Important news about Egypt entry visa

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CAIRO, Egypt –

Egypt will increase tourist visa fees from $15 to $25 starting on May 1, 2014.

According to Hesham Zazou, tourism minister, the increase is slight and is not expected to affect the flow of tourists to the country.

The decision to increase the cost of a tourist visa to Egypt was previously postponed several times. The decision was initially meant to be implemented in November 2013. It was then postponed to February 2014, and finally to 1 May.

According to the tourism ministry, Egypt’s visa is still amongst the cheapest worldwide.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in the first two months of 2014 dropped 28 percent to 1.3 million in comparison to January and February 2013.

As the security situation in South Sinai has deteriorated under a growing militant insurgency, Germany issued a warning against travel to the peninsula.

Egypt’s revenues from tourism, a key source of foreign currency, dropped drastically after the 2011 revolution amid subsequent political instability and violence.

Source: ahram.org.eg

India By The Nile Festival in Egypt

Cairo: Unfazed by political unrest in Egypt, India will launch the second edition of a mega cultural extravaganza, including a Bollywood musical, to showcase vibrant bilateral ties and make the relationship more dynamic.
“I think a festival like this gets a lot of visibility and demonstrates that India has taken a major initiative here. That generates goodwill, both at the official level and amongst the public,” India’s Ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri told PTI ahead of the “India by the Nile” festival this week.
The festival, running from April 1-20, will have a grand opening with Bollywood Love Story- A Musical at the Opera House from the April 3 to 6, and will see more than 35 Indian dancers performing to the much-loved music of Indian cinema.
The musical will also travel to three major Egyptian cities namely Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor. The festival is being held for the second consecutive year in Egypt.
Suri said events like these make the relationship between one of the leading emerging economies, India, and the largest country in the Middle East, Egypt, more “dynamic and vibrant”.
Asked about the timing of the festival with political unrest in Egypt, Suri said, “We are aware, of course, about the various incidents of violence but as residents of Egypt, we also see the extent to which daily life continues normally.”
“We have always enjoyed close ties with Egypt and there is a genuine fondness for Indian culture amongst the Egyptian people. But we can’t get complacent and take things for granted. The festival is part of the embassy’s pro-active approach to reach out to the Egyptian public and to promote cultural understanding,” he said.
Suri said Bollywood was quite popular in Egypt and for this reason a number of Bollywood-themed events were planned in the festival, including the big Bollywood-style musical and the participation of Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar.
“We are keen to convey a more composite picture of Indian culture, to tell our Egyptian friends that there is more to India than Bollywood. And so we have Kathak dance, Rajasthani foil music, conversations among writers, cuisine and much more,” he said.
The Ambassador stressed that India stands to gain from engaging with Egypt by helping it build institutions of democracy and investing in the economic sector.
“We have a number of economic cooperation projects in the pipeline and work continuously to enhance trade and investment flows,” he said.

@ http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/india-to-launch-mega-cultural-fest-in-egypt_921309.html

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Classic Egypt back on map as FCO relaxes advice for tourists visiting Luxor and Aswan

British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.

The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: ‘We continue to urge British nationals already in Egypt to follow the instructions of the local authorities and obey curfews where they are in place. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt. This has not changed.’

They continued: ‘As always, the safety of British nationals is a priority. We continue to follow developments carefully, and keep our travel advice under continuous review.

‘British nationals should continue to monitor FCO travel advice closely for any updates and stay away from any demonstrations or protests.’

Speaking at a holiday industry conference in London last week, Egypt’s minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou told journalists: ‘More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2500039/Egypt-map-FCO-relaxes-advice-tourists-Luxor-Aswan.html#ixzz2kdoGTpIN

Lavrov hopes to restore tourism cooperation with Egypt

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Moscow is confident that the scale of tourism cooperation with Egypt will be restored after the lift of the state of emergency in that country, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ksenya Melnikova reports.

“We have agreed on the intensive development of dialogue on tourism. This is an extremely important area of our relations and part of stabilization efforts in Egypt; as I understand, the lift of the state of emergency regime which occurred yesterday can restore the scale of tourism cooperation. I am absolutely positive about that,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference after his negotiations in Cairo.

