In a groundbreaking move, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have given the green light to a revolutionary GCC tourism visa, reminiscent of the Schengen model.

This momentous decision was announced by Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, during a gathering of regional interior ministers at the GCC summit in Muscat, Oman, on November 8.

Emphasizing the significance of this new visa, the Secretary General hailed it as a remarkable achievement for the region. He also stressed the need for the timely implementation of the GCC tourist visa within a specific timeframe.

A recent statement by Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, indicated that the unified tourism visa could become a reality by 2025. The minister explained that the rollout would be contingent upon the development of specific regulations and legislation. If all internal systems of the participating countries are prepared, the launch is anticipated between 2024 and 2025.

The introduction of a GCC common tourism visa is set to revolutionize travel in the region. Once operational, visitors can utilize a single tourism visa to explore all six GCC states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

This visionary initiative aligns with the GCC 2030 tourism strategy, aiming to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP by fostering increased inter-GCC travel and raising hotel occupancy rates. The ultimate goal is to position the GCC as a premier global destination for both regional and international tourists, as articulated by the UAE Minister.

The UAE’s Minister of Economy highlighted that this tourism visa is not only a simplification of travel logistics but also a catalyst for an upsurge in tourism across the region.

This strategic move is poised to make regional travel more accessible and attractive within the next two years.

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