Dubai wants Indians to be given UAE visa on arrival

The emirate has benefitted from policy changes granting Chinese and Russian holders visa on arrival entry

Dubai’s tourism office is pushing for Indian nationals to be granted visa on arrival entry to the UAE, according to reports.

Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) chief executive Issam Kazim told Gulf News that Indian passport holders were a natural choice to receive the privilege as the largest visitor group to the emirate.

Dubai welcomed 617,000 Indians in the first quarter, an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year.

It also saw a 106 per cent increase in Russian visitors after Russian passport holders were granted visa on arrival entry to the UAE in early 2017.

Read: Dubai receives 2% more tourists in Q1 2018

Read: Dubai sees tourist growth accelerate in 2017

“India for sure. For sure. That would be the easiest one for me to look at,” Kazim told the publication as his favoured option for the next nation to have entry restrictions loosened.

Access to the UAE for Indian passport holders was already made easier last year when the country granted visa on arrival access to passport holders who have UK, European or US visas.

Read: UAE further relaxes visa rules for Indian nationals

Granting visa on arrival entry to Indian nationals could help Dubai to meet its target of attracting 20 million tourists annually by 2020.

The emirate attracted 15.79 million overnight visitors last year.

Read: Dubai sees tourist growth accelerate in 2017

Government authorities are also exploring a visa policy for the millions of transit passengers that use the UAE’s airports each year.

A transit visa system would allow connecting passengers to leave airports and visit the country’s tourism attractions between flights

Read: UAE moves ahead with transit visa policy