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Visa on arrival for Indians visiting Egypt
Prabodh Chandrasekhar in Mumbai | June 03, 2006 15:33 IST
Egypt will soon issue visa-on-arrival for Indian tourists, which would give Indians the option of applying for visa after arriving in Egypt.
This was decided by the Egyptian tourism ministry recently. Before VOA was granted, it took a week for getting a visa to Egypt, which has an embassy in New Delhi and a consulate in Mumbai.
"Around 57,000 Indians visited Egypt in 2005, a growth of 25 per cent from the previous year. After the grant of VOA, the numbers will be even better in future," said Sami Mohammad, Councellor, Egyptian Tourist Authority, Mumbai.
ETA expects the number of Indian tourists to Egypt to double in a couple of years. In March, ETA Chairman Ahmed Al Khadem had visited India to promote Egyptian tourism.
Over 8.6 million foreign tourists visited Egypt in 2005, a growth of 10 per cent from the previous year. Egypt, in the past, had offered VOA to US, Canada, western European countries, Malaysia, Korea and Japan.
Tourism is a major contributor to Egypt's Gross Domestic Product and the largest foreign currency earner. The European market constitutes the largest generating market for International Tourist Arrivals to Egypt.
Of late, Meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibitions tourism is gaining momentum.
"Egypt is a recent destination identified by Indian travellers. It is a place, which offers a blend of modernism with ancient culture. It is a gateway to Europe, West Asia and Africa," said an official in Cox & Kings, the Mumbai-based tour operator.
Cultural tourism is the most popular, from which the country generates over $ 3.5 billion. Every year, the country invests hundreds of millions of dollars in conserving pyramids, ancient architecture and museums.
Currently eight flights operate between India and Egypt. Egypt Air flies directly twice a week from Mumbai to Cairo. Emirates, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and Syrian Airlines offer connecting flights to Egypt anywhere from the Gulf.Tour operators like Cox & Kings, Emirates Holidays, Thomas Cook and Kuoni have come up with attractive offers both for packaged tours and fully independent traveller for Egypt.