The much-anticipated executive regulations (the “ERs”) of the hotels and touristic establishments law no. 8 of 2022 (the “Law”) was issued by the Prime Minister on 21 February 2023 and entered into force the following day. The ERs repeal the prior ERs, in force since 1973.
Furthering the Egyptian government’s plan to promote the tourism industry, the ERs were issued a year after the issuance of the Law, filling the gaps and some of the industry uncertainties concerning, inter alia, the rectification of legal status procedures, the general conditions that should be satisfied by the concerned entities, licensing procedures of touristic entities, whether temporary or permanent and accreditation offices.
This article will shed light on some of the main insights we have noted under the ERs.
Key Provisions of the ERs
1. Rectification of Legal Status of Licensed Entities:
The ERs grant the concerned entities (i.e., entities involved in hotels and tourism activities) a grace period of 1 (one) year, subject to renewal, to rectify the legal status thereof in accordance with the general and particular conditions. Such grace period would start as of the issuance date of the particular conditions after being determined by the Committee (as defined below).
2. Setting out the General Conditions:
The Law parked the determination of such general conditions until the issuance of the ERs, by which the latter set out these general conditions that should be met for the purpose of issuing the touristic entity license (the “General Conditions”):
- Satisfaction of construction conditions in line with the Building Law No. 119 of 2008 pertaining to immovable establishments; or
- Satisfaction of the engineering and construction conditions provided by the relevant authorities with the navigational validity and safety for movable establishments.
3. Role of the Permanent Committee for Licensing Hotels and Touristic Establishments (the “Committee”):
The ERs set out the criteria on which the Committee should determine the fee classifications, including, inter alia:
- type of the entity and capacity;
- location of the entity and its total area;
- type and publicity of the requested service in question in said specific;
- capacity of the entity; and
- targeted tier of the entity.
The Committee should determine the particular conditions that should be met in any touristic entity subject to its activities, in addition to the manager, employees and any additional condition that might be determined by the Committee (the “Particular Conditions”). It is worth noting that the Committee has not issued such Particular Conditions to date. We will keep an eye on the issuance of the same and keep you informed.
The Committee should keep a registry of all licensed accreditation offices. Such registry should include, inter alia, the commercial name of the accreditation office, location, legal form, partners’ information, the authorized signatory, and employees’ information.
4. Accreditation Offices:
The ERs outline the following conditions, amongst other conditions, that should be taken into consideration alongside the rules of professional responsibility as set out under the Law:
- Completion of required inspection within the expected timeline in a highly skilled and technical manner.
- Appointment of highly qualified personnel and ensuring the satisfaction of the qualifying criteria to whom appointed.
- Provision of fair treatment to all applications.
- Formation of a database covering all the applications and results of the inspection.
5. Temporary Touristic Entities License:
A three-month license, by maximum, should be obtained to establish temporary or occasional touristic entities in different events and exhibitions (e.g., food and beverage partitions, theatres and nightclubs). Such entity should meet the General Conditions and the Particular Conditions of the activity of the applicant entity. The governmental fees against the issuance of said license range from EGP 35,000 (thirty-five thousand Egyptian pounds) to EGP 75,000 (seventy-five thousand Egyptian pounds), subject to the location of the touristic entity.
6. Licensed Entities Obligations:
The ERs oblige the licensed entities and/or responsible manager(s) to meet certain obligations while carrying out the touristic activities or dealing with guests, including, inter alia, the following:
- Non-discrimination between guests, whether citizens or foreigners, due to their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin yet without contraction with the Egyptian customs and habits as well as applying the pricing policy to all the guests without any discrimination without prejudice to the concluded contracts with the tourism companies.
- Recording all the guests’ information in the relevant records. Such information should include, amongst other details, the nationality and dates of arrival and leave.
- Briefing the guests on all the entity’s regulations as approved by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and handover a physical copy of such regulations to the guests.
- Announcing the entity’s name, tier, and licensed activity on signage in a well-apparent place at the entrance of the entity. In addition to announcing the hotline and website of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a well-apparent place for the guests’ complaints.
- Announcing the approved food and beverages prices by the concerned inspection administration, whether offline or online, including the service fee and applicable taxes, and making an Arabic copy of such price list available. Also, providing the guests with a detailed invoice is a must.
- Non-imposition of minimum charge on the guests’ orders unless the same is approved by the concerned inspection administration as well as announcing such approval in a well-apparent
- Provision of training to all the employees in the entity as per the announced regulations in that respect and provide the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with all the employees’ data and information. In addition, any changes to such data and information must be shared with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities within 48 (forty-eight) hours.
- Applying all the health and safety guidelines to ensure the safety of the guests.
Additional Key Provisions of the ERs
The ERs govern several other matters that might be of significant interest to those dealing with touristic activities, as follows:
1. Material Adjustment Approval:
The ERs allow touristic entities to apply any adjustment in the engineering drawings, technical specs and/or the licensed activity. However, the touristic entity should obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
2. Disposition of Licenses:
Any licensed entity shall have the right to dispose of its license for whom satisfies the General and Particular Conditions. The applicant entity should submit a disposition request to the competent administration within the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities alongside the required documentation. Within 30 (thirty) days, such administration should notify the applicant entity of its decision to pay the disposal fees (to be announced by the Committee).
On an ending note, it is worth noting that following the issuance of the ERs, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities issued the new Decree No. 79 of 2023 on 26 February 2023, by which annual fees should be paid quarterly by all concerned touristic entities (e.g., hotel establishments, touristic companies and their branches, diving and marine activities centres, safari centres, restaurants and cafes, and bazaars) in favour of the Tourism and Antiquities Supporting Fund that was established under Law no. 19 of 2022 against the digitization and training provided by the ministry.