Egypt set to hike visa fee to $60
The decision means that a visiting British diver would pay the equivalent of almost £50 to land in Egypt, at a time when many diving destinations waive visa charges or keep them low to avoid discouraging overseas visitors.
The last increase in Egyptian visa charges was a 66% hike three years ago. However, tourism has been particularly hard-hit since the terrorist bombing of a Russian passenger flight out of Sharm el Sheikh airport in October 2015, which resulted in the withdrawal of large numbers of tourists, particularly Russian and German, and a UK ban on direct flights into Sharm that remains in place. Despite the problems, Egypt is consistently voted Destination of the Year in the annual Diver Awards.
The initial announcement of the increase set its introduction as the start of March, but it has now been postponed until 1 July. This is believed to be a response by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, which set the new fee, to complaints that the sudden action allowed no time for consultation, or for adjustments to be made to existing agreements with overseas tour-operators.
The Egyptian State Tourist Office in London has confirmed that an official review of the price increase is currently taking place, but for now the order stands.
Tourism raised US $11 billion from 14.7 million tourists for Egypt in 2010, before political upheaval linked to the Arab Spring marked the start of a steep decline in revenue. Last year the figure had dropped to $3.4 billion, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.
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