Last updated: 9 September, 2011

Egypt to stop issuing tourist visas on arrival

Egypt is to stop issuing visas to tourists on arrival, a government official said on Friday, although allowances will be made for those travelling in groups.

The new regulations have not yet come into effect, and the cabinet is still fine-tuning them, spokesman Mahmud Higazi told AFP.

Tourists “will have to apply at embassies and consulates for visas,” he said.

Tourists from many states, especially Western countries whose nationals contribute the bulk of Egypt’s vital tourism revenues, are still allowed to obtain visas on arrival until the new regulations are in place.

“We want to regulate entry,” said Higazi, adding that he could not say when the new instructions will be passed on to airport officials.

“We are asked for visas everywhere and it is our right to ask for visas. No airport in the world would give me a visa on arrival,” he said.

Higazi said that tourists travelling in groups will be exempt from the new regulations.

Tourism to Egypt’s beach resorts and ancient sites is a key money earner and source of foreign currency, but it declined after a January and February revolt that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak.