Saudi Arabia has approved the proposed GCC unified tourist visa. This after the member states’ decision to implement the visa scheme during the 44th Gulf Summit held in Doha, Qatar.
Benefits of the unified tourist visa
The unified tourist visa allows its holder to visit 6 countries using one document. It focuses on attracting tourists and keeping them in GCC countries, in a step that will hopefully enhance Gulf economic integration.
In this context, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, stated that the unified visa will contribute to facilitating the movement of incoming tourists and visitors between the GCC countries. Thus, it enhances the role of tourism as an engine of economic growth.
Unified tourist and investment
Al-Khatib added: “This unified visa would open new opportunities for investment in the tourism sector in each of the member states.”
At the same time, he stressed the Saudi Ministry of Tourism’s keenness to cooperate closely with its counterparts in the Gulf. This ensures the implementation and coordination of this program in the best way possible, and serves the tourism and economic sectors in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s major role
This decision comes as a culmination of efforts led by Saudi Arabia when the GCC ministers of tourism adopted the Gulf Strategy for Tourism during their meeting in Al-Ula in November of last year. One of the most important outcomes of the meeting was the unified GCC tourist visa. Saudi Arabia has worked to lead the legislative framework for this step. Hence, it aims to enhance joint Gulf action in the tourism sector. Moreover, this announcement confirms Saudi Arabia’s pioneering role in creating specific initiatives that contribute to strengthening the position of the GCC countries as a single tourist destination in the region.
A new achievement
Earlier in November, the Secretary-General of the GCC, Jasem Mohammed AlBudaiwi, announced that the unified Gulf tourist visa project serves as a major achievement for the council. It comes in light of the directives of the leaders of each of the GCC member states, who gave priority to their collective interest in achieving cooperation in the Gulf.
His announcement came during the 40th meeting of the Interior Ministers of GCC countries which was held in Oman. Oman’s Minister of Interior and Chairman of the session, Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi, led the meeting attended by his GCC counterparts.
Achieving national security
The secretary-general stated that the GCC countries have become exemplary countries for the international community. This is thanks to the progress and prosperity they have achieved. That is in addition to the regional and global status they have accomplished in the field of development.
He believed that achieving these milestones requires a high level of national security. Thus, GCC countries must monitor and deter everything that might obstruct this progress.