Toll-booth tourism: Egypt more than doubles visa fees

Toll-booth tourism: Egypt more than doubles visa fees
During a time of limited tourism to the country, the cash-strapped Egyptian government has informed port authorities of plans to raise the cost of a tourist visa.
2 min read
25 February, 2017
A tourist enjoys the coast off Sharm el Sheikh in February [Getty]

A tourist visa to Egypt will soon cost $60, more than double the current price.

Egyptian airport authorities leaked the foreign ministry's decision to raise the price of an entry visa at all air, land and sea ports, from the current $25 fee.

The price hike, which will go into effect on 1 March, was immediately criticised by tourism companies.

The Tourism Companies Chamber released a statement condemning the move, saying it would harm the flow of tourists to Egypt, especially during a time that several foreign countries advise against travel to the country.

It also criticised the high fees for archeological sites in Egypt.

Immigration authorities, the Tourism Companies Chamber and port authorities were told of the decision this week, but there has not yet been an official statement from the foreign ministry.

To add to the confusion, a twitter user in Holland shared a price list online that appears to show some exemptions to the high prices, permitting some nationalities to obtain a visa for 20 euro.

Egypt's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, but the industry has failed to completely recover since the revolution of 2011 and subsequent political instability discouraged many foreign travellers.

An all-time high of around 15 million visitors in 2010 led many Egyptians to invest heavily in the tourist trade, but visitor numbers have never returned to those heights and attempts to boost tourism have been thwarted by successive disasters.

In 2015 a Russian aeroplane was downed in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all passengers. The subsequent visitor numbers for 2016 compare unfavourably even with the poor returns of 2012.

Meanwhile in a completely different branch of government, the Egyptian interior ministry are reportedly developing a modern e-visa system, designed to ease travel to the country.

Egyptian news agencies said this week that President Sisi encouraged the implementation of the system, modelled on the existing Turkish process, during a meeting with his "Supreme Council for Tourism".