The head of the Tourism Investors Association in South Sinai, Hesham Ali, said that the South Sinai governorate gave investors a deadline of two months to pay fees—set for the exploitation of beaches by hotels overlooking the sea—and therefore the association formed a committee of members and legal experts to study the legality of the imposition of these charges on hotels.
He stressed that the committee is working on the completion of the study soon to be sent to the concerned authorities—the Ministry of Tourism, the Council of Ministers, and the governorate.
He added that investors fear being forced to open beaches to non-guests if they don’t pay the fees. Beaches were privately opened to hotel guests since the time of inauguration, which is over 20 years for some hotels.
The South Sinai governorate has decided to impose these fees, which reach up to EGP 20m for beaches of hotels that overlook the sea, according to the area exploited by the hotel. The governorate announced that it will start collecting fees from Sharm El-Sheikh and then will impose them later on the rest of the governorate’s hotels.
Magdy Naguib, head of the hotel facilities department at the Chamber of Tourism Establishments, said that the decision to impose fees on the hotels’ beaches is something new and cannot be accepted. When hotels were established, there were no such fees, and owners were not notified of the special fees, which are very expensive, he added.
He explained that according to the legal basis in Sharm El-Sheikh, decision No. 102 of 2010 by the governor of South Sinai illegal. As for the beaches, the chamber is studying their legal basis in order to standardise them in all governorates.
He pointed out that hotels pay all their value-added taxes, business profits, stamp duties, salaries, and more, which means that there is no need to apply more demands, explaining that these fees threaten all hotels built on beaches.
He added that the timing of the payment of these fees is inappropriate due to the economic situation of the hotel owners in light of the current crisis in tourism.
The chairperson of the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA), Ahmed Balbaa, said that the decision to impose fees on beaches is unacceptable because it increases the burden on hotel owners in the current period.
He explained that hotel owners incur a lot of commitments and do not have the ability to carry more of the burden.