Egypt to penalise facilities that ban entry of veiled women

Ahram Online , Wednesday 7 Sep 2022

Egypt’s Chamber of Tourism Establishments (CTE) said that tourist venues that ban the entry of veiled women will be subject to penalties that include closure and cancellation of operation licence.

Tourists perform their exercises on the sandy beach at the Egyptian Red Sea resort in Egypt. AP


The chamber issued a statement on Wednesday saying it rejects all forms of discrimination after several complaints were recently made about a number of restaurants and coffee shops in the North Coast that banned the entry of veiled women.

Some complaints were also raised to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the CTE statement added.

"The chamber rejects the policy of discrimination in all its forms, especially preventing the entry of veiled women into any tourist facility, be they a restaurant or a café, under the pretext of the internal policy," added the statement.

In a circular sent to its members, the chamber asserted that while it is tasked with preserving the rights and interest of its members, it also pays attention to the clientele’s interests.

"The chamber bears in mind the interest of the customer to be served in a manner that suits them as well as [their] freedom to choose the preferred place for beverage and food, without being derogated from any of their human rights in the first place and their legal rights," the statement stressed.

Adel Al-Masry, head of the CTE, said the bulk of tourist restaurants countrywide do not set any restrictions or conditions on customers so long as they adhere to the public morals and country's law.

He emphasised that the country's constitution and laws regulating tourism activities reject all forms of discrimination whether based on religion, race, sex, dress, nationality, or social class.

Al-Masry said that the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which oversees such avenues, takes legal actions if discrimination is proven, according to the statement.

He clarified that the CTE has received a letter from Mohamed Amer, head of the Central Administration for Hotel Establishments, Shops and Tourist Activities -- which is part of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities -- affirming that the ministry has received complaints on such practices against some tourist restaurants and coffee shops.

The ministry is currently investigating the incidents and taking legal measures against the violators, according to Al-Masry.

The CTE statement comes days after the BBC published an investigation, in which it said women wearing hijabs are being discriminated against by some "up-mark" restaurants and cafes.

Similar complaints have been seen over the recent years, as many Egyptian women have complained that they are banned from going to pools in some tourist areas because they prefer to wear burkinis, a full-body swimsuit, with authorities always saying hotels and beaches are not aauthorsed to do so. The practice has triggered altercations between those who take favour to the body-covering suit and others who don't.

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