UAE Tourism Flourishes, Competes for Global Tourists



The UAE tourism industry is fiercely competing for the increasing number of global travelers. The Arab country has launched a number of infrastructure projects including a new airport, theme parks, museums and shopping malls as part of its economic vision for 2030. In 2012, the tourism industry contributed as much as 14% to the UAE economy, well above the 9% global trend.

More than 9 million foreign tourists travelled to the UAE city of Dubai in 2011. While a significant number of tourists came from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, visitors from all parts of the world are also common. Outside the Arab world, Europe and Asia recorded the most number of tourists to the UAE.

Every year, the Arab country hosts a number of events that attract millions of tourists everywhere. These events include the Dubai World Cup (Horse Racing), Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival, UAE Desert Challenge and the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. 

In an effort to further boost the flourishing tourism industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched 16 new types of visit visas for specific purposes. The visas, introduced in 2008, are as follows: 

1. Multiple Entry Visa = a visit visa valid for six months, with each stay extending for a maximum of 14 days; fees: Dh2,000

2. Long-term Visa Permission = a non-renewable visa valid for 90 days; fees: Dh1,000

3. Short-term Visa Permission = a non-renewable visa valid for 30 days; fees: Dh500

4. Study Entry Permission = a 90-day visa, renewable twice; fees: Dh1,000

5. Renewal of Study Entry Permission = fees: Dh500

6. Treatment Entry Permission = a visit visa valid for 90 days, renewable once = Dh1,000

7. Renewal of Treatment Entry Permission = fees: Dh500

8. Entry Permit for Exhibitions and Conferences = a 30-day non-renewable visa; fees: Dh100

9. Tourist Entry Permit = a visa valid for 30 days, renewable once; fees: Dh100

10. Renewal of Tourist Entry Permit = fees: Dh500

11. Visit Permit for GCC Residents = a visit visa valid for 60 days; fees: Dh100

12. Renewal of Visit Permit for GCC Residents = fees: Dh500

13. Entry Permit for Companions of GCC Residents = fees: Dh100

14. Renewal of Entry Permit for Companions of GCC Residents = fees: Dh200

15. Mission Entry Visa = fees: Dh200

16. Transit Visa = fees: Dh100

National citizens of aGCC country need not acquire a visa to visit the country. They simply need to produce their GCC country passport or ID card at the point of entry. Non-GCC nationals with a high professional status such as doctors or engineers, as well as government employees and their families and personal staff, are eligible for a non-renewable 30-day visa upon arrival at ports of entry into the UAE. Moreover, citizens of 32 countries are exempted from the visa required. These countries include the UK, the US, Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong.