The introduction of a new five-year tourist visa that enables multiple entries to the United Arab Emirates will help to fuel ambitious goals in the tourism industry and have a positive impact on the nation’s businesses, leading industry experts believe.
Earlier in January, a tweet from the Ruler and Vice President of Dubai and the Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, revealed that the first 2020 meeting of the UAE Cabinet had approved the new visa.
Tourists can currently visit the UAE multiple times on a visa that lasts 90 days from the first day they enter the country.
Within the first nine months of 2019, 15.88 million visitors came to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, an increase from the 2018 figure of 15.26 million, statistics from the UAE Central Bank have revealed.
PwC Legal’s immigration and employment leader in the Middle East, Anir Chatterji, says that the UAE is already an international tourist hub, but the new visa being introduced in the same year as Expo 2020 will further the its aim of being the world’s most visited nation.
The UAE is hoping to attract more than 40 million tourists to the country over the course of the next decade.
The Dubai Government believes that the Expo, which will commence on 20th October this year and run through to 10th April 2021, will attract as many as 25 million visitors, with a large number coming from overseas.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund’s latest projection sees the non-oil sector of the UAE surging to 3% this year from the 2018 figure of just 1.3%.
The UAE Ministry of Economy has also predicted that the non-oil sector share of the GDP will increase to as much as 80% by next year in comparison to the 2017 figure of 70%.
Aldar Properties’ chief executive officer Talal Al Dhiyebi says that the new visa is a milestone for the country’s efforts at diversification and will support not just tourism but also the hospitality and retail sectors in particular and the national economy in general.
The most recent annual Total Remuneration Study from Mercer, which came out in October 2019, saw 45% of survey respondents saying that they intended to increase their headcount this year.
52% expected their current staffing levels to be maintained, with just 3% saying that a decrease was being considered.
Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla’s UAE head of employment Joanna Matthews-Taylor says that although tourist visa holders cannot work in the country, the new visa is likely to help with business travel by allowing for easy meeting and presentation attendance.
The increase in the number of expats in the UAE also helps from the perspective of talent acquisition, with facilitating entry to the country resulting in a bigger pool of available candidates that can start work at once, reducing relocation expenses.
Anyone who is travelling to the UAE should take out travel insurance in order to ensure financial protection from travel mishaps.