The UAE’s minister of economy has said the country’s tourism advisory board is working on new packages that promote travel in all seven emirates. For years, tourism in the UAE has been centered in Dubai, home to Emirates Airline, the world’s biggest mall and a string of ultra-luxury hotels.
Capital city Abu Dhabi attracts tourism largely with its cultural offerings, such as the Louvre Museum, while Ras Al Khaimah focuses on nature tourism and corporate events. The other emirates, however, do not get as much attention.
Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri is now looking to change that. The minister revealed to state news agency WAM, that the Emirates Tourism Council has formulated a “tourist route” within the UAE that connects its seven emirates. This, according to the minister, is part of an even grander vision to promote cross-GCC travel as you would see with travelers hopping across Europe.
“This initiative is an integral part of the GCC 2030 tourism strategy, designed to elevate the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP through increased inter-GCC travel and elevated hotel occupancy rates, transforming the GCC into a pre-eminent global destination for both regional and international tourists,” the UAE minister said.
Al Marri revealed that the unified GCC visa will roll out either next year or in 2025. When it does, it will introduce a “new flow of international tourists” to the region.
Last September, Al Marri gave updates on this development during a conference in Abu Dhabi. “What’s good for Saudi is good for the GCC,” he said at the conference. “If the tide comes up, it pulls up all the boats.”
This new visa comes under the banner of the “Gulf Strategy for Tourism 2023-2030,” which ministers also said is in the works. The meeting also looked into the establishment of a GCC Tourism Statistics Platform.