Egypt will no longer grant visas to most foreign visitors on arrival at its airports, amid a new tide of protests that threatens to dampen efforts to revive tourism to the country.
However, it appears the airport visa restriction will not apply to those travelling in groups or booking through tour operators. Demonstrators stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday night, leading to heightened tensions between the countries.
Earlier on Friday, the military government announced that only tourists travelling in groups would be able to obtain visas on arrival. All others would need to apply at Egyptian embassies before travel.
It is unclear when the new rules will come into effect. But Egyptian tourism minister Mounir Fakhry Abdennour said: “This does not affect any organised travel groups or families coming through travel agents.”
He added: “We will try to alleviate problems for individual problems by introducing internet visas.”
Three people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the protest at the Israeli embassy which ended with crowds tearing down a security wall and storming the building.
There have been continual protests outside the embassy since Israeli forces killed five Egyptian policemen on the border with Israel on August 18, the same day gunmen killed eight people outside Red Sea resort of Eilat.
Tensions have also risen around the trial of former president Mubarak who was overthrown in February. The Egyptian army remains in control of the government, with elections promised but yet to materialise.
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