Egypt Government Scraps Plan To Raise Single Visa On Arrival Fee To US$60, Remains At Previous Levels (US$25)

After much fanfare, confusion and miscommunication the Egyptian government has decided to scrap their plan of raising the Single Visa On Arrival Fee To US$60 which was announced previously.

The fee will remain at the previous level of US$25 for a single entry Visa on Arrival while a 6 Months Multiple Entry Visa will cost US$60.

The whole matter started to make headlines at the end of February when Egypt announced ad hoc that the VOA fee would go from $25 to $60 within a matter of days (we wrote about it here). Then there was some backlash from the press and the tourism sector in Egypt causing the measure to be delayed until July 1st (access our article here) and now finally postponed.

The Egyptian Independent (access here) reported that the government decided to scrap the plan following a cabinet meeting where the tourism minister was able to prevail with his position against the fee increase.

The Cabinet approved raising the fees for 6-month multiple entry visa from US$25 to US$60, Egypt’s Tourism Minister Yahya Rashed said during a press conference on Tuesday.

In its meeting yesterday, the Cabinet decided the price of tourist single entry visa to Egypt should be kept at the limit of US$25, taking into account of the current situation of the tourism industry.

Ramy Rizkallah, a member of the Committee to Promote Tourism to Sharm el-Sheikh Resort, welcomed the decision, describing it as a positive incentive for tour operators abroad to work with Egypt. He added that tourism sector workers hope to increase the volume of traffic to Egypt during the coming summer.

He added that there is good demand from the German market for Sharm el-Sheikh during the summer and an increase in the number of flights from six flights per week to 12.

The Foreign Ministry had decided to raise entry fees to Egypt in February starting March 1. But faced with the rejection of tourism sector companies and officials, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail postponed the decision to raise these fees until July.

In a statement, Tourism Companies Chamber officials said the timing of the decision would have been inappropriate and would harm the tourist inflow to Egypt in light of the travel warnings in place by several foreign countries and the already high entry fees for archaeological sites in Egypt.

There are also words that an online visa application and payment service would be in the works and available sometime this summer but I believe it when I see it. At least this ridiculous plan is now finally done away with.

Conclusion

Charging US$60 for a Visa on Arrival was an insane idea to begin with. 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.

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. Good thing the Minister of Tourism was able to relay the concerns of the industry and sanity prevailed in the end.

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