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Sun 21 Nov 2010 02:18 PM

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Canadian travel trade body calls for action over UAE visa issue

ACTA urges Canadian government to do all it can to repair relations with the Gulf state

Canadian travel trade body calls for action over UAE visa issue
VISA RULES: UAE said Canadian visitors would be required to apply for visas from Jan 2, 2011 to enter the Gulf state (Getty Images)
Canadian travel trade body calls for action over UAE visa issue
VISA RULES: UAE said Canadian visitors would be required to apply for visas from Jan 2, 2011 to enter the Gulf state (Getty Images)

The head of one of Canada’s largest travel trade associations has called on the Canadian government to “do everything it can” to repair the country’s “deteriorating relations” with the UAE.

Earlier this month the UAE, Ottawa’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa, said Canadian visitors would be required to apply for visas from January 2, 2011 to enter the Gulf state.

“What it says about our deteriorating relations with the UAE is far more serious and the Canadian government should do everything it can to iron out its issues with that country,” David McCaig, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) told Arabian Business.

While McCaig said the he doesn’t “expect the visa requirement to have a serious impact on travelers or the travel between our two countries,” he said it was worrying that it was “an inconvenience that is not imposed on any other Western country.”

The change in visa regulations follows hot on the heels of Canada’s refusal to offer flagship carriers Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways additional landing slots, despite years of requests from the UAE.

“Canadians should not have to face any obstacles to travel for business or for leisure and it is up to our government to do all it can to remove these obstacles. We can only hope there will be a solution to the issue with the UAE that can avoid this kind of move against individual travelers,” added McCaig.

An estimated 27,000 Canadians are currently resident in the UAE. The Gulf state is Canada’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In an interview in October, Canada’s opposition trade minister warned the row over landing rights would hit Canadian businesses operating in the Gulf, and risk a bilateral trade relationship worth $2bn a year.

“Canadian businesses and farmers could end up paying the price for this government’s incompetent handling of this situation.” MP Martha Hall Findlay told Arabian Business.

“Rather than avoid the issue, and ignore the UAE and its concerns, we want the Canadian government to constructively try to find a solution,” she said.


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DeZ 9 years ago

“an inconvenience that is not imposed on any other Western country.”

Don't make me laugh! There is nothing wrong with applying for a visa just like all the "Eastern" countries do. All countries should be treated equally, be it west or east. This preferential treatment must stop!

txcnguy 9 years ago

The decision should be immediately reversed along with an apology to the UAE. It is the right thing to do. More landings means more jobs not less in Canada, lets get this straightened out for once and for all.

Canuck Expat 9 years ago

Emirates should get extra landing rights in Canada. The UAE should open up the telecom market, and allow Canadian telecommunication service provider to operate freely and competitively in the UAE. This would be a reciprocal benefit. Let's not speak of some ficticious "net" benefit to Canada, if Emirates is alllowed to have extra landing rights. Emirates will ferry travellers to third countries, it is their dream - and a good one! They have 90 firm orders for A380's, they need to get more routes, and extra flights - that's there goal - again, a good thing. But, air transport is a highly regulated industry, and one cannot expect to simpy assume they will get those extra landing rights. Wishful thinking on the part of Emirates! It would be great to see Rogers or Bell or Telus for that matter in Dubai!!

chuck 9 years ago

Very well said .........totally agree with you :)

Bungarus 9 years ago

It is an outrage that Canadians have to pay through the nose to protect the right to shareholder profit of Air Canada, a private airline. Has the Conservative Government been paid off by AC lobbyists? If AC improves its in-flight service and provides a convenient schedule why fear competition? What a joke, a 'capitalist' government protecting a private entity!

Omar 9 years ago

an inconvenience? now you realize what we have to go through when applying for visas to come to the western world. I hope that we do the same for all other countries..

Mohamed Akil 9 years ago

The only just solution would be,
- Let both countries have same visa rules
- Airlines of home country should play a major role, if Middle eastern airlines need a share it should be shared equally. that is to say give a specific quota for each airline carrier...everyone one has his rights in his or her country.
Lets hope some thing works out for both the countries... we as people can give our views/suggestions only.. best decision lies with the goverments...
Salam Aly Kum ( Peace to you all)

Saeed 9 years ago

Well, I disagree with this type of comparison. Emirates and Etihad did not ask for a Hub in Canada to operate local flights and compete with local routes. They did not ask to have centers inside Canada, employing Non-Canadians and making profits inside Canada and then sending all these gains and earnings to the UAE. They asked merely for landing rights. You know, I guess that is comparable with how Black Berry operates in the UAE.

Asking for Canadian Telecom companies to enter the Emirati market is completely different. They will come to Emirates and employ Non-Emiratis (who will transfer their savings and salaries outside the Emirates), and make profits (which will eventually be transferred to Canada).

The simplest solution from the Canadian side was to ask for an equal number of Canadian flights landing in the UAE and see if they could compete with Emirates and Etihad. A healthy competition is good for us in general, but apparently they are afraid to try.

Babu 9 years ago

Canada or US is equal to same like other nations. So all of out siders should pay visa charges.

Linda A.A. 9 years ago

UAE has the right to ask for visa but this will result to decrease tourist coming to the country. No tourist no income for the bussinessman. This will also affect the whole UAE.

This country progress because of the tourist so if no tourist then no more income and this will end up of no workers will be deployed to UAE.

This is the center of the Middle East and this means more people more money for the country. This is not for Canadians only but for many countries. People come to the country to spend their money and enjoy which means income of the country.