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Launch of Unified GCC Tourist Visa System Anticipated by End of 2024: SCTDA Official

GCC Grand Tours will enable tourists to explore six GCC countries for more than 30 days: UAE Minister of Economy

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 6, 2024, 18:03:54

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arabian travel market, gcc tourist visa, unified gcc visa

 

The launch of the unified GCC tourist visa system is anticipated by the end of 2024, as revealed by Khalid Jasim Al Midfa from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority (SCTDA) during the Arabian Travel Market event.

Al Midfa emphasised the importance of the e-service component in this initiative, aiming to streamline the process without compromising security.

The system, termed GCC Grand Tours, will enable tourists to explore the six GCC countries for more than 30 days, making regional travel more accessible and economical, according to Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy.

Al Marri highlighted the potential of this visa scheme to showcase the diverse tourism offerings across the GCC, attracting longer stays from tourists and positioning the region as a premier destination.

Discussions are underway to develop comprehensive tour packages in collaboration with major tourism operators, hotels and airlines. Al Midfa stressed the collaboration between government entities and the private sector to facilitate seamless travel experiences.

The focus is on extending visitors' stays within the UAE and the GCC region, aligning with international travel norms where leisure trips typically span several weeks. Coordination efforts are also underway to synchronise major events, ensuring a cohesive and appealing itinerary for tourists.

Once the unified tourist visa is operational, both leisure and business travel packages will be readily available from the private sector.

Sarah Buhijji, CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, echoed the sentiment, expressing Bahrain's commitment to promoting regional tourism packages. Collaborative efforts with Saudi Arabia and other GCC nations aim to present the entire region as a unified and compelling destination for travellers, she noted.

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