Voice of Russia 
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_11_14/Lavrov-hopes-to-restore-tourism-cooperation-with-Egypt-after-state-of-emergency-is-over-6248/

Egyptian Tourist Authority reassures travel industry at WTM 2013

During a press conference at World Travel Market (WTM) on Monday 4th November, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Mr. Hisham Zaazou, gave an update on the current situation in Egypt and the tourist authority’s plans for 2014. Mr. Zaazou stated, “More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan.” “Egypt ranks amongst the top destinations in the area; over a third of UK visitors have been to the country three times or more. Currently we are ranked as the top tourist destination across the Middle East and North Africa, accounting for up to 21.5% and 37.6% of tourism respectively. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open,” he continued. Looking ahead, Mr. Zaazou commented, “We’re embracing real-time online communications by utilising the latest visual technologies such as webcams and mobile apps to show exactly what is happening on the ground in Egypt now.

“2014 will bring a renewed and reinvigorated interest in Egypt as the ideal medium-haul historical, cultural and beach destination for British and Irish travellers. The destination’s abundance of world-class tourism attractions will again see travellers choosing Egypt for their holidays year-round,” he concluded.In 2014, the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) will be undertaking a vigorous programme of education to ensure that the UK travel industry is kept up to date on all the latest tourism developments in Egypt. The UK team led by Omayma El Husseini, Director UK & Ireland, will develop and activate a strategic mix of tactical travel trade and consumer marketing campaigns to promote the destination’s abundance of world-class tourism attractions.

What’s new in 2014?
New developments in 2014 include:

  • El Gouna Water sports Complex Set to be one of the world’s largest cable water parks, the new complex will combine world-class water sports facilities with a new leisure and entertainment venue.
  • Ancient Sands Golf Resort, opening April 2014
  • Orascom Development is opening a new five-star, luxury apartment hotel as part of the new Ancient Sands Golf Resort. The hotel complex will offer 261 apartments in total, with 114 apartments opening with the hotel in April 2014.
  • Ritz-Carlton Hotel , Cairo will welcome a new Ritz Carlton Hotel in 2014.

Tourism minister sounds optimistic about Egypt tourism

hisham zaazou Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said he is optimistic that tourist rates in Egypt will return to normal.Many nations have dropped their travel warnings against traveling to Egypt,” he said in a press conference held on the sideline of his participation in the World Travel Market 2013, which is held in London on Nov. 4-7 That will help in restoring the normal rates of tourism after many nations have issued their travel warnings in the wake of the June 30 revolution,” he said.He acknowledged the country has suffered from setbacks in tourism.

The tourist rates decreased by 35 percent in July compared to the same month last year, the minister said, adding the number of tourists continued to decrease till reaching 90 percent in September.The minister criticized the bleak and negative image that is being portrayed by some media outlets regarding the latest developments in Egypt.

Hisham Zaazuo the Minister of Tourism Resigned 1st July

Each of the Minister of Tourism, Environment,Communication and the Minister of State for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs resigned  formally to the Council of Ministers to submit it to the presidency.

In protest at the poor performance of the institution of the presidency and not dealing with the will of the people and not to pay attention to events that fill the areas of Egypt .

hisham Zaazou

Around 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2012

Around 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt in the first 11 months of 2012, a 17 per cent increase on the same period last year, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said Wednesday evening. During a meeting with the Tourism Chamber of Commerce, Zaazou told industry professionals and reporters that tourism generated some $9.4 billion in 2012, a slight increase over the $9 billion seen in 2011.

Despite the increase, such figures are still well below the $12.5 billion the sector generated in 2010, the most successful year in its history.

Minister Zaazou blamed political unrest and violent clashes that followed President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional declaration of 22 November for the unimpressive performance of the industry.

“Occupancy rates have dropped by about 25 per cent due to the current state of affairs in Egypt,” Zaazou explained.

The month of December usually marks the beginning of the peak tourism season in Egypt. But early indicators are disappointing. The Associated Press reports that arrivals this month are down 40 per cent from November while industry officials complain of slow business.

“We are in the middle of the season and some hotels in certain areas are nearly empty,” Elhamy El-Zayat, head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said. that many establishments have cut their prices significantly to lure in tourists and that this is taking its toll on revenues. “In some places you can get a room for the night plus three meals for just $15. No wonder that many companies are just unable to pay their employees,” he said.

