Dubai eases visa restrictions for all Europeans

Dubai eases visa restrictions for all EuropeansBy Phil Davies,

Dubai’s popularity with European tourists is to be boosted by an exemption to travellers from a further 13 countries from requiring pre-entry visas.

People from the other 15 European member states, including the UK, are already exempt.

The announcement by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs means that all citizens of the European Union holding an ordinary passport will be allowed to enter the UAE without having to previously apply for a visa from March 22.

The 13 countries that come under the new exemption are: Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Dubai’s top 20 visitor source markets in 2013 included five European Union countries, each of which were already exempt from requiring pre-arrival visas: the UK (ranked 3rd), Germany (7th), France (14th), Italy (17th) and Holland (20th).

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “This is a very positive announcement from the UAE ministry of foreign affairs and one which will have a significant impact on the attractiveness of Dubai as a destination for tourists from the 13 countries included today in the exemption.

“With regards to business visitors, the exemption for citizens of all European member states further enhances Dubai’s status as the meeting point for Europe to host and conduct business with the partners from across the MENASA supra-region.

“European countries have traditionally featured prominently in our top 20 source markets for visitors, with more than 2.8 million Europeans staying in our hotels during 2013.

“The lifting of visa restrictions provides for easier travel arrangements from across the continent so it is no surprise that the news has been received extremely positively.”

The easing of visa restrictions combines with continual expansion of airline route networks and the opening of a second international airport, to ensure that Dubai is ever more accessible and connected to the world, he added.

Dubai’s tourism vision for 2020 sets out how the city will double its annual visitor numbers from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2020.

Sourced by Travel Weekly

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