Tourists from Israel will soon be allowed to freely visit the United Arab Emirates, according to a report from the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Wednesday.
Israeli and UAE authorities are apparently engaged in high-level discussions to try to get the new policy put into practice.
Israeli tourists will first be allowed to come to the UAE in order to attend Dubai’s Expo 2020 world fair, which is set to feature an Israeli pavilion.
However, sources in the UAE and from within Expo 2020 have apparently confirmed to the newspaper that even after the exhibition closes, authorities are hoping to keep the door open for visitors from Israel.
There are no diplomatic ties between the UAE and Israel, though there has been a warmer relationship between the two nations due to their mutual concern over Iranian aggression within the region.
Senior ministers in the government of Israel openly visited the UAE last year, and the Israeli national anthem was played at an Abu Dhabi judo tournament after a gold medal was won by a team member from the country.
Ras Al Khaimah’s assistant director for tourism development Mohamed Khater has confirmed the intention to allow Israelis to visit Expo 2020.
Khater says that hundreds of tourists from Israel are already trickling into the UAE and he hopes that more will follow in the wake of Expo 2020.
It is possible for Israelis to come to the UAE at the moment if they are in possession of an overseas passport or if they have Israeli travel papers following the acquisition of a special entry permit.
Yedioth Ahronoth was told on Tuesday at London’s World Travel Market fair that diplomatic efforts had begun to make it easier for Israeli tourists to come to the international exhibition by Expo officials.
The discussions are underway in order to ensure that the Expo is the “biggest and most sparkling” international exhibition, according to one official.
The UAE is viewing Expo 2020 as a national project and has put a lot of thought and money into it and wants to be able to ensure that Israelis can also come, the official says.
The Foreign Ministry in Israel has not commented on the report.
Expo 2020 will run from 20th October next year until 20th April 2021 and looks set to attract as many as 25 million visitors to Dubai, which is internationally renowned for its opulent shopping malls and luxurious resorts.
A source in the US with close connections to the UAE government told the newspaper that the UAE is also hoping to attract entrepreneurs from Israel in addition to tourists.
42% of the UAE public wants to see the country establish relations with Israel, according to a Jerusalem Foreign Ministry survey that was published last month.
Anyone planning to travel to the UAE from Israel or any other country should take out travel insurance before they go.
Travel insurance ensures peace of mind from the financial problems that could result from unexpected occurrences during travel, such as cancelled flights or falling ill while on foreign soil.