Gulf Grand Tours visa: Travel agencies to launch unique tourist packages

Dubai modern architecture landmark skyline view from the Marasi marina in city Business bay downtown area in the United Arab Emirates at blue hour at night

Dubai: Travel agencies in the UAE and other countries are busy preparing special packages ahead of the much-awaited rollout of the ‘Gulf Grand Tours’ visa, which introduces a unified tourist visa system for the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) countries. The executives in the travel and tourism sector say that the packages aim to attract tourists from all over the globe who wish to visit the Gulf region. These packages would be designed based on the European Schengen visa model.

Travellers will have to spend around 4000 – 5000 dirhams or more, to enjoy leisure trips, including two-night stays at three countries in the region. At a ministerial summit held as part of the Arabian Tarvel Market last week, it was announced that the unified visa system will be in place by the end of this year. The authorities hope that the multi-entry Grand Tours Visa will let tourists travel to the six countries without any hassle. 

First phase focuses on Saudi Arabia
Travel agencies say that they have been designing packages after doing proper research to understand the needs and preferences of the travellers. Their study found that children aged between 8 and 14 play pivotal roles in choosing the destination and the family’s stay in hotels. Based on this information, the travel agencies aim to develop unique tour packages to attract more than a million tourists to this region. These packages include hotel accommodation, vehicle rent and entertainment activities for families. In the first phase, such packages would concentrate on trips to Saudi Arabia.

The different packages
The cost of the packages would depend upon the tourism seasons in the GCC countries. The package for a two-day trip to countries like the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia would cost up to 4000 – 5000 dirhams. Some tour operators are also thinking of packages for a single country for 1,500 dirhams. Interestingly, the packages would cover the expenses for air tickets, hotel accommodation as well as transfers and tours. Meanwhile, the tour packages to Dubai, Oman and Qatar are expected to be ready for launch in two months. This package includes a three-night stay in Dubai and Oman or Dubai and Qatar. The travel agencies believe that the Grand Tours Visa would boost the scope for inbound tourist and domestic travels. After the Covid 19 outbreak, people have been preferring trips that combine leisure with business. The authorities and the travel agencies hope that the Grand Tours Visa may bolster such trends.

An initiative to attract international tourists
It was in October last year that the GCC unanimously approved the unified visa system, in the model of the European Schengen visa. In April 2024, UAE’s Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri announced that the GCC countries would roll out the unified visa system by the end of the year. He added that a unified tourist visa system would surely play a major role in attracting international tourists to the GCC countries. The Gulf Grand Tours Visa would also be beneficial for expatriates, especially Indians, residing in various Gulf countries.

As people from the UAE enjoy travelling to Saudi Arabia and Oman, this visa would increase tourist movement inside the country and provide an impetus to the tourism industry. Photo: iStock/suiwuya
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