It will allow for seamless travel between the Gulf states…

A common GCC tourism visa is officially happening.

After much discussion in recent months, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have unanimously approved a Schengen-style GCC tourism visa. The news was announced by Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council at a meeting of regional interior minsters at the GCC summit in Muscat, Oman on November 8.

The Secretary General lauded the new visa as a new achievement for the region, and also highlighted that the GCC tourist visa should be implemented within a specific time frame.

Last month, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy stated that would be by 2025, according to an interview carried by state news agency, wam.

In the interview, he stated that the roll-out of the GCC unified tourism visa would take place once specific regulations and legislation are developed. Subject to all country’s internal systems being ready, it’s set to launch between 2024 and 2025.

With the launch of a GCC common tourism visa, visitors to the region would be able to use a single tourism visa to visit all six GCC states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. So, ticking off several destinations on a regional trip looks like it’s set to be even easier within the next two years.

“This initiative is an integral part of the GCC 2030 tourism strategy, designed to elevate the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP through increased inter-GCC travel and elevated hotel occupancy rates, transforming the GCC into a pre-eminent global destination for both regional and international tourists,” the UAE Minister added.

Speaking in September during the Future Hospitality in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s Minister of Economy previously said that a GCC-wide tourism visa would not only simplify travel but also boost tourism in the region, as per The National.

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