Downtown Dubai is home to the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall, one of the most visited places in the world Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE has been recognised as the leading Gulf country in terms of tourist visa accessibility, according to the Global Tourist Visa Openness Index for 2023 released by the United Nations Tourism Organisation.

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The UAE achieved a score of 67.80 points, placing it at the top of the list for Gulf nations. It is followed by Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Conversely, Kuwait has been ranked the least favourable among Gulf countries for tourist visa accessibility, scoring only 12.96 points and finding itself at the bottom of the regional list.

The index, which evaluates the ease with which tourists can obtain visas, employs a 0 to 100 scoring system. A higher score indicates a more straightforward visa acquisition process.

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The report highlights a trend towards greater visa facilitation in the Middle East, showing a decrease in the need for traditional visas from 71 per cent in 2015 to 57 per cent in 2023.

During this period, the availability of electronic visas increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent, and visas on arrival from 17 per cent to 24 per cent.

Moreover, the rate of mutual visa exemption among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states has dramatically increased, jumping from two per cent in 2018 to 87 per cent in 2023.

The report clarifies that its methodology only considers policies affecting temporary visitors (tourists) with ordinary passports.