Egypt tightens visa rules for individual travellers

Egypt tightens visa rules for individual travellers

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Individual visitors to Egypt face having to obtain visas in advance from embassies instead of on arrival at the country’s airports.

The tightening of visa rules from May 15 arise from a need to give intelligence services more time to assess individuals who want to visit Egypt, where security has suffered from an Islamist insurgency centered in the Sinai region.

"The system remains unchanged for tourist groups which can obtain visas at airports, but individuals have to get a prior visa from embassies," Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told Reuters.

"The decision will have a small effect... The industry depends on the large groups brought in by tour operators," the tourism minister's media adviser Rasha Azaizi said.

Egypt hopes to generate $20 billion in revenue from tourism by 2020 by attracting 20 million visitors, according to new tourism minister Khaled Ramy.

More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010 but numbers dropped to 9.8 million in 2011. Arrivals rose the following year to 11.5 million but dropped back to about 10 million in 2014 amid political unrest and fears over terrorism.

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