May, 22nd 2017: The Tourism Development Authority ordered the demolition of one of Ras Sudr’s main touristic attractions, Kiteloop.
Kiteloop is a popular destination for domestic and international kite surfers providing a wide range of surfing tutorials and facilities. The destruction of the camp and its 20 guest rooms bewildered numerous followers and fans. People’s angry comments and rants went viral on social media creating a strong buzz online.
Why would the government bulldoze a tax paying business and tarnish Egyptian tourism and investments internationally?
One of the four entrepreneurs that founded the place, Karim Khashab, stated during a phone call interview with Enterprise that they were completely oblivious and unaware of what was coming. As a consequence, they were hit with an approximate 6 million EGP worth of costs due to the damage.
According to Khashab, the partners were renting the land from a landlord since 2011. To their surprise, a demolition order was sent a year ago from the Tourism Development Authority. The ministry claimed that the landlord has not finished his installments and was not fully registered with the Notary Public in order to become a real property right.
The partners tried to fight for the land and requested to officially settle what the land owed. The government rejected the request and stated that the priority lies with the actual owner.
Now even though the government should have at least locked up the place for further investigations in attempt to resolve the predicament or at least to give the people working there a chance to properly evacuate, the law was actually implemented.
Before you get fired up, let us properly asses this rationally and put emotions aside. We are all furious and saddened by this event.
The leveling of the camp came days after the president himself launched a strong campaign against unauthorized trespassing on state-owned lands. According to the Civil Code and the Notary Public Law No. 114 of 1946, the sale of a property in Egypt is not effective unless the sale agreement is registered. The Notary Public Law provides that the registration of sale agreements must take place at the offices of the Notary Public. The landlord has not finished his installments; therefore the request for Kiteloop to settle what the land owed is invalid and ineffective. Historically many land transactions were carried out using preliminary sales agreement that were not registered before the Notary Public which led to a personal contractual right over the property rather official ownership and property rights.
The notice was sent and it stated that it will demolish the camp and until the actual bulldozing event happened, that was still the case. No agreements were reached or settled. By definition, a notice means that you have to prepare yourself for evacuation.
Two days before the happening, Kiteloop threw an extravagant festival that took the course of a couple of days to celebrate their 6 year anniversary. Unlike Dahab, Gouna, and other touristic attractions, Ras Sudr is not very known for throwing huge overnight festivals. That was perceived by the government as a provocative move that neglected their request to evacuate.
Even though the law was implemented and Kiteloop was technically operating on unauthorized land, the government should have looked at the bigger picture and analyzed the economic consequences of abruptly shutting such an attraction.
Egypt is in dire need to lure in tourists and Kiteloop was an international destination with a proper cult following. It is unfortunate that this happened. However, we hope that #Kiteloop_Will_Rise_Again.
KITELOOP WAS LEVELED, BUT WHOSE FAULT IS IT?