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Egypt Cuts Fares, Fees To Tempt Tourists

Egypt has cut domestic air fares in half and abolished visa fees in a bid to revive its multibillion-dollar tourist industry - an industry shattered by the massacre of 58 tourists last month.

The government announced Tuesday it has also canceled all fees on services imposed at Egyptian sea ports and airports.

It said Egyptian embassies and consulates stopped charging visa fees for a three-month period that began Monday. State-owned EgyptAir has reduced domestic air fares by 50 percent - also for a three-month period.

Tourism is one of the main pillars of Egyptian economy, and earned the country $3.27 billion last year. It was heading for another boom year - tourists had spent $2.86 billion between January and August - when the Nov. 17 massacre changed everything.

Six Islamic gunmen stormed the Temple of Hatshepsut outside the southern city of Luxor and sprayed tourists with automatic gunfire, killing 58 foreigners and two Egyptians. Two policemen and the gunmen were killed in a subsequent shootout.

Following the killings, tens of thousands of tourists cut short their holidays while many more canceled planned trips.

The attack was the bloodiest and most brutal attack on foreigners since Islamic militants began an anti-government insurgency in 1992.


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