CAIRO: The Ministry of Civil Aviation will impose a departure tax of $25 for each tourist leaving Cairo International Airport, effective in mid-June.
The decision was issued May 24, media advisor to the minister of civil aviation Nesma Al Syrafi told The Cairo Post, who added that the tax would be included in the cost of airline tickets.
“It also includes a $4 departure tax on every Egyptian or foreigner leaving from Cairo International airport,” said Syrafi.
The new tax will cover the expenses of services provided to travelers in the Cairo airport and the Civil Aviation Ministry will not apply it in other airports, said Syrafi.
“This is not the right time to impose such departure tax amid the current political turmoil which made tourists skip Egypt as a touristic destination from their travel plans,” Chairman of Abercrombie and Kent Egypt, Amer Badr, told The Cairo Post.
The decision “contradicts the government’s policy promoting tourism,” said Badr, who added that the new departure tax would cause a rise in the prices of tour packages that have been already sold to the clients of his travel agency.
In May, the Ministry of Tourism increased entry visa fees for tourists coming to Egypt from $ 15 to $20.
“The government should have temporarily cancelled entry visa fees to attract more tourists amid an unprecedented drop and recession in the field of tourism,” Charisma Travel tour operator, Baher Othman told The Cairo Post.
Despite ongoing campaigns to assure foreigners that the country is a safe destination, the tourism sector has been in constant decline since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped a significant 27 percent in February, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
Egypt depends on tourism for around 20 percent of its hard currency. The sector’s total investments are valued at 68 billion EGP (U.S. $9.8 billion,) according to the Ministry of Tourism.