The tourism sector was dealt painful blows following the 2011 popular uprising that unseated former president Hosni Mubarak. The ensuing security vaccum drove tourists away and left the foreign currency earning industry at a near halt.

The sector was projected to stage a strong comeback in 2012 following the coming to power of an elected president in summer and the political stability this was supposed to ensure.

“We had expected a rebound to normalcy by the end of this year, but we are still stuck at 2011 levels,” Mohamed Essam, an operator at Tiran Tours in Cairo, told Ahram Online.

Tourism accounted for 10 per cent of Egypt’s economic activity during the final years of the Mubarak era. The industry employs some four million people, more than 10 per cent of Egypt’s total workforce.

The drop in tourist activity coincides with rough economic conditions Egypt is increasingly facing. Last Monday, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgraded Egypt’s credit rating to junk level, casting strong doubts on the ability of the state to meet its obligations. On Tuesday, it downgraded three major Egyptian banks, citing their heavy exposure to government debt.

These troubles reflect a lack of trust in the Egyptian economy, especially after a $4.8 billion loan deal was indefinitely postponed due to the political unrest in the country over the new constitution.

In the past few weeks, the Egyptian pound lost 1.5 per cent of its value to the dollar, reaching the level of LE6.19 to the dollar. A black market has been reported to have reappeared.

“Tourism is one of the main nerves of the Egyptian economy; it saves the country from possible crises. We just need stability,” Zaazou added.

@http://english.ahram.org.eg

Have you ever thought about Visiting Egyptian Post Office Museum….why not ?

The Egyptian Post Office Museums a prize gem of Central Cairo. The doors are kept closed and electricity urned off in-between visitors but once an entrance ticket is presented, the doors swing open like curtains onto a spectacular stage. Enter the world of communication.It was opened to the public in 1940 on the second floor at the Central Post Office as a stamps exhibit.

Over the years, the collection grew from a stamp exhibit to one that highlights communication from Pharaonic times and demonstrates the development of Egypt’s postal service through the centuries. The museum has more than 1200 exhibits arranged in sections – history of communication, transportation, postal equipment, local and foreign stamps, uniforms, postal buildings, rare letters and maps.

The museum is well-preserved and exhibits are maintained with obvious care. Leather mailbags, original postal uniforms, badges, seals of all shapes and sizes, and numerous letterboxes, three dating from 1894, are examples of various postal paraphernalia. In rural areas of Egypt, official duties were the responsibility of the ruling elder, thus letters were posted and collected from his personal house. On display is an over-sized wooden letterbox that would have stood inside the house of the village-head.

There is a not-to-be-missed glass case of miniature statues of postal workers with examples of uniforms worn in Roman times to the present, as well as original postal apparel from Egypt and around the world. Valuable collections of stamped envelopes from foreign countries along with a sweeping display of commemorative stamps – King Farouk’s coronation and the first Egyptian stamp collection (1867-69) – and local stamps with Pharaonic  Islamic, and Coptic designs are samples of this vast collection. At the far end of the room is a stamp mosaic made from 15,000 identical stamps.

Each individual, post-marked stamp has the same picture of the tapestry  a pyramid and the Sphinx. The desk and chair stationed in front of this stamp tapestry are those of the first postmaster in Egypt, Jacob Muzzi, an Italian.Postal distribution is a particularly important part of the museum’s exhibit. Glass cases contain miniature scenes and models of ways by which messages were distributed since Pharaonic times to the present. The Post Office Museum is an off-the-beaten-path excursion that children from five- years old to adults will enjoy.

The Post Office Museum is located at the Central Post Office on Midan al-Ataba.. To buy a ticket, go through the door marked “Main Post Office”and purchase tickets at the commemorative stamp office, on your right.Tickets cost 50 piasters for Egyptians and 2LE for foreigners. Return to the sidewalk and enter the door marked “L’Organisme Nationale des Postes’.The museum is on the second floor, The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 3pm. Telephone: +(202) 2391-3128. Formore information about unfrequented museums in Cairo, purchase Cairo, The Family Guide (3rd edition), American University in Cairo Press.