The visa policy has been so far that most countries could obtain a tourist visa on arrival to Egypt for up to 90 days. Most visitors got this visa in Cairo international Airport before crossing immigration one had to stop in an office and pay for the visa, the fee is between 15 and 25 USD.
The changes will not affect tourists who come as part of pre-arranged tour groups, as these are quite numerous and most of the paperwork and identification has been previously processed, they will be able to get a visa on arrival.
The reasoning behind this change which may seen counter-intuitive to the still struggling tourist industry is a safety concern. There has been a rise in insurgency especially in the Sinai region and the country feels that a visa on arrival in the airport does little to verify the identity of individuals entering the country solo.
While these concerns seem understandable it seems to us that making use of the internet for visa application and electronic background checking would be a better way to keep individual visitors numbers up. After all it is a 21st century world, many people simply will not be thrilled or motivated to visit their local consulate to apply for a visa at this point.