A unified Gulf tourist visa has been approved unanimously by Gulf Cooperation Council interior ministers.
Following recent discussions, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have unanimously approved a Schengen-style tourism visa. At the GCC summit in Muscat, Oman on November 8, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, revealed the news to regional interior ministers.
According to the Secretary General, the new visa is a significant achievement for the region, enhancing its appeal to both tourists and businesses. He also added that the GCC tourist visa should be implemented within a specified timeframe.
GCC Common Tourism Visa
The introduction of a GCC common tourism visa will enable travelers to use a single visa to explore all six GCC states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, mirroring Europe’s Schengen system. As a result, the prospect of visiting multiple destinations in the region on a single trip is expected to become even more convenient in the next two years.
According to Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, the visa will be implemented between 2024 and 2025, contingent on the readiness of each GCC country’s internal systems. The objective is to increase the number of visitors to GCC countries to 128.7 million by 2030, a substantial rise from the 39.8 million visitors in the previous year, representing a 136.6 percent increase compared to 2021.
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“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,” the UAE Minister shared.
This follows a report last month by the Oman Daily Observer outlining the proposed structure.
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