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Gulf residents can soon travel to GCC countries on single visa

TDT | Manama               

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Reported by Julia Cassano

Residents of Gulf countries may soon be permitted to travel freely within the GCC on a single visa. This is expected to ease travel processes, resulting in boosting tourism and business within the region.

The new move was revealed during the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi by UAE Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, according to Bloomberg.

The proposed visa system would grant residents in the GCC the ability to travel freely within countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, and Qatar, which would bolster tourism as GCC countries are home to large numbers of foreign residents hailing from different parts of the world.

Currently, GCC citizens have the privilege of travelling within the region visa-free. Al Marri said, “Hopefully, we are going to see something around a pan-GCC visa, which will allow easier mobility of people within the GCC.

A resident of Saudi Arabia, for instance, can enter the UAE and vice versa. I think that’s where we see the future of GCC tourism.” The minister also highlighted that the system could be introduced “very soon.”

GCC countries have been making strides in their tourism sectors, with Dubai being one of the most rapidly growing and advancing cities in the world and becoming a prime tourist destination in recent decades, and Saudi Arabia is looking to do the same.

Speaking on advancing tourism sectors in countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Touq said, “I think competition actually makes people innovate.

That’s something that's very healthy and important to have in the region.” If the proposal is passed, the move would have significant potential to boost tourism within the region, given the easier visa requirements for foreign residents.