After plenty of outraged press reports Egypt’s Foreign Ministry announced that the introduction of their Visa on Arrival Fee Increase to US$60 will be postponed until July 1st 2017.
This gives travelers another 4 months room to breathe and not get caught cold in the immediate increase of this as was previously leaked when we wrote about it a couple days ago.
Based on the information we got this weekend, leaked by unnamed sources Egypt was planning to increase the Visa Fee to US$60 effective March 1st 2017 (see our article here).
This is a huge increase, more than doubling the existing fee and essentially just a money grab by the Egyptian government in times of huge instability.
AP (see here) now reported the postponement of these plans, at least for a few months.
Egypt’s plans to more than double charges for entry visas paid by foreign visitors arriving in the country have been put off until July 1, according to the Tourism Ministry.
A ministry statement late on Saturday gave no other details, but Egyptian officials explained that the postponement was made at the request of leaders of the tourism sector who warned that introducing the higher charges now — from $25 up to $60 — would further hurt the struggling industry as the off-season approaches.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.Egypt’s vital tourism industry has been decimated after Islamic militants downed a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board. The crash prompted Russia to suspend all air links to Egypt and Britain to halt flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular Red Sea resort in Sinai from which the doomed Russian airliner took off shortly before it crashed.
The sector has, however, shown signs of slow recovery since the beginning of the year.
I can imagine that managers, owners and stakeholders of the tourism industry were not happy about this move which wouldn’t put a dime more in their pocket but rather puts a lot of people off. As if Egypt didn’t have enough of bad press recently.
Hard to say if this fee increase has any real impact on the amount of people coming into the country for tourism purposes. Of course visitors that come for business will go regardless but if it’s a voluntary trip then I can’t see the benefit for the country unless they speculate that people won’t care and just pony up.
Even though $60 isn’t that much considering the entire cost of a trip, in the very least it sounds like a lot to pay up $60 right upon arrival to get a stamp in your passport. The psychological impact of this measure is bigger than the financial one.