The visa is expected to not only facilitate travel across the six GCC countries but also attract and retain tourists within the region.
All six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have sanctioned the adoption of a unified tourist visa that is set to boost tourism across the region.
The announcement was made during a GCC Interior Ministers meeting chaired by Oman’s Interior Minister Sayyed Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi in Muscat on Wednesday.
Attendees at the meeting, representing the six member nations, approved a unified visa initiative with the intent of easing the movement of residents and tourists within the region.
“The unified GCC tourist visa project stands as a testament to the collective achievements of the Cooperation Council,” said the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, lauding the initiative as a commendable milestone in the council’s history.
Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s economy minister, echoed the sentiment last month, and revealed the tourism ministers’ unanimous endorsement of the visa scheme.
“This initiative is an integral part of the GCC 2030 tourism strategy, designed to elevate the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP (gross domestic product) through increased inter-GCC travel and elevated hotel occupancy rates, transforming the GCC into a pre-eminent global destination for both regional and international tourists,” Al-Marri stated.
The initiative is slated for implementation between 2024 and 2025, allowing for the alignment with individual member countries’ internal regulatory frameworks.
The visa is expected to not only facilitate travel across the six GCC countries but also attract and retain tourists within the region in a move expected to bolster economic integration.
Additionally, the ministers have set in motion the inaugural phase of a project to interlink traffic violations electronically throughout the GCC, marking a significant step in regional law enforcement cooperation.