Why Egypt abolished visa fee for Russian citizens

The new rules came into force on June 11, 2012 and will remain in force until August 31, 2012. At the same time, the head of the state organization for tourism development in Egypt Omar al-Izbi does not exclude that the validity of these rules will be extended. The visa procedure has not changed. As before, it is delivered at the airport for 30 days and 15 days in the Sinai Peninsula. The new rules apply to Russian citizens traveling as part of organized groups, in other words — to those who purchased a ticket from a tour operator.

Exempting foreign nationals from paying the visa fee is aimed at facilitating the procedure for entering Egypt and ensuring an increase in the number of tourists. The main competitors of the direction have already made steps to increase the tourist flow from Russia, it is time to make these steps and Egypt.

The tourism sector in Egypt is one of the main sources of income and accounts for more than 10% of the country’s GDP. The difficult political situation in Egypt in 2011 significantly reduced the number of tourists, from 14.5 to 10 million. In this regard, revenue to the budget decreased as well: by more than $4 billion.

Today, one of the main tasks of the Egyptian authorities is to regain the trust of foreign tourists and attract them again to local resorts. The abolition of the visa fee for Russians is not the only measure to solve this problem. Tourists from a number of countries such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Lebanon, India, Jordan now have the option of obtaining an Egyptian visa upon arrival in the holiday country right at the airport. Previously existing rules for citizens of these countries required advance visa issuance.

According to experts, the abolition of the visa fee is unlikely to lead to an increase in tourist flow from Russia. Nevertheless, simplifying formalities will help Egyptian authorities clearly demonstrate interest in Russian tourists.

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