To spur tourist visit to Gulf nations, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Monday tweeted that tourist visas to the UAE will have a validity of 5 years. Previously these visas came with a validity of between 30 and 90 days.
This is in order to diversify their portfolio from an only oil exporter and in its wake Saudi Arabia in September last year provided means to apply for visa through online application, while Qatar withdrew the policy of visa for citizens of as many as 80 nations in the year 2017.
Bilal Khan, senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai is cited as saying in a Bloomberg report that "Economic activity in the U.A.E. has softened in recent years". "Attracting a greater number of visitors over the could help revive demand over the medium-term," particularly after the expected boost from this year's World Expo in Dubai fades, he added.
Further, the rising tension after the US airstrike resulted in the killing of Tehran's most authoritative general is seen to affect the Gulf states' tourism plan severely. The US on Sunday issued an alert for US citizens visiting UAE or going to stay there.