A Unified Tourist Visa For Six Gulf Countries Is Coming Soon!

A Unified Tourist Visa For Six Gulf Countries Is Coming Soon!

Here comes a game-changer! Say hello to hassle-free Gulf exploration of SIX countries… but stay tuned, it’s coming soon!

Yes peeps, you read that right.

As reported by WAM, The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, as revealed by Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, are gearing up to launch a unified Gulf tourist visa in the next two years. This visa will enable travelers to explore all six Gulf countries seamlessly.

At the seventh GCC tourism ministers meeting in Oman, Minister Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri announced unanimous approval for the unified Gulf tourist visa. He mentioned that they would work on specific regulations and legislation for the visa, with a targeted launch set for 2024-2025, depending on each GCC country’s system readiness. The initiative is expected to be presented at the upcoming GCC summit.

Al Marri highlighted that this new visa would offer travelers access to all six countries through one unified tourist visa, paving the way for stronger economic collaboration across the Gulf region

The UAE is gearing up to embrace an influx of international tourists with the introduction of the unified visa. According to the minister, the Emirates Tourism Council has designed a tourist route connecting all seven emirates, strategically positioning the UAE for seamless integration with the GCC once the unified tourist visa is fully operational. This move aims to introduce an enticing new tourism product, drawing in international tourists to the Arabian Gulf region.

He said,

This initiative is an integral part of the GCC 2030 tourism strategy, designed to elevate the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP through increased inter-GCC travel and elevated hotel occupancy rates, transforming the GCC into a pre-eminent global destination for both regional and international tourists.

Moreover, Al Marri highlighted that the GCC nations possess well-developed tourism infrastructure.

As of the end of 2022, there were a total of 10,649 hotel establishments in the GCC, representing a 1.2 percent growth compared to 2016. Among the GCC nations, the UAE stood out with 1,114 hotel establishments, ranking second after Saudi Arabia. The total number of hotel rooms in the GCC reached 674,832, with a 0.4 percent growth.

He also mentioned that the joint GCC tourism strategy “2023-2030” aims for a 7 percent annual increase in inbound trips to GCC countries. In 2021, the number of visitors to the GCC countries reached 39.8 million, showing a remarkable 136.6 percent growth compared to the previous year, with a goal to reach 128.7 million visitors by 2030.

Furthermore, the GCC countries aim to boost the spending of inbound tourists by 8.0 percent annually. This spending is expected to reach $96.9 billion by the end of 2023, reflecting a 12.8 percent growth compared to 2022, and reach $188 billion by 2030.

Al Marri pointed out that the GCC countries collectively offer 837 tourist sites, with the UAE hosting 399 of them, making it the GCC leader in the number of tourist sites.

Additionally, the UAE hosts the majority of events and tourist activities in the GCC region, with 73 tourist events out of a total of 224 across the Gulf.

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