The Gulf countries agreed in December to introduce their equivalent of the European Schengen – a single tourist visa for visiting Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. This was reported by Gulf Business.
The project has already been agreed upon and discussed by the tourism ministers of the countries that are members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). They held a separate meeting where they unanimously supported the launch of the innovation.
According to officials, a general visa should significantly increase the interest of tourists in holidays in the East. Ideally, Persian Schengen will take tourism in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman to a new level.
“If the tide comes, it will lift all boats,” this is how UAE Minister of Economy Abdullah Ben Touq al-Marri described the project.
However, there are no details yet on how the single visa will work. It is also unclear whether it will complement or completely replace existing tourist entry documents to the Gulf countries.
Let us note that the very idea of an analog of Schengen came to the Arab authorities during the World Cup in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, for example, issued 60-day visas to Hayya card holders, which were required to be issued to fans and tournament officials. As a result, we decided to continue this experiment.