The Chamber of Tourism Companies and Agencies requested members to avoid doing business with restaurants that are not licensed by the Ministry of Tourism to increase the services provided to tourists during their visit to Egypt.
According to an internal publication by the chamber, many “local restaurants are unsafe for tourists, as they do not adhere to the standards of quality and food safety”.
Wagdi El-Kerdany, former chairman of the Chamber of Restaurants, said a large percentage of international restaurants operating in Egypt are not licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, and they are subject to the Ministry of Local Development, which does not have the experience and competence to oversee the quality and safety of food.
The Egyptian government’s budget looses, as a result of international restaurants evading paying sales taxes, exceed EGP 1.5bn per year, according to Kerdany.
Tourist restaurants and cafes are under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism, contrary to the restaurants that are subject to the Ministry of Local Development, said the former chairman.
“There is no fair competition between the two parties; as tourist restaurants commit to standards that raise the cost of the service and are committed to paying taxes, contrary to restaurants that are registered with Municipal Councils,” he added.
Kerdany said international restaurants operating in Egypt should be subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism, so that resources of the state are not wasted and taxes are not lost in exchange for the large profits achieved by these restaurants in the Egyptian market.
The Chamber of Restaurants had pressured the Ministry of Tourism in 2010 to issue a decision pertaining to the standards of restaurants, their required licences, their work conditions and the services provided by them. However, according to Kerdany, that decision has not been activated to date.