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Egypt Drops Requirement for Tourist Visas, Will Not Ask Religion of Visitors

In an attempt to revive the tourist trade from the United States, shattered by the June, 1967 war, Egypt announced this week that it will no longer require visas from American tourists. It will no longer ask visitors their religion and will no longer bar tourists whose passports contain an Israeli visa indicating that they had previously visited Israel.

The policy changes were announced by Dr. Hafez Ghanem, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism. He said his country was cooperating in tourism with Jordan and Lebanon but he could not speak for Syria — once Egypt’s partner in United Arab Republic — which is now not welcoming American tourists. Travel industry officials observed that the most dramatic change was the announcement that Egyptian border officials would disregard Israeli visas in passports, hitherto sufficient to turn visitors away. Israeli immigration officials had been stamping visas, issued upon entry to the country, on separate pieces of paper in order to help travellers. But after the 1967 war they resumed stamping the visas into passports. Dr. Ghanem said also that Egyptian customs officials would neither open nor inspect the baggage of American tourists.

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