Manama: A study supporting introducing a common Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tourism visa has been referred to the alliance interior ministers, the Secretary-General of the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FGCC Chambers) has said.
“The study included all details pertaining to the common visa,” Abdul Rahim Hassan Naqi said. “The aim of the Schengen-like visa is mainly to attract tourists either from the GCC countries or from other countries and allow them to move between the member states,” he said in remarks published by Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya on Tuesday.
The introduction of the visa will have impressive benefits for the Gulf economy and will boost the income of their citizens, while preserving the sovereignty of each state, he said.
The GCC, founded in 1981, is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“The major problem is the non-existence of an electronic link between the GCC member states,” Naqi said. “Whenever Gulf citizens or foreigners move between GCC countries, their data are recorded and updated only by the state they are leaving and the state they are entering. There is no full Gulf update. We do need to have an electronic link between the six countries of the Council in order to exchange data and therefore ease the implementation of the common Gulf tourism visa,” he said.
A Gulf official had earlier told the Saudi daily that the GCC Secretariat General was keen on the implementation of the single visa.
“Tourism is a promising industry that requires numerous and various elements, including the highly important technical issue of an electronic link between the member states,” the official, who was not named, said.