Bahrain to relax visa policy in new tourism, business push

Gulf kingdom says it will extend its visa on arrival policy to additional 60 countries from next year
By Andy Sambidge
Thu 03 Jul 2014 02:03 PM

Bahrain is planning to extend its visa on arrival policy to an additional 60 countries in a bid to increase its attractiveness as a tourism and business destination.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) announced details of the new visa policy that now allows nationals of nearly 100 countries to obtain a visa on arrival.

The new visa policy will be implemented in 2015 with the potential to affect over 2.5 billion people who can now obtain a one month visa on arrival, with the ability to renew for another three months, the EDB said in a statement.

It added that the new visa policy will further enable expatriates who do business in Bahrain, to easily travel in and out of the kingdom more easily, as well as boosting the tourism industry.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the EDB, presented the new visa policy in a Cabinet meeting earlier this week, adding that it will help to "attract inward investment and drive forward economic growth and job creation".

The decision to revise the visa policy was taken based on key trends in the investor base in the kingdom, including a 58 percent increase in international investors who own businesses in Bahrain between 2005 and 2012, and 50 percent increase in Arab investors with 17 percent in non-residence equity owners.

The UNCTAD World Investment Report 2014, released last month, confirmed that total foreign direct investment (FDI) into Bahrain in 2013 was $989 million, an increase of 11 percent on 2012, outpacing global average growth of 9 percent.

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