Egypt delays visa hike

BANGKOK, 27 February 2017: Egypt says it is delaying an increase in its tourist visa until 1 July, mainly due to pressure from the tourism industry that said the move would damage tourism.

Struggling with the task of winning back tourist confidence, Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has taken the unusual step of more than doubling tourist entry visas from USD25 to USD60. It was supposed to be introduced 1 March.

The country’s State Information Service announced the changes that prompted a strong backlash from the country’s travel industry.

Just weeks away from the start of the low-season, tourism companies are worried that more than doubling the visa fee sends the wrong message to travel consumers and tour operators.

Tour companies stopped selling travel to Egypt in 2015 after a series of terror attacks and the downing of a Russian charter flight packed with holiday makers on their way home.

The Interior Ministry also announced changes to residency visas. In a move that eases application procedures for long-stay, foreigners will now be able to apply for visas valid for 10 years or five years, costing EGP500 for each year to be spent in the country (USD30).

Egypt’s prices for hotels and tours are some of the lowest on offer for European visitors, but they have failed to spur recovery after ousted of Hosni Mubarak’s administration in 2011.