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Visa changes will spur more tourism

We all know what this country has to offer — and now more will come and see for themselves

Gulf News

The UAE Cabinet has issued a significant and welcome decision, one that will boost tourism and provide a welcome benefit to travellers transiting through the nation’s airports, and provide an ever-greater spur for those to leave those airports and sample the best of our country’s tourism attractions. From now on, the Cabinet decided, children under the age of 18 will be allowed to enter the UAE without visas, accompanied by their adult guardians.

This new visa change will take effect during the peak summer seasons every year from July 15 to September 15, and will certainly assist promoting family tourism during the summer months when fewer foreign visitors are willing to leave the confines of our airports because of the nature of our summer sun. Indeed, the Cabinet’s decision follows on from an exemption granted to transit visitors for 48 hours, with the period being extended to 96 hours for a fee of just Dh50.

In essence, under the new decree, with parents paying just Dh100, their children can now be with them, and the family has four days to enjoy the sights and scenes of our cities and emirates, sampling our renowned hospitality, history and heritage.

Those involved in promoting tourism, the hospitality sector, those who organise sporting events and those in the entertainment industry, will appreciate now the potential new market garnered by these recent visa changes, meaning that, for example, a family transiting through the UAE will now be enticed to attend a concert, stay a couple of nights in a hotel and boost occupancy rates, while spending on everything from taxi fares to meals, sunscreen lotions and trinkets.

Indeed, it’s worth remembering too that in the first quarter of this year alone, some 32.8 million passengers transited through the airports of the UAE. Quarter over quarter, that number increases, showing the potential of this new regulatory visa environment.

The Cabinet decision too is in line with the stated economic goals of this nation to harness tourism as a sector for growth, ensuring the continued and successful diversification of the economy and setting the nation on a path to further growth and prosperity.

The reality is that all of us who are proud to be able to call the UAE home are aware of its charms, its rich heritage, its remarkable history, diverse communities and incredible sights. Now, more from around the world can come and see for themselves.

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