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Egypt puts ban on visa for lone travellers on hold

Posted on April 6, 2015
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Cairo: Egyptian authorities said on Thursday they would postpone the enforcement of a controversial decision to stop issuing on-arrival visas for lone travellers.

The Foreign Ministry said the postponement has been made after “intense consultations” with state institutions and tourism companies. The ministry did not set a new date for enforcing the ban, which was originally slated for mid-May.

“Applying the new rules for halting the issuance of visas for lone arrivals will begin simultaneously with the application of the electronic visa system at the nearest possible time,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that the new arrangement is aimed at protecting national security without affecting the country’s vital tourism industry.

Last month, Egypt said it would restrict the issuance of on-arrival visas to groups travelling with operators.

Tourism experts warned that the ailing tourism sector will further suffer.

Tourism, which is Egypt’s main foreign exchange earner, has borne the brunt of the political turmoil that has gripped the country since a 2011 uprising forced long-time president Hosni Mubarak out of power.

Egypt issues on-arrival visas to nationals of several countries.

In recent months, security forces have stepped up a crackdown on militants suspected of launching a series of deadly attacks in the country. Egyptian authorities have recently barred several pro-democracy campaigners from entering the country, bringing Cairo under criticism in the foreign media.

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