Authorities in Egypt have postponed a huge increase in tourist visa fees which was due to come into effect tomorrow. The hike would have seen the cost of standard single use tourist visas more than double from the current US$25 (£20).
The Egyptian Interior Ministry has announced that the planned increase to US$60 (£48) has been put back to 1 July. The deferral is the result of pressure from tourism industry operators in Egypt.
They claimed that it made no sense to put up the cost of entry at the start of what is traditionally the annual low season for tourist arrivals. They noted that such a big hike would only further damage an already beleaguered industry.
They explained that it could send the message out to international travel firms and holidaymakers that Egypt did not want them. Prices for hotels and holiday packages in Egypt are lower than those for other European destinations yet have failed to win back visitors in the six years since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.
The Egyptian tourism industry took another major hit when airlines across Europe pulled the plug on flights to Sharm el-Sheikh. This move was a result of the terrorist bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268. The St Petersburg bound aircraft blew up over the Sinai Desert in October 2015 and killed all 224 people on board.
Although UK nationals and those from the likes of the EU and the US need visitor visas to enter Egypt, the Sinai is exempt from this requirement. Passport-holders from these nations get 15-day visa-free entry for this region of the country.