On Monday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced that tourist visas in the UAE will now be issued for five years. The move comes in a bid to support the UAE's tourism economy and affirm the country's position as a global tourist destination.
Sheikh Mohammed chairs the first UAE Cabinet meeting of the year. Courtesy of WAM
Industry executives and analysts believe that tourist spending will substantially increase due to more extended stays while the real estate sector could benefit by attracting them as residents.
The UAE receives more than 21 million tourists per annum, and it aims to establish itself as a top global tourist destination. Around 25 million visitors are expected to visit the six-month-long Expo 2020 alone.
Ambareen Musa, CEO of Souqalmal.com, said this is yet another way that the government is keen to drive the economy forward.
"As a result of this initiative, tourist spend time in the UAE will increase," she said. "Five-year visa will have a multiplier effect on the economy as more number of visits will increase consumption and activity, therefore helping the economy as a whole. It is an initiative that will not just boost tourism but enhance the quality of life of many residents as their family and friends will be able to visit them more often. This can also lead to encouraging longer stay for expats in the country," Musa added.
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