Egypt’s tourism ministry has just announced it is relaxing regulations on street photography but photos that are of children or ‘damage the country’s image’ are still forbidden. This is welcome news for tourists and residents who could have had their cameras confiscated if they were caught sneaking a photo.
From the Pyramids of Giza to The Valley of the Kings in Luxor to Rameses II in Abu Sible, there are some incredible things to photograph in Egypt but until recently all forms of photography were banned. While many tourists would risk taking a photo there was always the chance their camera equipment could be confiscated.
• Read more: Best camera for street photography (opens in new tab)
The decision was made in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and in a statement, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced that “approved new regulations governing photography for personal use” by both Egyptian residents and tourists.
“Taking photographs using all kinds of traditional cameras, digital cameras and video cameras will be permitted free of charge. No permit needs to be obtained beforehand.”
While regulations have been relaxed and street photography is no longer a risky pastime, Egypt has still got very strict laws on the types of photos people can share. It forbids people to share photos that shed a negative light on the country or photos that include children unless they have written approval.
In the past, many social influencers have had their cameras for vlogging (opens in new tab) and equipment seized by Egyptian authorities. One of the most recent cases happened to food YouTuber Will Sonbuchner aka Sonny Side who runs the Best Ever Food Review Show channel. He was ordered to delete all the footage he had filmed in the country as officials didn't deem it pretty enough. In a 24-minute-long video he posted to YouTube he explains why it is one of the worst countries in the world for tourists and filmmakers.
Lucky for Sonbuchner, if he wanted to he could now return to the country with the knowledge he won’t have any equipment seized but whether he would want to is another question entirely.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for a country that relies so heavily on tourism. According to OECD Library (opens in new tab), in 2018, Egypt generated 174.1 billion EGP from the tourism industry which is equivalent to more than $9 million and with this new relaxation of laws we could even see that increase.