UAE News Today : Politics

How the unified visa will boost tourism across the Gulf

The idea of ​​a single Schengen-type tourist visa for Gulf countries was previously proposed in a move aimed at helping to further increase visitor numbers to the bloc.

Supporting tourism in any GCC country is considered supporting tourism in all GCC countries.

– Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy

This falls within the framework of the integration of tourism strategies between the GCC countries. Al Marri said: “Supporting tourism in any GCC country is considered supporting tourism in all GCC countries.”

The Minister said that around 70 percent of visitors to the Emirates come from international tourists from outside the country, while domestic tourism accounts for the remaining 30 percent.

The official highlighted that the tourism sector in the country has achieved continuous growth, with the availability of all the necessary elements and support infrastructure.

The minister stated that the contribution of the tourism and aviation sectors to the country’s gross domestic product has increased to 30 percent, noting that the two-and-a-half-day weekend system in the Emirates has greatly supported tourism. , hospitality and retail. commercial sectors.

He noted that the UAE aims to achieve 7 percent GDP growth and double the size of the economy to $3 trillion by 2030. This, he said, requires substantial growth in all sectors of the economy.

For his part, Abdullah Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral Group, told the summit that entertainment cities on Yas Island witnessed a remarkable 85 percent increase in visitor numbers last summer, compared to the same period in 2022.

He added: “This past summer witnessed distinguished levels of performance that surpassed previous years in terms of guests and hotel occupancy.”

He noted that the International Association of Amusement Parks and Tourist Attractions expects visitor spending in this important sector in the United Arab Emirates to reach $609 million, an increase of 128 percent compared to $266 million in four years ago.

Al Zaabi highlighted that “Yas Island has not only witnessed growth but has witnessed a complete transformation to become a global destination that attracts tourists from all over the world, noting that “Miral” has developed an integrated destination that offers experiences related to entertainment and business. tourism from all over the world.”

He said that “the hospitality sector in the Middle East and Africa region is experiencing astonishing growth and major expansions during the current period.”

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