CAIRO: Egyptian authorities will temporarily exempt Russian tourists from paying a $25 entry visa fee as the Russian ruble has continued high inflation following a drop in oil price and ongoing sanctions over its Syria policies, Youm7 reported Tuesday.
“The decision was taken by Egypt’s Passports, Immigration and Nationality Administration (PINA) and will be enforced starting from Jan. 15 until April 30,” PINA’s Director General Hussein al-Reedy told Youm7.
The decision, which aims to support Egypt’s inbound tourism, “comes following a notable decrease of over 50 percent in number of flights coming to Egypt from Russia,” head of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism in Hurghada Magdy Saleh told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
“More than 2.4 million Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2013 and spent 23.7 million tourist nights, taking the lead in the list of nationalities visiting Egypt,” Zaazou said in a statement. He added that the number decreased in 2014.
Egypt has become a popular and affordable travel destination for tourists from Russia and other post-Soviet states. Over 50 percent of tourists visiting the Red Sea resorts of Sharm al-Sheikh and Hurghada are Russians, according to Saleh.
Russian tourism to Egypt accounts for roughly 25 percent of annual tourist flow, according to Ministry of Tourism statistics.
The Russian ruble has fallen into a steady slide and has lost about half of its value against the dollar; on Jan. 13, 2014, $1 could buy 33 rubles, according to Bloomberg news. On Monday, $1 could buy 63 rubles.