Egypt allows 'upon arrival visas' to Chinese tourist groups

Ahram Online , Dalia Farouq , Sunday 3 Jan 2016

In an effort to boost tourism, Egypt's tourism ministry announces that Chinese tourists who come through a tourist agency will not need visas in advance of arrival

Cairo airport
Cairo's International Airport (Reuters)

Egypt said it will exempt Chinese tourists from pre-obtained visa requirements, allowing them to get visas on arrival, a decision that could help the ailing tourism sector.

The tourism ministry said in a statement that Chinese tourist groups will be able to enter Egypt "if they are sponsored by a tourism agency and have financial ability."

It wasn’t clear in the statement how much cash the Chinese tourist would need on arrival.

The ministry said that the decision aims to aid the tourism sector, which received a blow after several countries suspended flights to Egypt’s tourism flagship city of Sharm El-Sheikh on security concerns following the Russian airline disaster in late October that saw all 224 on board killed in an attack claimed by the militant ISIS group.

Along with Suez Canal, the ailing tourism sector is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency, of which the country is in dire need to buy basic foodstuffs and fulfil its international obligations.

Foreign currency reserves stood at $16.4 billion at the end of November.

Tourism revenues in 2015 are expected to be at least 10 percent below 2014’s $7.5 billion, according to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou. 

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