Delays In GCC Unified Tourist Visa Launch Due To Integration And Security Issues

03 January 2024 Middle East News

There have been delays in the rollout of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) single tourist visa as governments integrate their systems and address security concerns.

It is imperative that all requirements and security measures of the countries involved are aligned, according to Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM). Kazim explained that these integrations are time-consuming, resulting in extended implementation timelines for unified visas.

With the GCC single tourist visa, visitors will be able to explore all six Gulf Arab countries with a single permit, similar to the Schengen visa. The proposal for the visa was recently approved by ministers from the participating nations. Nevertheless, specific regulations and legislation are still being developed, and the visa is expected to be rolled out between 2024 and 2025.

The precise timeline will depend on the readiness of each country's internal systems. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly Dubai, and Saudi Arabia are expected to be the major beneficiaries of this visa, with Dubai serving as a global tourist destination and Saudi Arabia attracting numerous religious tourists to Makkah and Madinah. Once the unified visa system is implemented between these two nations, industry experts anticipate a significant influx of tourists.

GCC single tourist visa launch delayed highlights complexities involved in unifying visa processes across multiple countries. Integrating systems and addressing security requirements are crucial steps in streamlining travel for tourists in the Gulf region. The implementation of the unified visa is expected to enhance tourism and travel within the GCC countries, contributing to the region's economic growth and development.

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