More On Azerbaijani Visas, Regarding Eurovision
Eurovision is pushing for the change they want to see in the Azerbaijani visa process. Obviously, having a simplified or more loose visa regime is a bonus for Eurovision, as having the song contest in a country with difficult visa rules makes the coming attraction much more difficult to fill with wild fans. There are many good reasons why a country like Azerbaijan should have an easier visa process, like the tourism industry Azerbaijan wants to develop. Apparently, though, those reasons haven’t made a strong enough argument. In their stead, here is Eurovision to make the case:
Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand was speaking to RFE/RL in an exclusive interview on September 1, as the contest’s governing body, the so-called Reference Group, met in Baku for the first time.
“It’s paramount for us that during Eurovision weeks, people be able to come to Azerbaijan; the contestants, the delegations, journalists be able to come in and work freely,” Sand said. “It is very important for us. We have asked the government to simplify the visa rules. It should be easy to come and work here.”
Last October, the Azerbaijani authorities toughened visa regulations for foreigners. Until then, it was possible to obtain a visa on arrival at Baku airport.
I don’t think there is much to say about this except that we should wait and see. Whatever change probably won’t come very soon, but I’m interested in seeing if the Azerbaijani government responds at all, either positively or negatively, to the request.