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Unified Gulf Tourist Visa approved by the GCC

Yesterday, the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met in the Qatari capital, Doha, and approved the unified Gulf tourist visa, which will grant entry to the six GCC countries, reported Al-Qabas Daily.

Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khatib, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, announced the approval of the unified tourist visa, stating that the GCC Council has instructed the Ministers of Interior to take the necessary measures for its implementation. Al-Khatib described the decision as a historic step that demonstrates the GCC’s commitment to strengthening cooperation and deepening ties in tourism and other fields.

He added that this move will enhance the global standing of the Gulf countries as distinguished tourist destinations. The adoption of the unified Gulf tourist visa aligns with the ongoing development and progress experienced by the GCC countries in various sectors. It will facilitate the movement of tourists and visitors between member states, thereby boosting the role of tourism as a driver of economic growth and creating new investment opportunities in the tourism sector for each country.

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism emphasized its commitment to closely cooperate with its counterparts in other GCC countries to ensure the smooth implementation and coordination of this initiative, serving the tourism and economic sectors in the region. This milestone follows the adoption of the Gulf Strategy for Tourism during a meeting of the GCC tourism ministers in Al-Ula in November of last year.

The unified Gulf tourist visa was one of the significant outcomes of this strategy, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia playing a leading role in establishing the necessary legislative framework to strengthen collaborative efforts in the tourism field across the GCC. The new unified tourist visa will allow holders to visit all six GCC countries on a single visa.

The focus is on attracting tourists and encouraging them to stay in the Gulf countries for longer periods, thus promoting economic integration within the region. Abdullah bin Touq, the UAE Minister of Economy, has previously stated that this visa aims to increase inbound tourist spending at an annual growth rate of 8%.

It is projected to reach $96.9 billion by the end of 2023, representing a growth of 12.8% compared to 2022, and reaching $188 billion by 2030. The approval of the unified Gulf tourist visa underscores the commitment of the GCC countries to advancing regional tourism and positioning the Gulf as an attractive destination for international visitors. It is expected to stimulate economic growth, enhance cooperation, and contribute to the overall development of the region’s tourism sector.



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