SCAF may tighten easy entry for foreigners

Egypt may be cancelling the practice of allowing visitors from Western and other (mostly wealthy) countries to get visas at the airport.

Okay, as a citizen of a country which requires Egyptians and visitors from many other nations to jump through an insane amount of hoops before they visit, I can’t get too indignant about this.

But — just because American policymakers have decided to inflict an own-goal on our economy and research infrastructure by reducing the flow of visitors, does not meant that other countries should follow suit.

There are obviously much bigger issues facing Egypt right now. But because this affects me directly, and because I think it reflects a rather unhelpful xenophobia in SCAF, I’ll vent a bit.

It’s a really poorly thought-out for a country so dependent on tourism. SCAF seems to think that it’s no problem to just apply for and receive a visa at your local consulate. Any bureaucratic requirement, no matter how much the state imagines that it’s just a formality, is going to take a toll. One would think that this lesson would have sunk in after decades of Nasser-imposed constriction of economic life, but maybe when you’re in the military, where everything is expedited for you, you don’t realize these things.

The extra hassle and lost time is going to turn away tourists, and their dollars. Also, business visitors and technical consultants. You want people coming and going.

Does SCAF really imagine that Egypt is so inundated with foreign spies and provocateurs that it’s worth damaging the economy to root them out?

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