Details of GCC's Unified Travel Initiative 'Grand Tours' Visa Unveiled at ATM 2024

Details of GCC's Unified Travel Initiative 'Grand Tours' Visa Unveiled at ATM 2024

During the Arabian Travel Market's (ATM) opening day, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE Minister of Economy, announced plans for the implementation of the 'GCC Grand Tours' visa, a unified tourist visa for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Al Marri emphasized,

"In a significant step toward simplifying travel arrangements and promoting tourism, the Gulf Cooperation Council has approved a unified tourist visa that enables travelers to explore all six countries."

The GCC Grand Tours visa will permit tourists to stay in the region for more than 30 days, making travel to the area more convenient and economical, according to the minister. Additionally, he noted that it will stimulate economic activity and job creation in the region.

Although an exact rollout date was not specified, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority suggested that the visa system should be operational by the conclusion of 2024.

"By the end of this year, the entire system should be operational. Numerous individuals and teams, led by the Ministry of Economy in the UAE and other ministries across various countries, are working diligently to ensure its successful implementation, with a focus on digital transformation,"

stated Al Midfa.

He underscored the collaborative endeavors among ministries to guarantee a smooth and digitally advanced visa system.

Economic impact and tourism growth

Al Marri underscored the economic importance of tourism, citing research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). He noted that travel and tourism contributed 11.7 percent to the UAE's GDP last year, totaling Dhs220 billion.

"The projected outlook is even more promising, with an expected contribution of 12 percent to our GDP, reaching Dh236 billion,"

he added.

Al Marri expressed his belief that regional aspirations should not solely aim to recover to pre-pandemic levels but rather to surpass them.

Benefits and prospects

The 'GCC Grand Tours' visa initiative seeks to streamline travel arrangements, enhancing accessibility and affordability for tourists within the GCC. This endeavor is anticipated to stimulate tourist activity and generate employment prospects throughout the region.

The implementation of the unified visa system underscores the GCC's dedication to fostering tourism and economic development, positioning the region as a prominent global tourist destination.

News Source: Gulf Business

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