Egypt Raises Tourist Entry Visa Fee
By Khalifa Hemed
Published February 28, 2017
The country, whose revenue from tourism dropped to US$3.4 billion in 2016, down from US$11 billion in 2010 and is still struggling to attract tourists since the ‘Arab Spring‘ uprising of 2011 that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s Administration, shall increase the fee from US$25 to US$60.
eTurboNews quotes Ahram Online of Egypt as having been informed by Egyptian airport officials of the move on February 24, 2017.
Egypt last pushed up the fee for its visa in April 2014, when it was increased from US$15 to US$25.
Expressing fear that the decision by the Foreign Ministry would cause problems for tourists who had already booked trips based on the old rate, tour operators say the decision should have been announced several months beforehand.
The move, they say, could adversely affect the country’s efforts to revive tourism, a pillar of the economy and a key source of foreign currency. Tourist arrivals in Egypt saw a 44.3% dip in 2016 compared to the previous year.
ArtMatters.Info reports that frequent street protests, violence and sexual harassment stories recounted by foreigners since the ‘revolution’ of 2011 are adversely affecting The tourism sector, said to be accounting for 11.3% of Egypt’s GDP. That a popular tourist destination in February 2013, did not make matters any easier for the country.
The World Economic Forum Travel and Competitiveness Index’s listing of Egypt last in terms of security and safety in March 2013 following the death of 19 tourists in a hot air balloon crash near the ancient town of Luxor, exacerbated an already bad situation as the report, which included 140 countries, ranked Egypt behind politically-volatile countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Chad.
Though the country’s tourism had hit a slump following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi on July 3, 2013, ArtMatters.Info says, the situation worsened after the forced dispersal of two major sit-ins staged by Mursi supporters in Cairo and Giza and various western countries issued travel warnings on Egypt to their citizens.
This saw Egypt turn to domestic tourism and start encouraging residents to go on vacation in an attempt to boost hotel occupancy rates.
The initiative, ArtMatters.Info reported then, included low-price packages for Egyptians, including air tickets and accommodation in four- and five star hotels.
Air companies affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation were asked to cooperate with several hotels in the country’s most prominent tourism cities of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh to introduce half-board programmes starting from LE1000 (about US$143), including air travel and staying for three nights, ArtMatters.Info had reported in 2013.