Single GCC visa for cruise tourists soon

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Single GCC visa can speed up the cruise business

A plan for a single visa system for cruise passengers across the GCC countries has been discussed for nearly four years. According to a senior Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing official, it may finally materialize by September this year.

A single visa for all the GCC countries is what many industry insiders are hoping for. The visa process will be eased for cruise passengers, making the cruise tourism more appealing to a wider spectrum of international travellers. Therefore, region’s travel and tourism industry players, along with cruise companies, are pushing federal authorities to introduce the single visa as quickly as possible.

The visa will enable travellers to tour all six GCC countries — the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

It is not confirmed yet in written, but people in the know commented that the new visa will be some kind of multi-entry visa, specifically for a cruise tourist.

A single visa can speed things up in the cruise business as ships use Dubai as the hub to sail to other countries within the region such as Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

At present, a lot of foreign travellers must secure several UAE entry visas. The current visa process blocks guests from key countries such as Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil and some other countries, to visit the UAE and join a cruise. It costs travellers approximately AED550 (US $150) per person to just come in and out of the country.

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