The UAE’s new visa system, implemented from August 1, will have a “transformative effect” on Dubai’s cruise sector, the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has said.
Under the new ruling, cruise passengers can get a multiple entry tourism permit for Dhs200.
The permit will make travel to the UAE more cost effective and logistically more convenient, a statement from DTCM said. It is expected to have a particular impact on markets for which previous regulations made the cost significantly higher, including India, China, Russia & CIS, South Africa, and Brazil.
According to a study conducted by the DTCM, Dubai alone hopes to see around one million cruise tourists by 2020, with the sector expected to contribute around $3 billion to the emirate’s economy between 2010 and 2015.
Hamad bin Mejren, executive director of Business Tourism at DTCM said: “This positive announcement of the new visa system will have an encouraging impact on the attractiveness of Dubai as a destination for those overseas visitors who plan on travelling in and out of the UAE – for example on a cruise ship, or by taking a short break into neighbouring Oman and Saudi Arabia.
“With Dubai being the only home port for many international cruise lines operating cruises in this region, the advantage of simplifying visa procedures through granting passengers multiple entry tourist permits will reduce the costs for each passenger and further boost the sector’s growth,” he said.
He added: “This means that visitors can now arrive at Dubai International Airport or Dubai World Central, take a cruise from Mina Rashid out to other emirates and neighbouring countries and return to Dubai on the same visa rather than having to incur additional time and expense obtaining two or three separate visas.”
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman joined hands to form the Cruise Arabia initiative late last year, to promote the region as a cruise destination. All three countries are investing in building new cruise terminals or facilities and plan to create common standards.
“Through our network of Dubai Tourism offices across the world we will use the ruling to further promote Dubai’s attractiveness as a destination for both leisure and business,” said Mejren.