The new five-year multiple-entry tourist visa to the United Arab Emirates, which was announced earlier this week, has been called a “game-changer” for the tourism industry in the country by the UAE branch of OYO Hotels & Homes, the Indian hospitality giant.

OYO UAE says that enquiries from tourists in a number of different countries began from the moment the announcement was made.

Those who are granted the new visa will be able to remain in the UAE for a maximum of six months on individual visits.

OYO Hotels & Homes UAE is anticipating a steep increase in the number of tourists arriving from all over the world with the advent of the new visa, according to the company’s country head Pranav Mehta.

The busy MICE sector within the UAE already resulted in a significant rise in business and leisure visitors in the final quarter of last year, and the company is now preparing itself for a hectic time in the build-up to Expo 2020.

A large number of business executives and travellers are expected to visit OYO Hotels & Homes UAE properties while country pavilions are constructed at the site of Expo 2020.

This will be followed by a combination of both business and leisure travellers as the final quarter of 2020 approaches, Mehta says.

A double-digit increase in the amount of tourist traffic in December 2019 was experienced by OYO in comparison to the same month in 2018.

In order to deal with the expected rise in demand of business travellers this year, 2019 saw the company launch the brand ‘Capital O’ within the UAE.

The brand is solely aimed at business travellers and two such properties are now open in the UAE, one in Bur Dubai and one in Ras Al Khaimah.

OYO Hotels & Homes is the biggest chain of franchised and leased hotels, living space and homes in South Asia, and the third biggest and fastest growing in the world.

It is also the biggest single hotel brand in the whole of China.

A rise in the number of business travellers from China and India in particular has already been witnessed because of their growing trade relations with the UAE, Mehta claims.

There is also currently a growth in numbers from other nations in the GCC as well as the US, the UK, Africa and Europe.

OYO Hotels & Homes UAE has plans to increase its market share and reach as many as 150 hotels by the end of this year while also expanding its footprint in the UAE’s two, three and four-star hotel sector.

Its portfolio has also been aggressively expanded to as many as 4,461 keys in 310 homes and hotels within just one 12-month period.

The brand wants to become the biggest hotel chain in the world within the next three years.

Business and leisure travellers heading to the UAE in 2020 should take out travel insurance to secure financial protection from unexpected events such as losing their luggage or having booked flights cancelled.


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