GCC unified visa: Why is it taking time for tourist permit to roll out?

The single tourist visa was recently approved by the ministers of the regional countries


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 3:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 3:11 PM

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) single tourist visa is taking time to roll out as governments are working on integrating their systems and security aspects ahead of the launch, a senior official said on Thursday.

“GCC tourist visa is already announced. There are multiple integrations of different states with their own requirements, like security requirements for each country, making sure that everything is aligned for these developments. These implementations are taking time,” said Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).

Kazim was speaking on the second day of the Skift Conference held at Atlantis, The Royal, on Thursday.

The single GCC tourist visa was recently approved by the ministers of the regional countries which is in line with the Schengen-style visa, allowing visitors to explore all the six Gulf Arab countries.

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Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy, recently said that specific regulations and legislation for the visa will be developed, with a targeted rollout between 2024 and 2025, subject to the readiness of each GCC country's internal systems.

The Gulf states are also working on the visa fees framework.

It is believed that UAE, especially Dubai, and Saudi Arabia would be bigger beneficiaries of this this new visa as Dubai is a global tourist destination while Saudi Arabia attracts a large number of religious tourists to Makkah and Madinah. Hence, industry executives predict that there will be a strong flow of tourists between these two countries.


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