Announcing the Launch of New Unified Gulf Tourist Visa to Bolster Saudi Economy

asmaa - | Arab News

The Gulf Cooperation Council's tourism promotion efforts reached a significant milestone in November 2023 with the approval of a unified tourist visa, scheduled for implementation between 2024 and 2025.

This initiative mirrors the Schengen scheme and will allow tourists to travel seamlessly across all six GCC member states: Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

The announcement of the Unified Gulf Tourist Visa was made by Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, the GCC secretary-general, during the 40th meeting of the organization’s interior ministers in Muscat, Oman. This visa is poised to facilitate travel for tourists and entrepreneurs keen on exploring the dynamic Gulf region, offering them access to all six countries under a single visa.

Al-Budaiwi hailed the initiative as a testament to the close collaboration among GCC leaders, emphasizing its potential to streamline movement between member states and positively impact the economic and tourist sectors.

Already a global destination for travel and business, the GCC anticipates that the unified visa will attract foreign tourists and bolster inter-country trade. Furthermore, the six Gulf states expect it to foster economic synergy.

Abdullah Al-Dakhil, spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Authority, lauded the initiative as a significant milestone for the region and emphasized its alignment with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals. With Saudi Arabia witnessing rapid growth in its tourism industry, the unified visa is poised to enhance sectoral collaboration and make the region more accessible to visitors.

The World Bank’s report on economic diversification in the GCC region highlights the positive growth trajectory, with estimates suggesting growth rates of 3.6 percent and 3.7 percent in 2024 and 2025, respectively. To sustain this growth, the report emphasizes the importance of prudent macroeconomic management, structural reforms, and increasing non-oil exports.

The unified visa aligns with the goal of boosting non-oil exports and economic activity. Projections indicate a positive outlook for the Saudi economy, with expected growth rates in the non-oil sector contributing significantly.

The approval of the Unified Gulf Tourist Visa marks a significant step towards promoting tourism and economic growth in the GCC region, fostering greater collaboration and accessibility for travelers and entrepreneurs alike.

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