The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional, intergovernmental, political and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The GCC countries are considering launching a “Schengen-style” visa system.

The statement was made by Fatima Al Sairafi, Bahrain Minister of Tourism, at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

The minister highlighted that the new visa system will facilitate all partner countries with one entry visa procedure.

Fatima said during a panel discussion on The Future of Travel for the GCC, “We have a huge opportunity, the effort is in how to unify all the countries in the GCC.  We had 9.9 million visitors in 2022.”  “If all the GCC countries unified their efforts in promotion, the opportunities would be incredible,” the minister added.

Fatima highlighted people go to Europe for vacations and visit several countries instead of one on a single visa, adding that such a system will not only benefit a single country but the entire region.

It is evident that GCC countries benefited from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, as fans were put up in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. These countries’ airlines operated several flights daily to and from Qatar for the matches.

The UAE is already running a visa free entry for GCC nationals. Citizens of the GCC countries do not need an entry visa or sponsor to visit the UAE, as they can enter the country by presenting a passport issued by one of the GCC countries, or an identity card, upon arrival at one of the entry points.”

Fatima said now we just need a unified system to allow all countries to operate in similar way.

According to a recent survey, over 3 million people visited the region during the World Cup.

from Gulf Today

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