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Single visa system for GCC cruise passengers by September 2012

The much-awaited single visa system for cruise passengers of GCC nations may finally be implemented in September this year, a senior official at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said.

Following four years of discussion, the visa issue has been finally raised to the highest level, and is underway. A positive response is awaited before September this year, the official said.

Speaking further about the matter, Hamad Mohammad bin Mejren, DTCM Executive Director for Business Tourism, said that the visa process will be eased for cruise passengers and the travel and tourism industry in the region is pushing the federal authorities to introduce it as quickly as possible.

The travel and tourism industry in the region has been pushing the federal authorities to introduce the single visa for cruise tourists. The visa will enable visitors to tour all six GCC nations, including Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The regional Direct, EMEA for Royal Caribbean International, said that the cruise industry too expects the visa issue to be resolved by September. The DTCM has already given verbal confirmation on the matter, and a written confirmation is awaited.

A single visa can actually increase pace in the cruise business, with ships using Dubai as the hub to sail to other countries within the region, including Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. At present, majority of foreign travellers are required to secure various UAE entry visas.

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