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Mar 17, 3:02 PM EDT

Egypt to require tourists to obtain visas in advance

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CAIRO (AP) -- Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdellaty says authorities will require individual foreign tourists who are not travelling in groups to Egypt to obtain a visa in advance from embassies in their own countries for the time being.

The decision, to take effect on May 15, does not affect tour groups, which can still purchase visas at ports of entry such as Cairo's international airport.

Previously, tourists from many countries including Europe and the United States could purchase visas upon entry to Egypt.

Tourism took a dive after a 2011 uprising toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak and unleashed years of turmoil, but the government is eager to revitalize the crucial sector. Several large tourism investments were made at an economic conference last weekend, including $1 billion committed to a new tourism fund.

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