Tourist visas still available at Cairo airport

Egypt has scrapped its insane plan to require all tourists to get visas before they arrive, according to this article in the state-owned Al Ahram newspaper. At a time when tourism revenue is vital to Egypt’s economic recovery, such a measure would have been near-suicidal. Now there’s a question about how many potential tourists changed their destinations just on hearing news two weeks ago of the new obstacle–and how many figured it would never happen. As it is, some nationals–including Israelis–need to get their visas in advance, and that’s a several-days-long process involving inefficient (though friendly) Egyptian embassies. The official line is that the new requirement has been postponed until some sort of electronic visa system is in place…don’t hold your breath. Egypt understands that the tourism market is highly competitive, and while Egypt has the pyramids and other ancient historical attractions–other places with better infrastructure and features have seacoasts, beaches and beauty. Good move.

Few tourists at the pyramids

Few tourists at the pyramids

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