Monday, May 28, 2012

UAE plans to provide multiple entry visa for cruise tourists

The United Arab Emirates may provide multiple entry visa for cruise tourists from September, sources disclosed. The issue was under discussion for almost three years.

“It is finally expected to be in place by September,” a senior official of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) disclosed.

“We have reemphasized the importance of having implemented a multiple entry UAE visa for the cruise tourists to the highest level and it is under way. Hopefully, we will have a positive feedback before the next cruise season commencing in October this year,” Hamad bin Mejren, DTCM Executive Director of Business Tourism, said at a press conference recently.

The UAE has the most modern and the largest cruise facility in the GCC, spanning over a 12,000 sq m with a dedicated pier length of 2000 meters with the capacity to accommodate five to six cruise ships simultaneously.

The current visa process imposes financial burden as well as a lot of documentation procedures for the tourists of nationalities who are not on the list of countries whose citizens get visa on arrival. The multiple entry visas will help in removing such obstacles and will create a wider marketing perspective to bring tourists from key source markets such as Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil and other emerging markets.

Dubai Cruise Terminals, managed and operated by DTCM for the government of Dubai, catered to 396,500 cruise tourist who arrived from 108 ship calls in 2011. This year, Dubai is expected to see 420, 000 cruise tourists to the emirate, giving a big push to the tourism growth and the economy. The projections for 2013 are 125 cruise ships and 450,000 passengers and in 2014 the number of cruise ships and passengers will be 135 and 475,000, respectively. In 2015, this number will go up to 145 cruise ships and 500,000 passengers.