Dubai waives Dhs1,000 fee to boost tourism industry

The PRO card, which cost Dhs1,000 and was subject to an annual renewal fee, was needed for requests for permits and approvals

Hotel establishments, tourism companies and event organisers in Dubai will no longer need a Public Relations Officer (PRO) card, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has said.

The fee has been waived in a bid to boost the industry.

The PRO card, which cost Dhs1,000 and was subject to an annual renewal fee, was needed for requests for permits and approvals for a range of tourism and travel-related activities and services.

Following the deregulation, hotels and tourism companies including travel agents, tour operators and event management businesses can now submit requests and applications online via the Dubai Tourism portal, a statement said.

Previously, companies in the tourism industry were required to register their official representatives with Dubai Tourism and obtain a PRO card. Those violating the rule faces strict penalties.

The latest move is part of Dubai’s efforts to transform into a “fully-fledged smart city” and the Dubai Paperless Strategy, said Dubai Tourism.

“The latest deregulation steps taken by Dubai Tourism form part of the ongoing efforts to eliminate barriers to entry and growth for SMEs and start-ups, and reflects our commitment to bringing relief to small businesses and entrepreneurs by minimising red tape and introducing hassle-free processes,” said Khalid Bin Touq, executive director, Tourism Activities and Classifications Sector, Dubai Tourism.

“The enhancements will also help create stronger synergies with our network of stakeholders by providing them with yet another incentive to boost performance, as we work closely together to achieve the goals of the 2022-2025 tourism strategy.”

Dubai Tourism’s previous visitor number target of 20 million per year by 2020 was revised in October as part of its Vision 2022-2025. Now, the organisation will seek to attract 25 million annual overnight visitors by 2025.

The latest measure follows the recent cancellation of another regulation which required tourism-related service providers to provide a bank guarantee to Dubai Tourism prior to obtaining a trade licence from the Department of Economic Development.

Read: Dubai Tourism to return $68m in bank guarantees to local firms

Separately, Dubai Tourism also introduced three proposals to support the government’s economic stimulus programme aimed at making it easier to operate and grow a business in Dubai including attracting more transit passengers to visit the emirate, introducing the time share concept to increase the appeal to families and to encourage more luxury yachts to visit Dubai’s waters.