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New regulations are expected on May 15 as part of a security crackdown to deter terrorists from travelling to Egypt.
The UK office of the Egyptian State Tourist Office said talks were ongoing, with exact details due at the end of this week.
But Egypt ministry of tourism spokeswoman Rasha Azaizi said anyone booking a trip independently, and not being met by a ground-handling agent, would need a visa in advance.
Holidaymakers booking through an operator will not be affected, but it was unclear whether tourists who book flight-only or accommodation-only through an agent would continue to be able to obtain a visa upon arrival.
“These changes will just apply to independent travellers,” said Azaizi. “Those people handled by an operator or local ground-handler will not be affected: they need to be met by a ground-handler because that’s who will get the visas for them at the airport.”
She was adamant there would be no major impact for trade business from the UK.
Andy Tomlinson, director of Sutton Travel in Sutton Coldfield, said more travellers could even be encouraged to book via the trade.
He said: “It could work in favour of operators and agents. But it is still up in the air in terms of who needs it [a visa in advance].
“I was worried about DIY packages we put together ourselves, but our clients are met on arrival by a ground-handler.”
Discover Egypt director Philip Breckner said: “As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t affect our customers, but it is confusing.”
Visas are not required for UK visitors travelling to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba for up to 15 days, and there was no indication this would change.
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