of Egypt's Chamber of Travel Agencies to take immediate legal action against any tourism worker who sexually harasses a tourist by filing a case at the office of the General Prosecution detailing the abuse reported by the victim.
The ministry additionally requested the chamber provide it with a copy of any future report, including the name of the touristic venue where the abuse took place.
Meanwhile, tourism ministry spokesperson Rasha El-Azazy told Ahram Online on Monday “We are following the reported incident with the British embassy and local tourism police, and the case is currently under investigation.”
A severe punishment will be imposed if the ministry confirms the crime, Azazy added.