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GCC's 'Grand Tours visa' in effect by the end of the year, as free pass for Gulf residents

The ‘Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Grand Tours visa’ will function as a multi-entry visa, permitting travellers to move freely among the six GCC countries: Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

The travellers will be able to travel seamlessly, and will have the freedom to spend a period of over 30 days in the countries included in the visa. 

The system will be put into place by the end of the year as government efforts are ongoing to secure ties and prepare the financial infrastructure for the convenience of travellers.  

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa of UAE’s Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority (SCTDA) made this announcement at the Arabian Travel Market on Monday.

He said during the opening that: “By the end of this year, the whole system will be in place. (We) are working day and night and e-service is a vital part of it. We don’t want to complicate things for people and also maintain the same security level. It will be a very good initiative and we will see a positive outcome for regional economies.” 

Visa-free seamless travel between the Gulf countries has already been under place for citizens of GCC countries, however, this new GCC Grand Tours visa will function as a free pass between borders for expats living inside the countries as well, further increasing the freedom of travel and boosting tourism and economies of the GCC nations. 

UAE’s Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri was quoted in UAE media as having said that: “this will make travel to our region more convenient and affordable for tourists.”

Previously at the World Economic Forum held in Riyadh on April 28 and 29, he stated: “Once it comes into effect, it will contribute to highlighting the diverse tourism destinations in GCC countries, attracting and retaining tourists for longer periods, thus increasing the number of hotel bookings and making the region one of the leading destinations for regional and international tourists alike.”

Gulf countries are working with large tourists operations worldwide to further increase the cooperation in the economy and tourism sectors.

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