Unified GCC tourist visa system to launch by year end, says regional t

Unified GCC tourist visa system to launch by year end, says regional tourism authorities

  • , by Balikbayan Store
  • 1 min reading time

The system to introduce the unified GCC tourist visa is set to be operational by the end of the year, as announced by Khalid Jasim Al Midfa of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority (SCTDA) during a panel discussion at the Arabian Travel Market, as reported by Khaleej Times.

"By the end of this year, the whole system will be in place. (We) are working day and night and e-service is a vital part of it. We don’t want to complicate things for people and also maintain the same security level. It will be a very good initiative and we will see a positive outcome for regional economies," said Al Midfa.

The regional tourist visa, to be called GCC Grand Tours, will allow tourists to spend more than 30 days in the six countries comprising the GCC, according to Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy. "This will make travel to our region more convenient and affordable for tourists."

Al Marri emphasized the potential impact, stating, "Once it comes into effect, it will contribute to highlighting the diverse tourism destinations in GCC countries, attracting and retaining tourists for longer periods, thus increasing the number of hotel guests and making the region one of the leading destinations for regional and international tourists alike."

Moreover, efforts are underway to align packages with major events and create partnerships with hotels and airlines. Al Midfa highlighted the collaboration between government bodies and the private sector to facilitate these developments. "As government, we create the right platform that enables them to create business. So work closely with the private sector we make it happen."

Sarah Buhijji, CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, revealed Bahrain's involvement in promoting regional tourism. "Visitors can come to Bahrain and stay 3 nights, then go to Oman and Saudi. We are promoting the entire region as one package."

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