CAIRO: A finance ministry directive earlier this month went almost unnoticed as the Egyptian capital erupted in violence between the military and protesters. New regulations could have major affects on travelers to and from the North African country, however, as the ministry regulations state that upon arrival to Egypt, only one bottle of alcohol will be permitted, and only two annually from duty free shops abroad.
According to the ministry, and confirmed by local managers of duty free shops in the country, all alcohol will be removed from the shops in the coming months, but no clear timetable for the changes has been put to paper.
One ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Bikyamasr.com that the move is not a push “to ban alcohol, but to boost local economy.”
He argued that by limiting the amount of alcohol that a tourist or Egyptian is able to bring into the country, “it means they will have to buy locally and this will help the economy a lot.”
However, Will Rensper, a German resident in Egypt, said that it is more likely in response to the growing conservative Islamic groups in the country.
“I believe that this is a move to help appease the Islamists who want to do their best to push drinking away from Egypt and make this country conservative,” the German teacher said, adding that he had recently come into the country with four bottles of alcohol and had no trouble.
It is unclear when, or if, the new regulations will be put in place, but earlier this fall, Egyptian officials announced that visas for foreigners would no longer be given upon arrival at airports, but less than 72 hours after the announcement, the move was revoked.
It is unclear if this will be the case for booze, but it does have foreigners and Egyptians alike worried that it is highlighting the pull of the Islamic groups in the country.