UAE changes visa rules to boost business, tourism

Authorities introduce multiple entry visa for property investors, cruise passengers
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 09 Nov 2012 09:42 AM

UAE authorities have introduced a multiple entry visa for businessmen, property investors and cruise passengers, a plan that has been under discussion for almost three years.

DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem welcomed the move saying it will enhance the growth of cruise tourism at Mina Rashid in Dubai.

He also said it would support the country's long-term strategy to stimulate growth and development in the traditionally strong tourism sector.

The UAE government issued ministerial decree No 418 of 2012 on Wednesday allowing multiple entry visit visas to the UAE for the first time.

Those eligible for the multiple entry visas include businessmen, property investors and tourists on board cruise ships who will be eligible for multiple entry, news agency WAM reported.

Bin Sulayem said: "This is a very positive move that will make a tangible difference to the cruise industry in Dubai and in the UAE and therefore to economic growth."

Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice president and managing director, DP World, UAE Region added: "Multiple-entry visit visas for cruise tourists will smooth the way for the cruise lines and their passengers and allow Dubai and the UAE to compete more effectively with other cruise destinations.

"We look forward to welcoming more cruise ships at Mina Rashid in Dubai, as we expand capacity there, reinforcing Mina Rashid's position as the premier regional cruise terminal."

DP World is expanding Mina Rashid's capacity to cater for as many as five cruise ships at one time.

The previous visa process imposes financial burden as well as a lot of documentation procedures for the tourists of 32 nationalities who do not get visas on arrival.

Dubai serves as a home port for five of the world's leading cruise lines such as Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises and FTI Cruises.

In addition, more than 20 world-class cruise lines have Dubai as a port of call in their international itinerary.

Dubai Cruise Terminals, managed and operated by DTCM for the Government of Dubai, catered to 396,500 cruise tourist who arrived from 108 ship calls in 2011.

This year, Dubai is expected to see 420, 000 cruise tourists to the emirate, giving a big push to the tourism growth and the economy.

The projections for 2013 are 125 cruise ships and 450,000 passengers and in 2014 the number of cruise ships and passengers will be 135 and 475,000, respectively.

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