Dubai eases visa regulations to boost tourism

13/07/2012 - Dubai Lifestyle News Posted by Neil King
Dubai eases visa regulations to boost tourism

In a bid to enhance the UAE's status as a key tourist destination, decision-makers in Dubai are easing visa policies and other regulation to allow the region's reputation to grow.According to the Oxford Business Group, the UAE has been driving forward a streamlined visa procedure for those visiting the country and the multiple-entry visa system could be unveiled in September of this year.The single beneficiary of this plan - should it be adopted - is the cruise industry, which is a growing segment of the region's tourism market.Policymakers in Dubai are aware those who travel to the emirate via sea on luxurious vessels with leading tour operators are a lucrative demographic to tap into, which is why cruise travel is one component of the tourism industry that has been singled out by authorities as one for fast-tracking.At present, those visiting the UAE this way can face difficulties, as having to stand in line to have their passports stamped can limit visitors' time ashore, which is a significant problem for those who are on a ship that docks in Dubai for only one day.By speeding up the visa process, passengers will be able to see more tourist sites, activity centres and retail centres on land, thus pumping more money into the UAE's budding economy.Director-general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing Khalid Bin Sulayem said: "While we have already established ourselves as a hub, we realise that there are a number of things that we must focus on in order to fully capitalise on this burgeoning sector by developing our cruise ship terminal infrastructure and improving coordination with neighbouring countries."If the new regime is implemented by the time the new season opens, it may play an important role in enabling the region to exceed its 420,000 cruise tourist target expectations for this year.In 2011, some 108 liners docked in Dubai and enabled 396,500 people to visit the emirate.