This Issue is : 07-2009
Friday, 23 February 2024

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Festivals in Egypt
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Tourism Ministry is Required to Comment

Tourism Ministry is Required to Comment
Justice is a human value without limits or restrictions. It is also the value of truth and goodness. We feel so proud that Islam is a religion of justice and meets with the human absolute to establish man’s culture, awareness as well as dignity regardless religion, belief or ideology.

From this respect, I still wonder about the real reasons behind the prevention of veiled women from swimming in five-star hotels in Egypt as what recently happened with the veiled Norwegian tourist especially that the hotel does not follow the system of "Islamic hospitality" where the hotel services are free of alcohol drinking, catering only permissible (or halaal ) , preventing non-married couples from entering the hotel , the absence of gambling dens and dancing halls as well as separating between men and women in swimming pools

If the hotel declined to provide such hotel services, it will not be included within the international classifications and devalued from five- star hotel to four star one via a ministerial decree. This is what actually happened at the Cairo-based hotel Grand Hayatt when its Saudi owner ordered the prevention of all alcoholic beverages estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the Egyptian authorities feared that this move may have a negative impact on tourism threatening to reduce the hotel classification from 5 to 4 stars in order to force the hotel management to review and cancel its decision. In no time, the management complied and provided hotel rooms with alcoholic beverages services serving them only in one of its restaurants.

Therefore, I am surprised by the implementation of such a decision that denies the access of veiled women to swimming pools as stated by the management of Carlos Hotel in Marsa Matrouh according to the Norwegian tourist Carolyn Boston’s complaint. She asked for a formal investigation with the hotel management officials swearing that she will never ever visit Egypt anymore after her summer vacation was spoiled by Tourism Ministry. We, after this incident, were informed that this peculiar decision was issued by the Ministry and swimming pools at five –star hotels only welcome bikini-dressed women.

How can we let such images trespassing the personal and religious liberties be engraved in the minds of world nations especially in relation to veiled women ? But if these decisions are reasonable and should be implemented, the Egyptian government have to provide alternatives so as not to provoke the feelings of thousands of veiled women who formed the majority of female Muslims.

Will there be a future strategy within the framework of tourism promotion dividing hotels swimming pools between those accommodating bikini-worn people and others for females who insist on wearing veils?
Reham Elbarbary