The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is contemplating a substantial overhaul of its visa system, with potential ramifications for foreign residents residing in Gulf countries. The proposed alteration aims to streamline mobility within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), encompassing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.
The New Visa System Will Allow GCC Residents To Travel Visa-Free To UAE
Under this envisaged visa system, GCC residents would enjoy the freedom to travel unhindered within the member states. This would mark a significant departure from the current practice, where foreign residents, constituting the majority of the population and hailing from diverse global origins, often find themselves in need of visas to traverse GCC borders.
UAE Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri introduced the concept of this prospective change during a conference held in Abu Dhabi. He indicated that this system could potentially be implemented in the near future.
Impact On Tourism In The Middle East
Anticipated as a catalyst for regional tourism, this policy shift could elevate the attractiveness of the GCC to visitors. Encouraging visa-free travel among residents of member states is poised to bolster tourism. IT will be aligning with the UAE’s recent endeavours to relax social constraints. These efforts include the decriminalization of cohabitation among unmarried couples, the introduction of civil marriage provisions, and the cessation of fees for liquor licenses.
The envisaged alterations to the visa system reflect a broader trend among Gulf nations. This trend is characterized by a concerted bid to enhance their appeal to foreign residents and tourists. As underscored by Al Marri at the conference, “What’s good for Saudi is good for the GCC.” Furthermore, he emphasized, “If the tide comes up, it pulls up all the boats.” This sentiment encapsulates the interdependence of these nations and their shared objective of regional prosperity. Consequently, the prospective changes hold the promise of further promoting cooperation and tourism within the GCC. Thus, it will potentially benefit all member states.
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