Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri has approved a move to lift visa conditions on tourists from the Arab Maghreb Union (Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco), the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported Tuesday.
Visa exemptions will extend to China, India and Azerbaijan, he added, as well as formalise the current status of Turkish and Jordanian visitors, who can already arrive without geting a visa in advance.
The move means tourists from the relevant countries can obtain a visa on arrival and need not apply at Egyptian embassies in their home countries.
"The decision will be in effect in the coming few days," Hesham Zaazou, assistant to the Egyptian tourism minister told Ahram Online.
Tourist numbers reached 4 million during the first four months of 2012, Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour said Monday. The total number of Middle Eastern tourists visiting Egypt during 2010/11 reached 1.6 million.
“We are planning to attract 41 million tourists in the fiscal year 2011/12,” he added.
Tourism accounted for more than a tenth of Egypt's gross domestic product (GDP) before the January 2011 uprising, and employs an estimated one in eight workers in the country.
CORRECTION: This article was edited on 30 May to clarify the status for tourists from Turkey and Jordan. They can already obtain visas on arrival but tourism officials say the process will now become part of an official agreement