The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering introducing a new visa-free entry for foreigners living in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This change would make it easier for people living in Gulf countries to visit their neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.
UAE’s Economy Minister, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, mentioned at an event in Abu Dhabi that this visa system would allow residents from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to travel freely among member nations.
The GCC is made up of six countries, which include UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar. While citizens from these countries can already travel within the GCC without needing visas, most foreign residents still require one.
Even though the UAE and Saudi Arabia are rivals, Al Marri stated that what benefits Saudi Arabia will also be beneficial to the entire Gulf region. He stressed that the two countries have shared growth interests.
Dubai, a major business hotspot in the Middle East located in the UAE, has witnessed a rise in expats. This influx is partly due to the UAE government’s efforts to create a more open society.
According to Al Marri, healthy competition demonstrates that the Gulf region is getting more popular. Easier travel for all residents across these countries will further encourage tourism.
“What’s good for Saudi is good for the GCC,” he stated, adding, “If the tide comes up, it pulls up all the boats.”