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Unified Tourist Visa for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries Approved

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has authorised a unified tourist visa, allowing tourists to explore the six-member Gulf region.

A unified tourist visa for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been approved, allowing tourists to explore the six-member Gulf bloc, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait, with a single visa. 

The Schengen-style visa could be rolled out in 2024 or 2025, depending on the finalization of implementation rules.

Next Steps and Strategy:

In the next stage, GCC governments will study a unified tourist route connecting all six countries, particularly for foreign tourists whose stays extend beyond 30 days. 

Tourism significantly contributes to the UAE’s economy, accounting for 14% of its GDP, with plans to increase its contribution to 18%.

Tourism’s Economic Impact:

The Schengen-style visa is expected to boost the tourism sector and create numerous regional job opportunities. 

The number of visitors to the Gulf countries reached 39.8 million in the previous year, representing a growth rate of 136.6% compared to 2021. 

The GCC countries aim to increase the number of foreign tourists by over 220% to 128.7 million by 2030, focusing on achieving a travel and tourism sector growth rate of 7% per annum.

Infrastructure and Opportunities:

As a tourist capital, Dubai attracts millions of international visitors and continues investing in its tourism infrastructure. 

With a significant increase in hotel establishments and rooms, the GCC region aims to enhance visitors’ overall travel and tourism experience. 

The unified visa initiative is anticipated to play a significant role in achieving these goals.

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