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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Ras Sudr icon Kiteloop razed on the order of Tourism Development Authority

Ras Sudr icon Kiteloop razed on the order of Tourism Development Authority; kitesurfing camp has loyal domestic and international following. Egyptian kiters and beach-goers were shocked at the news yesterday that Kiteloop, a kitesurfing camp in Sinai with a cult following at home and internationally, has been razed to the ground. In a phone call with Enterprise last night, Karim Khashab, 35, one of four entrepreneurs who built the company starting in 2011, explained that security forces appeared yesterday on their beach with bulldozers and completely demolished 20 guest rooms and the kitesurfing school and facilities. “We weren’t even given a chance to evacuate or remove our valuables,” he explains. With the exception of some furniture and a few appliances, it was a total loss, Khashab says, estimating the damage to be in the EGP 6 mn range at a minimum.
So what happened? Khashab says he and his partners had been renting the land for the past six years. In June 2016, they were served with a demolition order on the grounds that their landlord was in default with the Tourism Development Authority. Although Kiteloop submitted an official request to settle itself what was owed on the land, the TDA would not allow them to do so. What’s completely baffling to Khashab is that he says two days prior to the incident, the landlord himself appeared at the TDA to let them know that he was ready to settle. Even if there was a conflict over the land, wouldn’t it have made more sense to slap a padlock on a tax-paying business until the issue was resolved — instead of headlines going viral on social media and giving a poor image of Egyptian tourism and investment internationally?

Rebuilding: Khashab, a former finance professional turned kite surfer / certified IKS kitesurfing judge, has hosted international tournaments and thousands of international kiters at Kiteloop, which had become a global kitesurfing destination because of its perfect wind conditions. He and his partners are determined to rebuild, and he says they’ll continue to try and settle outstanding payments to the TDA. Check out images of the destruction and additional commentary on Cairo Scene and Facebook.

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