New ‘Schengen-style’ Visa Planned For GCC Countries! What This Means For Tourists & Locals?

Get ready to explore the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries like never before! Exciting news has emerged from the Arabian Travel Market – talks are currently underway to launch a ‘Schengen-style’ visa for tourists, which is set to boost revenues and increase footfall for all the countries in the region. The GCC nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, are currently discussing ways to achieve a unified single visa. The potential impact of this initiative is massive, as it could facilitate hassle-free travel across the GCC countries, making it easier for visitors to explore multiple destinations in the region.

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Unified Visa To Boost Tourism Sector Growth

The tourism sector is critical to the GCC countries’ economies, and they are all looking to increase their contribution to the GDP, boost employment, and ensure a sustainable tourism sector. The introduction of a unified GCC tourism strategy would achieve these goals and help streamline visa policies, making it easier for tourists to move freely between countries without restrictions. This approach would also enable the countries to promote themselves as a unique tourist destination, maximizing the potential of their joint offerings.

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Co-promoting GCC Countries To Increase Visitors

Fatima Al Sairafi, Minister of Tourism in Bahrain, highlighted the benefits of co-promoting the countries in the GCC region to increase visitor numbers. Bahrain achieved a staggering 9.9 million visitors in 2022, exceeding its target of 8.3 million tourists. Co-promoting Bahrain along with other GCC markets, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, increased the number of tourists and diversity of nationalities, demonstrating the success of this strategy.

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The World Cup As A Successful Test Pilot’

The success of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year was seen as a successful “test pilot” for cross-collaboration between the Gulf countries. Saudi Arabia provided 60-day visas to all Hayya Card holders during the event, sparking discussions about similar, more permanent travel policies. The potential for similar events to be used to promote the countries in the region as a unique destination for tourists was also highlighted.

Also read: UAE Visa On Arrival Rules – Here’s The Full List Of Valid Passports Applicable

Collaboration is the name of the game!

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, stressed that collaboration is crucial for the success of the GCC countries. The success of each GCC country complements the other, and a unified GCC tourism strategy would enable them to work together towards a common goal. Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary for the Ministry of Economy, pointed out that the GCC countries have one common market and unified policies, making a unified GCC tourism strategy achievable.

The launch of a Schengen-style visa for the GCC countries is an exciting prospect that could revolutionize the tourism sector in the region. With the potential for hassle-free travel between countries, the GCC nations could promote themselves as a unique tourist destination, maximizing the potential of their joint offerings.

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