More well known among Australians for being a stopover destination - usually on the way to Europe - the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it will be increasing the validation of its tourist visa to five years.
Tourist visas were previously valid for between 30 and 90 days.
Writing on Twitter, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the initiative was part of a push to attract more holidaymakers to Gulf countries, who are looking to move away from a dependence on oil.
Previously the domain of Muslim pilgrims and business travellers, Saudi Arabia recently launched its first tourist visa, while Qatar removed visas altogether for citizens of 80 countries in 2017.
“Economic activity in the U.A.E. has softened in recent years,” Dubai-based Standard Chartered Bank senior economist Bilal Khan said.
“Attracting a greater number of visitors over the could help revive demand over the medium-term.”
Reflecting this downturn, Dubai’s Jumeirah Group, which runs the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel among other tourism operations, last year cut 500 jobs.
Moreover, the United States’ killing of Iran’s most powerful general just days ago has increased tensions in the region, according to Bloomberg, forcing the US State Department to issue a warning to Americans visiting the UAE.
Australians travelling to the emirates are advised to exercise normal safety precautions.
Have you travelled to the UAE? How long did you stay and would you stay longer?
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