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Wed 2 May 2012 06:21 PM

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Gulf-wide tourism visa needed, says Oman

Qatar has previously called for a shared entry system across the region

Gulf-wide tourism visa needed, says Oman
Earlier this year, Oman slashed the cost of its tourist visas by up to 75 percent.

Oman is the latest Gulf state
to join calls for a GCC-wide tourism visa to help boost the number of people visiting the
region.

Earlier this week, Ahmed Abdullah
Al Nuaimi, the chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, told delegates at this
year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai the GCC
should introduce a shared tourism entry visa.

The GCC is made of six members,
including Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Oman has
become the latest member to join Qatar in calling for a more flexible visa
system.

“We are among the countries that
are very interested in this,” Khalid Al Zadjali, head of overseas promotion at
Oman Ministry of Tourism said on the sidelines of the ATM exhibition.

“Arab countries, especially the
Gulf countries, have to lift ourselves and [help] each other. We are not
competing with each other, we are complementing each other, that is why we have
to form this cooperation,” he added.

Earlier this year, Oman slashed
the cost of its tourist visas by up to 75 percent in a bid to boost the number
of tourists to the Gulf state.

New entry tourist visas, valid
for ten days, will cost OMR5 (US$13) while cruise visas for up to 24-hours will
be free or charged at OMR5 for multiple visits. The cost of a single entry
visa, valid for one month, will remain the same at OMR20.

This move was welcomed by Al
Zadjali as an example of how visa amendments can help increase tourism into the
sultanate.

“We are fortune that the visa
regulation has been changed and has been brought down and that has been a
really big push for us,” he said.

Travel and tourism is expected to
contribute up to three percent of Oman’s GDP for 2011 and increase to 5.4
percent by 2012, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The
industry is expected to directly employ up to 50,000 jobs by 2021, the travel
organisation said.

A key factor in Oman’s growth as a
tourism destination is its position as a port of call for many cruise
companies. Muscat’s cruise ship passenger arrivals increased to 230,000 during
the 2010/2011 season, up from just 44,000 in 2007. This is expected to exceed
300,000 by 2015.

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Shafiqur Rahman 7 years ago

Thanks to the Oman for right decision. Gulf-wide tourism visa needed, says Oman it is very positive thingking, it help tourism sector to grow up and at the same time will devolop country economy and image.
I advice to all of Gulf country should make one platform like uoropion union, including Saudi Arabia.

Thanking again to the Oman.

D Stafford 7 years ago

This is a great initiative that would encourage development of tourism within the region. There is so much to see and do in the various GCC countries yet many tourists don't explore widely because of visa complexities.

Mark of Zoro 7 years ago

Visa's should be ABOLISHED EVERYWHERE in the world. People should haaave the freedom to travel to any place they wish to. Only Governments have made this rule of requirements of visa's as it generates revenue for them. It is a "Money Making Machine" for the Governments everywhere in the world.

Kairo 7 years ago

This is all wishful thinking. As a European, I can go to over 100 countries visa-free. You can lower the visa cost even to 1 dollar but I would not come - my time for getting the visa is worth more. Fix the system and I might stop over for couple of days on my way to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. that are all visa-free.

mounir 7 years ago

HAHAHAHA

Good to see Europeans, particularly spaniards, still think they're worth anything these days.

On your way to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to do what? Beg for more handouts? Cause it seems odd that while almost everyone in Spain is eating bread crumbs off the streets, you're talking about "your time being worth more". The only thing you're worth is.. well I can't say that, can't give AB a reason to block this post

procan 7 years ago

Never going to happen.Money is one thing, way of life another Zoro.

Telcoguy 7 years ago

So Mounir, which passport should we get? A Canadian one maybe? You seem to be an expert in improving passports, your advice wil be for sure helpful.
I will go now to collect some bread crumbs for breakfast.