After another game of Russian roulette, Egypt has wisely decided that its bright idea to raise the price of tourist visas by more than 140% should be shelved. At least until July…
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that plans to raise the price of tourists visas from $25 to $60 on March 01, 2017 would be postponed until July. The tone of the announcement suggested that the delay could be indefinite.
Many in Egypt depend upon tourism for survival and with a weak Egyptian Pound, the biggest selling point of a trip to Egypt these days is that it is cheap, cheap, cheap. Sure, the pyramids and luxurious resorts are a big draw, but for Europeans and Americans there are far closer options for warm weather and beaches. What sets Egypt apart now is that it represents one of the best values in the world for leisure travel.
Why Even This Increase is Too Much
Sure, you can argue that an extra $35 per-person won’t destroy this value, but keep in mind that notably increases the price of a trip. Why? Well look at prices.
Want to stay at one of the Starwood properties in Sharm El Sheikh this evening?
Yeah, that’s not a mistake price. And no hidden resort fees either–
Thus you can see that a $35 increase is actually huge if you are on a shoestring budget and had not factored this in. The fact that it was announced just days prior to its proposed implementation was a foolhardy move that makes Egypt a far less desirable place to visit.
I wrote about my pleasant flights on EgyptAir and loved my actual vacation in Cairo in 2009. I’m eyeing a return this summer with my wife and son–that should give you an idea of whether I am concerned about safety in Egypt.
> Read More: Is EgyptAir Safe?
But I say this in all seriousness — if the visa goes from $25 p/p to $60 p/p — in other words, I have to shell out an extra $105 just for the pleasure of having an Egyptian stamp in my passport — I will not go. There’s my line in the sand!
Let’s hope that Egypt permanently scraps its ridiculous plan to more than double its tourist visa fee. It is a shortsighted move that will alienate domestic businesses, foreigner visitors, and eventually backfire. It’s like the water company penalizing you for using too much water but also penalizing you for using too little water. Egyptian travel agencies should not be penalized for government policies that have arguably led to a drop in tourism to one of the most fascinating countries in the world…