The recommendation to unify visas for businessmen and tourists visiting the GCC countries is currently being studied, a Gulf official has revealed to a local newspaper.
The recommendation includes an additional proposal related to VIP residents in GCC states in order to facilitate their travel among Gulf countries.
The proposal submitted by the Gulf Tourism Committee is currently being discussed at the GCC General Secretariat, said Abdulrahim Hasan Naqi, secretary-general of the Federation of GCC Chambers (FGCCC).
“We are working on unifying visas for businessmen and residents of GCC states, in particular for tourists visiting GCC countries, which will facilitate and encourage greater tourism in the region,” Abdulrahim Hasan Naqi said.
Naqi noted that if approved the proposal would benefit the region including generation of more capital exchange in the GCC states.
He pointed out that the draft would be adopted before the end of this year, nonetheless, he said, the implementation period might take another year. Naqi indicated that currently tourists and businessmen alike face difficulties in traveling inside GCC countries, and therefore it limits the contributions and benefits these visitors could provide to the region.
He said that the idea behind the proposal stemmed from the European Union’s experience in unifying their visa system, which has proven to be a success. Subsequently, the GCC countries hope they can replicate the EU’s visa system and learn from their mistakes. The application of this procedure will not affect the sovereignty or the customs and traditions of the GCC states, according to Naqi, who clarified that the proposal touched upon the possibility of allowing the benefits of the unified visa to extend to GCC residents, specifically business owners and professionals in large corporations, whilst maintaining each country’s ruling in terms of legal procedures.
However, he stressed that unification of visas will be limited to certain categories of residents and not for all of them and the priority is to facilitate the mobility of GCC tourists within the states.